I was recently invited to participate in a creepy and cool-sounding Haunted Red Line tour, organized by the spirit seekers of GHOULA (“Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles.”) Sounds pretty appropriate right, in this final week before Halloween 2015? From Union Station to North Hollywood, we were delighted by an oral retelling of the often-ghastly and downright strange tales from LA’s history at famous landmarks along the LA Metro Red Line. Rich, our host, is a bona fide LA ghost connoisseur, and has the stories that the history books won’t tell you.
Along the way on this tour we heard all about:
- the real story behind the shameful Chinese Massacre of 1871, recently revealed by papers unearthed at the Huntington Library
- the presence of “hanging trees” around LA where lynchings occurred on a regular basis
- the haunting of City Hall as a result of its location over the original site of LA’s gallows, and its cursing by spiritualists, who were protesting the outlawing of spirituality by City Hall bureaucrats in 1912
- the former Harvey House location in Union Station, designed by architect Mary Colter, who wanted to make the space “inviting” to ghosts
- the sealed-off tunnels under Pershing Square, open only to DWP workers, who often see the ghost of a little redheaded girl when they enter to do inspections
- the hauntings of the Biltmore hotel, including the infamous Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, last seen alive at this hotel before her dismembered corpse was found 6 days later
- Howard Hughes’ figure sometimes appearing in the back row of seats at the Pantages Theatre
- The shadowy figure occasionally spotted in the reflection of a mirror behind the bar at the Frolic Room
- the ghost of a suicide jumper on the roof of the Roosevelt Hotel, where workers sometimes feel hands pressing them towards the roof’s edge
- the Marilyn Monroe mirror, also in the Roosevelt Hotel, on whose surface it’s said Marilyn would sometimes appear. This mirror, which used to be featured in the lobby, has now been removed from display!
- the former location of the Hollywood Hotel, where Rudolf Valentino’s ghost would wake women up who stayed in “his” former suite, with a “spirit kiss”
This was the last Haunted Red Line tour of 2015, but GHOULA hosts scary-fun events year-round. If you enjoy hearing creepy tales about this fascinating city, like GHOULA’s page on Facebook and attend one of their future events! Here’s my scoop meanwhile on the Haunted Red Line tour.
- GET THERE: Take the Metro obviously! In one way or another, eventually all trains converge at Union Station. You’ll meet Rich and the rest of the tour group outside of Union Station on the grassy median with palm trees and the sundial.
- WHAT TO WEAR: You’ll be doing a lot of walking of the stations as you ascend and descend in and out of the subway stops to street level to hear the historic and creepy tales. Wear comfortable shoes.
- HOW TO PREPARE: The only thing you need for this tour is your Metro Day Pass! At this time it’s $7 and provides unlimited rides in a 24-hour period. Buy a pass at any kiosk in Union Station or at your local stop. Bring a camera if you like! But I mostly enjoyed just listening to Rich regaling us with his old Hollywood historic tales.
- LOCAL FLAIR: Because it was the last tour of the year, our tour group was large – probably 100 people! At times it was hard to hear the stories being told because I was just too far away from Rich in the large crowd. But I still heard enough to enjoy it.
- FAIR & SQUARE? Yes! The Tour itself is free – you just have to buy your own Metro pass. And please tip Rich at the end/make a small donation for a job well done!