Appropriate, at the Mark Taper Forum September 23–November 1, 2015, explores the haunting historical sins of a Southern family while uncovering some contemporary ones along the way. A hidden graveyard, a crumbling plantation mansion, and a chorus of insects make the perfect backdrop for a haunting, and one character even claims to feel “spirits” in the air. But in the end, perhaps the poltergeists are merely the unexercised demons of persecution.
They say that Los Angeles has no past, but if you’ve lived here long enough, you know that’s not true. Before or after you see Appropriate, check out articles exploring the haunted places of L.A., and ponder the sins of our Southern California forefathers. Are the ghosts real, or just manifestations of the guilt of the living?
Dona Petronilla is said to have cursed Griffith Park way back in 1863 in retribution after her uncle did not leave the land to her upon his death. Since then, strange wildfires, untimely deaths and misfortunes, ghosts, and were-beasts have reportedly stalked the land and its owners. This haunted L.A. history stretches from the Ranchero era to the golden age of Hollywood and all the way to the present.
Curbed explored the major landmarks of L.A. that you never knew were haunted. Opening with three theatres—the Pantages, the Silent Movie Theatre, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre—this listicle shows that the movie industry can be pretty darn spooky. The Pantages and the Silent Movie Theatre take the cake on this list, boasting two ghosts each. Howard Hughes and a mysterious singing woman are said to stalk the Pantages, while two former owners are often sighted at the Silent Movie Theatre.
A possible inspiration for the fictional American Horror Story murder house in season one, the Los Feliz Murder Mansion holds a terrifying story. On December 6, 1959, Dr. Harold Perelson mauled his wife to death with a hammer, beat his daughter within an inch of her life, and then promptly killed himself by drinking a glass of acid. No motive has ever been produced, and the subsequent owners have never actually lived in the house. In fact, the house has not changed at all since these gruesome murders, with wrapped presents still sitting under a Christmas tree in the living room. As you might expect, stories of hauntings abound.
Spooky tours bring you to the ghosts without the need to risk becoming one yourself in L.A.’s traffic. Admittedly, these tours focus more on morbid cultural haunting than supernatural visitations. An abandoned light rail line, the Pacific Electric Streetcar, which once ran across all of L.A. and into San Bernardino and Long Beach, seems particularly poignant as we continue to grapple with traffic congestion and the absence of a comprehensive mass transit system. There are no ghosts, but the untimely death of an all-electric mass transit system will give any Angeleno shivers.
This list combines the sites of freaky real-life events (the Beverly Hills Bermuda Triangle, where murder, dead man’s curve accidents, and a Howard Hughes plane crash took place) as well as fearsome fictional settings (the mansion that played the murder house on American Horror Story and the hospital that provided the backdrop to the Day of the Dead and Insidious films).