In time for Halloween, here are some of LA’s scariest stories and spookiest places

In celebration of the most menacing holiday of the year, we asked you all to tell us what eerie story you were most curious about.

You asked us about haunted mansions, creepy unknown highways and unsolved murders.

Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills

Listener Alex Roberts wrote wanting to know more about the stories of the murders and haunting at Doheny mansion.

“Photo-diagram below illustrates police officers’ theory of the dual tragedy in which Theodore Plunkett killed his employer, Edward L. Doheny, Jr. and then committed suicide. According to the police theory, Plunkett held the gun at his waist and shot Doheny seated in a chair.” Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

One of Hollywood’s most popular filming venues, the Greystone Mansion (also called the Donheny Mansion) is a 46,000 square foot home that has been featured in Spider-Man, Gilmore Girls and the Big Lebowski.

Original construction of the iconic estate was ordered by one of America’s earliest oil tycoons, Edward Doheny, who gifted the home to his son, Edward “Ned” Doheny in 1928.

On the night of Feb. 29, 1929, just four months after settling into his new home, Ned was found dead, alongside his longtime friend and personal assistant, Theodore Hugh Plunkett. The incident was reported to the police by Ned’s wife, Lucy who called it a murder-suicide. She said Plunkett shot Ned and then himself after a heated argument.

Details within the account were scrutinized due to the three-hour delay between the shooting and the time that the police were contacted.

A rumor later surfaced that Plunkett and Doheny were having an affair and that Lucy was responsible shooting the two while in the act. Others believe that Plunkett, was in fact, responsible for the killing due a strained work relationship after Ned’s father had been indicted in the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Caption dated February 18, 1929 reads “L. T. White, left, fingerprint expert of the district attorney’s office, and Ed King, investigator, are pictured examining the old-fashioned Bisley model .45 caliber gun with which Theodore Plunkett Killed Edward L. Doheny Jr. and himself.” The Bisley model is made by Colt Manufacturing Company. Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

But who killed whom? What took so long for authorities to be notified? How much was Lucy involved in the altercation, if at all, and why haven’t additional members of the house come forward with their recount of the night’s incidents?

No one knows…

2475 Glendower residence, Los Feliz

Curious Coast listener Jay asked, A Los Feliz doctor who killed his family back in the 40s? House sat dormant for decades and you could a Christmas tree in the window? True? 

Harold Perelson was described as a mild-mannered physician, but on the night of December 6th, 1959, the cardiologist walked into the bedroom of his 2475 Glendower residence in Los Feliz and stood above the sleeping body of his wife wielding a ball-peen hammer.

He struck her with the instrument and killed her.

He attempted to do the same to his eldest daughter, but she fled to their neighbor’s house next door. He then went into his bathroom and took his own life by consuming Nembutal and other tranquilizers.

No one has lived there since. While there have been different reports of its ownership since the incident, no long-term residents have been confirmed.

In 2012, writer Jennifer Clay reported on her blog, My LA Bucket List, that she saw the fabled Christmas presents that were spoken of by prior visitors, when she chronicled her experience exploring the Spanish-style residence. She said that the ribbons were still tied in fact tied.

It was said that the family had a decorated Christmas tree and presents in their living room on the night of the incident.

 

Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia Murder. I’ve been curious about that for a bit, wrote Veronica Juarez. And listener Micho Rizo wanted to know where she was murdered. 

Police bulletin distributed by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The unsolved murder is a story about a young aspiring actress’s career being cut short, literally.

Elizabeth Short was 22 years old when she was found dead, her body severed in half, in a Leimert Park parking lot on Norton Avenue between 39th and Coliseum on January 15th, 1947.

The killer, still unknown, mutilated and dissected her corpse, drained it of blood and scrubbed it clean while piercing her cheeks and leaving her with a carved smile.

It was a scene from a horror film – and tragic irony for the aspiring actress, whose name made headlines for this terrifying incident. She was given the moniker, “The Black Dahlia,” by news publications as a pseudonym based off of the title and storyline of the popular film noir, The Blue Dahlia. The film came out a year before Short’s death. The unsolved murder made front page news for nearly two months straight.

An account of the night’s event was written by author Steve Hodel who implicated that his own father, a Los Angeles doctor as the culprit behind the crime.

At the time, the Daily Police Bulletin stated that Short’s last known whereabouts was the Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA. She was said to have been wearing a black suit, and black suede high-heeled shoes.

After the biggest manhunt in L.A. history, the murder was officially listed as unsolved. And it’s stayed that way for 70 years.

Four people in a restaurant are looking at the front page of a newspaper carrying an article on the “…watch for the ‘Dahlia’ killer”. Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Public Libary

Hotel Cecil

The Cecil Hotel for sure! That place is spooky as all get out. And now it’s a hipster hotel! wrote one listener. 

The downtown Hotel Cecil (later renamed Stay on Main, but now a LA landmark), is an epicenter of alleged murders, suicides, mysterious disappearances and the home of historically dark activities.

Serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, was said to have spent time living in the Cecil hotel in between his vicious acts. Ramirez was known for his 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries all taking place in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas over the course of a year between 1984-1985.

Later, serial killer and former journalist Jack Unterwegers, known for killing numerous sex workers between the city of Los Angeles and in his home country of Austria, was reported to have spent time in the Hotel Cecil as well. Some suspect (but it isn’t proven) that he chose this destination in order to pay homage to Ramirez.

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

The building’s earliest reports of criminal activity date back to November 17, 1931, when a man by the name of W.K. Norton was found dead after killing himself by ingesting poisonous capsules. Just a year later an unnamed 25-year-old shot and killed himself in one of the hotel rooms, and just two years after that Louis D. Borden was found dead with a suicide note next to his body.

The most recent act of heinous happenings involved Elisa Lam, a tourist who stayed at the Hotel Cecil in 2013. She went missing for weeks and during that span occupants complained that there had been issues with the color and quality of the hotel’s water. Little did they know that Lam’s body was decomposing in the rooftop water tank.

 

What do you want to know more about in or around Los Angeles?