Ghosts of the Eastside (Part III)

The Hollywood Tower apartment building is said to be haunted by the ghost of one of its old tenants. Photo: Michael Darling.

As is Halloween tradition, it’s time once again for the Ledger to explore eerie Eastside’s haunted hotspots and its creepiest crimes.

This year, we share the stories of Dracula’s apartment, the “Bat Man of Los Angeles” and the spookiest section of Dodger Stadium.


Dodger Stadium: In Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon’s book Haunted Baseball, Dodgers employees reveal that the loge level may be the creepiest spot in the ball park. One employee reported hearing a child running around that level long after a game was over. Others have felt cold winds and taps on the shoulder while cleaning out the loge. A mysterious fog is also sometimes seen hovering over the Dodgers’ bullpen.


The Hollywood Tower: This apartment complex loosely inspired The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror ride at Disney theme parks. Many members of the film industry lived at the tower during Hollywood’s Golden Age and it seems some still do. In 2013, manager April Brooks told The Hollywood Reporter, “a lot of people report the ghost of a man standing on the seventh floor, in 30s period clothing, staring at the Hollywood Hills. Then he disappears.” 6138 Franklin Avenue.


Bob Baker Marionette Theater: This theater, on the edge of Echo Park, opened in 1963 and is the country’s oldest puppet theater. Apparently, some of the theater’s original puppeteers still appear at the theater—in spectral form. According to the blog “Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles,” one ghost puppeteer is sometimes seen watching the staff from the eastside of the theater while another is seen in mirrors in the wings. Also, instrument strings breaking during performances are usually blamed on specters voicing their displeasure. 1345 W 1st Street.


Bela Lugosi’s Apartment: Cinema’s most famous Dracula lived in this apartment during his final year, eventually suffering a heart attack while lying in his bed on August 16, 1956. Hollywood legend says that during Lugosi’s funeral procession, the hearse inexplicably turned onto Hollywood Boulevard, passing by Lugosi’s favorite cigar shop. Lugosi was buried in full Dracula garb in Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery. 5620 Harold Way.


Public Storage Building: This ornate storage building was opened in 1928 by American Storage. At the time, the top floor was home to a club called The Thirteenth Heaven, which featured waiters with angel wings and a doorman dressed like St. Peter. When Prohibition hit, the club became a speakeasy with mob ties, which is why ghost historian Richard Carradine believes the elevator shaft is haunted. As he told, “Staff hear screams from the abandoned elevator shaft as if someone were falling to their death.” 3636 Beverly Boulevard.


Dolly Oesterreich’s House: In 1913, Milwaukee housewife Walburga “Dolly” Osterreich began an affair with repairman Otto Sanhuber. Their affair was first held in hotels, but eventually Oesterreich moved her lover into her home’s attic. In 1918, Oesterreich’s unaware husband decided they should move to Los Angeles and she insisted their new home have an attic. Sanhuber was sent ahead and when the Oesterreichs moved to this Silver Lake house, the affair resumed. This arrangement lasted until 1922 when Sanhuber overheard the Oesterreichs having a fight and he ran downstairs and shot and killed Oesterreich’s husband. The press was fascinated by the bizarre case and Sanhuber was dubbed “The Bat Man of Los Angeles” for his attic-dwelling lifestyle. 858 North La Fayette Park Place.


Mack Sennett Studios: It was here that silent film director Mack Sennett pioneered slapstick comedy with the help of his muse Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops. In a 2014 interview with Galore Magazine, Jesse Rogg, the current president of the studio space, confirmed that the building has some happy haunts. “Considering all of the serendipity and positive energy within these walls, I am 100% certain that whatever spirits are here they’re more than welcoming,” said Rogg. 1215 Bates Avenue.


Read installments I and II.



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