This one is a special Halloween repost. Honestly, it's my favorite of the four stories I told that first year I was on OS, because ... well ... because it was.
At the time I wrote this one, I still lived in California (insert sad music here). How I miss it. Anyway, I promised some ghost stories to a friend here, and I thought I'd start with a re-post. But, I promise an original as well. And to the eight of you who read it, thank you! Don't send money! Send chocolate!
As always, these stories are brought to you by someone many of you may not even know.
(Dear lord. This is what happens when you leave and don't come back much. The best part of you is forgotten. Yes. That's right. The cat.)
This first ghost story is brought to you by He Who Is Handsome, in all his sepia glory.
Originally posted in October 31st, 2008
As I've mentioned before, I love the ghost tour, and my friends take me to a new place for every birthday.
One of my favorites was the Haunted Hollywood Ghost Tour. Did we see a ghost? Er, well ... let me just tell you about that night, and you decide.
This evening started in front of the Graumann's Chinese Theatre. Have you ever seen this place? It's pretty amazing. And of course, in front, are some of the best stars of Hollywood.
I must say if I learned anything there it was that some of those women either wore very tiny shoes or had very tiny feet. One of those.
When we arrived at the Theatre, after we had wandered for a bit, a man came and instructed my group and a second group forming to walk down the street to the Roosevelt Hotel to wait for the limo which would take us around the city to all the haunted spots. So, we trooped dutifully to the Roosevelt's front door to wait for the car.
When we arrived, the tour guide told us that the limo would be a few minutes and that we should check out the haunted mirror in the Roosevelt Hotel. He told a short story about how Marilyn Monroe's visage could be seen in this mirror on certain spooky nights. We all trooped dutifully (are you sensing a theme?) into the hotel, a group of about twenty strangers to see Marilyn in the mirror.
It was here that the evening began to take an interesting turn.
Once inside, it became clear that, well, we weren't exactly welcomed with open arms by the staff of the Roosevelt. I can see their point of view. Here we are, armed with cameras, looking for a mirror with a ghost in it. The bell captain walked over to us and the conversation went something like this:
Bell Captain: Can I help you people?
Tall, White Guy from Illinois (with his family in tow): Yes! We're looking for Marilyn's mirror!
Bell Captain: I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Tall, White Guy from Illinois: But .. But ... we're looking for Marilyn!
Bell Captain: Yes. I can see that. But we have paying guests here.
Tall, White Guy's Wife Named Beatrice: Hey! Is that Lindsey Lohan?
Me: (under breath to one of my friends while covering face) oh man.
Bell Captain: (walking to shield the bar where Beatrice had been pointing) I must ask you to leave. And tell Frank if he does this again, I'm going to call the police.
Little Asian Couple: (to each other) Who is Frank?
My Friend Steve: Hey, isn't Frank the name of the guy giving us the tour?
Me: (grinning) This should be interesting.
We walk back outside. There stands Frank laughing. 'Did you see the mirror?' Frank asks. Everyone agrees that no, we didn't see the mirror and what was up with being kicked out of the hotel. Frank (obviously trying not to laugh): "Oh, you know, nothing ..." Then, looking alarmed, Frank hustled us to the limo with the giant letters "Haunted Tours" on it. Behind us, I could see our friendly Bell Captain, looking really, really mad. He yelled, "Knock it off, Frank!" as we drove away.
Frank: (on the loudspeaker) Who believes in ghosts?
Here, we were introduced to our fellow tourists for our NIGHT OF TERROR. You've met the Illinois group, the cute Asian couple, and then there was the couple from Alabama. She was hugely pregnant, and he kept telling everyone throughout the entire evening that she was having a boy and it was a reflection of his manhood that he had made a boy baby. Yes. Well. She smoked throughout the entire tour. I guess Baby Boy was getting a good head start on his smoking habits. The Illinois couple, who were actually very nice, talked all the way to our first destination, with suspiciously exuberant replies from Frank, about how they really, truly wanted to see a ghost.
Anyway. First, we went to the Hollywood Graveyard. This part is pretty cool, and I highly recommend it. The graveyard is just there, behind a huge set of skyscrapers, very out of place, but peaceful in its way. A lot of famous people are buried there.
In any case, for the beauty and peace of this cemetery alone, it was enough. But not for Frank, our tour guide.
First, he took us to Marilyn's grave.
Frank: (gesturing to Marilyn's crypt) Here lies Marilyn Monroe. (as if we can't read) Notice the markings around her name here. This is because spectral forces from her spirit have risen here and have made actual physical marks on the grave itself!
Beatrice from Illinois: Wow! (starts taking pictures)
My friend Mark: Couldn't it just be that a lot of people have touched the stone and those marks are the result of that?
Frank: (looking annoyed momentarily but recovering quickly) That, too!
Me: Ha! Ha!
(Glares from the other tourists. Silence from me. Then, some inadvertent snickering.)
We walked the graveyard for a few minutes, and then Beatrice says to her husband: Oh my god! Bill! Come look at my video camera! I have captured a ghost.
Everyone dutifully gathers around the camera.
Beatrice: See! See that spectral cloud!
Frank: Why, yes, Beatrice! You have captured an actual spirit.
Pregnant Chick from Alabama: (while lighting second cigarette in a huge, pregnant chain-smoking event) Isn't that just my cigarette smoke? I was standing next to you.
Beatrice: (visibly deflating) Oh.
Frank: But it could be a ghost or cigarette smoke!
Me: Ha! Ha! (clearing throat and looking down as others glared)
Then, we got back in the limo and went on the rest of the tour.
Oh, the REST OF THE TOUR ....
The rest of the tour consisted of Frank, driving at top speed (no kidding) through busy LA streets and pointing at houses out the window. Now, the limo was a stretch with one side of seats going around to the driver's left. Invariably, all possible sights would be on the side of the street that would cause everyone to turn his or her head and body completely around. In other words, we all needed to have the sights to the right of the driver, which would put them mainly in front of us. Frank would wait until these sights were on his left. It became hilarious.
Frank: Here's the house where Sharon Tate was killed!
(Everyone starts to turn around and look behind them in confusion.)
My friend Mark: Wasn't that torn down?
Frank: Right! Well, this is the house that's in its place.
Me: Where? (Everyone continues turning behind them and craning their necks around.)
Frank: (pointing up hill) It's a mile up that road behind the trees! On top of that hill!
Me: (unable to talk from insensible laughter)
Eventually, the ride deteriorated to Frank yelling "There's a ghost! And there!" always, of course, pointing to his left and behind us. And he drove really, really fast and took a lot of hairpin turns.
By the end, my friends and I are shrieking with laughter, unable to breathe. The other tourists aren't as happy.
Poor Beatrice and Bill. When they left, they looked very angry. Bill was heard to mutter, "No ghosts. What's that all about?" Beatrice just looked nauseated. All those hairpin turns in a limo.
We all shook Frank's hand and went to dinner. And I was able to say honestly, "Well, that was fun. What'll we do to top that next year?"
Perhaps an actual ghost next time ... I wonder if Marilyn is in that mirror ...