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ScareLA: Haunted LA vs. Haunted OC

This is a guest contribution by Crystal Smith-Connelly about her recent jaunt to ScareLA. We’re excited she’s sharing this with us since we couldn’t make it out there. This way we all get to experience it vicariously through her!

ScareLA is a convention in Los Angeles that celebrates all things Halloween, and since I just moved there, I was lucky enough to attend this year.

I wrote a general ScareLA post for my blog, but for Haunt Jaunts I wanted to focus on the Haunted LA vs. Haunted OC presentation, which was a live version of the Collywobbles podcast, hosted by Frank Weitzel, Kate Weitzel, and Katee Syphax.

The hosts told the audience three stories about haunted L.A. and three stories about haunted Orange County. At the end, the audience had to vote on whether Los Angeles or Orange County seemed scarier.

Here are the L.A. stories:

  1. The Comedy Store: The Comedy Store opened in 1972, but before it was a comedy club, it was a nightclub called Ciro’s (which was right next to a brothel), and gangster Mickey Cohen operated out of the building. It’s said that Cohen used to rough men up in the basement and may have even buried some bodies there, and the basement was also used for back-alley abortions. People have heard moans, screams, and animal snarling, and the ghost of a man in a World War II bomber jacket has been seen in the kitchen and upstairs office; he usually looks like he’s trying to hide and is believed to be one of Cohen’s victims. An employee saw a force pushing on the fence to get into the basement; the employee ran away, and when he came back, he saw a seven-foot-tall figure standing there. There is also a ghost named Gus, who wears a black suit and is probably one of Cohen’s men. Sam Kinison had several encounters with spirits at the Comedy Store – during one set, the lights and audio kept going in and out, and a voice was heard coming from the speakers, saying “It’s him, it’s him.” Kinison told the spirits to make themselves known, and the lights went out for thirty minutes. A comic named Steve Lubetkin jumped off the roof of the Continental Hyatt House and landed in front of The Comedy Store, and a sad presence is felt in that spot. A customer at The Comedy Store saw a nine-foot-tall man with huge blacked-out eyes and a big toothy grin who turned to him and said “Ha ha ha” before disappearing through a wall.
  2. The Millennium Biltmore: The Millennium Biltmore opened in 1923 and was the last place Elizabeth Short (aka The Black Dahlia) was seen before she was murdered. Her ghost has been seen roaming the halls of the hotel in a black dress; one time she was asked to leave, and she got up and walked through a wall. The sounds of screaming and laughing children have also been heard in the hotel, and people have seen the ghosts of soldiers, a nurse, and a boy with no face. Bartenders have seen a couple sitting at a table, and they disappear as soon as someone comes to take their order.
  3. Boris Karloff’s Rose Garden: Boris Karloff is known for playing Frankenstein’s monster, and the ashes of several of his friends are buried in his rose garden.
And now for the OC stories:

  1. Modesta Avila: Modesta Avila was a “woman of ill repute” and the first person to be charged with a felony in Orange County (her crime: obstructing the railroad tracks near her home with a clothesline). She died two years into her three-year stint at San Quentin; her home has since been turned into the Hummingbird Café, and customers have encountered her ghost there. People have seen shadows going across the windows, lights on when no one is there, and rocking chairs rocking with no one in them. Avila is also believed to haunt a nearby steakhouse, and two women were shoved by her in the restroom, causing one of them to pass out (the other woman got the hell out of there and told her husband she’d wait for him in the car).
  2. Disneyland: Disneyland was built in 1955, and there are several ghost stories associated with it. After Walt Disney died, the light in his apartment in the Main Street Firehouse was always left on in remembrance of him, but one day a cast member turned it off, and when she came back, the light was on…and a voice said “I’m still here.” A boy who was hit and killed by the Monorail has been seen running alongside the Monorail, and “The Crying Boy” frequents the Haunted Mansion, where his ashes were scattered (possibly Pirates of the Caribbean as well). Two brothers tried to sneak into Disneyland one night in 1973, and the older boy drowned while trying to help his younger brother across the river; cast members have seen ripples in the water, as if someone is swimming. “The Woman in White” strolls down Main Street and helps lost children find their way to the baby care center. Cast members have said that the dolls in It’s a Small World (aka the creepiest ride in Disney history) sometimes disappear, change position, or keep moving after the ride has been shut off.
  3. Black Star Canyon: The Black Star Canyon has been the site of numerous deaths, beginning with the Black Star Canyon Indian Massacre in 1831. In 1899, James Gregg was murdered over a horse trade gone wrong, and in 1970, a school bus crashed there, killing the driver and several children (the bus remained in that spot until 2012). Many believe that Black Star Canyon is the site of cult gatherings and sacrifices (some possibly involving Charles Manson).

After hearing all the creepy stories, the audience decided that Orange County is scarier than L.A., which didn’t surprise me since the It’s a Small World story alone is enough to win them the title. 😉

The Haunted LA vs. Haunted OC podcast was really entertaining. You can find it on the Collywobbles’ Facebook page if you want to watch it:

The Collywobbles podcast airs every other Wednesday, and you can listen to past episodes of the podcast here:

Who would you have voted for? Haunted OC or Haunted LA?

About Crystal

Crystal Smith-Connelly is a playwright, comedy writer, and paranormal blogger who recently relocated to Los Angeles from the haunted city of Charleston, South Carolina. She’s the author of For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology, Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays, Goat Herpes and Other Problems, Paranormal Jokes and Haiku, and Give Hell a Chance: A Book of Plays. She also wrote, directed, and acted in the upcoming Godly Acres web series. Find her online at:
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