(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Looking back, I realized I had gotten away from my countdown of the top 10 places I'd like to investigate. Back to it, I decided.
I've only visited Hollywood once, and haven't been much inclined to go back. But I would make a return trip if given the opportunity to investigate No. 9 on my list, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I love movies and old Hollywood anyway, so combining that with paranormal investigation seems like a natural fit.
The Roosevelt opened May 15, 1927, (which I honestly did not know when I started writing this blog -- odd coincidence, no?). It was started by a group of Hollywood greats (Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Louis B. Mayer, among others) as a place that could house East Coast movie-makers working on the West Coast.
The first two Academy Awards ceremonies were held in the hotel's Blossom Room.
During the 1950s, the area and the hotel started a decline. The building apparently was headed for demolition in the 1980s when it was bought and restored by the Radisson hotel chain.
Of course, a host of film industry royalty roamed the hotel's halls, from Carole Lombard and Clark Gable's stay in the penthouse to Errol Flynn mixing gin to Shirley Temple's first tap-dancing lesson on the stairway to Marilyn Monroe posing on the pool's diving board for her very first ad.
These days, the hotel is part of the Thompson hotel group. The group's website is super-corporate, which I suppose is to be expected. If it were me, I'd have a whole section on the site that discussed the hotel's history, but, hey. It's not me.
The Roosevelt has been featured on TV and movies such as "Mighty Joe Young", "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "Catch Me If You Can." The cast of "That 70s Show" held their wrap party there in 2006.
The hotel does keep some artifacts around from Hollywood's Golden Age. An original menu from the famous Brown Derby is on display, as is the original camera used to film "Gone With the Wind." Perhaps these types of items enable some guests to have later checkouts than others...
Some of the reported hauntings at the Roosevelt are pretty vague: A cold spot in the Blossom Room that causes audio equipment to malfunction. Children playing in the halls. A pianist heard playing a piano on the mezzanine (what else would he be doing?). Ghostly guests swimming in the pool after hours.
But two spirits reportedly still in residence are definitely very, very specific.
I will say, I have my doubts about this first one. The image of Marilyn Monroe herself is said to appear in a full-length mirror, putting on lipstick and checking her hair. The story goes that Marilyn bought the mirror and had it hung in her favorite poolside suite. It was eventually sent to storage, only to be pulled back out later and hung by the lower-level elevator.
My doubts? 1. It's Marilyn Monroe. 2. Mirrors are notorious for supposedly containing images that aren't really there. People could be seeing things out of the corner of their eye or matrixing. Who wouldn't want to be able to say they've seen Marilyn's ghost? However, without getting there and doing some debunking work, there's no way of knowing what's really going on.
Actor Montgomery Clift (who happens to be Marilyn Monroe's costar in her last film, "The Misfits") is said to haunt the ninth floor. Clift called suite 928 his home for several months in 1952 while making "From Here to Eternity." The stories are of loud noises coming from the empty suite, phones left off the hook (when it's not ringing incessantly), the heat being turned up to over 100 degrees and the radio blaring. One of the stranger reports is of Clift's spirit practicing the bugle for his part in "From Here to Eternity". Some guests even report being shoved while they slept. Others say they have felt him walking next to them in the hallway in front of room 928 where he paced while practicing his lines and that bugle.
Attempts to capture the activity on camera are routinely thwarted by the dreaded battery drain.
I like the story of Clift's haunting better because it's much more specific than Marilyn's mirror.
I'd classify the mirror ghost and Clift's hallway pacing and bugle practice as residual haunts. Sleeping people being shoved and electronics being played with lend themselves more to an intelligent haunting, though.
Is Clift really responsible for bother guests? Does the movie memorabilia play a part in retaining residual activity? Is a spirit at the hotel trying to get current guests' attention? Does Marilyn Monroe REALLY not have anywhere else she'd rather haunt?
It sounds like there would be a lot of work to do on an investigation at the Roosevelt.
Some history on the hotel