Damn the curses of New Orleans. Supernatural expert Jeff Dwyer’s newest book, The Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Los Angeles, has had its release date pushed back from this month to February, 2007 due to lingering production problems at Pelican Publishing in Gretna, LA. I was still able to ask Jeff about the presence of paranormal activity in Los Angeles, from haunted restaurants in Los Angeles to spots where not so friendly ghosts may still reside.
I was surprised to find out that area near where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered may be haunted, and that at Moonshadows in Malibu you may bump into spirits besides those that Mel Gibson ingested.
Following is our Q&A, which took considerable time because, seriously, we did this via Ouija boards.
How did you end up becoming an expert, or “go to guy” on ghosts?
I have the innate sensitivity to see or otherwise perceive disembodied spirits and I have the guts to write about it under my real name. I developed a method of enhancing sensitivity to spirits, hauntings, and other paranormal phenomena that works extremely well for me and for others. People come to me not only to learn where ghosts have been spotted but also to enhance their chances of experiencing ghostly activity.
My passion for history and some skill as a writer and researcher culminated in my 8-book series of ghost hunter’s guides. A guide for San Francisco has been published (May 2005). The Los Angeles guide was due September 2006 but my publisher is in New Orleans and Katrina still limits their productivity. Books on New Orleans and Seattle are completed and scheduled for publication in 2007. I am currently working on a guide to California’s wine country.
Do you believe in ghosts? And if so, what’s your theory behind the “science” of how they work?
Of course I believe in the existence of ghosts, and many other paranormal phenomena. I’ve had so many experiences that I am I absolutely certain that something remains after bodily death. As for the science, that’s not something I have studied in depth largely because I do not use “scientific” methods of ghost hunting. I use psychic methods which do not produce data or evidence, but are far more productive in terms of experiences.
I can tell you that people who use expensive technical equipment (like those guys in SciFi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” series) are not really examining the scientific nature of a ghost or haunting.
People who study the science of ghosts tell us that these beings exist at a higher vibrational frequency than we flesh-and-blood humans. This makes them invisible to us except at times when their energy level, and frequency, changes. This very scientific explanation prompts a lot of skepticism and well-deserved derision from hard-line scientists.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Yes. I’ve seen hundreds. I first saw a ghost when I was about 10 years old. It was an old sailor walking along a street in Alameda, an island community on San Francisco Bay. He walked bent over, carrying a duffle bag over his shoulder. Without pausing, he turned and looked directly at me. I saw a troubled look on his face then he vanished. I’ve experienced this kind of thing on a fairly regular basis for years. I saw a ghost in a Sonoma cemetery two days ago. I watched this fellow walk 50 feet then disappear into a mausoleum wall. I’ve seen ghosts that appear entirely life-like and others who are transparent, showing only a hand, pair of legs, or a head.
What surprised you the most, if anything, while doing your research in Los Angeles area ghosts? Any particularly unusual stories or older stories debunked?
I was most surprised by the preservation of several historic places from the Spanish and Mexican colonial periods that I thought would have been gobbled up by the LA megalopolis. Some examples are…
- Leonis Family Adobe in Calabasas, once of the home of the most hated man in California.
- The Avila adobe on Olvera Street. The ghost of Francisco Avila’s widow still walks the floorboards.
- Dominquez Rancho Adobe in Carson was once the anchor of a 75,000 acre land grant issued by King Carlos III of Spain in 1784.
- Civil War-era Drum Barrack in Wilmington has been investigated by a team of ghost hunters from England and featured on a Travel Channel program called “Most Haunted.”
- Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe in Long Beach once sat on a 300,000 acre land grant. The evil ghost of a ranch foreman still walks the ground.
I didn’t encounter any ghost stories or legends that I debunked. I found many stories and so-called ghost reports that were far from credible and, thus, deleted them from consideration for my book.
Can you share with me a couple of the more evil spirits that still haunt LA?
At the Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe in Long Beach, the evil ghost of a ranch foreman has been sensed by psychics and experienced by visitors. This man ruled the ranch hands–including many Indians pressed into service as slaves–with an iron fist. His spirit became more active when part of the old rancho was crossed by a freeway. If he dislikes visitors, he will create foul odors (his breath?) and stand so close they feel his unwelcoming energy.
An evil presence has been discovered in the basement of The Comedy Store (8433 Sunset) in Hollywood. This may be the ghost of a man whose legs were broken by mobsters in the 1940’s. The ghost growls and appears as a tall black-shrouded form. The ghost of a hit man may also roam the Comedy Store causing the lights to flicker and creating a thick, sickening atmosphere.
Can you share with me a couple, of LA haunting stories that might be new to our LA-based readers?
It is hard to be certain that a “new” ghost story isn’t one that simply seeped through a crack in the doors of history, having been long forgotten. There are reports of strange sensations at the Nicole Brown-Simpson / Ron Goldman murder site and in the alley behind the building. Sensitive people pick-up on fear, rage, and great sadness.
Nearly a century ago, the Rose Garden in Exposition used to attract high-society who strolled the paths on Sunday afternoons. Images of these finely dressed people have been seen with greater frequency. This may have been triggered by changes in the flow of underground water or other environmental factors that affect local energy.
The Stadium Tavern (305 N. Harbor Blvd) in Fullerton often hosts ghosts who also wander through other businesses housed in the Villa del Sol. The ghost of Chuck, once a frequent customer, creates cold spots at the bar. Sometimes manager Tom Dow takes customers downstairs to his office, turns off the lights, and reads stories about the ghost of this historic building complex.
In your research, did you come across any great haunted restaurants in LA that residents here might find appropriate for a lunch sometime before Halloween?
There are several places in the greater LA area to experience a great meal and ghostly activity:
- In the Malibu area, try Moonshadows (20356 Pacific Coast Highway). The foggy image of a ghost appears in the mirror in the men’s restroom.
- Father up the coast, the Paradise Cove Caf√©, north of Malibu (28128 West PCH) a ghost waitress thickens the atmosphere and creates cold spots.
- The Four Oaks Restaurant in Bell Air (2181 N Beverly Glen Blvd) was once a stage coach stop that attracted gamblers, prostitutes, and other unsavory characters. Some of them remain as ghosts.
- La Golondrina Restaurant on Olvera Street harbors ghosts on the upper floor.
- Sweet Lady Jane’s Bakery (8360 Melrose Ave.) in Los Angles was a hangout for Orson Wells. The odor of his cigars is sometimes detected here.
- El Compadre Restaurant (7408 Sunset) in Hollywood harbors the ghosts of three people shot in a robbery attempt.
- The Brownstone Restaurant at the Villa del Sol (305 N. Harbor Blvd) in Fullerton is the haunt of a murder victim from the roaring twenties.
- A murdered waitress is still on duty at JJ Live Oak Steak House in Corona.
- Cordelia Knott still over-sees business as patrons dine on the famous Knott’s Berry Farm chicken dinner.
- The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica (1415 Ocean Ave.) is a good place for a drink, and a chance to see the 1933 art-deco hotel’s original owner, Rosamond Borde.
What’s the biggest myth about ghosts that people should know?
I think the biggest myth is that ghosts are responsible for anything we experience that is weird, paranormal, or supernatural. We need to consider the possibility that what we think is ghostly activity may be created by living beings. Apparitions, odors, sounds, movements of objects, etc., may be attributed to living people to who can perform astral projection, split their spirits and travel as a doppelganger, or create environmental disturbances with strong, negatively-charged emotions.
The appearance of apparitions and perception of sounds or odors may be a haunting, not the manifestation of the spirit of a dead person. A haunting is an environmental imprint made before death. It replays, like a video loop, when triggered by emotional or physical factors. Sensitive people can perceive these environmental imprints and think they are seeing their dead grandmother’s ghost lying in a bed. In fact, they are seeing a residual environmental imprint created before death.
Hauntings are usually the result of repetitive activity, performed at a specific place, associated with intense emotions linked, somehow, to the death of the individual. Imagine a prisoner, chained to a wall and tortured everyday at noon. After thirty days of this, he dies. He leaves behind an environmental imprint that may be perceived decades or even centuries after the event that created it. Lucky, sensitive people visiting Alcatraz or other prisons may perceive imprints such as this, sometimes with great ease.
Where do ghosts spend their time when they’re not out haunting?
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll tell you when I pass over to the other side. I can tell you that time, as we know it, might not exist on the other side. The passage of a century may seem like a blink of an eye to a ghost.
Finally, when the inevitable happens, how would you like to spend your time as a ghost?
First, I want to visit as many family members as I can to let them know that I made the crossing and I am feeling great. Then, I want to latch onto anyone I can find who has the sensitivity to communicate with spirits so I can convey as much information as I can about the nature of the “other side.” Then I’m going to hang-out at a Starbucks.
If you’re in the Bay Area later this month, Jeff will be signing his Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, October 28th at Borders Books in Vacaville from 6-8:00 PM, and will appearing on the KFOG (104.5 FM) morning show on Halloween.