Haunted Road Trip: Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign

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Previously: The Sallie House.

It’s a fixture of the landscape: 45 feet high and 350 long, stark white against the surrounding brush of Mount Lee, yet harmonious with the blue of the sky above it. It imparts one message, but also many — so much conveyed in just one word: “Hollywood.”

Of course, the Hollywood sign wasn’t always the Hollywood sign; it’s fairly common knowledge by now that originally, it was the Hollywoodland sign. It also wasn’t necessarily meant to stand the time in quite the way it has: It was, after all, originally just an advertisement for a real estate development. But it has become iconic — if there’s one thing people think of when they think of L.A., it’s the Hollywood sign — and, as is often the case with iconic places and things, it’s also gotten a reputation for being haunted. Given Hollywood’s long, storied, and often seedy history, it’s not surprising that its most notable landmark might have this sort of reputation — but if you had to pinpoint where it all began, it always comes back to one person: Peg Entwistle.

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Abandoned: The Real Estate Bubble And America’s Zombie Subdivisions

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Previously: Bodie, California.

Although we wouldn’t officially know it until the end of 2008, a recession began in the United States in 2007. As anyone who lived through it knows, it was a bad one, claimed by many to be the worst financial crisis we’d seen since the Great Depression—  and the effects of this crisis can still be seen in a chillingly literal way scattered across the landscape of the entire country: What are called “zombie subdivisions.” Half-finished housing developments, deserted and lonely, have become the modern-day equivalent of the gold rush ghost town, and they’re just as eerie as their older cousins. In fact, in many cases, they’re even eerier — because they’re not something out of our past, with the distance history can provide. They’re our present, and if we’re not careful, they’ll be our future, too.

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Abandoned: The Ghost Town Of Bodie, California                 

s.c. analog & digital/Flickr

Previously: Coco Palms Resort

In the low mountain range lying to the east of the Sierra Nevadas lies a town that, literally, time forgot. It’s called Bodie, California, and it’s a ghost town in the truest sense. Once the site of a flourishing gold mine, it’s been abandoned for decades, stuck in the same state it was in when the residents all moved away. And what’s more, some believe that it might be a ghost town in another sense, too — a slightly more literal one.

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Haunted Road Trip: Emily’s Bridge, Stowe, Vermont

Emily's Bridge

Previously: The Los Feliz Murder House.

New England is full of covered bridges. Though they’re mostly known for their picturesque aesthetics these days, they did once serve a purpose; weather can be hell on uncovered wooden bridges, so for areas that experience the dramatic highs and lows of all four seasons, covers were absolutely essential in the eras before most construction was completed with metal and concrete. In Stowe, Vermont, however, there’s one covered bridge that is more than its image, and more than the sum of its parts. It’s called Emily’s Bridge, and it bears that name for a very specific reason.

49 feet long, the bridge in Stowe is of the type known as a Howe Truss bridge — an uncommon kind of truss patented in 1840 by William Howe. This particular Howe Truss, which was built in 1844 and is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Vermont, carries Covered Bridge Road over Stowe Hollow’s Gold Brook. This, in turn, has given it its official name: Gold Brook Covered Bridge.

Most, though, refer to it by its other name.

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Abandoned: What Happened To Coco Palms Resort? (Photos)

Previously: Geauga Lake.

In 1961, Elvis Presley arrived in Hawai’i for a very specific reason: To shoot the first of three films he would film at various islands across the state. Called Blue Hawaii, it received mixed reviews upon release; however, with Elvis fever at its height, it still opened at number two by box office receipts, eventually going on to become the 10th highest grossing movie of 1961. Although a wide range of identifiable locations feature prominently in the film, one of them is, perhaps, more interesting than the rest: The Coco Palms Resort on the island of Kaua’i. The resort was still relatively new at that point, having opened a mere eight years earlier, and it would go on to have quite a storied history.

It’s something of a shame, then, that it’s been abandoned for so long.

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Haunted Road Trip: The Los Feliz Murder House, Los Angeles, California

Los Feliz

Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California.

Previously: Boy Scout Lane.

All houses rumored to be haunted have one thing in common: A dark, tragic history. Sometimes, this “history” is nothing more than a fiction dreamed up after the fact to explain the house’s dilapidated appearance or unusual architecture — something that works from the outside in: It looks like this; therefore this must have happened. Sometimes, though, it works from the inside out: This happened; therefore it looks like this. And in these cases, the history actually is history — it’s absolutely, frighteningly true. It’s also how places earn names like “The Los Feliz Murder House.”

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