As our first 1994 issue was January / February, and this upcoming one was March / April, we were clearly intending to return to a bimonthly format. However, as usual, things happened, and there would be only two more '94 issues after this.

As I've said, there was a collective sense that we were in the last days of the folklore column. Whether or not I was especially conscious of this, I couldn't resist returning this month to one of my favorite themes: the (presumably) True Local Ghost Story . . .

Another Collection of Ghost Stories


It is customary for me in Spring, as those of you who have suffered through this column these eight long years, to ruminate on the merry rites and rituals of Spring.

Well, I think we've pretty much done that subject to death, don't you? You'd much rather have another installment in our occasional series on local ghosts, wouldn't you?

I thought as much. Here we go, then - and if any of you happen to actually locate either of the two haunted houses (both located right here in the Los Angeles area), please please PLEASE drop us a line!

We'd be ever so much obliged . . .

Here we go:

In 1932, a family rented a house at 3rd Avenue and 12th Street in Los Angeles. It was, at the time, the only house on the north side of the block. As the mother and her twelve year old daughter entered the house for the first time, the daughter saw what appeared to be the figure of a woman bending over a box in the breakfast room.

Assuming the woman had been hired to help with unpacking, the girl called out a greeting. At that moment the "woman" began to grow into a large dark shape, spreading itself over the box like a coat. It then reared up into the shape of a dark, hooded thing - with no face.

The girl called to her mother, who took one look at the ghastly thing and screamed, whereupon the shrouded black shape reared backwards, and disappeared around the corner.

It was never seen again.

Near the Los Angeles International Airport, in Westchester, there is (or was) an old, small wooden house, situated three feet from a paved alley, at the rear of a 135 foot lot on 96th Street. In 1948 it was purchased by a woman who soon had cause to regret her decision.

On her first night in the old house, she was awakened by the sound of groaning coming from her very bedroom! This continued for several nights, and then things took a disturbing turn for the worse: as the poor woman lay awake one evening, trying to ignore the horrible groans, unseen fingers began to caress her hair, and lightly poke her in the ribs.

It was all downhill from there . . .

Over the next decade, the unseen tenant made itself felt in increasingly disturbing ways. One night, the woman and a house guest distinctly heard the sound of footsteps walking all the way through the house. This in itself is, of course, fairly typical ghostly behavior, but in this case the footsteps were followed by the sound of the front door opening and closing.

On another occasion, the customary nocturnal groans were replaced by the sound of female weeping. The woman was horrified to discover she could actually FEEL someone kneeling next to the bed!

She drew up the covers, and tried to ignore it, when suddenly she felt something like a man's fist wrapped tightly in a sheet push as hard as it could into her neck.

Once she was awakened by what she first took to be an earthquake, as something heavy had hit the bed. She immediately turned on the lights, only to discover absolutely nothing there.

Well, almost nothing. As the horrified woman looked toward the foot of the bed, she saw, quite clearly, the still fresh indentation where the unseen object had struck the bed.

This house was still standing as of 1963, but as for now . . .

Whooo knows?