Griffith Park

Griffith Park

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Located in Los Angeles, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. It spreads out over more than 4,200 acres of both natural chaparral-covered terrain, as well as landscaped parkland and picnic areas.The park was named after its former owner Colonel Griffith J. He donated 3,015 acres of his land to the people of Los Angeles as a Christmas gift in December 1896.Griffith Park features native California plants such as oak, walnut, lilac, mountain mahogany, sages, toyon, and sumac.Many recreational attractions have been added to the park. There are numerous family attractions, educational and cultural institutions, hiking and horseback riding trails, golf, a Greek amphitheater, and an observatory and hall of science.

LAistory: Griffith Park

It all started with the ostriches. Well, not really, but don't you think it should have? In fact, Griffith Park started with a curse. When the original owner of Griffith Park, Don Antonio Feliz died of small pox in 1863, he left his extensive land holdings to Don Antonio Coronel. Subsequently, his blind, destitute 17 year old niece, Dona Petronilla, cursed the land -- great misfortune would come to whoever owned it.

One by one, Coronel's family died from misfortune and disease. He left the land to his wife, who married again only to have her husband try to divorce her and get the land for himself. The next owner tried to develop it as a dairy farm, only to be wiped out by rain and debt.

Griffith Park (formerly called Rancho Los Feliz) was purchased by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith (His parents must have hated him) in 1882. He had made his money in coal mining, and he started an ostrich ranch on the property, where thirty of the birds lived. Though ostrich feathers were popular in fashions at the time, Griffith's primary interest in the farm was to draw people to his nearby property holdings. People would come by and watch the animals be plucked. (Which, just in case it bothers you, doesn't harm the ostriches.)


Originally a part of the Spanish land grant, Rancho Los Feliz, the park is named for its former owner, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. Born in Glamorganshire, South Wales, Griffith emigrated to the United States in 1865, eventually making a personal fortune in Mexican silver mines and, subsequently, southern California real estate. In 1882, Griffith settled in Los Angeles and purchased a 4,071 acre portion of the Rancho Los Feliz, which stretched northward from the northern boundaries of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. On December 16, 1896, Griffith bequeathed 3,015 acres (equal to five square miles) of his Rancho Los Feliz estate as a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles to be used as parkland. “It must be made a place of recreation and rest for the masses, a resort for the rank and file, for the plain people,” Griffith said on that occasion. “I consider it my obligation to make Los Angeles a happier, cleaner, and finer city. I wish to pay my debt of duty in this way to the community in which I have prospered.” Since Griffith’s original gift, further donations of land, City land purchases, and reversion of private land to public domain have expanded the Park to its present size. Griffith died in 1919, but left a sizable trust fund to complete the two major dreams he had for the park: construction of a performance amphitheater (the Greek Theatre, built 1930) and an observatory and hall of science (Griffith Observatory, opened 1935.)

Haunted Griffith Park, Los Angeles.

With many trails to explore,caves to discover and rocks to climb over the 4,3000 acres of land, and with a zoo and botanical gardens, the observatory, the Greek theater, Autry national center, travel town museum, sunset ranch Hollywood, Griffith pony rides, spokes n stuff bike hire and the famous Hollywood sign, and not to mention Griffith’s ghosts AND a curse, there’s fun for all the family to be had here with plenty of room for all to explore.

So when the adults are playing with the evp’s the kids could be playing with the ponies.

Brief history of the cursed park.

This huge piece of land was once called Rancho Los Feliz, which was owned by the Felinez.

Don Antonio Feliz lived on the land along with his sister Soledad and her 17 year old daughter Dona, who apparently was blind.

In 1863 Don contracted smallpox, which let to is death, but on his deathbed he was visited by Don Antonio Coronel and his lawyer, also named Don. The two Dons, one of which was fragile and not really with it, drew up a new will for Feliz. Rancho Los Feliz would be left to Coronel and NOT the sister or his niece.

Infuriated with receiving nothing, Feliz’s niece Dona put a curse down on the Coronel, the lawyer and anyone else who was involved, she even cursed the land itself. She then, to seal the deal for eternity, killed herself, and the Griffith Park curse began.

Soon after this, Coronel was shot dead and his family also died from diseases and misfortune, and the judge’s life was also cut short. Coronel’s young wife who did not die, remarried a C.V Howard, things didn’t work out and the couple were soon divorced, the land was split but Howard sold his part for a hefty profit, while out celebrating his new found fortune he was shot down dead.The land then passed over to Leon “Lucky” Baldwin who set up a ranch and dairy farm. Leon soon became “Bad luck” Baldwin, his cattle all died from disease and, grasshoppers ate away all his crops and fires destroyed whatever else was left. He became bankrupt and had to sell the land to pay his debts, Baldwins bad luck soon came to an end when he to was shot down dead.

Thomas Bell was the next landowner, a financier from San Francisco but he didn’t own the land long enough for the curse to take effect. He sold the land on to a

The curse lay quiet for a while, and Griffith allowed “Frank Burkett” to open an ostrich farm on his land. The curse struck with a vengeance. Huge lightning bolts came from the sky, striking many of the oak trees. The ranch workers claim that during the storm they saw the ghost of Don Feliz within the rain.

Once the spirit of Don came, that was it, he never left Griffith park and continued to haunt the land and was mostly seen near “Bee Rock” area.

Griffith was petrified and never went to his land apart from on brief occasion and never past midday.

To try and save himself from the curse, and to get rid of the ghost, Griffith donated 3.015 acres of the land to the city of Los Angeles in 1896.

His plan didn’t quite work out for him and the curse slowly ate away at his paranoia.

He was convinced that his catholic wife and the pope wanted to steal his fortune and were plotting to poison him. At mealtimes he would swap his wife’s plate with his own. His paranoia finally got the better of him and he shot his wife while they stayed at the Arcadia Hotel in Santa Monica, but he failed, and she survived.

He was sentenced to 2 years for attempted murder and spent the time at San Quentin.

Once we was released nobody wanted anything more to do with Griffith and all his efforts at adding to the park were floored, however he did before hand set up a trust fund to have the Observatory and the Greek Theater built after his death in 1919

The Lovers Picnic Table, was the last reported act of the curse which happened in 1976.

Two people in love who were childhood sweethearts. 22 year old Rand Garrett an up and coming musician and his 20 year old girlfriend Nancy Jeanson, who was fulfilling her dream of becoming an actress, were having a romantic afternoon on the picnic table when out of no where a tree fell upon them and crushing them to there deaths.

Deaths at Griffith Park.

Griffith park has had it’s fair share of deaths, from tragic accidents (or caused by the curse) to suicides and the murdered souls whose bodies have been dumped and discarded, some of the bodies, or should i say their bones, have only recently been discovered by walkers.

A couple using one of the park’s many trails stumbled across a human skull, it’s thought to be of a young woman in her 20, and could've been laid here undiscovered for as longs as 10 years. But this wasn’t the only skull discovered. In 2010 another skull was discovered, and had been there for around 2 years, no other remains have found.

Back in 2012 another pair of hikers stumbled across a severed head that was laying under the Hollywood sign, the police soon found more body parts of a hand and foot buried in a shallow grave, the other hand was found a day later, but no other parts of the body have been discovered YET.

Another dead body of a male was found in the park, this time his body was intact, and is thought to be a suicide of a 26 year old sex offender.

The list just goes on of these gruesome findings, and with the park’s vast trails and rocks and caves, no doubt there are other lost souls buried within these creepy grounds.

Ghosts of Griffith Park.

Ok, so we’ll start from where it and with whom it began. Don Feliz and the curse.

The first sighting of the ghost of Don was when the huge storm struck the oak trees and his spirit was seen riding the rain waves.

Then he decided to gatecrash a party that was being held by the in the park by some high flying,influential people. His ghostly apparition popped up on top of the banquet table, and then rode at the guests on his ghostly horse. That’s one way to stop a party.

Don’s spirit is to this day reported to be seen riding his horse through the park and is often seen and heard laughing as he stands on top of the rocks looking down at people.

The niece of Don and the one who laid the curse.

The ghost of Dona is seen to roam all over the park wearing a flowing white dress, and the staff often see her in the headquarters. She also likes to ride her horse around the park, but she is mainly seen to take him for a gallop at midnight.

Seems he couldn’t get away from the curse after all.

Another ghost, thought to be Griffith Griffith is another horse lover it seems.

There many report of his ghost riding through the park also.

This word famous wording doesn’t need no introduction, but who would of that a bunch of letters could be haunted.

In 1932 a young British born actress “Peg Entwistle” calm and collectively, climbed the 50 foot “H” neatly placed her coat and bag and then plunged herself from “Hollywood”

Peg never left Hollywood, even after her body was found the next day and removed.

Her spirit is often seen aimlessly wandering the area of Hollywood in Griffith park.

Since the tragic deaths of Rand and Nancy, there have been some real weird and creepy happenings going on around the picnic table and fallen tree that killed them.

After the accident one of the park rangers was given the task to chop and remove the fallen tree, but things didn’t go to plan as they should have..

It’s reported that the minute he started to do his assigned task he got the weirdest feeling, he came over all peculiar and suddenly felt chilled to the bone. He continued with chopping the tree into smaller pieces and all of a sudden the tree started to violently shake, and then the cries and screams surrounded him. He then heard whispers in his ear and someone telling him to “Leave us alone”. The ranger didn’t hang about and jumped in his truck to get away but the engine wouldn’t start, the ranger had a lucky escape, the engine soon started and he was off.

The tree remained there as it was for a month or so,until Denis Higgs the supervisor went to do the job himself. He was found the next morning by the tree dead. The chainsaw of the blade had somehow been bent into a “U” shape. The conclusion was that Higgs died from a heart attack but many beg to differ. Apparently his hair had turned white and his facial expression was that of someone petrified.

After authorities concluded their investigation, it’s reported that Higgs’s body was dragged across the ground and with the state of his hands and fingernails, it looked as if he was attacked.

Still to this day people report of an eerie feeling here and others have claimed to hear someone telling them to leave them alone.

There is no name to the little girl ghost who is frequently seen frantically running around the park, and asking people for help

But it is thought that this little lost ghost is of a girl who got in the park and died.

Merry Go round, Observatory and Travel Town.

An unknown spirit is report to be seen at the merry go very often, and he’s seen to walk up and the down the steps of the nearby buildings.

His apparition is seen so much that many ghost investigation teams have been called in to see what they can find out, including the team at “Ghost Adventures”.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a few more unknown ghosts soon pop up in Griffith park, so watch this space!

Getting Down in Griffith Park: A History

From its 1896 founding by a man named Griffith J. Griffith (yup) to its lesser-known use as Japanese-American internment camps during World War Two to the present day, Griffith Park has had a fascinating, troubling secret history.

Oh, and did we mention it’s extremely gay?

In the days before Stonewall, the park was one of L.A.’s most notorious spots for men to go and cruise for sex after dark. It took John Rechy to put Griffith Park on the cultural map as a cruising hotspot after his 1967 novel “Numbers” detailed a chance encounter at the famous sprawling enclave between Los Feliz and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Rechy would revisit Griffith Park in his work, in “This Day’s Death” (1969) and “The Sexual Outlaw” (1977), as a site of danger and desire. Like his “Day’s Death” character Jim Girard, Rechy had been arrested in Griffith Park and faced a five-year prison sentence for soliciting sex, as he told the Los Angeles Review of Books. “The vice cops, the court, the lawyers, the judge, the unbelievable moving of the trial into the sex arena of Griffith Park so that the judge could ‘see for himself,’” all actually took place for Rechy in the days when Griffith Park was a site of anonymous sex, accompanied by the threat of a criminal charge.

“Sex offenders may be brought in for questioning by the police at any time in connection with real sex crimes,” Rechy wrote in “The Sexual Outlaw,” “no matter how remote in nature to the basis of the original arrest. Indiscriminately wrecked lives. Lost jobs, broken families. Constant fear, rage.”

Perhaps this is why the park was chosen as the site of a 1968 Gay In, a bold move toward acceptance and living life in the open.

On Memorial Day of 1968, men and women gathered at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round to hear Mike Hannon, a policeman turned lawyer and Civil Rights activist, speak to the challenges of being gay in a homophobic society. We don’t have too much left to remember the day, but we know that it enshrined Griffith Park in the public gay memory as a revolutionary place. Somewhere where gay stories could be told – eventually – out in the open.

150 years of misfortune in L.A.’s Griffith Park: A curse, ghosts and, now, an unknown woman’s skull

There are caves carved in canyons, sheer cliffs, twisting trails and craggy peaks, all of it barely more than a mile from the freeway but seemingly a world a way. That’s what makes the rugged, mountainous Griffith Park so appealing to filmmakers — it’s been home to the Bat Cave, a hiding place for Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter in the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” a Klingon penal colony in the Star Trek series.

But the Los Angeles park has enough strange and sometimes grim history for a movie of its own. It’s said to be inhabited by ghosts and haunted by a 150-old curse. And it’s been the scene of a number of murder mysteries in the past few years, including one that’s still unfolding.

It began earlier this month, when a pair of hikers stumbled upon a human skull laying partially uncovered on a little-used side trail within a stone’s throw of the park’s famous Hollywood sign. Investigators for the Los Angeles Police Department and Coroner’s Office swarmed to the spot, according to KPCC, searching for evidence of a crime scene. But they found nothing.

A little more than a week later, a forensic anthropologist with the coroner’s office says that the skull belonged to a woman who was at least 20 at the time of her death, according to the Los Angeles Times. The fragment of bone has been lying in the park for at least one year, and as many as 10. But it’s still not clear who the woman was , or how she died.

When reporters trekked up into the canyon the morning after the skull was found, the hikers they encountered seemed spooked but not entirely surprised by the discovery.

“It’s pretty rugged . And a lot of shrubberies and bush ,” Paula Mindays told KABC. “Once you get off the beaten trail anything could be happening there.”

Griffith Park is one of the country’s largest urban parks — 4,210 acres of rocky, rubble-strewn mountains and chaparral-covered slopes. A zoo, an observatory, museums and an amphitheater dot the park’s border. But its interior is rugged and remote.

The park is said to have been cursed since its beginnings. In the mid-19th century it was a vast, rich ranch belonging to a wealthy bachelor, Don Antonio Feliz, who lived there with his housekeeper and his niece Petranilla. In 1863, as the Don lay dying of smallpox, an influential local politician named Antonio Coronel came to draw up Feliz’s will. Coronel and his lawyer claimed that Feliz gave his assent to the document, which left the ranch to the politician and nothing for Petranilla. But others say that a stick was attached to the ailing man’s head, forcing him to nod as the will was read aloud for his approval.

Either way, Petronilla was infuriated by the outcome: “The substance of the Feliz family shall be your curse!” she swore, according to legend (as reported by the Glendale News-Press). “The wrath of heaven and the vengeance of hell shall fall upon this place.”

The curse of the Felizes may be nothing but a myth. But it is true that the ranch that would become Griffith Park changed hands with disconcerting rapidity over the next 30 years — and that its many owners kept meeting nasty fates. Coronel swiftly ceded the property to his lawyer, who was shot and killed while celebrating the sale of the land’s water rights. The next owner attempted to turn the ranch into a dairy business, but the cattle sickened and died, and grasshoppers and fires demolished the crops. During the tenure of its last owner, Griffith J. Griffith, a lightning storm brought down huge stands of trees and sent a wall of water cascading through the canyons, ruining much of the ranch. According to the book Victorian Los Angeles, ranch hands claimed they saw Feliz’s ghost riding the waves down a hillside, cheering his successor’s demise.

Griffith Park Zoo

Griffith Park Zoo was a city-owned zoo in Los Angeles, California that opened in 1912 and closed in 1966 with the opening of the Los Angeles Zoo. The abandoned site of the Griffith Park Zoo, complete with the ruins of animal enclosures, is now a picnic area and hiking trail in Griffith Park. [1]

The first zoo in Los Angeles was the Eastlake Zoo in East Los Angeles, which opened in 1885. [2] : 37 The Griffith Park Zoo opened in 1912 with a grand total of 15 animals. The new zoo was built on the site of Griffith J. Griffith's defunct ostrich farm. [2] : 35 In the mid 1920s, film producer William Nicholas Selig donated many of the animals from his studios, which he had attempted to convert into an animal theme park, to the new zoo. [3]

It was expanded in the 1930s by work crews from the Works Progress Administration. [2] : 35 Most of the enclosures were built in the caves-with-iron-bars style which was then standard for zoos. [4]

As Los Angeles grew, the small Griffith Park Zoo was increasingly criticized as an "inadequate, ugly, poorly designed and under-financed collection of beat-up cages", [5] despite drawing more than 2 million visitors a year. [6] In 1958 the city passed a $8 million bond measure to create a brand new zoo. [2] : 35 Griffith Park Zoo closed in August 1966 and its animals were transferred to the new Los Angeles Zoo 2 miles away, which opened in November 1966. [7] The animal enclosures, with the bars removed, were left as ruins picnic benches or tables were installed in some of them. [8]

Due to its proximity to Hollywood and the larger LA film industry, and its unusual appearance, the zoo has been used as a shooting location for numerous film and television projects. The zoo has been shown in at least two episodes of Starsky & Hutch, ("Pariah" and "Bloodbath"), as well as in the CHiPs episode "Supercycle". The area is also shown in the recently made historically-based cop drama Aquarius, set just after the zoo closed. It was also used in two episodes of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman entitled "Mind Stealers from Outer Space" Pts I & II. It was "Zed's hideout" in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment [9] and was used in the Rush Hour television series episode "Captain Cole's Playlist". It also features in the 2012 independent movie by Sean S. Baker called 'Starlet'

Find out what's happening in North Hollywood-Toluca Lake with free, real-time updates from Patch.

In the end, the curse of Dona Petronilla was fulfilled. The land's owners died ignoble and violent deaths. And, gifted to the people, Griffith Park, is not making anyone rich as Dona Petronilla vowed it would never. Still, some believe the ghost of Dona Petronilla is not satisfied with the fulfilment of her bloody curse. Her vengeful ghost is said to haunt the land, a lady in a white dress appearing to hikers and visitors over the years.

Of all the supposed ghost sightings reported over the years, the lady in white is one apparition who appears more than any other. For many, it's appropriate that she would haunt the park because she is the one who famously cursed it. But according to folklore, Dona Petronilla is not alone in haunting the hills. Actress Peg Entwistle who infamously leapt to her death from the 'H' in the Hollywood sign in 1932, is said to startle hikers, appearing in all her 1930s Hollywood garb.

Griffith Park - History

People might assume that Griffith Park was named after D.W. Griffith, the director of the 1915 movie Birth of A Nation, but they’d be wrong. The park was once part of a large land grant that included east Hollywood, as well as the Silver Lake and Los Feliz areas of Los Angeles, in addition to the canyons and hills that make up the eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains.

In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza conducted an expedition through Southern California, and one of his soldiers, Cpl Jose Vicente Feliz, was rewarded for his efforts with this land, named the Rancho Nuestra Senora de Refugio de Los Feliz, soon shortened to Rancho Los Feliz. In 1882, after passing through the hands of other Anglo immigrants, this land was sold to Colonel Griffith J Griffith, one of Los Angeles’ most colorful characters. An alcoholic and general miscreant, he was also a journalist, real estate mogul, and philanthropist. He grew up poor in Wales, and understood the value of public recreation areas.

In 1896, Griffith gifted the City of Los Angeles with 3,015 acres of land. The city was thrilled to receive the water rights that went with the property, but did little to turn the area into a park. In 1903, Griffith went to prison for attempting to murder his wife while under the influence, and the horrified city changed the name of Mt. Griffith to Mt. Hollywood.

On his return from San Quentin, Griffith offered the city another bequest, this time one hundred thousand dollars to build an observatory. The money was refused, as was his offer of fifty thousand dollars to build a Greek amphitheater. Undeterred, Griffith put the money in a trust for the city. He died in 1919, and a decade later, when the scandals connected with his name had fallen below the radar of the city’s inhabitants, Los Angeles decided to use the money. The Greek Theatre was completed in 1930, and Griffith Observatory in 1935. The planetarium was the third to be built in the United States, and is still free to the general public.

At four thousand, three hundred, and ten acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest city parks in the United States. By contrast, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is one thousand and seventeen acres, while New York’s Central Park is a mere eight hundred forty-three acres. Today, the park is one of Los Angeles’ prime recreation areas, with hiking trails, picnic areas, a Zoo, an historic merry-go-round, three golf courses, and several museum-type attractions.

Griffith Park sure does draw the bodies, usually alive, but all too often not. (In 1990, the LA Times reported that ten dead bodies were found in the park in a two year period.) Sometimes the bodies were found intact (including victims of the Hillside Strangler), other times in pieces. (including the decapitated head found near the Hollywood sign in 2012 – additional limbs were found strewn in other parts of park.)

Let’s begin with a look at the alleged curse that may be behind all the evil afflicting Griffith Park, and then dive into some of the more recent ghost stories and alleged supernatural activity.

The most well known legend of Griffith Park, and the one most ghost sightings are attributed to, is the curse Dona Petronilla placed on the land in 1863. After learning that her uncle, wealthy land baron Don Antonio Feliz, had not bequeathed the property to her, the seventeen-year-old “shouted out vexatiously that the cattle and fields would become diseased and die and that no one will ever profit from this land.” As for the land’s new owner, and the man who helped with the acquisition, Peronilla swore, “”the one shall die in an untimely death and the other in blood and violence.”

Her violent proclamation may not have been merely out of spite, as there is some debate whether the ailing Feliz overlooked Petronilla of his own volition, or was taken advantage of while on his deathbed.

Regardless, until this day the land is plagued by disastrous wildfires, and many of the Angelenos associated with the land befell tragic fates. According to Michael Imlay, an expert on the curse and it’s fallout, C.V. Howard, who negotiated sale of the land’s water rights, was shot dead in a local saloon. A subsequent owner was killed by banditos on a trip to Mexico. And, of course, there was Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who the curse was most determined to afflict.

Griffith purchased the land in 1882, and almost from the beginning, Petronilla made her fury known. In his book, The Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Los Angeles, Jeff Dwyer writes:

…droughts, fires, and other disasters… a violent storm swept across the L.A. basin, stripping away the vegetation from the rancho and killing much of the livestock. During the storm, several people saw the ghost of Dona Petranilla drifting about, renewing her curse.

Then, in 1891, Griffith managed to survive after business rival shot him with a shotgun outside of the Old Calvary Cemetery (now a high school on N. Broadway). It was too much for Griffith to handle, and beginning in 1896, he began giving large parcels of the land to the citizens of Los Angeles for free.

Petronilla’s curse finally reared it’s ugly head in 1903 when Griffith shot his wife at a Santa Monica hotel. She survived, but Griffith was sentenced to San Quentin for assault with a deadly weapon. Even though Griffith was reportedly a sober man, the course ascribed his crime as the result of “alcoholic insanity.” The once mighty Griffith, ostracized from society, died in 1919 of liver disease. Petronilla was surely laughing in her grave.

Not surprisingly, the most frequent ghost sightings in Griffith Park are attributed to being Griffith, Petronilla, or Feliz.

The Ghost of Dona Petronilla is the most common, described as a young woman in a white dress, sometimes riding a white horse. At midnight, she is reportedly often seen in the Paco Feliz Adobe, “watching from the adobe’s windows on dark and rainy nights,” according to the website Weird California. The adobe is the oldest remaining structure in the park, and currently serves as the Crystal Springs Ranger Headquarters.

California folklorist Horace Bell wrote that in 1896, the Ghost of Don Antonio Feliz (Petronilla’s uncle), appeared at a party celebrating the transfer of the land from Griffith to the city, shocking the previously celebratory guests. Feliz took a seat usually reserved for Griffith and proclaimed, “I come to invite you to dine with me in hell. In your great honor I have brought an escort of sub-demons.” The lights went out and a cacophony of gongs and cymbals filled the room. There are no reports of whether or not the scene was an elaborate prank because, according to Bell, all of the guests fled before the demons would have arrived.

Feliz’s ghost is reportedly still scene wandering his former ranchland on horseback, most often spotted near Bee Rock near the Old Zoo. It should also be noted that some people believe Bee Rock resembles the face of Dona Petronilla.

The Ghost of Griffith J. Griffith has often been spotted, also on horseback, checking on the upkeep of the land.

The Hollywood Sign

In 1932, distraught actress Peg Entwistle lept to her death from the H in the Hollywoodland sign. People staring at the sign after dark have reported seeing a young woman jumping from the H, vanishing before hitting the ground. Other sightings ascribed to Entwistle include those of a woman matching her description and period clothes wandering the parks trails, as well as walking up the path between the sign and her former residence on Beachwood Drive. The smell of gardenia, her perfume scent of choice, has been reported to linger near her spirit.

The Hollywood sign has two live webcams available to peek at 24/7 if you’d like to ghost hunt from the comfort of your home.

The Haunted Picnic Table

On the day before Halloween, 2006, a curious article appeared on the “L.A. Tirnes” website commemorating a freak accident that occurred 30 years earlier in a northwest corner of the park. A young couple, making love on a picnic bench off Mt. Hollywood Drive, were crushed by a falling tree. According to the story, a chain of workers hired to clear the tree fell sick or were injured before they could finish the job, including a supervisor who was found dead of an apparent heart attack at the scene. While the article has been dismissed as a hoax, sightings of a ghostly couple in the area persist, and people familiar with the tale have arranged pilgrimages to the site in the hopes of witnessing paranormal activity.

The Old Zoo

Laurie Stinchield, Pet Psychic, writes that when she and her film crew visited the old zoo grounds in July, 2010, she “buckled over in nauseau.” She envisioned malnourished big game cats resorting to cannibalism, among other suffering animals:

…a monkey accidentally hanging himself from spinning from psychosis, elephants with sore infected pussy feet, and a komodo dragon peering out of the darkness. Even the skeptics bow their heads. The suffering seems to stick to our breaths.

The Beast of Griffith Park

Whether it’s a werewolf, a demon promised by Don Feliz, or a drug induced hallucination, there is a creature within Griffith Park that has rumored to exist over the past decades.

In October, 2005, three men allegedly retreated from a late night excursion into the park after an encounter with a beast that had green skin and red hair. Lirpa, the internet poster who shared the tale, said that she was visited by the men immediately after their experience. Perhaps to prove they weren’t making the story up, she had the men each draw what they saw separately. With minor variations, she wrote that their sketches all matched what they’d described to her.

“Its legs were very long as well as its feet and it was talking huge strides as it made its way down the street,” she wrote. “Its back was bent back and its neck was very long and was bent forward. They said no human could be bent like this thing was. Its eyes were black, but it did have the whites as well.”

More recently, an 11 year old boy named Jack wrote on the “Weird CA” site that on a 2009 visit he was chased by “an unusually large coyote.” Reaching the top of a hill, he saw another kid around his age, and warned him about the coyote. “I’m quite glad you warned me,” the kid told Jack, then handed him an old firecracker. “Here, take this, its good luck.” The kid then ran through some bushes and onto a small path. Fearing the coyote, Jack tried to follow him, but never caught up, and never saw the kid, or the coyote, again.

The Merry Go Round

Luis Alvarado, the Honorary Mayor of Griffith Park, reportedly encountered a ghost on two occasions by the merry go round. One night, while checking to help ensure all visitors had left the park at the sunset closing time, Alvarado watched as a man descended a staircase in the vicinity only to disappear when hitting the last step. Alvarado looked around to see if perhaps the man had disappeared into behind a tree, but could find no trace. A few nights later, Alvarado was spooked when the scene repeated itself.

The Observatory, Travel Town, and Points Between

According to Los Angeles ghost expert Richard Carradine, the number of reported ghost sightings at both Travel Town and the Observatory became so frequent that the city brought in experienced teams to investigate the source of the alleged paranormal activity. Even with the use of EVP monitors and other advanced equipment, they found nothing to explain the sightings.

Besides being a hotbed of supposed supernatural activity, Griffith Park has also attracted vagrants, gangs, and pranksters over the years. There are any number of explanations for the tragic events and unusual sightings over the years.

If you know of any other Griffith Park hauntings, or can contribute to the above, let us know and we’ll look into the reports and possibly add them to the above. “Scare and balanced” is our motto. At CreepyLA, we’ll continue to report what we hear.

Griffith Park’s Aerial Tram: History Repeats

We are asking our members to send emails in opposition to the aerial tram. There are many reasons to oppose it and we’ve listed FoGP’s most salient points below. If any of these statements capture your sense of outrage, please feel free to expand upon it and add in other thoughts as well.

After carefully studying the four aerial tram routes Friends of Griffith Park opposes all these routes for the following reasons:

  • Permanent destruction of open space, habitat, and wildlife is inevitable.
  • The stated purpose of the aerial tram (transit) is simply a pretense for further development into this urban wilderness, while alternatives that would aid in the reduction of tourist traffic and associated problems lie on the shelf collecting dust.
  • This massive infrastructure undertaking will lead to large-scale closures to hikers, equestrians and other park users during a long, expensive construction period.
  • Col. Griffith’s gift to Los Angeles would be dishonored and could affect the good intentions of other philanthropists in the future.
  • The Vision Plan and the Historical-Cultural Monument designations would both be rendered obsolete.

If you don’t have time or would feel more comfortable using our sample letter (below list of recipients), feel free to copy and paste to ALL city official email addresses –or– if you prefer to send only to individual recipients, you can choose from the Individual Recipients list.

If however, you prefer to make a call, be sure to clearly state that you oppose all routes of the proposed tram and speak from the heart about what concerns you.

If you’re leaving a message, make sure to include your name, address, and phone number. And remember, as Congressman Adam Schiff recently reminded us, your voice matters and will undoubtedly determine the future of the project.

Dear City Officials and Aerial Tram Consultants,

A Brief Background

The history of Griffith Park is as complex as the history of Col. Griffith J. Griffith, and the current problems related to traffic and parking are equally complex and in need of a holistic approach as any proposals will have far-reaching effects on the Park as well as this community.

This property was initially donated to Los Angeles on December 16, 1896, by Col. Griffith J. Griffith and his wife, Mary Agnes Christina Mesmer and included 3,015 acres of what was then known as Los Feliz Rancho. Later, Griffith’s son would add an additional 351 acres of land bordering the Los Angeles River. Originally Griffith Park was located far from the city center but Griffith foresaw the city’s expansion eventually the City of Los Angeles stretched to Griffith Park boundaries, bringing vehicles loaded with day tourists and picnickers who desired a respite from the city.

After many years of uncontrolled use of this parkland, it became clear Griffith Park was in need of protection and in response, the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust submitted an application for landmark status that would encompass the entire park. In January, 2009, L.A. City formally adopted Historic-Cultural Monument #942, making Griffith Park the “largest urban wilderness park in the United States.” The designation stipulated that “large portions of this landscape appear to retain integrity dating back to the period of the Gabrielino Indians… the earliest known inhabitants of the region.” Also noted, according to the Daily News, the application filed by the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust identified 36 elements making the 4,218 (now 4,310)-acre park culturally significant, including the Greek Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Mt. Hollywood Tunnel, bird sanctuary, Bronson Caves, the Hollywood sign and Feliz Adobe. “The Wilderness Area is a Historically Sensitive Resource,” per the Monument status documentation (defined explicitly with mapping).

In the 1960s moves were made to alleviate some of the problems associated with increased traffic, created by the overlap of Park/surrounding community/freeway access. While we may think aerial trams are a new concept to help control the traffic, in truth, they are not. A proposal to insert an aerial tram was proposed, and soundly rejected by the community as it would significantly impact the Park and in no way alleviate traffic impacts.

Early Aerial Tram Proposals

To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” In addition to building an aerial tram in the Park in 1942, a revolving restaurant was proposed for the top of Mt. Hollywood and the ridge was extensively graded. Didn’t you wonder why the top of Mt. Hollywood looks so unnaturally flat? The plan eventually died because of World War II and a lack of funding.

In 1960 and again in 1967-1968 plans for an aerial tram resurfaced like a dead body in a river. It was Recreation and Park’s (RAP) solution to alleviating traffic congestion at Griffith Observatory. This time there were two competing proposals for a revolving restaurant and Hollywood Museum although neither was received with enthusiasm. Councilman Art Snyder took a position opposing any aerial tram in Griffith Park. “Not only will such a project inject commercialism into the park and destroy its atmosphere, but it will cause additional traffic congestion in the areas most congested today … it will destroy the usefulness the Griffith Park trail system for amateur riders.”

Snyder was joined in opposition by Councilman Marvin Braude, chair of the Recreation and Parks Committee. “Our people care about these mountains and they do not want them scarred with garish commercial developments. The best thing we can do about the natural beauty of our land is preserve it as a priceless heritage which we are duty-bound to pass on to our children.”

The Los Feliz Improvement Association (LFIA) led the charge in opposing the aerial tram. Snyder received hundreds of letters supporting his opposition to an aerial tram “It will permanently deface the skyline.” “It is contrary to Griffith’s donation as it will give a portion of the park to commercial interests.” “It would be the desecration of one of California’s finest municipal natural parks.” “It would be disastrous to property values.” “It would be using a public park for private gain.” “What use does the city have for another carnival?”

Gordon Whitnall of the Griffith Trust said, “We have an obligation to Col. Griffith to accomplish that which he had in mind, Nature was his objective.” The PTA stated, “All parks should be used for recreational purposes.” The League of Women Voters declared, “Parks should be contrasts to urban development.” Hollywoodland Improvement Assn. said, “We cannot make a gift of property to private enterprise.” The Los Feliz Improvement Assn. objected to the high visibility of the system on the south slopes of the mountain, “Keep the park available to the people.”

Sound familiar?

Back in 2003, the city hired an outside consulting group, Melendrez Design Partners, to create a Griffith Park Master Plan that would become a roadmap for its future. Prior to start of the plan, three workshops were held to gather input and ideas from the public. The public sent a clear message to the consultants … leave the park alone because the public loves it the way it is now.

Two years and $400,000 later, the city publicly released the plan. Needless to say, the public was horrified at what had transpired behind closed doors. Among the exploitative attractions proposed were two aerial trams, a commercial pleasure pier bordering the river, a culinary school, and an “eco-hotel.”

The community of Griffith Park patrons and protectors soundly rejected the Melendrez Plan. They also shamed the city for the wasteful expenditure. Eventually, with support from RAP and the council district (CD4) office, a community-based Master Plan Working Group was formed. The 11-member panel met for eight years with the public in attendance at regular meetings. The end product was a draft Master Plan more fitting to the spirit of Colonel Griffith’s gift. The document recognized this park for the people of Los Angeles was created so the community could escape the hustle-bustle of urban living by returning to nature. The concept of Griffith Park as urban wilderness was embraced.

Ultimately, the draft Master Plan, sterilized by the city, was adopted by L.A. City Council, and signed by Mayor Garcetti as “A Vision for Griffith Park” in January 2014. The Vision Plan clearly spells out concerns about preservation of wildlife, wildlife corridors, native species and park biodiversity. “Recreation & Parks should avoid… negatively impact[ing] the natural environment of the Park as well as mobility, views, wildlife corridors or landscaping of the Park. (p.46) The plan was also concerned about the park becoming a victim of privatization and commercialization. Under the heading Avoid Evicting or Displacing Established Park Users: “Ensure that no decision as to the addition, demolition or replacement of a facility results in an existing Park user no longer having access to necessary facilities.” (p.56)

In 2020, the “Save Griffith Park” car stickers may again need distribution as the aerial tram clearly stands at odds with many recommendations outlined in the Vision Plan. “At this time, there is no clearly identified need for new recreational rides, such as railroads, aerial tramwaysor funiculars.” (p.70) The community’s determination to protect the country’s largest urban wilderness park can be extremely powerful, especially in light of the City’s current aerial tram scheme.

The aerial tram – once again revisited

Fast forward to 2020 as another proposal to install a “closed loop” aerial tram in Griffith Park begins to take shape. While we are being told that we are currently in the feasibility stage of such a project, after carefully studying all of the information presented by Stantec (engineering) and Consensus (outreach/consulting) we are nothing short of alarmed at what is being considered.

What is at stake is a massive, commercial infrastructure system that will have permanent, far-reaching, and devastating impacts on the park. Specifically, this aerial system would be extensive with 2.5 miles of towers, cables, and gondolas traversing the Wilderness Area.

What will this aerial tram look like? Towers looming 45-100 ft. overhead along heavily trafficked trails, supporting 25-95 gondolas ferrying 8-10 people per gondola. Several routes further necessitate an 8000 sq. ft., 26 ft. tall angle station mounted atop the scenic ridgeline of “Baby Bell.” A sprawling, 20,000 sq. ft. “corral/viewing station” holding as many as 2,000 visitors per hour. This is not something that has any place in Griffith Park, now or ever!

It is difficult to mentally grasp the enormity of such an ill-advised proposal. To give you a better sense of the sheer scale, we have commissioned several renderings to help visualize the true impact if this scheme is executed.

Luckily, we’re not alone in this fight. YOU have a voice as well and we implore you to use it. Please fill out the survey so Consensus and the City can appreciate your opposition to the further commercialization and destruction of our beloved park. The park has faced numerous threats over the years, and while trams are not a new one, this proposal is here, now.

It’s time… add your voice to PROTECT GRIFFITH PARK!

Spectrum News weighed in and although the reporter gave an incomplete overview of the Griffith Park Aerial Tram issues, at least they discussed potential degradation to the Park’s flora/fauna.

For those interested in learning more about the Dixon Report, the full report can be accessed here.
More information on project scope and impacts can be accessed at UrbanizeLA
Another way to voice your opposition to the project… Sign the petition at the Sierra Club Campaign

If there was ever any debate whether this was an “entertainment” ride to the Hollywood Sign, these articles make it abundantly clear where Warner Bros. fit in…
Recent article in the LA Times regarding Warner Bros. withdrawal from consideration
Another article in Variety similarly sums this Warner debate nicely
FoGP boardmember Carol Brushe has penned an article for her local Glendale homeowner newsletter

Watch the video: Metallica Wherever I May Roam


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