Happy Halloween! Boo to you and yours. The subject of ghosts and all things spirit-based has been coming up in conversation lately, and I feel that it's time to unveil some of the ghost sightings I've experienced in Culver City over the past few years. I've always been fascinated by the paranormal, and to this day, a good spooky movie is one of my favorite activities.
My interest in ghosts escalated a few years ago when I was visiting the Riverside Mission Inn for my uncle's funeral. This eerie place has a real spooky story about strange deaths, underground passageways, and "spirit orbs" appearing in photos taken with small digital cameras.
For those of you not familiar with orbs, many photographers believe that they are the multi-colored dandelions that appear in images taken in and around old historical buildings. Some photographers insist that they are evidence of paranormal activity, including me.
Over the past few years, orbs have been appearing regularly in many of my Culver City images, especially in old hotels, restaurants, and places that attract large crowds of people.
Let's start with the Culver Hotel. It's fairly common knowledge that this place has its share of spirits, including the bar downstairs. Ghostly sightings have apparently taken place in the hotel hallways and in some of the guest rooms. When I visited, many orbs appeared in the images I took both upstairs, and downstairs.
Could they be evidence of the many actors and actresses who stayed at the Culver Hotel while making movies in the area? Many films were shot at the nearby Culver Studios, also rumored to be haunted.
Built by Thomas Ince, the Culver Studios is where "Gone With the Wind" was filmed. Supposedly, Ince was accidentally shot and killed by a jealous William Randolph Hearst who was aiming for Charlie Chaplin, but missed. According to the legend, the ghost of Thomas Ince now haunts his old studio. There are no public tours of this place, so I couldn't test my camera in capturing orbs.
Other sightings in Culver City have been reported, including the Doris Bither house on 11547 Braddock Drive, the basis for the movie, "The Entity." Supposedly Doris Bither suffered abuse from her parents and had several abusive relationships with men. Many believe that those who come from a physically or verbally abusive environment sometimes attract paranormal activity. Check out some of the older buildings and you'll probably find a few yourself.
But if you're new to orb photography, downtown Culver City is dense with many older buildings that have been remodeled, and still display heavy orb activity. If you go inside, you might find evidence of orbs (like I have) when you photograph the interior. Take several shots and compare the images. You may be surprised by what you find.
What took place in these buildings before they were converted into these trendy hot spots? Only the shadow knows…