Our city has had its share of frightening problems. Consider the riots of 1992, the earthquake of 1994 and the ever-present danger of drunk-driving starlets in 2006. Now Los Angeles is facing another terrifying crisis, and this time it’s affecting our nightlife. This town has a serious ghost problem—and it’s spookier than ever thanks to the newly opened Crocker Club and the apparitions who supposedly reside here.
Located in the former Crocker Citizens National Bank in Downtown L.A., this 6,000-square-foot venue includes safe-deposit boxes and a genuine functioning vault door, which serves as the entrance to the club’s Mosler Lounge. Though the cocktail waitresses use modern innovations such as handheld PDA units, owner Vincent Terzian kept the building’s historic beauty intact. The most notable carry-over from yesteryear, however, might be invisible.
Near the private studio rooms is a secluded second bar called the Ghost Bar. While this might be a good place to start a ghost hunt, acclaimed psychic medium and paranormal investigator Virginia Marco tells us that at least one of the Crocker Club’s ghosts roams the entire building. Upon visiting the venue, Marco made contact with a spirit named Travis, a bald, English-speaking man in his 40s or 50s who was working in the building at the time of his death. According to Marco, Travis has green eyes, no wife and no kids. Marco went on to explain how Travis “missed his opportunity to cross over” to the afterlife and now resides between this world and the next. And though Travis apparently gets excited when patrons see him, he’s none too pleased with all the new people coming into his building. “He’s pissed,” Marco explained.
As the old adage goes, one should always get a second opinion when dealing with the supernatural or interdimensional. We enlisted the help of celebrated psychic medium Jack Rourke, who visited the Crocker Club during construction to evaluate its paranormal activity. Upon visiting the site, Rourke noticed several unusual phenomena, many of which have been reported by others, including an unexplained odor of cigar smoke and the feeling of being watched while walking through the club. The feeling of being watched can make your hair stand on end, which is called “piloerection”; Rourke claims it’s caused by “nerves in the dermis becoming stimulated by an electromagnetic field.”
Rourke also claimed to have experienced, via extrasensory perception (a talent for which he is known), heavy foot traffic in the lounge. He specifically identified one spirit, a “smartly dressed woman in period attire of the late 1940s or ’50s.” Rourke referred to this woman as Jane, adding that Terzian and others had also felt the presence of a woman.
Whatever the cause of the Crocker Club’s spookiness, it’s the perfect place to scare yourself silly with some friends. And while it’s unlikely the club will experience a lack of attractive living women anytime soon, it is nice to know there’s always Jane. And if you spill a drink, Travis should be along to clean it up shortly—though he might not be very happy about it.
Meanwhile, paranormal activity has been reported and investigated all over Hollywood. The glitz and glamour can be distracting, but it’s not enough to hide a dark, spooky underbelly, where the nightlife and the afterlife coexist. Many paranormal investigators consider the Comedy Store to be one of the most haunted locations in L.A. Just as Comedy Store alums have had trouble crossing over into horror flicks (Robin Williams in “One Hour Photo,” Jim Carrey in the “Number 23”), the ghosts at this old school house of yucks are largely believed to be mobsters from the 1940s and ’50s, who had trouble crossing over into the afterlife after they were whacked. Prior to opening as the Comedy Store in 1972, this location was known as Ciro’s, a popular restaurant with close ties to the mob.
Further east, in Hollywood, there’s the ghost of Peggy Entwhisle. Legend has it Entwhistle, the would-be actress best known for diving off the H of the Hollywood sign and killing herself in 1932, stills wanders the area around Beachwood Drive, including local stores and bars such as Bob’s Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard. When asked if she had visited lately, a bartender declined to comment, but one helpful regular had the real scoop, telling us “she just left.” Whether this is truly the roaming ghost of Ms. Entwhisle, the original B-lister, or simply a figment of our collective imagination has been disputed. Dr. Larry Montz, of the International Society for Paranormal Research, says he believes the visions are not that of an actual ghost, but rather a “residual,” or a lasting image of a particularly intense event, such as swan-diving off a 40-foot H. As the story goes, Entwhistle killed herself when she didn’t make it as an actress, creating one of the first and most highly publicized B-list actress meltdowns the tabloids have ever seen.