Blood, dumplings, and weird history in northeast Los Angeles

A simulated animal attack helped make Gay's Lion Farm one of the biggest attractions in Southern California.

A simulated animal attack helped make Gay's Lion Farm one of the biggest attractions in Southern California.

Esotouric’s Kim Cooper gives some morsels of deathly history that will be part of its upcoming San Gabriel Valley tour.

When Esotouric’s “Blood & Dumplings” tour rolls into San Gabriel on August 15th, those riding along will learn that the communities of Alhambra, Temple City, Monterey Park, Rosemead and El Monte are creepier under the surface than they first appear.

The Esotouric website gives a few hints as to what will be unveiled:

Highlights include the mysterious Man from Mars Bandit, the lesbian couple whose bickering over spending cash resulted in one pumping the other full of downers until she died, the young bride who spent her wedding day buried under her parents’ house, the battling neo-Nazis of El Monte, Phil Spector’s spooky castle and the little bar where James Ellroy’s murdered mother Jean had her last drink.

Alas, I pressed Kim Cooper to spill the guts, so to speak on some of the specifics. And she also offered up a special deal for any CreepyLA readers who’d like to ride along – details at the bottom of this post. But first, a couple of weird tales from San Gabriel Valley…

Get a taste of lion… before they get a taste of you.

Gay’s Lion Farm, an El Monte tourist trap that operated from 1925 to 1942, didn’t become one of Southern California’s most popular attractions by merely allowing visitors to see lions pace their cages. Owner/operator Charles Gaywould would perform lion tamer circus acts, but more notably, at annual meetings of the Lions Club held there, members could have a taste of actual lion meat.

Regarding the photo above, Kim says,  “Manikins in a jeep were made to look as if they had been mauled by angry big cats–I suspect they would put meat in the manikins’ clothing to get a good reaction from the cats, but don’t know that for a fact.”

Pyramid power!

The power of the pyramid can possibly lead to failure and suicide.

The power of the pyramid can possibly lead to failure and suicide, so says the tale of F.E. Ormsby.

Kim also shared with me this tale of one particularly eccentric Alhambran:

Astrologer F.E. Ormsby, author of the monthly journal “People and Planets,” came to Alhambra from Chicago to realize his life long dream: creation of a building to house his Pyramid-Cube University of Solar & Personal Magnetism.

He found a partner in well-heeled Signal Hill oil man Henry C. Wilhelm, who had studied Ormsby’s work for 35 years and credited it with making his fortune. Wilhelm provided land on South Atlantic and commissioned architects and engineers to bring the Ormsby’s dream to life at a cost of $25,000. Only, the dream was a little different from the reality.

Maybe the engineers told Ormsby his plan to plop the pyramid atop the cube was unsafe in earthquake country. Maybe the architect said it would be too expensive. Maybe the city council balked at the height. All we know is that the Pyramid (an observatory and museum of astrology) and the Cube ended up adjacent to each other… and that in September 1934, F.E. Ormsby wrote a number of notes on the theme of failure, scattered them around himself, and shot himself to death at the Pyramid-Cube University.

Special Gruesome Twosome discount for CreepyLA readers

If you’re intrigued by these true tales of San Gabriel, take a ride on Esotouric’s “Blood & Dumplings” tour August 14th… especially with this deal:

Email Kim Cooper (amscray at gmail dot com) and tell her “The Creepy Creep sent me” and receive a pair of tickets, plus dumplings, for only $80 (while supplies last – these tickets are going faster than the Slap Chop).

Additional discount tickets may be available via Goldstar, and if all else fails, grab your seat directly through Esotouric.