Happy July 4th!

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend from your friends at GHOULA!.

Every year, GHOULA pays tribute to this great country by profiling a ghost from American pop-culture that has ties to Southern California. This year, we celebrate the little 1963 Volkswagen Bug known affectionately as “Herbie” or “The Love Bug.” Although the inanimate star of six movies and a TV series may seem like a strange choice, since most people don’t think of the lovable “Herbie” as being super-natural, the only way to explain this machine (with a mind of its own) is that it must be a haunted vehicle. Not only is the folklore of Southern California (the true home of car culture) filled with stories of “ghost cars” (from “phantom low-riders” to “James Dean’s Deathmobile”), but the mythology of Herbie is also connected to our region. His most recent address (from “Herbie: Fully Loaded”) was Riverside. Why, and by whom, this lovable bug was haunted was a mystery until the fifth “Love Bug” movie, which was released in 1997, when his true origin was revealed, and it was even more sinister and dark than anyone could have imagined.
It turns out that not only was Adolf Hitler interested in obtaining artifacts that had super-natural powers (as seen in the Indiana Jones movies), but he was apparently also conducting very unnatural experiments, trying to meld the human spirit with a machine in an effort to create the perfect solider. The results of this unholy alliance (according to the film) was the invention of a “People Car,” (half-human, half-vehicle) or as Hitler called it a “Volks Wagon.” (There’s even actual archival footage of Hitler inspecting a model of the Volkswagen cut into the movie). The film has other bizarre, un-Disney moments, like the death, burial, and resurrection of Herbie, as well as the creation of an “evil Herbie” (using the original Nazi plans). Yes, in turns out that “The Love Bug” was the result of Hitler fascination with the occult. Happy Fourth of July everyone!
The Love Bug can be seen locally at the Peterson Museum (map) as well as Blackhorse Motors. (map).