by Richard Carradine
One can read about Rudolph Valentino’s many achievements and super stardom elsewhere, but what interests the local paranormal community about this silent film celebrity is the ubiquitous nature of his ghost. Valentino’s spirit has been anecdotally witnessed at many buildings (Alexandria Hotel, Roosevelt Hotel, Montmartre Cafe, San Fernando Mission, etc ) and places throughout Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Downtown (as well as other cities across the country).
Even the ghosts of his horse, his favorite dog, and his number one fan have been spotted over the years.
The reason for these many sightings probably stems from three facts from his time in Southern California:
First, because of his popular and fun-loving nature, there are not many places locally that he didn’t visit, stay at, dance at, entertain at, or was entertained at (both before and after stardom).
Secondly, he (along with his wife, Natacha Rambova) were outspoken believers in the spirit realm, and participated in many seances. He even published a book of his “spirit writings.” Incidentally, he has also been known to show up at many more seances after he departed, including ones conducted by the blonde bombshell movie star, Mae West.
Thirdly, he’s not in his intended resting space. His body is currently interred in a crypt owned by the family of friend June Mathis, which was to be a temporary arrange until a suitably ornate memorial could be created. However, that never happened, and perhaps this is why his spirit is so restless.
Below are the TOP 13 local haunted places connected to Rudolph Valentino…
1.) Falcon’s Lair, 1436 Bella Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90210
No discussion of Valentino’s ghost can begin without first talking about his legendary Beverly Hills mansion and stately grounds, “Falcon’s Lair.”
Shortly after Valentino passed away, the care-taker of this property ran a successful side-business allowing seances and late-night ghost tours. Even though, the sightings during this time were most likely staged by the care-taker, the stories of Valentino’s shadowy figure, and phantom footsteps, wandering through the rooms of his former house have continued through the years.
Silent film star Harry Carrey Sr, who lived at this address after Valentino, claimed he had to move out because it was too haunted. Carrey most likely didn’t believe in ghosts, but he had a hard time trying to maintain a house-keeping staff because of the numerous stories. Sadly, the main house was bull-dozed in 2006. There is no word whether his ghost still roams the property.
2.) Valentino’s Villa, 6776 Wedgewood Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Before ending up in Beverly Hills, Valentino lived just a couple of blocks from the heart of Hollywood in the Whitley Heights area.
After his death, this address also became a destination for obsessed fans hoping to get a glimpse of the nocturnal visits of Valentino’s spirit. Those not content with watching for movement in the windows from the curb would illegally break in to the house. Spiritualist groups would hold seances’ in the shadow of this residence.
The property was still part of the silent screen star’s holdings when he died, and remained empty for many years, simply rotting away from neglect, and taking on the appearance of a classic “haunted house.” Fans helped the process by removing “souvenirs,”
All that is left of this famous paranormally charged site is the house’s foundation (which can be seen from the 101 freeway).
Michael J Kouri, the author of “Haunted Houses of Pasadena” claims his ghost still drives these streets in a phantom roadster.
3.) The Hollywood Hotel, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
For crazed female fans willing to pay for a romantic night alone with the ghost of “”the world’s greatest lover,” there was the Hollywood Hotel, which originally stood on the land that now is occupied by the Hollywood & Highland Center (the place with the large elephants). It was said that if you checked into room 264 (Valentino’s suite), the ghost of Valentino would appear next to your bed, and give you one of his famous “spirit kisses.”
Valentino’s name was also painted on the ceiling above his supposed favorite table in their dinning room, so the historic hotel was not above promoting their most famous tenant to increase business.
4.) Knickerbocker Hotel, 1712 Ivar Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
It is not surprising that the ghost of Valentino has been seen in multiple locations inside the Knickerbocker Hotel (now apartments), considering how much time he is said to have spent there during his last year of life, lounging around the lobby, and dancing the tango in their bar.
It is said that he used to travel from his home in the hills to the Knickerbocker on horseback, and at the end of the night the horse would carry the drunk movie star home. This was probably best for everyone, considering how reckless Valentino was behind the wheel since he was convinced that his “spirit guides” would protect him no matter how fast the near-sighted star drove.
5.) Valentino Place Apartments, 716 Valentino Place, Los Angeles, CA 90038
The Valentino Apartments near Melrose has curiously been said to be haunted by Rudolph Valentino, while he never visited this old building despite claims that he owned it (or went to speak-easy in the basement, or dated starlets who lived there). The building wasn’t even built during Valentino’s life.
Despite no real connection to Valentino, for many years, tenants claimed to see Valentino walking down the halls, or even resting in their beds with his head on the pillow. One story told in “The Valentino Mystique” by Allan R. Ellenberger states that an older woman awoke to find Valentino standing over her bed just before she died herself.
In 1990, the building (now known as the “Valentino Building”) and the street became part of Paramount Studios, and are now within the studios’ gates.
6.) Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, California 90038
In addition to the previously mentioned “Valentino Building,” the ghost of Valentino has been seen all over his old studio, most frequently in the costume department and the Lemon Grove Gate, but most notably his ghost has been seen walking thru, and disappearing into, a wall on the north end of the property, where Hollywood Forever Cemetery is on the other side of wall – the site of Valentino tomb.
Incidentally, the land that Paramount sits on was originally part of that same cemetery. However, it should be noted that despite stories like the one about Paramount’s famous wrought iron gates which were made that way to keep Valentino’s fans out, Valentino most likely never set foot inside these studios. This studios were contructed just before he died. Valentino worked at this film company’s previous location at Sunset and Vine.
7.) Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Los Angeles, CA 90028
According to Richard Senate’s book, “Hollywood Ghosts: The Fabulous Phantoms of Filmdom,” Valentino’s ghost has been seen multiple times within Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. As mentioned before, Valentino would ride down Hollywood Blvd. on his white horse, and stop at the local eatery for lunch.
The ghost story most often told about Musso & Frank is that a woman will go to the ladies room (at the back of the restaurant) and see a good-looking man, wearing a white shirt, tan slacks, and a simple tie, hanging around the restroom door. They will exchange smiles before he vanishes into thin air. Although, Los Angeles seems to have a long list of “haunted ladies rooms,” the presence of this ghost is more likely connected to the illegal speak-easy that supposedly once operated out of the back of this famous restaurant.
8.) The Mathis House, 1500 N Laurel Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
At the northeast corner of Laurel Ave. and Sunset Blvd. once sat the house of June Mathis, Valentino’s friend, mentor, and possibly the person who introduced him to Spiritualism and the occult. Valentino attended many seances at this address, and believed one of his “spirit guides” was Mathis’ deceased mother. According to George Ullman, Valentino’s business manager, the film star called out “Jenny” (Mathis’s mother), just before he died.
It was also reported that Valentino’s ghost appeared at Mathis’ home the same night he past away. Thus, this address marks the first sighting of Valentino’s ghost in Los Angeles (or anywhere).
9.) Will Rogers State Beach, 15000 California 1, Los Angeles, CA 90272
Given the amount of time Valentino spent with his horses, is it any wonder that some sightings of Valentino’s spirit include the ghostly apparition of his horse?
Witnesses have claimed to see Valentino (dressed in white) riding a white horse across the sands of this beach. One version of this story, as mentioned in Richard Senate’s “Hollywood’s Ghost: The Fabulous Phantoms of Filmdom,” has Valentino with a rose clenched in his teeth, as he passes. Even though, it is known that Valentino (in life) rode on this beach often, it has been speculated that his spirit remains here because of its proximity to Marion Davis’s house. It is rumored that the two had a secret fling (hence the gift of a rose). Richard Senate even theorizes that a jealous William Randolph Hearst (Davies’ known lover) may have even had something to do with Valentino’s sudden death.
10.) Former Falcon’s Lair Stables, 10051 Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
At one time, this residence was used as Valentino’s private stables (just below Falcon’s Lair) for his beloved horses. Over the years, witnesses have claimed to see the ghost of Valentino grooming a ghost horse. Sometimes, just the phantom horse is seen alone, or just horse-like sounds are heard. Much has been made of the proximity of this famous ghost and ghost horse to the site of the famous Manson murders which occured on the same street. However, even in the realm of ghost tales, a super-natural connection between these two locations seems unlikely, unless Sharon Tate was some how involved with Valentino’s curse…
11.) De Longpre Park, 1350 N Cherokee Ave Los Angeles, California 90028
According to local historian Michael Imlay, this otherwise nondescript park is the site of much rumored paranormal activity. The park has two statues dedicated to the memory of Valentinio, one of which (titled “Aspiration”) was supposedly for the ornate crypt intended for Valentino that was never built.
His spirit’s unrest may be tied to his lack of a proper burial place. So, is it possible that his spirit’s sadness is attached to the symbol of the tribute that never happened? Could this large metal object conduct strange energy as some believe?
Over the years, two women have met unfortunate and tragic ends to their lives at the base of this “magnet for sadness,” only to have their bodies discovered next day near the memorial statue. One was a suicide. The other the victim of cold-blooded murder.
12.) Los Angeles Pet Cemetery, 5068 N. Old Scandia Lane, Calabasas, CA 91372
By far, the strangest paranormal phenomena connected to Rudolph Valentino occurs in a little cemetery on the west end of the San Fernando Valley. Along with remains of many celebrity pets, this location is the final resting place of Valentino’s beloved dog, a Great Dane named Kabar. Despite the numerous famous animals here, it seems that only Kabar haunts these hallowed grounds. Not only has he been seen (before vanishing), some witnesses say that they hear him barking and panting. There are those that even claim that the invisible dog will lick their hands, which is not unlike the “spirit kisses,” Valentino’s ghost is said to give visitors of the Hollywood Hotel.
13.) Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90038
The interesting phantom connected to Valentino’s final resting place is the ghost of a “woman in black,” with her face obscured by a black veil, seen periodically visiting his crypt.
The identity of this “woman” is difficult to determine, since over the decades, many women (including one who still does these duties today) have also donned that same mourning outfit and repeated the ritual of visiting his final resting place. The idea of Valentino’s “woman in black” seems to be a local tradition past down through the generations (as well as something often imitated). Some tourists have reported seeing the woman in black, who would disappearinto thin air when they’ve attempted to take her picture.
Hollywood Forever is also the site of the 85th Valentino Memorial service on August 23 at 12:10 pm (the time of his death), where fans come out to celebrate the live (and after-life) of the silver screen’s biggest star… and hope to catch a glimpse of the Woman In Black.
Bonus Location: Unknown Bank in the Los Angeles area.
(This story does not involve a ghost, but it is worth mentioning because it involves a possibly haunted object that may still wreak havoc on Angelenos.)
There is an often repeated legend concerning a cursed ring supposedly owned by Valentino. Valentino was supposedly warned about its dangerous powers when he purchased it in San Francisco, and while wearing it, he died unexpectedly. Since then, every owner that has received this ring (generally with the warning) has incurred financial ruin, bad health, or died shortly after first putting it on.
The tragic death of Russ Columbo has been attributed to this ring. Even those that have attempted to steal the ring have been beset with bad luck. The last known owner, the estate of Del Casino, is said to have put it in a safety deposit box in a Los Angeles bank to keep it from harming others. Sadly, this information appears to be decades old.
The bank (the last known location) according to the legend has since burnt to the ground… twice, so who knows where this ring is today. Beware!