31 Days of Halloween with
The Kelly Society
Hi there, lovers of the spooky season!
Brian and Josh are back once again, and this time we researched haunted famous homes. The first one takes us to classic Hollywood.
The Jean Harlow House, Los Angeles, CA
The Bavarian-style home in Beverly Hills has a bloody history. In 1932, it was home to the iconic actress Jean Harlow and her abusive husband, Paul Bern, who shot himself in the head while standing in front of the mirror. Their butler discovered him and called MGM instead of the police. MGM covered up the suicide, so many suspected Bern's ex-girlfriend of the crime. A suspicion exacerbated by her jumping off a boat to her death a couple days later. Jean Harlow moved out after his death, but died of illness only a few years later at the age of 26.
Then, in 1963, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring bought the home and lived there with his girlfriend, Sharon Tate, until she left him for Roman Polanski. They remained friends, until both of them were murdered by the Charles Manson cult. Tate was the same age as Harlow when she died.
But back to when the couple lived in the Harlow House. Sharon Tate told several friends of disturbing occurrences in the home and even mentioned it in interviews. Once, sleeping in the master bedroom alone, she saw a "Creepy little man." Her friends say she believed it to be Paul Bern's ghost. Sharon was so scared; she ran out of the room and saw a hanging shadowy corpse with its throat slit in the hallway. People think Sharon had a premonition of her own death upon seeing that image, because she died of multiple stab wounds years later at the hands of the Manson’s followers.
Jean Harlow 1932
Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring 1960's
The house they all lived in through time
Merchant House Museum, New York, NY
The Tredwell family lived in this home for over 100 years. The last family occupant was Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died in the home in 1933. Now it is a museum—the Merchant House Museum. But the house does not stand alone. Many ghost stories have taken place here. Staff, visitors, and even visitors say they’ve experience weird, disembodied things.
Many believe it is Gertrude Tredwell who is watching over her family home. Born in an upstairs bedroom in 1840, the youngest of the Tredwells’ eight children, Gertrude never married and lived her entire life here until she died in 1933, at the age of 93. She was the last member of the family to occupy the house.
Since the 1930s, when the house opened to the public as a museum, strange and inexplicable happenings have been reported.
FROM NY TIMES:
The museum opened to the public only three years after Gertrude died. One of its early caretakers, a woman named Florence Helm, later described having several mysterious experiences there. Once, she told The New York Times in 1953, she watched a silk tassel twist and turn as though someone were playfully twirling it. Other times, she heard a consistent tapping on the wall.
“It was not unlike telegraphic code, which I cannot read,” she said. The couple that took over her duties reported hearing the knocking, too.
Visitors have reported seeing Gertrude as she appeared at various stages of her life, from her late teens on. Most say she was wearing a long, brown taffeta gown, though that description matches none of the 40 gowns in the museum’s collection, Mr. Bellov said.
But Gertrude isn’t alone. Guests and museum workers have reported seeing the spirits of servants and members of her family, too.
One museum docent was leading a tour when a door to the servants’ chambers opened and she found herself face to face with a woman “clearly not of this time and place,” Mr. Bellov said. “Their eyes made contact and they both jumped,” he said.
The Tredwell family moved into the house in 1835, when Gertrude’s father, Seabury, retired from a successful career in the hardware business. Five years later, he and his wife, Eliza, had Gertrude, their eighth child.
Legend has it that Seabury prevented Gertrude from marrying her true love, which may explain why she remained in the house over the years, even as her family members slowly streamed out. By 1909, she was the last Tredwell still in the house, which she made few changes to over time. Aging and weak, she rarely left the residence in her final years there and died poor and alone.
Despite that sad ending, the Tredwell ghosts have shown no signs of malevolence.
Hey guys—Brian here—I have to share a story that my friend told me about being on the Merchant House Ghost Tour. She was visiting family in New York Halloween of 2019 and they all went on the tour. So, they go at night and the house is dimly lit for effect. Once they’d gone through most of the rooms of the house, they come to the room were the original family held viewings for the recently departed. A coffin was laid out and they described the scene the way it would have been. Now, throughout the tour various manikins were positioned in period dress to enhance the experience. Next to the coffin sat another manikin all dressed in black, with black lace covering her face. While the tour guide is wrapping up her monologue, the woman in black sharply turns her head and peered at the group. They gasped, and then the woman stood up and charged them with hands upraised! Her sister stood in the front and moved back, almost knocking over my friend. But, soon everyone broke out in laughter and started breathing again. She tells that story to people every Halloween and recommends the Merchant House tour.
The Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco, California
In 1890, the Queen Anne hotel in San Francisco was an etiquette school for girls. Today, it has 48 rooms for guests, though some believe the ghost of Miss Mary Lake, the school's headmistress, still lingers.
The History of the Queen Anne Hotel
Built in 1980, the Queen Anne Hotel was originally one of the most exclusive girls’ boarding schools in the San Francisco area.
The headmistress of the school, Miss Mary Lake, allegedly had an affair with James “Slippery Jim” Fair, the Senator who funded the building of the beautiful Victorian mansion. Mary Lake denied the rumors, but it didn’t do her much good.
Since her death, the Queen Anne Hotel has had many owners, from brothel owners to church caretakers, to mysterious secret societies. With such a curious history, it is no surprise the hotel could be haunted – but by whom?
Is the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco Haunted?
1. The friendliest ghost
The ghost residing in the Queen Anne Hotel is different from the spirits that plague other San Francisco hotels. The ghost is reportedly incredibly friendly and often takes care of the hotel’s guests as best as it can. Unpacking suitcases, tucking guests in, and singing to them while they fall asleep… This is a ghost that wants everyone to feel at home here.
Could it be that the hotel is haunted by Mary Lake, the former headmistress of the school? Even though she is buried more than 3,000 miles away, most people seem to think so.
The majority of the reported hauntings have occurred in Room 410, which was once Mary’s office. Once, a resident of Room 410 even woke up to find themselves on the floor with their bedding neatly tucked around them!
2. The ghosts of secret societies
The hauntings at the Queen Anne Hotel are not limited to Room 410.
Guests also report feeling cold spots in the hallways and seeing strange reflections in the mirrors all around the hotel.
Rumor has it, the hotel once housed the meetings of a secret society that had something to do with astrology… Could they have dabbled in paranormal matters as well?
3. A spooky neighbor
Mary Ellen Pleasant, the so-called voodoo queen of San Francisco, lived right across the street from the Queen Anne Hotel in the 1800s.
Who knows, perhaps her antics also have something to do with the paranormal activity at the Queen Anne Hotel!
Well, at least we can visit two of those three famous haunted homes. We’ve added them to our list. We hope our post today gave you some chills, and some thoughts on the mystical.
We wish you all a joyful and spooky Halloween!
Josh & Brian for
The Kelly Society