Haunted Hollywoodland, Part III: The Ghost with the Top Hat and Cane

December 5, 2009 § 2 Comments

The Hollywoodland Realty Office in 1923. The events described took place in the front courtyard and on the second floor/Courtesy Bruce Torrence Hollywood Historical Collection

Charisse Landise is a Beachwood Canyon resident and clairvoyant healing artist with a keen sense of the supernatural. We first met three years ago when I interviewed her on the significance of the Hollywood Sign for my documentary; since then we’ve talked periodically about Beachwood Canyon’s history and notable past residents. It was Charisse who had the vivid dream about Peg Entwistle described in Part I of my Haunted Hollywoodland series. 

After I posted a piece on Busby Berkeley (“First House North of the Gates: Busby Berkeley’s Home in Hollywoodland”), Charisse called me to tell me about an incident that happened last November, when she was working out of the day spa above Hollywoodland Realty in Beachwood Village. 

It was late afternoon but already dark when she arrived for a session and saw a male apparition sitting in the courtyard outside the Realty Office. He appeared to be in his late thirties and was dressed in narrow old-fashioned trousers and a top hat. He carried a cane. 

Though Charisse didn’t recognize him, she felt he was waiting for her. Unable to get any answers about his identity or motives, she went upstairs to meet her client. Once inside, she felt his presence in the spa. 

“He was definitely there as a curious witness,” Charisse says. “He was extremely fascinated with my healing procedure. I had the sense he had never seen anything like it.  He was very unthreatening. I was challenged by the unexpected nature of his steady watchful presence.”  The ghost observed her throughout the session and stayed behind after she locked up. 

“I didn’t know that was Busby Berkeley’s house next door until I read your blog, but I’m sure it was him,” she said. Unlike the house, whose entryway is now hidden behind a gate, the Realty Office remains open to the street, as it was in Berkeley’s time. The fact that the ghost appeared to be in his late thirties seems appropriate, as Berkeley was at the height of his success during those years. And a top hat and cane would be obvious props for a choreographer of movie musicals featuring scores of top-hatted, cane-wielding dancers.  

“Ultimately I was so grateful to have met him,” says Charisse. “His movie ’42nd Street’ was why I moved to New York City when I was 18.”

Contact www.charisselandise.com for further information.

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