“Satan Sleuths : Once Scoffed at by Peers, Police Experts in Occult Crime Now Are Frighteningly in Demand”

by  DIANNE KLEIN in the  May 25, 1989 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

We are so fortunate that the LA Times has such a good archive system. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be able to read about this case. There’s not even a Wikipedia page of it.

The gist of the case is: in 1981, a decapitated man was found in the Golden Gate Park with a headless chicken near him (and apparently partially stuffed inside him). It was quite gruesome and detective, Sandi Gallant, immediately pointed to some sort of ritual sacrifice.

“In 42 days, Gallant told homicide, the dead man’s head would be returned near the spot where his body was found.”

The SFPD was pretty skeptical of this. However:

“The head was returned on the 42nd day not far from where the body was found. But no one from the San Francisco Police Department was there to see, let alone arrest, whoever returned it.”

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The Cecil Hotel

If you watched the most recent season of American Horror Story, American Horror Story: Hotel, this place probably seems familiar. It’s hard to believe that that hotel was inspired by a real hotel, right in downtown Los Angeles. It was built in 1924 as a low-budget hotel that was meant for business travelers but low rates and lots of rooms (700) became very appealing for those on low, low budgets and transient people. This also allowed for the notorious residents  Richard Ramirez (the “Night Stalker”) and Jack Unterweger (called Jack due to mainly murdering prostitutes) in 1985 and 1991, respectively. Ramirez was actually a character in the 4th episode of the season, “Devil’s Night,” and the final episode, “Be Our Guest.”

A Canadian tourist, Elisa Lam, was found dead in the hotel’s water tank in February of 2013. Her death was a tragedy and ruled accidental. Though some speculate there could have been supernatural forces as the cause, her death and state of mind are sad and best left to the grieving family.

That said, why was this one particular building such a hotspot for tragedy and death and murders? Paranormal activity has been frequently reported there and it’s possible victims of murder and suicide still roam the grounds. So, maybe if you’re looking for a scare, check it out. After Elisa Lam, the hotel attempted to re-brand, calling themselves “Stay on Main” (as the location is on Main Street). What could go wrong? They have free wifi and iMacs.

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The Monster of Elizabeth Lake

In LA County in California, right on the San Andreas fault, this particular iteration of the thunderbird cryptid was said to be a pet of the devil living around Elizabeth Lake (locally nicknamed Devil’s Lake). Sightings of the creature begun in the 1830s by a rancher named  Don Pedro Carillo who moved to the United States from Spain. Many of the ranchers in the area claimed the creature killed and ate their livestock. After that, sightings continued until 1886.

In 1890, in Arizona where some people claim the creature “fled” to, some “cowboys” claimed to have shot the beast down and collected a part of its wing to show people. However, when they returned, the creature was no longer where they said they left it. Interestingly, their description of the creature sounded a lot like the prehistoric dinosaur,  pterodactyl.

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The Winchester House of Mystery

Sarah Winchester had some odd reasons for building this chateau-style labyrinthine house in San Jose, California. She was the widow of William Wirt Winchester who was the son of Oliver Winchester, the man who started his career as a clothing manufacturer and then worked his way up to the largest shareholder of the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company which was owned by Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson (yes, the same two who also owned Smith & Wesson) and later became Winchester Repeating Arms Company after the success of the Winchester Rifle (also known as “The Gun That Won The West”) which was a modified version of the Henry Rifle.

Needless to say, with the size and scope and specifics of the Winchester House of Mystery, Sarah Winchester was quite well off. An article once appeared in The American Weekly that detailed a nightly ritual of hers and was published in 1928 (six years after she had died). The article read:

“When Mrs. Winchester set out for her Séance Room, it might well have discouraged the ghost of the Indian or even of a bloodhound, to follow her. After traversing an interminable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another, and unless the pursuing ghost was watchful and quick, he would lose her. Then she opened a window in that apartment and climbed out, not into the open air, but onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again, all inside the house. This was supposed to be very discomforting to evil spirits who are said to be naturally suspicious of traps.”

If that doesn’t give you an idea of how large and disorienting this house is, maybe you should check it out for yourself!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 | Original Tumblr Post

Blythe Intaglios

Guarded by fences to protect from further all-terrain vehicle (ATV) damage, the Blythe Intaglios of California (though they are right on the border with Nevada) are giant figures (geoglyphs) made from light soil surrounded by dark gravel.

Though the origin and purpose of the Blythe Intaglios is unknown, the most prominent theory is that they were constructed between 400 and 2000 years ago by Mohave and Quecha Natives, and represent religious figures that created life.

These figures are best seen from the air, as demonstrated above. However, they are open to the public 24 hours a day 365 days of the year and require light hiking and no entrance fee if you want to see them for yourself!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 | Original Tumblr Post

31 Days of Horror Movies: Day 6

Day 6 | Life After Beth (2014)

At first I wasn’t sure if this movie deserved to be in the “horror” category. It was sold, in the trailers at least, as more of a cuties romantic comedy involving an undead person. However, I did feel like there was no good way for it to go after she came back.

I had no idea what the scope of this movie would be but I was pleasantly surprised. It was only a little comedy with a pretty good cast–including the delightfully odd Matthew Gray Gubler and Anna Kendrick.

There’s also a little homage to the movie Kiss Me Deadly (1955), a noir film, in one scene.

kiss-me-end

Kiss Me Deadly (Source)

life after beth

Life After Beth

Zombies are always fun and I must admit that it does deserve to be in the “horror” category.

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Bodie, California

Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but if she moved to Bodie, California in the late 1870s, she probably was there for the gold and silver ore that created this old boomtown. Despite two fires that destroyed much of the tinderbox buildings in this mining town, Bodie is the best preserved abandoned mining town in California. Each year, thousands of visitors come to see and photograph the town turned state-preserved historic park.

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The Mojave Air and Spaceport

These are not the scenes of airplane crashes!

California is host to the Mojave Air and Spaceport, which functions as both an active airport and pilot training facility, but also a boneyard for retired airplanes which have been cannibalized for valuable parts to sustain newer models of like-aircraft. Materials that can no longer be used are left behind, presumably to erode in the desert for many years to come.

Source | Original Tumblr Post