Tag Archives: haunted houses

The Witch’s House

One of my favorite sites to stalk in all of Beverly Hills is known simply as “The Witch’s House” and it just so happens to fit in perfectly with this month’s Halloween theme.  Although not really a filming location, the house is a Beverly Hills landmark of sorts.  Known formally as “The Spadena House”, after the Spadena family who lived there in the 1930s, the house did show up very briefly in fave movie Clueless, during the scene when Alicia Silverstone is “totally buggin'” about Ty’s crush on Josh (pictured in above screen capture). 

The home was originally built on a silent film studio lot in Culver City known as Irvin C. Willat Productions and was used as an office/dressing room.  It was designed by the very first art direction Oscar Winner, Henry C. Oliver, in 1921.  Willat Productions was sold in 1926 and the house was purchased and later moved to its current location in the heart of Beverly Hills, where it was turned into a private home for the Spadena family.  No one can say for sure how the house came to be called “The Witch’s House”, but mention the words to any Beverly Hills native and they will know exactly what you are talking about.  Personally, I believe the house got its nickname due to its resemblance to the witch’s home in the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”.

In 1998, a real estate agent named Michael Libow was hired to sell the house.  Apparently he became frustrated that all prospective buyers planned to demolish the property, so he took matters into his own hands and purchased the home himself for $1.3 million.  He is currently restoring the property to its original state, along with the help of art director Nelson Coates.  For the past few years the two have painstakingly rennovated the home, even re-creating the original moat which once surrounded the property.  The Witch’s House is still currently under rennovation, so unfortunately a large chain link construction fence blocks some of the view from the street.  But hopefully in a few years the rennovations will be complete and the house will be even more spectacular for us stalkers to view. 

Because it is so truly unique, I am actually very surprised that the house hasn’t appeared in more Hollywood productions.  Besides Clueless, the Witch’s House was also featured in the 1965 movie The Loved One, as the home of Sir John Gielgud’s character, and in the 1957 horror film The Undead.   Supposedly, during its time on the Willat lot, the home also appeared in a quite a few 1920s silent films, as well.

The Witch’s House is simply a must see for all Beverly Hills tourists, especially during the Halloween season, and it is a beautiful example of Storybook style architecture. 

You can read more about the history of the Witch’s House and see some fabulous photos of it here.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Witch’s House is located at 516 N. Waldren Drive, at the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue, in Beverly Hills.

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Halloween

Hi, my name is Lindsay Blake and I have never seen the movie Halloween.  I know, I know – it’s like sacrilege or something, especially since Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I’ve also never seen any of the Friday, the 13th  movies.  But I’ve always been kind of a scaredy cat, so as a teenager I was way too afraid to watch any sort of horror flick.   I fully intend to rent and finally watch them this Halloween season, though.  In the meantime, even though I have yet to see the movie, I did some Halloween  stalking this past weekend.   Halloween  supposedly takes place in Haddonfield, Illinois, but in reality all of the filming was done in the L.A. area. 

        

   

This weekend I set out to stalk Jamie Lee Curtis’ house from the movie, which is actually located in South Pasadena, not far from Michael Meyer’s childhood home  and the Pretty In Pink house.   In the movie, pretty much only a side view of the house is shown, so when we first drove up I didn’t recognize it at all.  I actually thought we were in the wrong place, until I rounded the corner and saw the side of the house, which I am happy to report looks exactly the same as it did thirty years ago when filming took place. 

       

    

The front of the home actually looks completely different than the side.   The front of the house is a very cute, very typical South Pasadena style Craftsman home.  The side of the house does not have any Craftsman features at all.  It has more of a traditional American feel to it, so it was odd to see. 

       

 

The next Halloween  location I set out to stalk  – the street where Jamie Lee Curtis and her friends walk home from school and Michael Meyes drives by in his station wagon – is also located in South Pasadena.  The most recognizable part of the street where the girls walk is a large stone pillared half-wall located on a corner, which amazingly also looks EXACTLY the same thirty years later.  Very cool!!!  🙂 

Big THANKS to Mike from MovieShotsLA  for the above screen captures!  🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 

Stalk It: Jamie Lee Curtis’ house is located at 1115 Oxley Street, at the corner of Oxley Street and Fairview Avenue, in South Pasadena.  The stone wall the girls walk by is located on the corner of Fairview Avenue and Highland Street, also in South Pasadena, just around the corner from Lady Heather’s house on CSI.

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Celebrity Jury Duty

Last September I was called to report for jury duty at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Los Angeles.  As you can probably guess, I was not too excited for this venture.  I perked up, though, when on my first day of service, I arrived at the courthouse to see a whole slew of paparazzi standing out front.  Hoping BritBrit was there for a custody hearing, I asked one of the paps what news story he was covering and it turns out he was awaiting the verdict in the Phil Spector murder trial.  Later that day I ended up being selected to serve on a jury for a brief four day trial and was floored to find out that the Phil Spector trial was actually taking place in the courtroom directly next door to mine!  Due to jury deliberations, though, Phil was not actually at the courthouse.   But a few days later, on September 26th to be exact, I returned from lunch to see Phil and his wife waiting outside the courtroom for his verdict to be read.  Phil was definitely an oddball and didn’t seem as if he was entirely all there.  And boy is he tiny!!!!  He is probably about 5′ tall – while wearing platforms, no less!  Seeing Phil during jury duty was definitely an “Only-in-L.A.” moment for me and really made the whole thing worthwhile.  🙂  Other “Only-in-L.A.” moments: looking at the hundreds of celebrity headshots on the jury waiting room walls detailing which stars have served their public duty at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.  But my personal favorite “Only-in-L.A.” moment was when our jury orientation included directions to the nearest Starbucks!  I am not kidding!  LOL

So in keeping with my October theme of all things haunted in Hollywood, I had to drag my boyfriend out to stalk Phil’s mansion this past weekend.  It was at this home on February 3, 2003, that actress Lana Clarkson was shot to death – whether by her own hand or by Phil’s has yet to be determined.  I got the address of Phil’s house from my very favorite star map – “The Movie Star Homes and Crime Scenes Map”.   But, map or no map, I don’t think the home would have been hard to locate, as there is a large sign at the front gate which reads “Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle”.  LOL   Apparently before Lana’s death the sign read simply “Pyrenees Castle, 1700 Grand View Drive”, but during his murder trial he had it changed to its current wording.  I swear, this guy couldn’t be more of a douchbag.

From the front gate of the home there is not a whole lot to see, other than signs warning against trespassing and alerting stalkers that the property is under 24 hour camera surveillance.  There was no way I was getting out of the car for a photo op at this location as I imagine Phil doesn’t take too kindly to people posing for pics outside of his house.  Then again, maybe he doesn’t mind too much – I mean he did put that sign out front!  LOL

After seeing the front gate area, we drove around to Alta Vista Drive where there is a much better view of the home from the street.

After hitting up Alta Vista Drive, we headed over to Parkview Drive for yet another view of the house. 

 

Sadly none of the streets offered an outstanding view of the home, but you can cyberstalk it on Zillow  to see some better photos.  Phil’s castle/mansion is actually located in a very modest, middle class neighborhood far from the lavish streets of Beverly Hills.  Until reading this article, I was under the impression that Phil had actually built the home, but it turns out it was constructed in 1926 long before the “Wall of Sound” had been created.  A very successful Frenchman by the name of Sylvester Dupuy spent about $250,000 to have the home built and he modeled it after a real chateau in France that he had admired as a child.  The house was built on a three acre lot in the middle of a large expanse of vacant land.  In 1936, ten years after the home’s construction, Dupuy died and left the property to his children.  At the time of Dupuy’s death most of the fortune he had amassed from his successful agriculture business was gone.  In 1946, Dupuy’s children sold the castle and it was converted into an eight room apartment building where Dupuy’s widow lived until her death.  After a string of different owners, Phil Spector purchased the home in 1998 and had this to say about it, “I’ve bought myself a beautiful and enchanting castle in a hick town where there is no place to go that you shouldn’t.”  I wouldn’t exactly call Alhambra a “hick town”, but I guess to a famous record producer and in comparison to Beverly Hills, the city might seem a bit “hickish”.  LOL

I couldn’t figure out where the name “Pyrenees Castle” came from until looking at the above map.  I believe at one time the castle’s land butted up to nearby Pyrenees Road, hence the name.  In the years since its construction, much of the land must have been sold off and the property’s boundary line scaled back to Grand View Drive.

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle is located at 1700 Grand View Drive in Alhambra.  The main gate and sign reading “Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle” can be seen at the Grand View Drive entrance.  But for the best views of the home, head over to Alta Vista Drive and follow it to where it ends at Phil’s back gate.  After that, follow Parkview Drive to where it curves for a side view of the home. 

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Lady Heather’s House

 

On the second season of CSI: Las Vegas  we were introduced to a character whom Grissom later became very fond of named Lady Heather.  On the show Lady Heather, who was played by The O.C.’s  Melinda Clarke, owns an S&M fetish club in Sin City which she runs out of her extraordinary home.  Lady Heather first appeared as a guest star in an episode entitled “Slaves of Las Vegas” and has since reappeared on four separate occasions, becoming something of a cult favorite for CSI  fans.  Her unique home also appeared in all five of the “Lady Heather” episodes and, being that it is a pretty spooky house and fits in with my Haunted Hollywood theme for this month, I dragged my dad right out to stalk it.

Lady Heather’s house is an absolutely ginormous mansion (13,393 square feet according to Zillow!!) located on a large corner lot in South Pasadena.  I found the home thanks to Scott’s LA Audio Driving Tour of Pasadena, which lists many great Pasadena filming locations.  It is easy to see why producers chose to use this house for the filming of CSI, as it has a very looming and dark presence, most likely due to its sheer size.  For the filming of CSI, producers brought in many Gothic decorations, like large candelabras,  to create a more dark and spooky atmosphere.  But when you see the home in person, it becomes obvious that not much had to be done in preparation for filming due to its naturally ominous look.  In person, the home looks like it could be a real life haunted house.  And it actually looks like it belongs on a bayou in New Orleans rather than in the middle of Suburban Pasadena.  Unfortunately I don’t own CSI  on DVD, so I couldn’t get very good screen captures of the home.

In the various Lady Heather episodes, the exterior of the home is shown numerous times, especially the front door and front porch area (which unfortunately I do not have any screen captures of).

 A back porch area is also shown in a special 90 minute episode from Season 3 entitled “Lady Heather’s Box”.  It is the location where Grissom and the dominatrix sit down for a cup of tea.

Lady Heather’s house is a very cool place to see in person.  I highly recommend stalking it if you are at all a fan of CSI  or if you want to conduct your own Haunted Halloween tour.  🙂 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: Lady’s Heather’s house is located at 929 Buena Vista St., at the corner of Buena Vista and Meridian Avenue, in South Pasadena.

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