Friday, May 16, 2008

Queer Paranormal Road Trip: Walker Estate

The famed "Houdini Mansion" of Hollywood, California might not be haunted by the master illusionist after all.

Perched atop a hill on Laurel Canyon Boulevard sits the ruins of a once great estate. Though it is claimed to have been the home of Harry Houdini himself, he never lived there. His wife, Bess, did rent the property after his untimely death, but the real history of the home is far more interesting.

The villa was built by Eliza Walker in 1918, and in this fateful year, legend says the haunting began. According to a popular story, Walker's son was gay. Soon after completion, the wealthy family held a party. The son met with his lover on a high balcony, and soon began to quarrel. The argument became heated and the young man pushed his lover from a balcony to his death.

The Walker family continued to own the property and was believed to have befriended Houdini and his wife. After Harry's death in 1926, Bess began renting the guest house on the property where she is alleged to have conducted seances in the parlor to contact her dead husband. She never quite succeeded, and even today psychics and magicians have failed to get in touch with Houdini on the other side.

The Walker Mansion was destroyed by a wildfire in 1958, yet some small remnants can still be found. The best known is the stone staircase, where Houdini's ghost has been reported on several occasions.

But is it really Houdini, or the gay lover who was murdered all those years ago?

Currently, music producer Rick Rubin owns a recording studio on the site. Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and even the Beatles have stayed at the location. Bands, including Slipknot, experienced unusual phenomena there. While the Red Hot Chili Peppers were recording their album Blood Sugar Sex Magik at the studio, they reported strange, unexplainable occurrences. The drummer, Chad Smith, was so shaken that he refused to live at the location.

Perhaps it was merely a case of paranormal homophobia...

Here's what Maroon 5 had to say about recording at the location:

1 comment:

Chris said...

wow!, Interesting story and sounds like a very interesting house. That would be really be quite facinating to see who is really haunting the place, either the master magician or a gay lover who's life was ended tragic and quickly. Great story!!