Girl, Interrupted Part III - The Final Frontier

The third and final chapter to my account of this investigation.

You can find parts I and II

Dave is in the hospital wing, rapidly moving everywhere, in the hallways, in and out of rooms. This is all accompanied by him talking. I honestly don't remember much in this period of time. I was too wrapped up in what I had just experienced. I stood at the nurse's station and began to write down my notes. Christopher turns up and, silently, I think, takes the spot on the opposite side of the counter directly across from me and sets up his equipment. We do not speak. He begins to work on a sketch of the woman he had the exchange with and write down notes of his impressions. I point the beam of my flashlight on his paper so he can see better.

We finally settle down enough to try for some EVPs, using an engaged method. It's mostly Christopher and sometimes Dave running the show here, until Christopher draws me in. I try to be antagonistic in my responses. Some think this approach just might get a reaction from an entity if we can hit the right button. All eyes are focused closely on the laptop, looking for a response on the graph. Maybe? We hope.

We decide to head to the very end of the hallway. Dave and Christopher both feel that in the center of this hallway, there is some sort of opening or portal. I walk through it a few times by myself, whispering secret pleas, inaudible to my team mates, to whatever unseen things might be there to please show me something, make me feel something, anything. I'm not like the others, I explain. I cannot see or feel like they do, I need more. Nothing happens.

In the very last room on the right side of the hallway Dave can sense something in two different corners of the room and what is most likely, (if such a thing can happen at all that is), a residual of a patient looking out the doorway and into the hall. Christopher approaches one of the two corners and has a violent reaction. It seems he is choking and says he feels as though he is going to vomit. I make certain he is ok first. Then I place myself in the center of this spot and make my pleas, hands outstretched. I am a little frightened, yet I stand, motionless and wait. I am again denied. Christopher comes near again and says he still feels it, but with me there it is now something he can endure.

An hour has passed. We decide to return to the manor.

I don't want to sleep but, I know I should. All night I have been asking to sleep in the hospital wing, the basement, Mary's room, a place where there is the most potential for something to happen. As much as I want to, I know no one will allow me to sleep alone. After everything that has occurred tonight I cannot bring myself to make this request of anyone. I concede and get ready to sleep in the dining room area. Christopher stays with me.

Perhaps ten minutes after I lie down, it begins again. There is whispering all over. It isn't my teammates. It's…I don't know what. Later, I discover that Christopher can hear it too. I begin to drift off to sleep when the voice from earlier makes it's return. I don't remember what it said anymore, only that it and the constant whispering kept bothering me. My body reacts, maybe four or five times by exhibiting Periodic Limb Movement. You know that feeling when you're just falling off to sleep or you're dreaming of falling and your body jerks you awake? It is approximately 4:45 in the morning. I am not able to sleep longer than twenty minutes at any one time.

That's it. The highlights.

I am back home, among the comforting familiarity of things. Everything here is the same as when I left on Friday night. Everything but me, that is. I feel like someone hit my internal reset button when I was mid-sentence. I've lost my place and I can't even recall the topic matter. I don't know what this means yet or how it will alter me. I only know that in this moment I'm a girl, interrupted.

Miss Blackwood's Neighborhood Tales

Everything has a story. Of this I am quite certain. Los Angeles' neighborhoods have some of the best. By "best" I mean grim and macabre and disquieting.

A couple years ago, when I lived on the West side of town, I set out to find to some of the stories that could be had along my everyday routes to work or to the store.

Los Angeles has the best stories.

Driving Miss Josephine

In Playa Del Rey, there is a small lagoon near a park where people play soccer, couples fight, tweens pledge undying love and children celebrate the passing of their birthdays. Over one hundred years ago, a grand pavilion and a hotel resort stood here, enticing tourists and the more financially endowed. They dined, they danced, they raced their boats.

By 1917, the hotel was nothing more than a brothel. The city, hoping to clean up this messy situation, handed the property over to a Mary E. Jacobs, who, along with another woman, opened the Hope Development School for "retarded" children. The school was home to some forty girls, ranging in age from four to twenty three years old.

Mrs. Jacobs started locking the girls in at night, barring the windows and the doors to the outside world, because the outside world, in the guise of men, repeatedly broke in and violated the girls.

On June 1st, 1924, fourteen year old Josephine Bertholme really wanted to go for a car ride. The girl's requests were denied...but Josepine really wanted that ride. She decided to start a small fire in the basement of the building with some oily rags, figuring that would at least get them outside.

It was about 9 O'clock at night. Most, if not all of the girls were asleep in their beds. Locked in.

Twenty three girls died, eighteen others hospitalized. They say the only thing left by the time help arrived from Venice, (the nearest town), was a brick chimney and some twisted iron bars.

A newspaper article from the Nevada Steve Journal, Reno edition ran a story. The title reads;


Witness Walter Curtis gives us a " graphic word picture" of the tragedy.

According to witnesses to blaze, the children were trapped by barred doors and locked windows and many of the inmates made their escape by jumping from the second story of the three-story building after the windows had been broken.
Other children were thrown bodily from the windows by the rescuers.
A graphic word picture of rescue work was given by WALTER CURTIS, Los Angeles, who with members of his family were on the beach 200 yards from the building when the fire broke out.
His story follows:
"The first I knew about it was when I heard a man at an oil station blowing a small police whistle. I looked up and saw a big crowd around the building. I ran toward the building and toward a big heavy door on the first floor. It was closed and locked. Together with another man I threw my weight against it. We couldn't budge it. Then we tried some windows. They were locked. We couldn't get any of them open. I broke in the first window I came to. I looked in the room but could see nothing. I ran to another window and broke it in. There was nothing there. I broke in several other windows the same way. There was not a sound of any one in the building."
"I called out but received no reply. I broke into another window where I heard children screaming at the far end of the hall. I climbed through the window by my hands and knees into a dense cloud of smoke. It was dark and I couldn't see a thing. I stumbled over a child. I grabbed her by the leg and carried her to the window where someone took her and I went back for others."
"I could hear them screaming frightfully now. They seemed dazed and apparently didn't know what they were doing. They seemed to be fighting among themselves."

Poor, dear girls.

Come June 1st 2010, you can find me, digital voice recorder in hand, at the edge of the lagoon.

Home Is Where I Want To Be...But I Guess I'm Already There

A few places I have lived and the stories they hold.

Echo Park
My father lived in an apartment here for awhile. I remember my father's girlfriend lighting the gas oven in this little apartment. I remember the oven exploding. In her face. There is something else that happened, (but that is a long story and one of Hollywood's dirtiest).

There was a large hill at the end of the street and at the foot of the hill, a stairway. The hill was barren and open and you could see the top of it from a living room window of the little apartment. Some nights, if you looked out the window, in the darkness of the hill, you could see a large bonfire and people cavorting around it, many of them without clothing. I longed to climb the stairs of the hill on those nights for the witches would welcome me, I knew. I might even get invited to some other realm if I behaved well enough. My father agreed but did not permit me to find out. *sigh*
Atwater Village/Los Feliz
There is no one home to play with today and I do not care to play indoors so I strap on my skates and traverse back and forth along the horse shoe of the cul de sac my house is in, over and over again. The houses on this side of the horse shoe overlook the LA River. Some sound and a vibration catch my attention. I lift my face skyward to see a small airplane plummeting, rapidly, it's nose faces down and it is spiraling, a tail of smoke following behind, all of it so close, not only am I filled with fear but I wonder, momentarily, if I can touch it. When it hits the earth the ground moved, hard, under the wheels of my skates and I fall to the sidewalk. It lands about 150 feet from where I have fallen. The only casualty is the plane itself.

Green Valley (a suburb of Las Vegas)
It's Vegas. Of course, I have many stories. This one vies for the creepiest. I live in an apartment complex on the second floor. Vegas is a transient town. A new phone book is issued every three months to keep up with the influx of new residents. My apartment building is no different. Two girls have moved into the apartment that is on the other side of my bedroom walls. They have been there for a few months now and are quiet. Of everyone I talk to, no one has seen them more than once, if at all. Their downstairs neighbor, announces one day that the girls came down to see her. They will be leaving for the long weekend, could the neighbors keep an eye out, as there have been plenty of attempted break ins.

I don't know what time it is, but it's night. Bedtime. After having been asleep for perhaps, three hours I awake to sounds of animals. Chickens, maybe dogs or cats too…something that growls, that is for certain, and there are more than one of them. They are also angry…really angry. The noises emanate from just behind my bedroom wall and I know what's on the other side…the girl's apartment. This can't possibly be what I am hearing. I don't strain to listen but I do strain to comprehend. I can hear occasional thuds against the wall, followed by howls or odd guttural noises.. The action, the sounds, they grow and intensify until…I know it's insane but it sounds like they are literally tearing one another to pieces in there. I open my window and look to my immediate left where I can get a limited view of their windows. There are no lights on. The sounds stop. They don't die out, they just end. I go back to bed wondering what the heck happened and am soon asleep again.

By the end of the week the girls have moved out. The apartments have a small crew of three guys who handle maintenance. One of them is Alan, an older man probably in his late fifties. I visit him sometimes in the maintenance office. He's funny and tells good stories. He teaches me how to make locks and sneaks cookie dough out of the freezer for me on summer days. I do not think he can read. I miss him. Alan informs me that the girls left, giving no notice or word. He opened the apartment earlier today. The walls in the room that share a wall with my bedroom wall has odd things painted on it, in black. Shapes and symbols he says. There is red stuff on the walls and the carpet. "Looks like blood," he laughs. There were feathers around too.

Once the place is fixed up, new people move in. They have lived there for a few months by now. I am sitting across the way, on the lawn in front of my friend Jan's apartment with some other friends. Me being, well,
me , I see one of the guys coming down the stairs of the apartment and call out to him , "Hey! Does anything weird ever happen in your apartment?!!" He is surprised at the odd lawn girl, yelling at him with familiarity and no doubt finds the question especially interesting. He approaches me/us and asks…"Why?" I reply by asking him again, "Does anything weird ever happen in your apartment?" He tells me yes. Things disappear only to reappear in places they are not meant to be. He sometimes comes home to find things broken or cracked when it is seemingly impossible. He has wondered if the apartment is haunted.

I tell him a story.

The Vile Vial

No ghosts here, but macabre in it's own right.

My father had this girlfriend named Kathy for about thirteen years. Suffice it to say, she's a whole story herself. Kathy moved in with my father when I was about seven and stayed around until I was eighteen. For a few years she was Bob Hope's assistant and I spent a large porton of my afterschool hours at his home in Toluca Lake.

There was a smaller "front" house, with the main house in back. This front was comprised of an office for Kathy, her two assistants and a room for the security guards. There was also Mr.Hope's main office and a huge, walk in vault, the kind you see in movies. There were only two things in the vault; Mr.Hope's entire collection of jokes, all filed away by type of joke and writer. The other thing in the vault was a dusty, unimpressive, little tray. On the tray were some sort of shot glasses and a vial of amber colored liquid.

Mr.Hope's office was usually locked but I had been in many times. If I was there, Mr.Hope let me play gopher girl and run things back and forth between him and the secretaries or up to the main house. He was always very kind and funny, of course, and he was especially fond of my red shoes. The office was massive. You had to walk through some sort of alcove first, which led into the main, large room. All the walls, even those of the alcove, were covered with large glass showcases with lighting and shelves, full of his various mementos.

As time went on, Kathy and the two secretaries began to wonder about the little tray with the vial and glasses. If it was valuable enough to keep in the vault, they wondered, why wasn't it put away or displayed in one of the showcases in his office? As does so often happen with curiosities, the wondering began to eat away at them little by little until they became quite fixated on it. As this fixation reached it's climax one day and whilst the security guys were distracted by their lunch, the three decided to each take up one of those dusty glasses, fill it with the amber liquid and drink it. This action somehow sated them for awhile, and for the next few months the little set was forgotten.

These some months later, I believe Mrs.Hope came to the office and entered the vault. She came out carrying the little tray and it's contents. While the three women looked at her she stopped to explain to them that she hated these things and how upset she was with Mr.Hope for having them in the first place. No one should even have to be near them, so she was taking it away. Just before she turned to exit she said, "This was Adolf Hitler's, you know."

The Red Box

I have to say, I love stepping out into the night. Cold, dark air on my face, the smell of smoke from fires and the decay of leaves, with my equipment case in hand, hoping that tonight just may be the night that something happens.

Tonight it did.

The investigative team tonight was all girls. Girls talk way too much. It isn’t conducive to my nice, sterile, controlled lab atmosphere I like to maintain on investigations. There was a new girl tonight, Katy. This makes, Me = Miss Skeptic coupled with a trio of hard core believers in everything, and then some, who also claim to be psychic. It was frustrating for me, to say the least. Throw in a large side order of the owner of the residence itself, and it was like the three of them combined, plus a big old book of Fortean stuff on top. *sigh*

The house was lovely. Very close to the mission in San Juan Capistrano, which is, supposedly, haunted. This house would have been built right on the trails leading to the mission.

A man in his forties had called us. He lived in the house with his wife and three children. They were both the kind of people, when younger, you know everyone stopped to look at the prettiness of them. The woman looked exactly like an older Barbie doll. Her hair was totally freaking me out.

Anyway, the guy took Liz and I on a tour. He told some crazy stories. I didn’t believe him. He says there are three ghosts in the house, a little girl, an old lady and a guy he calls “The Messenger.” He claims to have always seen “spirits” and that the night before we came, he even talked to one and told “them” not to embarrass him. He also says the ghosts don’t let him go on certain websites and won’t let him go on Ebay to sell his Ouija board.
Uh huh…

One of the most wild things we were told during the interview, which I was asked to do, (it was my first one), was that in a period of forty eight hours a bunch of things caught on fire: a truck, all four TVs, the well pump and the vcr was smoking.

There were a few reaso
ns I didn’t believe the guy. Some of it was what in Italy we call a “skin feeling,” which I usually dismiss, but during the interview I’d ask something to which he’d answer “No,” then change his answer recounting some other crazy story. Or, he’d just take coincidental occurrences, and turn them into him having some amazing psychic power. For example, one day he was talking about Planet Of The Apes and then it was on TV that night. I’m not impressed, Sir.

So, I’m not expecting anything to happen, yet it does.

During the interview, we all sat in the living room. This room was connected to the dining room as well as the kitchen. Mounted on the side of a kitchen cabinet was a metal/iron lock box type of thing. The box opened,
by itself, maybe a couple inches and then shut, with a click. I went over and examined that box myself. It was not easy to open, I kind of had to pry it a little with my fingers. I did it multiple times, when it closes it made that click sound and each time, the door kind of gets stuck. I just don’t see how it could possibly have opened by itself.

When the interview was done, Liz asked me where I wanted the camcorders set up. I said, for now, one in the living room, pointed at that box and another pointed toward the hallway as there seems to be so much activity there. Both cameras were set up. I stood there and watched the living room myself, for about fifteen minutes. I watched Liz do the setup of the living room cam, saw she pointed it directly at the box. After this, no one went near the cam. I was the closest, maybe twelve feet away. No one went near that camera. I know it because I stood there and watched myself for those fifteen minutes. When Liz came back to the room we checked the cams to be sure all was running well, and that dang living room cam moved approximately seven inches from where we had set it to film, (it was on a tripod).

I’m not saying anything paranormal happened. I’m also not saying it
didn’t... all I know is, I cannot explain it.