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History of Seattle (part 1)

From the materials for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacifi...

From the materials for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, held in Seattle. A drawing of the Battle of Seattle. Despite the “1866” written on the drawing, this should be 1856. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. In...

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. Interstate 5 is the freeway that cuts through downtown and Puget Sound is visible to the left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington Deutsch: Turmkorb und Spitze der Space Needle, in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seattle Downtown Skyline

Seattle Downtown Skyline (Photo credit: Canadian Pacific)

Seattle lies on a narrow strip of land between the salt waters of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington. Beyond the waters lie two rugged mountain ranges, the Olympics to the west and the Cascades to the east. It is a city built on hills and around water, in a mild marine climate that encourages prolific vegetation and abundant natural resources.

White settlers came to the Seattle area in 1851, establishing a townsite they first called New York, and then, adding a word from the Chinook jargon meaning “by-and-by,” New York-Alki. They soon moved a short distance across Elliott Bay to what is now the historic Pioneer Square district, where a protected deep-water harbor was available. This village was soon named Seattle, honoring a Duwamish Indian leader named Sealth who had befriended the settlers.

The new town’s principal economic support was Henry Yesler’s lumber mill at the foot of Mill Street (now Yesler Way), built in 1853. Much of the mill’s production went to the booming city of San Francisco, but the mill also supplied the fledgling towns throughout the Puget Sound region. A brief Indian “war” in the winter of 1856 interrupted the town’s development, but when the Territorial legislature incorporated Seattle in 1869, there were more than 2,000 residents.

The 1870s were fairly quiet, despite the discovery of coal near Lake Washington, and the consequent growth of another extractive industry whose product also found its way to San Francisco. In the early 1870s the Northern Pacific Railway Company announced that its transcontinental railroad western terminus would be at Tacoma, some forty miles south of Seattle. Despite local leaders’ disappointment, Seattle managed to force a connection with Northern Pacific shortly after its completion in 1883, and the town’s population soared in the late 1880s. Lumber and coal were the primary industries, but the growth of fishing, wholesale trade, shipbuilding, and shipping also contributed to the town’s economic expansion and population growth. One estimate is that in the first half of 1889, Seattle was gaining 1,000 new residents per month; in March alone, there were 500 buildings under construction, most of them built of wood. The explosive growth was slowed but not stopped by a devastating fire on June 6, 1889, which leveled the buildings on 116 acres in the heart of the city’s business district. No one died in the fire, but the property damage ran into millions of dollars.

Enthusiasm for Seattle was little dampened by the fire. In fact, it provided the opportunity for extensive municipal improvements, including widened and regraded streets, a professional fire department, reconstructed wharves, and municipal water works. New construction in the burned district was required to be of brick or steel, and it was by choice on a grander and more imposing scale.

The 1890s were not so prosperous, despite the arrival of another transcontinental railroad, the Great Northern, in 1893. A nationwide business depression did not spare Seattle, but the 1897 discovery of gold along and near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory and in Alaska once again made Seattle an instant boom town. The city exploited its nearness to the Klondike and its already established shipping lines to become the premier outfitting point for prospectors. The link became so strong that Alaska was long considered to be the personal property of Seattle and Seattleites.

During the early 1900s, Seattle, now having discovered the rewards of advertising, continued to experience strong growth. Two more transcontinental railroads, the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road systems, reached Seattle and reinforced the city’s position as a trade and shipping center, particularly with Asia and the North Pacific.

The city’s population became increasingly diversified. Scandinavians came to work in fishing and lumbering, African Americans to work as railroad porters and waiters, and Japanese to operate truck gardens and hotels. There were significant communities of Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Filipinos. The International District, home to several Asian ethnic groups, was largely developed during this period.

With its population now approaching 240,000, Seattle announced its achievements by sponsoring an international fair in 1909. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition celebrated the economic and cultural links Seattle had forged along what is now known as the North Pacific Rim. The forty-two story L.C. Smith building was completed in 1914. For more than four decades it was the tallest building in the American west and a symbol of Seattle’s booster spirit and metropolitan aspirations.

World War I transformed the city’s shipbuilding industry, which turned out 20 percent of the nation’s wartime ship tonnage. The war also brought Seattle national attention when, early in 1919, workers struck the shipyards to maintain their high wartime wages. This event soon led to the Seattle general strike of February 6-10, the longest such strike in American history. The strike lacked a cogent objective, but its success fueled postwar American fears about radicals and socialists. Along with the city’s early ventures into municipal transit service and public electrical power, the general strike helped establish Seattle’s reputation as a hotbed of political radicalism.

Seattle also had a reputation for a boom-and-bust economy, and the twenties brought depressed conditions in shipbuilding and the lumber trade. The Depression of the 1930s hit Seattle particularly hard, and a “Hooverville” of shacks and lean-tos housing nearly 1,000 unemployed men grew up at an abandoned shipbuilding yard south of Pioneer Square. World War II sparked an economic rebound as shipyards flourished again. The Boeing Company, a modestly successful airplane manufacturer founded in 1916, increased its workforce more than 1,200 percent and its sales from $10 million to $600 million annually during the war years. The war’s end, however, brought an economic slump to the area that persisted until the middle 1950s.

When Boeing successfully introduced the 707 commercial jet airliner in the late 1950s, it heralded another burst of municipal optimism. In 1962 Seattle sponsored a full-fledged world’s fair, the futuristic Century 21 Exposition. The fair left the city a permanent legacy in the Seattle Center and its complex of performance, sports, and entertainment halls, as well as the Pacific Science Center, the Monorail, and the Space Needle.

Since Century 21, the city population has remained fairly stable around the half-million mark, while suburban areas have grown explosively. The Boeing Company suffered a slump in the early 1970s that severely depressed the local economy. The region’s economy has subsequently been steadied and diversified. Weyerhaeuser and Boeing have been a part of that development, along with such high-technology firms as Microsoft. The political strength of Washington Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Henry Jackson in the postwar decades greatly contributed to growth at such research institutions as the University of Washington, and in defense related activities. Seattle has also enjoyed an expanded air and sea trade with Asia, Alaska, and the North Pacific.

Seattle has always exhibited a spirit of optimism, enterprise, and self-promotion. At one time this was institutionalized as “the Seattle Spirit,” a movement that enabled the city literally to move mountains by washing down high hills to improve building sites, to connect Lake Washington and Puget Sound with locks and a canal, and to build the world’s largest man-made island at the mouth of the Duwamish River. More recently, this spirit can be credited with accomplishments like the Forward Thrust program of the 1970s, which built the Kingdome arena and numerous parks throughout the city, including Freeway Park that spans the I-5 freeway with waterfalls and hanging gardens.

Seattle is proud of its arts and cultural institutions, the many live theaters, and the downtown art museum. It is proud of its parks, of its professional and collegiate sports, of Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market, and, above all, of the beauty of its surroundings. Seattle is also a city of parades, not always respectful of its own brief heritage, not as radical as its legend would have it; a city of homes that has many who are homeless, a city that wants great growth but demands that somehow the setting remain untouched.

 

http://www.seattle.gov/cityarchives/Facts/history.htm

http://www.historylink.org/

http://www.seattlechannel.org/

Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories (an article from Smithsonian Magaine)

English: Cloth Covered, Hard Bound Book, the L...

English: Cloth Covered, Hard Bound Book, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving. Published by Thomas Crowl and Company, New York, circa 1907, with gold foil lettering and silky flower pattern cloth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories

Light your pumpkin and read about the real places behind some of the world’s classic spo

  • By Robin T. Reid

1 of 10 | Next »»
The Exorcist stairs in Washington DCSleepy Hollow CemeteryBronte Wuthering HeightsCape of Good HopeThe Stanley HotelThe Mikhailovsky Castle
The Exorcist stairs in Washington DC

(LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH / Alamy )

When Blatty was a student at Georgetown University in 1949, he read newspaper accounts of an exorcism performed on a boy in the D.C. suburbs. He never forgot them; by 1973, they had laid the groundwork for his bestselling book and Oscar-winning movie.

Blatty set his exorcism in Georgetown and made his victim a young girl. In the film, she lived–and levitated and spewed vomit–with her mother in an imposing brick house at 3600 Prospect Street, NW (Blatty had lived on that street during college). Just a short walk away is the famous outdoor stairway that Father Damien Karras tumbled down to his death. The house is private, but the steps are very public, linking Prospect to the busy thoroughfare of M Street, NW.

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Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

(Kevin Fleming / Corbis)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” The Sketch Book, Washington Irving
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

New York’s Hudson River Valley was the backdrop for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” one of the earliest examples of ghost stories in American literature. Irving, a native New Yorker, relied on local landmarks and the lore about them handed down from Dutch settlers who arrived some 200 years before the story was published in 1820.

The real action in “Legend” begins in what is now called Patriots Park; a monument marks the site where in 1780 three men captured British spy Major John Andre beneath a tulip tree. The bad vibes from the event lingered, according to Irving, and it was not far from the “fearful tree” that the hapless Ichabod Crane first saw “something huge, misshapen, black, and towering.” That something of course was the infamous headless Hessian who chased Crane to the Old Dutch Church.

The church still stands, amidst the small graveyard where Irving’s ghostly Hessian soldier, would tether his black steed to the headstones. The writer himself is buried in the adjacent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which offers tours of the real sites behind the legend.

2 of 10

Bronte Wuthering Heights

(Patrick Ward / Corbis)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Ponden Hall and Top Withens, England

Brontë probably had two places in mind when she imagined Wuthering Heights, the haunted house in Yorkshire at the center of her only novel. The Heights’ remote, windswept location could have been that of Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse that overlooks the moors south of her hometown of Haworth. The structure itself could have been based on Ponden Hall, a 19th-century manor house also near Haworth; the single-paned window on the second floor may well have been the one that Catherine Linton’s ghost tried to climb through one wild, snowy night. (Ponden’s owners, Stephen Brown and Julie Akhurst, do offer tours to small groups.)

Cape of Good Hope

(iStockphoto)

“The Flying Dutchman”
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

The story of a ship called the Flying Dutchman doomed to sail the seas for eternity is a trusty old chestnut much loved in the arts. Richard Wagner turned it into an opera, Washington Irving wrote about it, American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder created a moody portrait of it, and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” introduced modern audiences to the legend.

Many believe the original vessel was sailing between Holland and the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century. As it approached the Cape of Good Hope near the tip of Africa, a fierce storm arose. The captain, perhaps eager to get the trip over with, vowed to round the treacherous coastline even if it took him until doomsday.

Those who want to see the results of his folly can stand watch from the Cape, now part of South Africa’s breathtakingly gorgeous Table Rock National Park.

The Stanley Hotel

(Stock Connection Distribution / Alamy)

The Shining, Stephen King
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo.

One fall night in 1974, King and his wife stayed in Room 217 of this rambling clapboard hotel in the Rockies. En route to the room, King said later, he saw ghostly children in the halls.

That encounter became a pivotal scene in his novel about a hotel caretaker who becomes possessed by the lodge’s evil spirits and in the 1980 film, starring Jack Nicholson. The Stanley didn’t make it into the movie, however; director Stanley Kubrick used Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, a spooky looking manse of stone and wood.

The Stanley embraces its notoriety just the same. Built in 1909 by automaker F.O. Stanley, the 138-room lodge offers ghost tours that include stops in the Kings’ room and the eerie long corridors. Guides also mention the ghosts King didn’t meet, such as a long-dead housekeeper who folks clothes still and a spirit who does not like anyone touching the hotel’s antique Steinway piano.

Not scary enough? Turn on any TV then and watch “The Shining,” which plays continuously on the in-house channel.

Poenari Castle

(Imagestate Media Partners Limited – Impact Photos / Alamy )


Dracula, Bram Stoker
Poenari Castle, Romania

 

The crumbling fortress perched on a cliff above the Arges River was one of several used by Vlad Dracula, ruler of southern Romania in the 15th century and the man behind Bram Stoker’s immortal (pardon the pun) vampire tale. The castle was in ruins when Dracula came to power. To restore it, the legend goes, he forced several hundred prisoners to ferry bricks and stones up the cliff along a human assembly line.

Poenari (poh-yeh-NAR) is open to anyone able to ascend the more than 1,400 steps that lead to the summit. Once there, spectacular views of the Carpathian Mountains unfold from the battlements–the same ones that Dracula’s wife jumped from in 1462 as she chose death over being captured by the Turkish army encamped below.

The castle Stoker described in his breakout 1897 novel was probably a composite of three. Of those, Poenari was the only one the real Dracula inhabited. He was imprisoned briefly in the second one, Bran Castle, also in Romania. And the third one is Slain’s Castle in Scotland; Stoker stayed near Slain’s for several years and reportedly was inspired by the grim Gothic building on the rocky east coast. It is in ruins now, while Bran is a museum.

Holy Trinity Church

(Lee Pengelly / Alamy)

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Holy Trinity Church, Buckfastleigh, England

 

Richard Cabell was not a popular guy. Some said he was such a hellion that when he died in 1677, his neighbors built a sepulcher around his tomb in Holy Trinity’s cemetery to make sure he couldn’t get out; they even covered the actual grave with a heavy stone slab for good measure.

Such precautions, however, did not prevent Cabell’s hounds from surrounding the mausoleum at night, howling for their master to rise up and hunt with them across the moors of southern England. This legend grabbed the keen imagination of Conan Doyle when he visited Devon in the early 20th century, and he based one of his best-loved Sherlock Homes mysteries on those spectral hunters. In his story, giant paw prints found next to the savagely mutilated body of Sir Charles Baskerville led Holmes on a ghost-hunt.

Much of the 13th-century church burned in 1992. But Cabell’s vault is intact; peek through the barred windows if you dare.

Daphne du Maurier country

(Gary Eastwood Photography / Alamy)

 

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
Menabilly, England

 

“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” And so begins Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic romance about a young bride trying to live in a home possessed by the spirit of her husband’s first wife.

Manderly was largely based on Menabilly, an Elizabethan-era manor the English writer first saw in the 1920s when she trespassed on its grounds near the Cornish coast. Two decades later, du Maurier–flush with the proceeds from the bestselling novel–was able to rent Menabilly. She lived there with her family until 1969.

The manor house is not open to the public. However, the owners rent out two cottages on the grounds as holiday rentals. The beach around Polridmouth Bay–where Rebecca deWinter’s wrecked sailboat washed up–is accessible via a short hike from the village of Fowey.

Fans of the 1940 movie version of “Rebecca” shouldn’t even try to find the baronial estate that features so prominently in the Oscar-winning film. Director Alfred Hitchcock used a model for the exterior shots. He shot the movie in California since England was in the throes of World War II at the time.

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Comments (12)

I would like to tell u that I don’t believe in the sleepy hollows because its just a legend maybe it is real that would be great because I love the sleepy hollows that’s what I would like to tell u thank you very much

Posted by Brooke on February 19,2013 | 01:37 PM

Hi, I’m Romanian and wanted to tell you that the ruler that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel wasn’t named Vlad Dracula, but Vlad Ţepeş. Dracul (without the “a”) was a nickname he got for being a severe, merciless ruler. It literally means devil or demon. Dracula is just the name that Stoker gave his character, probably after mishearing Vlad’s real nickname( Romanian is a very odd and difficult language for foreigners). Vlad used extreme measures against his enemies (like impaling them in huge stakes and leaving their bodies there to rot, as a chilling reminder that he is not to be messed with) and in at least one known instance he called all the court’s trusted men and their families to a feast and he slaughtered them,because he got word they were plotting against him. Plus, the pronunciation of Poenari you wrote in brackets, is incorrect.

Posted by Diana on January 30,2013 | 09:17 PM

Doesn’t sound as if the person who wrote this piece ever read “Rebecca”. Manderly was not possessed. Nice photo of Menabilly though.

Posted by Jamie Curtis on January 27,2013 | 10:34 PM

While everyone was reading “The Exorcist”, I was not. I was living on Prospect Street in Georgetown, and the thought of reading that scary book about something that took place just a couple of blocks from my house (even though that was not the real location), was too much. I did eventually read the book, and saw the film crew around Georgetown when the movie was being filmed. It is still the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, and I have seen it multiple times! The man who was thrown out the window in the book was a friend, not a boyfriend, as I recall. I think the house in the movie was for sale a couple of years ago. Who could actually live in it – although it probably has fantastic views? Such a creepy story!!

Posted by Suzy on December 9,2009 | 12:16 PM

Sprague Mansion in Cranston, R.I., should also be of interest. There have been many sightings there by folks who no nothing about this old estate. There have been sightings of children playing and many other things seen too! Murders have been linked to the people who lived there in the past!

Posted by Melvyn G. Tavares on November 19,2009 | 08:59 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Like most people when I heard these stories I would imagine what the places looked like. It was really neat to see some of the places look exactly what I had imagined.

Posted by Tracey on November 12,2009 | 11:51 AM

Although the final exorcisims took place in St. Louis, the boy was posessed and first had signs at his home in the Mt. Ranier neighborhood of Northwest D.C. a few miles north of Georgetown.

Posted by Aysha on November 5,2009 | 01:00 PM

Visitors to Cape Point in South Africa will have to enter the Table Mountain National Park (not the Table Rock NP as stated in your article).It is a fantastic place to visit – and the windswept heights and barren mountains lend an espceially romantic atmosphere to the whole Flying Dutchman story too.

Posted by Caroline Voget on October 30,2009 | 03:15 AM

And the exorcisms actually took place in St. Louis, in a hospital that has since been torn down.

Posted by Miles on October 29,2009 | 06:44 AM

The boyfriend took the first tumble, but Karras throws himself down the stairs, too.

Posted by Sara on October 27,2009 | 11:46 AM

Actually it wasn’t father Damien in the film that took the tumble down the steps. It was the boyfriend of the mother. Just thought you should know.

Posted by Nathan Branstetter on October 26,2009 | 12:56 PM

At some point or another every historian becomes interested in the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes. It is interesting here to learn that it is open to visitors. Great article.

Posted by Stacy on October 22,2009 | 02:02 PM

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History of Chicago (part 1)

English: Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. There a...

English: Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. There are no known portaits of Point du Sable made during his lifetime. This depiction is taken from A.T. Andreas 1884 book History of Chicago. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle

English: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them.” – Mark Twain, 1883

Trying to put together a brief history of the city of Chicago isn’t an easy undertaking. The city is so deep in rich and colorful history that a writer could spend entire weeks trying to capture it all, and still feel as though it wasn’t complete. I suppose that I should get used to that feeling, considering that the next few cities that I poke around at are generally in the same historical boat. With Chicago, I decided that the Illinois Indians were the perfect place to start.

The Illinois Indians 

The name “Illinois” itself is an Algonquian Indian word. It comes from the Miami-Illinois tribal name Illiniwek, which means “the people.” The Illini Indians were not the only Native Americans in Illinois, however, despite the fact that no nationally recognised tribes exist within the state of Illinois today. The state of the Illinois Indian tribes today is not due to extinction, but rather to forced relocation. Like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government.

At the time of the first white settlement the Potawatomi Indian tribe inhabited the Chicago region.

The Mounds

Illinois is often remembered for the beauty and intrique of the natural earthen formations found within her region, the mounds being one of the main objects of curiosity and controversy. The narture of these mounds has been a rousing debate and heated point of conversation for even the first settlers in the territory. For many years theories of all sorts have been thrown around, some attributing the mounds to a race of “mound-builders” who were supposed to have come from Asia, Mexico, or even more remote places. Others theories often linked them to some sort of “faerie” mound, or possible burial sites.

The Bureau of American Ethnology undertook a survey of the mounds in the eastern United States late in the 20th century.  The reports which resulted from this work helped to offer some much less speculative and more scientific views of the anomallies. The following general facts were uncovered by the project…

While many of the mounds are obviously prehistoric, some of them have been proved by their contents to be post-Columbian. According to the pamphlet  Indians of the Chicago Region, With Special Reference to the Illinois and the Potawatomip, “...a great amount of historical evidence, moreover, clearly shows that the Indians occupying the mound region at the time they were visited by the first explorers, were actually “mound builders,” and raised both towns and places of worship on these artificial eminences. The human remains found in the mounds that have been excavated to date, are all of the American Indian type, and represent only the recent period of geologic time.”

Several types have been found, but  the most interesting (to me) are the effigy mounds which seem to represent animals of several varieties.  Ancestors of the Winnebago, and nearby peoples of Siouan stock seem to be the closest in origin.

Early Chicago

In 1682, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle had claimed a large territoryof the Illinois area, including what is now Chicago , for France. In 1763 the French ceded this area to Great Britain’s Province of Quebec following the French and Indian War. Great Britain then ceded the area to the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War

Chicago’s first permanent resident was a trader named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a free black man apparently from Haiti, who came here in the late 1770’s. He traded furs with the Indians on the north bank of the Chicago River, where he lived with his wife Catherine until 1796. He and his family then left with their children and moved to Peoria, Illinois.

Fort Dearborn

United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River in what is now Chicago, Illinois, Fort Dearborn was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. Settlers thought it would keep them safe from invading forces, but they were wrong, it didn’t. In 1812, the U.S. had another war with England, except this one was unique in that the English joined the Native Americans to try to win back their territory.

Chicago, 1812: This illustration is inspired by a diorama from the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition showing an unnamed Native American, the Kinzie house, Fort Dearborn, and the dunes at the lakeshore on the horizon.

When the war of 1812 broke out between Great Britain and the United States, the government ordered for the abandonment and closure of Fort Dearborn, and because of this, onn August 15, 1812, many soldiers and settlers left Fort Dearborn to go to Fort Wayne in Indiana. As the last of the travelers were in process of relocating , over 500 natives attacked. About half the people in the group were killed by natives, the rest were taken prisoner. Natives then burned Fort Dearborn to the ground.

The Fort lay unoccupied and in ruin, until 1816 when American soldiers rebuilt Fort Dearborn.

Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1816, and slowly, settlers started to come back, but settlers were still afraid of the Native Americans. In 1818 Illinois became a state. South parts of Illinois had a population of about 40,000 people. Around then, only about 100 people lived in Chicago.

 

Death in Hollywood

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Ben Ramsey)

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood Boulevar...

Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA Box office windows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though, not in the frame of a “haunt”, this movie provides some interesting information about the most notorious deaths of Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. I found it to be fascinating and insightful.

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