Monday, October 13, 2014

Mr Tiny's Neighborhood Watch: The Haunted Houses of West Adams

Once home to the brightest stars in early-Hollywood's firmament (think Theda Bara, Fatty Arbuckle, Norma Talmadge, Buster Keaton), the area of Los Angeles known as West Adams, while full of historic charm, includes a veritable graveyard of decaying mansions and haunted houses.

As scared as I am of manufactured gore (see: every horror movie ever made), I am equally unafraid of the "supernatural."  Ghosts, spirits, and their ectoplasmic kin just don't bother me...I mean they literally do not bother me.  When the witching hour settles in and most guests have left the party, every friend I have is able to regale the remaining crowd with multiple ghostly encounters.  I, on the other hand, sit there quietly thinking, "You should have an electrician check your breaker box" or "Maybe you have a squirrel in the attic."  I have never had a spooky experience that couldn't be explained by an overactive imagination or the forgetful placement of keys.  The fact is, I'll have a ghost story when I actually see ghost.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I am inviting a demonic possession or anything, but you can classify me as a supportive non-believer; I believe that you believe ghosts are real.  I am the guy that would happily take the opportunity to spend the night in a "haunted house," more afraid of roaches, wayward hobos, and spotty cell reception than visitors from beyond the grave.  Here is just a small, real estate sampler of West Adams' phantasmal finest.

Given that this house is regularly used for filming (most famously for the show, Six Feet Under, according to my brother), my guess is that the rooms have been thoroughly saged, exorcised, and whatever else superstitious Hollywood believes one must do to banish specters.  I'm not saying I wouldn't pee a little if the lights started flickering, but I would love to spend the night in a house with such enticing attic space .

While only one fearless cat remained on the porch, this house is in the running for world's-
biggest, feral-cat condo.  It is clear that someone - or maybe something - is sustaining the
herd, as the side porch is littered in styrofoam plates crusted over with bulk-buy cat food.

Living in Southern California, the land of one million single-story ranch homes, houses like this - even in its current condition - are awe inspiring.  To see a haunted mansion of this magnitude, we usually have to visit Disneyland.  The eerie grandeur of the neo-Classical architecture, highlighted by the seriously-peeling paint job, is done no favors by the rotting baby doll on the front porch???  I admit that if I had the chance to spend the night here I would probably go into shock - albeit of the anaphylactic variety (cat dander is practically deadly to me).

I love this house!  Like a long-forgotten lodge found in the most deeply-wooded area of my imaginary version of the Black Forest, this freaky fairy-tale house reminds of me the one belonging to Shelley Winter's in Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (an early-'70s, Victorian retelling of Hansel & Gretel).  I would spend my night in this house searching for secret passageways and underground tunnels...and maybe hysterically sobbing in a corner (I told you that I have an overactive imagination)!

Without even setting foot inside, it is undeniable that these houses are creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky.  Given the all-together-ookiness of West Adams' many old mansions, it seems like a more apt spelling might be West Addams; any one of them could have easily stood in for television's coolest manor of the macabre.

The theme from The Addams Family

Do you have any haunted houses in your neighborhood?  Are you afraid of ghosts?  Do you have any scary stories that you tell in the dark?  Would you willingly spend the night in one of these houses?


Mr. Tiny


  1. Amazing! I'm scared of wayward hobos as well. Small world. I do believe in ghosts but I find their presence comforting and not scary. I guess bc I have had a lot of people close to me die.

    And there are lots of haunted houses near where I live because it was involved in civil war shenanigans. Confederate ghosts are crazy! There's a house at the end of my street that's a big white plantation style home with a historical marker in front of it. It's strange bc every other house aroubd it (including the one I live in) is a 60s ranch home.

    1. Maybe that's my problem; I believe in happy spirits and find comfort in the thought of my grandparents continued love. I just always wondered IF there are ghosts, why they were always so angry/scary/mean???

      I would love nothing more than a haunted house tour of the South! I actually love ghost stories and spooky supernatural occurrences, they just never happen to me.

  2. The third one is really cute!

    retro rover

    1. I love that one too! I wish I had the money to buy and restore it. I am sure it is filled with a century's worth of secrets and history!

  3. Wow! I had not heard of that neighborhood before! Yet another item to add to the list for a future LA visit :)

    1. You guys have so much great architecture in your neck of the woods that I know you'd appreciate West Adams. There is a lot of mid-century thrown into the neighborhood's mix as well! It is not too far from downtown so it is easy to include a drive-thru tour on your itinerary!