The Laurie Jacobson Interview
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in life after death? Do you believe
that the spirit lives on long after the body dies?
If so, we have just the book for you. Titled "Hollywood Haunted, A Ghostly Tour of Filmland" (Angel City Press, 2210 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 880, Santa Monica, CA 90403, Tel. (I) 800-949-8039, $16.95). The reader is treated to a rare look at famous Hollywood hauntings written by Laurie Jacobson, a Hollywood Historian, with vintage photographs from the collection of Marc Wanamaker. "Hollywood Haunted" is a different view of the movie capitol for sure.
Laurie Jacobson spoke with us about her book.
Q - How did you get interested in this subject matter? As
a Hollywood Historian what does that work entail?
A - First, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I moved here 21 years ago in pursuit of an acting career. 21 years ago there were still lots of people around working in town who were here doing Hollywood's Golden Age. The history of Los Angeles and Hollywood in particular, was so young, barely a life time old, that I could virtually reach out and touch it. I felt like I was walking in the footsteps of all the people that I had admired so much who made me want to move out here in the first place, and those footsteps were still warm. I could go to Schwab's Drugstore where a 'career waitress' would tell me, 'Clark Gable came in here every Wednesday and he always took this booth, and he always had the racing form under one arm and a bunch of violets for me under the other.' I would get these wonderful stories. I just began collecting stories. When I would repeat these stories to my friends, they were as enchanted and entranced by them as I was. I just sort of stored them away. After a while, I had so many stories that I realized they were coining to me for a reason, but I did not exactly know what that reason was. Eventually, the stories found their way into my first book, 'Hollywood Heartbreak,' a 75-year overview of Hollywood told through the lives and tragic and mysterious deaths of 31 people who helped to build Hollywood. The book was published in 1984 by Simon and Schuster and did very nicely, enjoying 3 large printings. It helped to establish my reputation as a Hollywood Historian. Fairly soon afterward I was offered documentaries about Hollywood History. I wrote 'Hollywood Mysteries and Tragedies' for Cinemax which was hosted by Lauren Bacall. I wrote a couple of episodes in what I believe was a 12-episode series called 'Hollywood Chronicles.' I also appeared in several episodes as well. I was tapped to appear on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and my reputation as a Historian continued to grow.
Q - Do you have any kind of solid, concrete, tangible evidence that ghosts do in fact exist?
A - (Laughs). Well, if we had that, then there would not be a controversy about whether ghosts exist or not. Of course not. Barry Taff certainly has wild things on video tape from his many excursions: balls of light flashing through, people being pushed over. One of his co-workers was walking through an attic that was haunted and within a second was strung up by a rope that appeared from nowhere, lassoed him around the neck, and strung him up on a nail, trying to hang him. It's on tape. You tel1 me what happened. There was only one other person up there and he was working the video camera. I don't know what else you might call it. That was a particularly horrible ghost. There are many, many people I interviewed in the book who have seen ghosts that can describe the person that they saw. They don't always see features. Some of them see blacker than black shadows. Some see women. Some see men. Some can describe clothing and time periods. None of these people were looking for ghosts when they found them, when they were surprised by them just as I had been surprised at the Chinese Theatre. All of these people were just your basic everyday folks walking alone and to their surprise they met with some paranormal activity.