Ghosts of Griffith Park Los Angeles


Detail from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round


In November 2016 I took a trip to Southern California with my Sisters and niece. While there I was fortunate to visit a few places that are either reported to be haunted, and have a history or legend that is paranormal in nature. Of all the places my Sisters and I went we only encountered one definite cold spot that was very weird. I should note we were not ghost hunting, but just worked in the paranormal, magical, unique and interesting when possible.


On Sunday November 13th we visited Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and it was near the old, long abandoned LA Zoo that we had the odd happening. The old Zoo is located on a hiking trail off Fire Road, Los Angeles, 90027

Here is a brief history:

"The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith's old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding, it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which was inadequate for several of the species kept on site.

Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.

In the mid 1920s, with the failure of the Selig Zoo, William Nicholas Selig donated several of his animals to the Griffith Park Zoo. Selig had owned Selig Polyscope, which post closure of the film studio, led the movie producer to take all the animals he had gathered for his films and try his hand at opening up a zoo in East Los Angeles. A zoo he had plans to mix with a large amusement park. Selig had grandiose plans involving a large zoo, rides, restaurants, a hotel, and even a giant swimming pool complete with a beach and wave making machine. None of his plans ever saw fruition however, and although the Selig Zoo was occasionally rented out to film a few movies, such as the 1918 Tarzan, the zoo ultimately failed, leading Selig to donate the animals to the Griffith Park Zoo.

By May 1958, people had had enough of the Griffith Park Zoo and its condition, leading voters to vote for the establishment of a brand new zoo. An $8 million dollar bond was approved for construction, and by November 1966 the new Los Angeles Zoo opened a few miles north of the Griffith Park Zoo. All the animals were relocated there, thus ending the career of the Griffith Park Zoo."

History Source Weird California




We arrived at the head of the trail after several hours of exploring the Griffith Observatory and taking in a show at their Planetarium, which I highly recommend! There were quite a few people including families near the parking area who were picnicking, it was getting close to dusk, but still fairly early in the day and quite warm. As we hiked up to the abandoned zoo enclosures there were fewer and fewer people and no one on the trail giving us a chance to thoroughly check it out.

There is an eerie atmosphere there that can definitely be related to the history of how people used to believe it was OK to treat animals, and in some cases still do. A definite sadness in the air, and the scenery lends itself to a horror movie vibe.


After climbing into some of the enclosures and snapping a few photos we started back up the path away from the parking towards the trails. I was looking for some rocks to bring home from the location when my Sister called out to me to come over to where she was standing. Right in that spot there was a definite "cold spot" with absolutely no identifiable source. The temperature if I had to guess was at least 15 degrees colder and felt like standing beside air conditioner's vent. 


Here is a photo of the location of the cold spot.


This is another angle from near where the cold spot was encountered. 


Cold spots are considered to be part of a PSI or paranormal experience. Maurice Townsend of ASSAP describes them thusly:

"People often report 'cold spots' in haunted locations. These are small areas (usually a lot smaller than a room) that feel significantly colder than the surrounding area. They are considered by some to be a sign of a ghost in the area. Some cold spots are always felt in the same place while others seem to appear and disappear at different locations." 

Full article on cold spots here

I have encountered cold spots before while visiting reportedly haunted sites, but usually not so drastic a change, and never one outdoors before. An unusual and unexpected highlight of our visit to Griffith Park. 

For more on the Griffith Park hauntings please have a look Weird California's Curse of Griffith Park page which includes the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round which we visited after the the hike up to the Zoo. 


This Merry Go Round was the inspiration in part for Walt Disney to build his theme park. There is information and a history on the site. It is definitely beautiful with its own creepy long ago fairground vibe and vintage calliope music.


Creepy clown and devils lead the way!



Naturally we just had to take a ride! 


Merry Go Round Selfie!  

According to Weird California "a ghost lurks near the Merry Go Round, having been seen descending steps nearby and disappearing as he reaches the last step." I can believe it! And while we did not encounter that ghost I would love to hear from anyone who has had a first hand encounter or an interesting story from Griffith Park. Will definitely go back when in L.A.

Snack tip: Popcorn is free at the Merry Go Round at the end of day 😀



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