More Haunted Hollywood
Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:20 PM
We have heard many of the ghostly legends surrounding Hollywood’s Golden Age, including such stars as: Rudolph Valentino, Joan Crawford, Peg Entwistle, Thelma Todd, et al. Two intriguing ghostly legends also surround another Golden Age star: Jean Harlow. Often misinterpreted, the Jean Harlow ghost-legends remain two of the more curious ghostly tales to come out of Hollywood. To understand them better, we need to pierce the soft underbelly and resurrect some shadows.
“In the arms of a ghost”
This is exactly how Clark Gable felt while finishing “Saratoga.” And, in a way, he was. Jean Harlow, his co-star in the film (and, in many films - as well as his close friend in real life), had died suddenly. A shocked Hollywood, immersed in grief over the tragic death of one of its brightest stars, left “Saratoga’s” production at a temporary stand-still. A grief-stricken Gable was left to finish the film with the use of Jean’s stand-in, long-shots and voice-overs to compensate for Jean’s loss.
Far from the glamorous “Platinum Blonde” image carefully sculpted of her by Howard Hughes (another Hollywood ghost), Harlean Harlow Carpenter (who took her mother’s maiden name, Jean Harlow, for her screen persona), or “Baby” as her family and friends called her, was regarded as one of the most down-to-earth and genuinely kind actresses of her time by her peers and fans and lauded for her natural talent and impeccable comedic timing by Hollywood giants. The tiny, 5’2” film star never lost her child-like innocence or down-to-earth nature even in the shine of the limelights: she preferred to wear trousers and polo shirts rather than satin gowns, had an intense inferiority complex, loved snacking on her favorite food: barbequed hot dogs, adopted pets of all kinds while other actresses “adopted” expensive jewels, and, instead of retreating to her dressing room after takes, Jean hung-out with the crew (her “gang,” as she lovingly called them) making sure they always got their well-deserved breaks and personally provided them with coffee and doughnuts every morning. It is said that everyone loved Jean (everyone except Joan Crawford, naturally) and it is easy to see why.
Her main ambition around the time of her death was not to go on making films. It was to marry the love of her life, fellow actor William Powell (who refused to marry her), settle down and have children. But, being lured into acting by her mother (“Mama Jean”) at an early age, Jean was inadvertently set-up for a topsy-turvy existence with several heart-breaking and disastrous disappointments being the result. At the time of her death, it is said that Jean had no will to live, anymore. She had seen too much in her short life. No wonder her spirit still, evidently, walks the earth.
The Bern/Harlow Hauntings:
The Easton Drive home (private property) that Jean Harlow shared with her 2nd husband, MGM executive Paul Bern, is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Bern (who committed what was deemed suicide there on September 5, 1932, just two months after marrying Jean. His death remains one of Hollywood’s greatest, unsolved mysteries). In the 1960’s, this home was owned by Jay Sebring. His close friend, actress Sharon Tate, witnessed the vision of Bern’s ghost one night in this house. Upon rushing from the frightening spectre, Sharon happened upon a grisly vision which seemed to foreshadow her and Jay’s brutal murders. Was the spirit of Paul Bern trying to warn Sharon of her fate? In the face of what would happen to the beautiful and kind actress, Jay and their friends, it seems sadly likely. Jean’s spirit is also rumored to inhabit this house.
The spirit of Jean Harlow is also said to roam the rooms (particularly, the master bedroom) of her former home on Club View Drive (private property). Various paranormal activity have been experienced in this house: cold spots, flickering lights, disembodied sobbing/footsteps/knockings, the smell of woman’s perfume, uneasy feelings, the sighting of an unexplainable light and a soft, disembodied voice whispering: “Please, help me...” It is easy to understand why Jean’s spirit would remain in this house with all that she celebrated and endured while there. Her husband had “committed suicide” and she was left to pick up the pieces of her life with the whole world watching in this house (she later moved). Jean gallantly endured much despair in her life and, if anyone would haunt this house, it would surely be she. And, most believe that she does.
In late May of 1937, 26 year-old Jean succumbed to the mysterious illness that had silently been plaguing her body for years (ever strong and professional, no one had any idea how much pain she was enduring or just how gravely ill she was at the end). Mama Jean held a bed-side vigil for her Baby. Contrary to rumors, a heart-broken Mama Jean had a doctor and nurses attending to her daughter at all times. Jean was officially diagnosed with kidney failure and, in the days before transplants or dialysis, there was nothing that anyone could do to save her. She was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital on the evening of June 6th and died there the next morning leaving all of Hollywood (and, beyond) in a state of shocked disbelief. “The day The Baby died,” recalled screenwriter Harry Ruskin, “there wasn’t one sound in the commissary for three hours. Not one...sound.”
“Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life:”
Jean’s life was fraught with far too much drama and heart-break. Perhaps, her spirit is still roaming the rooms of her former homes, desperately searching for answers, replaying her grief or seeking a kind stranger to offer her comfort. Whatever the true nature of these hauntings, one ultimate truth remains showing the true legacy of one of Hollywood’s greatest and most beloved stars. It is best summed up by Eve Golden in her touching biography on Jean, “Platinum Girl:”
“Jean Harlow’s life, like the Tin Man’s heart, should be judged not by how much she loved, but by how much she was loved by others.”
Posted 02 September 2006 - 01:37 PM
She was at a dinner party and kept on addressing Margot Asquith (wife of prime minister Herbert Asquith) as MargoT (pronouncing the 'T'). Margot finally had enough and said to her "No Jean, the T is silent, as in Harlow".
"It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true." -Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
Posted 09 September 2006 - 09:03 PM
add that according to a documentary, the studio head -- I believe Louis B. Mayer? --
offered the best nephrologist at the time to treat her, but Jean's mother refused
My favorite scene with Jean Harlow is at the end of "Dinner At Eight" as she walks into the
Posted 10 September 2006 - 05:48 AM
And, you’re very right... According to David Stenn, it was Mayer and Howard Strickling who went to see Mother Jean to offer the services of Mayer’s personal physician, a Dr. Edward B. Jones. But, Mama held a grudge against Jones for his public (and, humiliating) announcement regarding a still-shady (and, still unproven) facet of the Bern/Harlow marriage years earlier after Bern’s suicide. She wasn’t going to let that doctor near her Baby, again, and risk another public humiliation for her daughter and the family. She used “Christian Science” as the excuse to Mayer and Strickling on why she would not let Dr. Jones treat Jean - which is where a large part of the “Mama Jean killed Baby Jean” theory comes into play. All she was doing, though, was trying to protect her daughter from being hurt by that particular doctor, again. She was trying to take control of the situation to heal her daughter in the privacy of their home with doctors they knew they could trust. Too, she was worried that Jean’s alcoholism might be leaked to the press and was trying to keep that as private as she could. No one truly knew, at that time, that Jean was suffering from anything more than a serious bout with the flu or the effects of alcoholism. Mama had one doctor taking care of Jean, but she soon sought a second opinion from another doctor she trusted. It was that second opinion she sought that diagnosed Jean with acute nephritis and, at that point, she was taken to the hospital.
I love that scene you mentioned from “Dinner at Eight.” That was absolutely priceless. I particularly loved her acting in “Libeled Lady” and “Personal Property.” Over-all, "Personal Property" is probably my favorite film of hers. She was so cute trying to act rich and NOT in love with her butler. Not to mention her films with Gable. Did they sure burn up the screen together! Oh, I could go on forever...
Edited by Vivienne_DuBois, 10 September 2006 - 05:51 AM.
Posted 17 September 2006 - 01:48 AM
Now the stories about Jayne Mansfield, on the other hand, strike me as having something to them.
Edited by Feisty, 17 September 2006 - 01:49 AM.
Posted 17 September 2006 - 07:38 AM
I respect completely your (and your friend’s) opinion on the Harlow hauntings. But, please don’t assume where it is I get my information from as I have never read either of those two books you've mentioned. I know I’ve read one of Holzer’s reports on this, but it wasn’t in the book you mentioned (although, if, as you say, it is also in “Haunted Hollywood” – they are probably very similar if both written by Holzer). Most of this information is all over the place.
Although, I have no idea on the “where-abouts” of Marilyn Monroe (nor, claim to) and have no personal knowledge regarding the Paul Bern haunting, I do have personal knowledge about the spirit of Jean Harlow – knowledge that correlates with some of the experiences I’ve read over the years of her hauntings, which is why I posted this in the first place because I know there are quite a few people here who are interested in Hollywood ghosts and because some of the other experiences rang true to me. Because the nature of my personal knowledge on the spirit of Jean Harlow is just that: personal, I won’t discuss it in detail (and, haven’t except to a few key people who I can trust). Rather, I thought a nice little post on the generally accepted experiences of the Harlow hauntings and, the relating of certain facets of her personal life and debunking of certain myths surrounding her life (whether any of it is actually true or not) might be interesting to some people here on GV.
As far as Jean Harlow’s spirit is concerned, I am personally convinced she is still around in some capacity – whether what has been written about it in a great many places is true or not. But, that’s just my personal experience.
I was merely trying to post an interesting topic, one that I believe in and find most intriguing, for others here to read and enjoy. Nothing more.
Edited by Vivienne_DuBois, 17 September 2006 - 07:40 AM.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 06:16 AM
Couldn't it be possible that even if these ladies moved on a long time ago, 'recordings' of incidents that dramatically affected them might still be replaying themselves periodically.
The sighting of a spirit passing up steps that no longer exist may not be of the actual person's ghost, but a spiritual recording of an incident that had some meaning.
Considering how many people have tried to contact MM over the years, I wouldn't blame her spirit for getting as far away from us 'conscious' beings as possible for a little peace. Perhaps she'd be ready to try something new.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 07:09 AM
Good point. Residual energy could be a factor, here, yes. The majority of happenings recorded in Jean’s home on Club View could be of this nature considering what she endured while there. Although, I have a feeling that, at least in Jean’s case, something more intricate may be going on.
I recall reading somewhere that a few celebrities who were contacted by psychics (Marilyn and James Dean were two of them...) stated that they did not appreciate the fans who were obsessive about them because those fans were keeping their spirits attached to the earth. Now, I forget which psychic stated this about Marilyn, but the psychic who stated this about James Dean, I consider legitimate. It makes sense in my mind that if a person (celebrity or not) is kept a hold of too tightly by a living person, that that could make it very difficult for them to “move on.”
Posted 03 October 2006 - 06:06 AM
It makes sense in my mind that if a person (celebrity or not) is kept a hold of too tightly by a living person, that that could make it very difficult for them to “move on.”
Perhaps it's like the annoying coworker who drapes him or her self over your cubicle wall and insists on telling you his or her life story and how you should live your life, etc?
Or the nerdy person who attaches to you at a nightclub or bar?
Perhaps dwelling on someone 'passed on' is like constantly tugging at their psychic 'sleeve'. In the case of those who are famous, this transmits into millions of tugs and perhaps an infernal din. I wonder if there's any help on the other side for this sort of problem, or if they close the door by being reincarnated.
My speculations, of course.
Posted 06 October 2006 - 09:19 PM
I've found that the celebrity’s ability to “move on” doesn’t seem as much affected by the average fan (but, still, in the case of a major icon, like James Dean, a million "average fans" would surely cause an immense "psychic pull"). It is the fans who fantasize about them a lot or obsess over them who seem to be most at fault, in general, which could explain the over-whelming surge of “psychic pull” and how average admirers are less intrusive in the process of the spirit being able to move on.
Still, there are some very big-named stars who have passed over, so I am curious, as you are, as to how exactly they were able to manage that? I wonder if, such as the case of James Dean, the sudden, young death might hinder them, as well as fantatical fans, etc. etc. as opposed to if they had died peacably in old age. As with most things, it's most likely a combination of factors.
I’ve seen this happen with other non-celebrities, as well, when a family member or close friend, for example, refuses to accept the death and the spirit of the deceased cannot move on due to that “psychic pull.” Once the death is accepted by the person, the spirit is able to move on.
Posted 09 October 2006 - 08:18 AM
Perhaps the lucky ones have had help on one side or the other to pass on. Loved ones on the other side and enlightened friends and family on this side can help after death as they did in life to help go through yet another of life's transformations.
It may depend on the amount of psychic energy a person or entity has that is able to block out or cancel the effect of the clingy people. Look at real-life stars. I'm sure that Paul Newman, who's manage to be a big star, and yet live life in the slow lane, will have an easier time that people like Lindsey Lohan or Courtney Love, who have their public ups and downs.
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