Originally published in the Denver Post and The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Halloween 2004.
Never never never bring a Ouija board
into a haunted hotel.  Sounds like a
no-brainer, right?  But that’s what
happened recently at the Roosevelt Hotel
in Hollywood, CA, a place renowned for its
glut of ghosts.
  “She asked for the haunted room,” says
hotel security agent Bruce Campbell, 36,
about a recent guest.  “Then when she
was trying to sleep, the coffee pot went
on and off, and the TV set started
changing channels by itself, and the lights
flickered on and off.  She called
downstairs and [complained], so
we gave her a different room and the
same thing happened, like it followed her
or something.  She got so upset that she
checked out about 4:00 a.m.  That’s when
we found out that she had a Ouija board
and had tried to contact Montgomery
  Clift, a popular movie actor who died in
1966, lived in Room 928 (right) for three
months during the filming of From Here to
Eternity.  He used to pace up and down
the ninth floor hallways, rehearsing his
lines and sometimes blowing a bugle.  His
room is considered the “haunted room”
because it has the most reported activity,
but there have been sightings and
strange phenomenon on all 12 floors.  It
is said upwards of 35 ghosts wander this
grand old hotel, its cabanas, and
recreation areas.
  Clift’s is something of a belligerent
spirit, frightening guests by tapping them
on the shoulder or scaring housemaids
by brushing past them in the hallway.  Not
surprisingly, the maid staff turnover rate
is rather high.
  Peter James, a leading paranormal
researcher and clairvoyant medium,
spent the night in 928.  He woke up at
3:30 a.m. when he felt the sensation of a
heavy weight straddling his body.  He
could barely move.  The weight finally
lifted when he was able to struggle his
arms free.  He fell asleep again, and then
at 5:00 a.m. he woke up and saw a man
standing by his bed.  “I realized that it was
Montgomery Cliff,” he says.  “He stood for
a few moments, walked over to the chair
and "sat" there for approximately 30
minutes. He spoke of a very tormented
life... He was a gentle soul with a boyish
  Clift is not the only former celeb to hang
posthumously at the hotel, according to
James.  He claims to have contacted
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in the
suite named after them, and the spiritual
presence of Errol Flynn in the hotel bar.
  The ghost of movie icon Marilyn Monroe
may be here as well.  Her association with
the Roosevelt goes back a long way.  She
posed for her first print ad - for
toothpaste - on the diving board of the
hotel pool and stayed here often in the
1950’s, preferring a second floor Cabana
Room, #246.  At her request, the hotel
provided a tall, dark wood framed full-
length mirror, which was moved to the
general manager’s office after her tragic
suicide in 1962.  In December, 1985 a
maid named Suzanne Leonard was
dusting the mirror when she saw a blonde
woman standing directly behind her
reflected in the glass.  She turned to
speak to the woman, but no one was
there.  When she turned back, the
reflection was again behind her.  Two
psychics “read” the mirror, and found
much sadness in it, but it was
inconclusive whether or not the apparition
was the famed actresses.
  This 75-year old hotel, located on the
Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and
kitty corner from Grauman’s Chinese
Theater, has its share of non-famous
ghosts as well.  Security agent Campbell
tells the story of a little one named
Caroline: “There was a man staying in a
cabana with his young son and
daughter,” he says.  “Apparently he left to
run an errand, and the left the kids
asleep.  The kids [woke up and] couldn’t
find their dad, so they decided to go play
on their own.  Caroline jumped in the
pool, her brother jumped in after her and
they both drowned.”
  Caroline’s ghost would become part of
hotel legend several years later.  
Campbell continues: “The PBX operator
got a call from a little girl using the house
phone in the lobby.  The little girl picked
up the phone and said to the operator,
“I’m looking for my daddy, I can’t find my
daddy.”  The operator said, “Well, if you
wait right there we’ll send a security agent
to come get you and we’ll figure out
where your dad went.”  And she said,
“Tell him to hurry up because I want to
play.”  And the operator said, “Okay, just
wait right there and we’ll send
  The security agent really wasn’t that far
away, but by the time he got to the lobby
there was no little girl on the phone.  So
he’s thinking, great, this little kid’s loose
somewhere.  He looked in Blossom
Ballroom, he looked in the lobby, he
looked in the restaurant, and he was
looking behind the bar when the girl
called back.  The operator picked up the
phone and the little girl said, “Did you find
my daddy?”  The operator said, “No, and
can you stay in one place because the
security agent can’t find you.”  She said,
“Well, I really want to play.  Do you want
to play?”  And the operator said, “No,
sweetie, I’ve got to work.”   The little girl
said, “You’re ugly!” and hung up the
  The operator got back on the radio and
said to the security agent, “That little girl’s
on the phone again.  Will you go get her
and bring her to the front desk?”  And the
security agent said, “But that’s
impossible.  There’s nobody on that
phone because
I’m standing right next to
  “That’s when the operator kind of got
freaked out,” says Campbell.
The Roosevelt Hotel is on Hollywood Boulevard, across the
street from Grauman's Chinese Theater (foreground).
Montgomery Clift's room.
This is the mirror Marilyn Monroe had in her pool side
bungalow.  It now stands on the second floor across
from the gift shop. Note the floating orb in the center.
  Many guests and staff members claim
to have seen Caroline over the years.  
She wears a blue dress and frolics in the
lobby.  When approached, she
disappears.  Manny Frias, 45, an
engineer with the hotel for 20 years,
thinks he saw her brother.  Late one
evening he saw a young boy playing in
the Jacuzzi.  He turned his head away to
look for the parents, but when he looked
back, the boy was gone.  He checked the
area for wet footprints, but there were
none.  How could the boy have got out of
the Jacuzzi without leaving wet footprints?
  Things didn’t get crazy around here
until 1985.  The hotel began a $12 million
renovation project in 1984 that was
completed the following year.  Something
must have happened during its
reconstruction, some kind of cosmic
jarring, because the ghosts have made
their presence felt since then.  Before
that, it was just another swanky place to
  Other ghosts show up from time to
time.  A white-suited piano player in the
Blossom Ballroom.  An African-American
cook in the kitchen.  A clarinet player in
the cabaret.  
  There is other ghost-related
phenomenon as well.  An orb is a bubble-
like object said to be the spirit of a person
or another life form, most times invisible
to the naked eye.  Digital photos taken in
the Roosevelt show orbs floating in the
air.  Lots of them.
  There is allegedly a cold spot in the
Blossom Ballroom, where the first
Academy Awards ceremony was held.  
This is a “ghost’s calling card,” according
to Psychic -Medium Craig McManus on
  The ballroom also has strange little
lights that seemingly come from no
source, that dance on the walls and then
disappear.  What are they?  Spirits
winking at the living, then moving on?
That’s unlikely.  As much of this is unlikely.
The good folks at Skeptical Enquirer
magazine would have a field day picking
apart this story because there is not a
shred of irrefutable proof to any of it.  
Plenty of first-person account.  No solid
  A search for the cold spot in the
Blossom Ballroom came up empty.  It is
supposed to be 30 inches in diameter
and more than ten degrees cooler than
the rest of the room.  Its approximate
location is known, so it should not be hard
to find.  But it is not there.  And the
dancing lights probably have some logical
explanation.  Why do the lights have to be
  The photo above shows an “orb” by the
Marilyn Monroe mirror.  Yet most
paranormal sites on the Internet claim orb
photography is bunk.  The Ghost
Research Society says “most orb
photographs are taken with digital
cameras [like this one] under extremely
low-light conditions and are nothing more
than digital flaws caused by lack of
pixelation or filling of the proper colors
due to a digital defect.”  Easy to fake, in
other words.
  Most of the ghost stories are exactly
that: stories.  Great as urban legend.  But
in the light of cold hard fact, Scully beats
Mulder every time.
  So go ahead and check into Room
928.  And don’t be alarmed when the
coffee pot turns on and off and the TV set
starts changing channels by itself.  There
has to be some logical explanation,
right?  Because there’s no such thing as
ghosts.  Right?
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