About jbartlett2000

Freelance journalist for L.A. Times, BBC, Atlas Obscura, Real Crime, KCET and others, host of "True Crime Tuesdays" book club at The Last Boosktore in downtown L.A., and author of the "Gourmet Ghosts" books, available at Amazon and across Los Angeles.

Extra! Ghosts in the Canadian Rockies!

Before the world went into pandemic lockdown, I was lucky enough to visit the Northern Rockies in British Columbia, Canada. It took three flights to get there from LA, but my time driving along the Alaska Highway, staying at the fantastic Northern Rockies Lodge,  taking a Cessna flight over endless mountains and frozen lakes, relaxing in the Laird Hot Springs, taking a dog ride at Streeper Kennels, and seeing bison (and even a wolf!) were really unforgettable.

And of course there were some ghost stories and true crime tales. I went past the ghost Summit Cafe (elevation 4,250 feet, empty for over 20 years) and was told about the spirit of Anna Mikunda, the wife of a hotelier in Fort Nelson. Her body was found on October 18, 1980, and Philip Joseph Vigna was charged with the murder. Anna’s ghost apparently haunts the local theatre and city hall – several people mentioned it. But there’s more below…

 

 

 

Robert the Ghost Doll in Key West, FL

I am just back from a trip to the hot and humid Conch Republic – The Keys and Key West – in Florida. Quite a place with plenty of tales of shipwrecks, smuggling and man’s attempts to fight the forces of nature.

Some forces can’t be battled though – including Robert the Doll

Extra! Ghost Signs in Toronto, Canada

I was recently in Toronto, Ontario and came across a few worth a look:

 

Extra! The Whiskey Au Go Go Fire in 1973

When I was doing some research for my recent trip to Brisbane, I found out about one of the biggest mass murders in Australian history that happened there when 15 people died in 1973 at the Whiskey Au Go Go Club.

Amazingly it’s a story that’s still ongoing, with the case being reopened in 2017 despite two men being convicted for it years ago. Below is a picture of the building now – it’s a gym below and upstairs (where the club was) is an architect’s office.

It seems I missed the – small – plaque in the ground (only placed there in 2014), but I did later see one of the petrol cans the killers used on display at the Queensland Police Museum. Anyway, there’s an interesting website about it and for fans of history and crime, it’s worth a look.

Extra – Ghost signs in Tasmania

Maybe I posted these before – have been to Hobart twice – but am sorting through all my ghosts signs, and thought these deserved a look. And those Minis! If I could, I would have bought them both back – they were just in a driveway at Battery Point!

 

Extra! GG goes to Brisbane, Australia

Just back from my first trip to Brisbane, Australia – a fantastic city – and thought I would share the ghost signs I found. I also popped to Melbourne to play my first official game of trugo as a member of Yarraville Trugo Club, and snapped a couple there – included them as well. And a few from Fairbanks, Alaska, when I was there earlier this year – bonus!

These are the Melbourne ones:

And Fairbanks – from Australia to Alaska!

September 3 – a VERY bad day in L.A

As you know, I post “Daily Deaths” on my Facebook/Twitter and Instagram feeds (@GourmetGhosts), but today seemed to deserve a blog post of its own, as it was a particularly deadly day in the City of Angels…

Sep 3, 1910 – there was the second accident in two days at the Alexandria Hotel in downtown L.A., which was having an annex built.

Alexandria Hotel ext with sign - Copy

Alexandria Hotel

Iron worker Martin Burkwitz slipped from a girder and fell three floors, suffering many broken bones – though it’s unknown if he died of his injuries. The day before, worker Louis Jeffries had been crushed by a girder, and as his body was removed a riot broke out among the surrounding crowd.

Sep 3, 1919 – Dr. BF Church, 55, jumps to his death from the 10th floor of the Brockman Building in downtown L.A. Apparently suffering from illness and “mental issues”, Church evaded the grasp of a nurse before making his fatal leap.

Brockman Building LAPL archives

Sep 3, 1931 – Al F. Maltby, 75, is close to death after being taken to hospital from the Cecil Hotel. It appears he might become the fourth victim of denatured alcohol (known as methylated spirits; ethanol with chemicals added to make it undrinkable). It seems the poisonings were a result of desperate binge drinking, but it’s not clear. The three victims all lived on East 5th Street.

Sep 3, 1932 – funeral arrangements were announced for Fred Baylies, 52, who had died of a heart attack in his room at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

Roosevelt Hotel black and white pic

Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood

Sep 3, 1934 – the most astonishing and bizarre death of heartthrob singer Russ Colombo

Russ_Columbo

Russ Colombo

at his home alongside the mountaintop Yamashiro, a Japanese-inspired palace in the Hollywood Hills.

Yamashiro(small)

Colombo, who was once engaged to Carole Lombard, was showing his friend Lansing Brown an ancient gun. Brown was handling the gun and lit a cigarette; a chip from the match landed in the trigger chamber and shot Colombo right through the eye.

Debated has raged over whether it really was a freak accident, but either way it was the end for Colombo.

Astonishingly though, the family never told his mother. She was in poor health and near-blind, so for the following years until she died, everyone around her faked letters, phonecalls and postcards, all for the “merciful fraud” of showing her that Russ was still alive, just always touring or in foreign climes. Amazing!

Sep 3, 1976 – An elderly woman in her 70s was founded murdered, her apartment ransacked, in downtown L.A. Police were worried a serial killer was on the loose, as just a few months before another elderly woman had been killed in her room at the Stillwell Hotel. Were the murders connected?

Downtown & Hollywood pics for GG June 15 072

Stillwell Hotel