Among Angelenos and tourists alike, L.A.’s famous Griffith Park is one of the standout attractions the city has to offer. Apart from being the location for a plethora of classic films (such as ARMY OF DARKNESS, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, and many more), the spectacular views and parkland-adorned walking trails make it difficult to imagine that there is something incredibly sinister that lies beyond the glistening vistas of the City of Angels.
Civilians have been warned many times to avoid the park after dusk, as there may be more than just a few innocent possums hiding among the terrain, but we dug a little deeper to reveal to you five macabre tidbits that the tourist pamphlets will most likely not reveal…
1. The Griffith Curse
The park is rumored to be plagued by a deadly curse — perhaps a foreshadowing for the ongoing feast of gruesome happenings? As legend would have it, original land-owner Don Antonio Feliz was paid a visit on his deathbed by a local politician to aid Feliz in drawing up his will. Apparently, the politician stuck a stick to the ailing Feliz’s head and forced his nodded approval to sway the will in favor of leaving the land to the nefarious politician. This obviously outraged the Feliz family, and one niece is believed to have said “The wrath of heaven and the vengeance of hell shall fall upon this place.”
For the next thirty years, the park changed owners at an incredible frequency, with each new owner meeting a grisly fate. From then on, the park has continued to host all manner of gruesome incidents. One could say this is purely myth… but the events that have happened over the last 150 years make one wonder.
2. Freak Accidents
Griffith is home to more than its fair share of freak accidents — one of note involve a young couple who met a dastardly ending in 1976. When the amorous duo decided to “sow their wild oats” on a picnic table, a tree fell on them, crushing their virile and heaving bodies. To this day, there are reports of sightings of the couples’ apparitions, accompanied by moaning sounds in the exact location of the tragedy. Some civilians have even claimed that the fallen tree (yes, it is still there) has shaken its boughs at them, sending them running for the nearby hills.
The list of strangely morbid incidents goes on and on, including the more recent and horrific case of a motorist being hurled out of his car on a nearby road and landing on a sign for the I-5 freeway at the base of Griffith Park. The body remained on the ledge of the sign as firefighters took several hours to remove it.
3. Ghostly Apparitions
Griffith Park is home to The Haunted Hayride, which is a wonderful attraction during Halloween season… but for paranormal enthusiasts, the real action occurs in the Park on a regular basis. Over 100 years ago, the original Griffith Park Zoo was opened; it has since been moved to a different location a few miles west. For those in the know, a trek through the park will lead you to the still-standing site of the old Zoo, its original building still intact, but now with Satanic scribblings adorning the walls. Many have said that it has been home to a number of animal sacrifices, and the ghosts of those animals are frequently sighted in the vicinity.
Another regular ghost in the park is the infamous “Merry-Go-Round Apparition” that is occasionally seen hovering around the vintage ride. Originally built in 1926, the Merry-Go-Round was moved from its San Diego location to Griffith Park in 1937. Many people have witnessed an apparition wandering about the ride aimlessly after dark, including Griffith Park’s honorary Mayor himself, Louis Alvarado.
Another notable specter is the original land owner, Don Antonio Feliz, whose ghostly likeness has been sighted on numerous occasions riding his phantom horse around various areas of the park.
4. Satanic Rituals and Sacrifices
In 2002, the park’s Chief Ranger gave this ominous statement to the Los Angeles Times: “Frankly I’m not afraid of any make-believe demons as much as I am of some of the living and breathing human monsters who come here. If you knew even a quarter of the stuff we find within the park’s perimeter you’d never set foot in it again. Animal sacrifices, satanic cults, murders, prostitution… with stuff like that happening on a regular basis it makes a pair of 30-year-old ghosts look like good times.”
It has been reported that various cult members and satanists have been digging up bones for years from cemeteries and using them for their bizarre rituals in various locations of the park. The SPCA has found the mutilated remains of cats and dogs at the scenes of Satanic ceremonies in remote sections of Griffith Park. The animals are usually disemboweled, beheaded or burned. Some cult members have even taken to grave-robbing human remains such as heads, leg bones and other human body parts from mausoleums and cemeteries across Los Angeles, using them to incite black magic.
5. Severed Heads
Many of us know about the shocking case of the “Los Feliz Murder Mansion,” which occurred in the parameters of the park, but the area has been host to a plethora of other murders — too many to mention, in fact. But it is the ongoing theme of dismembered heads and skulls being randomly found within the park’s boundaries that is incredibly disconcerting.
In 2012, two dog-walkers had the misfortune of discovering a severed head neatly packaged in a plastic bag. Hands and feet belonging to the same victim were found within a 50-yard radius of the head. As recently as this year, a human skull believed to be several years old was found near the Hollywood sign, making it the second time a loose cranium has been discovered in the area in the last four years.