13 More of the Scariest Places in Los Angeles

Interior of Lincoln Heights Jail
Lincoln Heights Jail | Photo: Grendl, Flickr

Los Angeles is well known as the City of Angels, but its credentials as a spooky city proudly stand up to the scariest places in the world. Like everything else in our history, the dark side of Greater Los Angeles exists at an operatic scale. Follow this trail to discover 13 of LA's most infamous murder houses, serial killer lairs, creepy cemeteries, a haunted forest, and even a party-hearty spirit and a friendly canine spook.

For those who want to take a deeper dive into the dark side, be sure to check out our guide to LA's True Crime Locations.

Castillo del Lago and the Hollywood Sign
Castillo del Lago | Photo: @nothing_stars, Instagram

Castillo del Lago

Built in the 1920s, Castillo del Lago (6342 Mulholland Hwy, Los Angeles 90068) was the 1930s home of gangster Bugsy Siegel, who used it as a secret casino (and possible secret execution spot) - the mansion was later owned by Madonna in the 1990s. Now owned by fashion designer Leon Max, Madonna's cream-and-red striped color scheme is gone, but the “deep sense of foreboding” noticed by many visitors remains. Fashion photographers that have shot there report that all their photos turned out black - it’s for you to discover if it has the same effect on Instagram.

Entrance gate to the Cobb Estate in Altadena
Entrance to the Cobb Estate in Altadena | Photo: @craigd.california, Instagram

Cobb Estate (The Haunted Forest)

Located in Altadena, the palatial Cobb Estate (known locally as the Haunted Forest) was built in 1918 and torn down by the Marx Brothers in 1959, just a few years after they bought the 107-acre property (5400 N Lake Ave. at E Loma Alta Dr, Altadena 91001). The dilapidated entrance gates remain, looking like a horror movie trope come to life. Fans will recognize the gates as the entrance to Morningside Cemetery from the 1979 supernatural thriller, Phantasm.

Pass through its portals at night, and you’ll be at the mercy of following footsteps, strange lights, distant screams, and the fallout from gangland executions, Satanic rituals, and even possible UFOs.

Detail from the entrance to El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
Detail from the entrance to El Capitan Theatre | Photo: jimmywayne, Flickr

El Capitan Theatre

A palace for Disney, Pixar and Marvel Cinematic Universe movies since its restoration in 1989, the El Capitan Theatre (6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles 90028) boasts an expansive sweet shop for the kids and an old-fashioned stage show before the picture. However, like Disneyland itself, the El Capitan has its ghostly dark side. In its previous life, the theater was the site of a suicide in the balcony seats and the death of a manager in its office. When Disney revived the El Capitan, legend has it they walled off the window above the entryway, where his ghost could still be seen from the street.

Lincoln Heights Jail
Lincoln Heights Jail | Photo: Center for Land Use Interpretation

Lincoln Heights Jail

The site of the 1951 “Bloody Christmas” depicted in L.A. Confidential, the Lincoln Heights Jail (401-449 N. Ave. 19, Los Angeles 90031) is an Art Deco fortress that's been the site for bad juju since 1931.

Famed LA murder mystery author Raymond Chandler did time in its drunk tank in the 1940s, and the boiler room climax of A Nightmare on Elm Street was shot there. But the jail’s menace extends into the more recent past: in 1994, the founder of a gym that was intended to occupy the space was found dead in an elevator shaft.

St. Francis of Assisi at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park
Photo: Tommi Trudeau - Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, Facebook

Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park

Bogie's dog, Mae West's cat, Hopalong's horse, a Hollywood hen, and the MGM lion: death makes strange bedfellows at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park (5068 N. Old Scandia Lane, Calabasas 91372), one of the oldest pet cemeteries on the West Coast. The presence of faithful friends can be felt throughout the park, but if you feel a ghostly lick on the hand, it's resident doggie ghost, Kabar. The pooch of silent film star Rudolph Valentino, the purebred Doberman was thought to be psychic even while alive - he let out a howl at precisely the time of the star's death, even though his owner was 3,000 miles away in New York.

Los Feliz Murder House
Los Feliz Murder House | Photo: @damngina_22, Instagram

Loz Feliz Murder House

At 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 6, 1959, financially strapped cardiologist Dr. Harold Perelson bludgeoned his sleeping wife, Lillian, with a ball-peen hammer. As his wife lay dying, Dr. Perelson went after his eldest daughter, but she escaped. Telling his younger two, “Go back to bed. This is a nightmare,” he then offed himself with a combination of Nembutal and pills.

The so-called Los Feliz Murder House (2475 Glendower Pl, Los Angeles 90027) stood abandoned for decades, with its Christmas tree and still-wrapped presents remaining inside. Sold to a real estate investor in December 2020 for $2.35 million, what’s in store for the ghostly abode—or any brave future inhabitants—remains to be seen.

Take a deeper dive into the story of the infamous house with The Los Feliz Murder Mansion podcast.

Public Storage building in East Hollywood
Public Storage building in East Hollywood | Photo: Mya Stark

Public Storage Building

Advertised on its completion as “the most beautiful storage building in the world,” this 1928 high rise once boasted a penthouse club called “The Thirteenth Heaven,” complete with angel-winged waiters. When Prohibition struck, Heaven became a speakeasy. And where there are bootleggers, there are mobsters - this may be the source of the mysterious screams still heard from the elevator shaft.

Opened as the American Storage Building, today it's a Public Storage location (3636 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles 90004) filled from top to bottom with orange steel doors, including the storied 13th floor. The East Hollywood building may be most haunted by its own former glory.

Pyrenees Castle in Alhambra
Phil Spector's infamous Pyrenees Castle | Photo: Douglas Elliman

Pyrenees Castle

Widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history, music producer Phil Spector developed the famed “Wall of Sound” in the 1960s, epitomized by classics like "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes, and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High." The former wunderkind was serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of Lana Clarkson before his death in January 2021 from complications of COVID-19.

An alcoholic recluse since the 1992 death of his son from leukemia, Spector moved into the 10,590 square-foot Pyrenees Castle (1700 Grand View Dr, Alhambra 91803) in 1998. Inspired by a French chateau in the Pyrenees mountains, the fairytale estate was described in 1939 by the Los Angeles Times as the "Alhambra mystery castle."

After a decade of being mostly sober, Spector began going out again and ventured out on Feb. 2, 2003 for a night on the town. At the House of Blues, he met a statuesque 40-year-old actress named Lana Clarkson. They went to Pyrenees Castle for "just one drink." Clarkson never left the house - her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth. Spector's driver, who made the emergency call from the castle, later testified that Spector said, "I think I've killed someone." Spector was sentenced in May 2009.

The mansion was sold by Spector’s ex-wife Rachelle Short for $3.3 million in May 2021.

Robert Durst Murder House in Beverly Hills
Susan Berman's house on Benedict Canyon | Photo: Mya Stark

Robert Durst Murder House

Writer and mob daughter Susan Berman was found murdered execution-style at her Beverly Hills house (1527 Benedict Canyon Dr, Beverly Hills 90210) on Dec. 23, 2000. The case remained unsolved until HBO aired the 2015 documentary, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. The six-part miniseries gained notoriety when New York real estate heir Robert Durst was arrested on first-degree murder charges the day before the finale aired.

Durst had tried to escape justice by posing as a deaf-mute woman in Texas. According to her biographer, Berman had been killed because she knew too much about the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s wife Kathie, who has never been found. Durst was previously tried and acquitted of the murder and dismemberment of his elderly neighbor Morris Black.

Durst's trial began in March 2020 and resumed in May 2021 after a 14-month adjournment due to COVID-19. In September 2021, the jury convicted Robert Durst for the first degree murder of his best friend Susan Berman. In October he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The SINCLAIR tombstone in the Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery
The SINCLAIR tombstone as seen in the original "Halloween" | Photo: @sugarmyntgallery, Instagram

Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery

Founded in 1882, the sleepy North L.A. town of Sierra Madre seems like it hasn’t seen much excitement since the Wild West days. But its Pioneer Cemetery (601 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024), established the same year, tells a different tale. The 2.5-acre site is the final resting place of souls ranging from Civil War vets to tiny children tragically lost in the rough conditions of pioneer settlement. It's also the site of Laura Palmer’s funeral in Twin Peaks, and the moment in Halloween when Judith Myers' headstone is discovered to be missing.

Unik Transmission in Glendale
Unik Transmission | Photo: Mya Clark

A to Z Auto Service

Now known as A to Z Auto Service (703 E. Colorado St, Glendale 91205), in its previous incarnation as Buono's Auto Upholstery Shop it was the secret den of Angelo Buono, Jr. and his accomplice, Kenneth Bianchi, aka the Hillside Stranglers. Since there were no other employees, the shop offered the privacy and distance from interfering neighbors that the serial killers needed to strangle 10 women between 1977-1978. Their penchant for scattering the bodies among the hills of the Glendale-Eagle Rock-Highland Park area earned them their name.

Wolf's Lair in Hollywood
Wolf's Lair in Hollywood | Photo: Mya Stark

Wolf’s Lair

Located a half-mile south of Castillo del Lago, Wolf's Lair (2869 Durand Dr, Los Angeles 90068) was built in 1927 by art director and real estate magnate, L. Milton Wolf. This eccentric mansion came equipped with a secret passageway to a hidden apartment for Wolf’s mistresses and a turret for his pet gibbon. Perhaps it was too much "monkeying around" that led Wolf to pitch forward dead into a bowl of minestrone in 1972.

His spirit apparently still likes to party, which perhaps inspired the conversion of the Lair’s “Tiki room” to a secret magic club by former owner Moby, who sold the compound for $12.4 million in 2014. Rumors say the current owner is the elusive—even ghostly?—graffiti artist Banksy.

Rosenheim Mansion aka the American Horror Story House | Photo: Dearly Departed Tours
Rosenheim Mansion aka the American Horror Story House | Photo: Dearly Departed Tours

13 Scariest Places in Los Angeles

As the movie capital of the world, Los Angeles is also famous for its sequels and prequels. Right this way for the original 13 Scariest Places in Los Angeles, featuring the American Horror Story House and much more... if you dare!

Words by