The Houdini Mansion

“On a dry day in 1959, a brush fire swept through Laurel Canyon and destroyed a number of the houses in the Hollywood hills. The Houdini mansion was one of them. What remained of the place was only the walls of the old building, the chauffeur’s quarters and a portion of the garage. Today, nothing but ruins remain. Silent stone staircases still led to grassy ledges on what is now private property. It stands abandoned, but perhaps not empty…you see, some say that the ghost of Houdini does not rest in peace and that he still walks where his beloved castle once stood. Those who have come to the remains of the house, as many do on Halloween nights, claim to have seen a dark figure standing on the staircases or walking in the garden grotto. Many believe that this shape is that of Houdini himself. The magician always said that if it would be possible for him to come back, he would do so, and perhaps he has. Perhaps too… he is unsure as to just how to get back?” Haunted Hollywood.

lol…this, believe it or not, is the house that I use to live in, several lifetimes ago, in Los Angeles. Laurel Canyon, specifically, that high hilly backbone of greenery, old hippies, bikers and rich moviestars that sits high between Hollywood and the Valley on the other side. Houdini’s Castle.

Stephan was my first husband: twelve years older than I, very charismatic with a thousand and one fascinating stories to tell about famous people…Jim Morrison, Salvador Dali, you name it. He introduced me to Timothy Leary and many other people. We met at an Iggy Pop concert in Florida, he took me to Peru for our honeymoon, and I left him a year after we married.

Long story.

Anyway, we lived in this thirteen-acre estate in the Canyon, in what was the guesthouse/chauffeur’s quarters for Houdini’s mansion, which had burned down. It was a wonderful, atmospheric place: stone staircases swept up into nothing, choked with vines and hidden by trees. Stone archways stood alone in a virtual jungle. Deer, coyotes and owls lived safely in the middle of the city. There was an acid casualty who called himself Robin Hood, who lived in a cave at the foot of the property. The place was alive, and magical.

Here are some links with a bit more of the story:

Picture of the House

The Great Houdini

Laurel Canyon – Houdini Legend

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