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Forgotten Ghosts of Hollywood Boulevard

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Ghost hunter and novelist Leslie Siegel’s encounter with Howard Hughes’ ghost in Hollywood, CA, is a true story about the Broadway Building on Hollywood Blvd and Vine where Howard Hughes had offices on the ninth floor during the 1930s! He conducted his business there and would drive his car in the garage underground and take the huge freight elevator up to the ninth floor so he could avoid people. He had the elevators set in the building to always come to the ninth floor, even if someone in the lobby rang first. In the late 1930s, there was an accident—while they were repairing an elevator shaft, a woman coming to visit Howard Hughes unknowingly stepped into the elevator shaft and crashed to her death. Some even got the story twisted that she had a crush on Hughes and he rebuked her so she threatened to kill herself in the shaft! And then she walks into the shaft and falls to her death. Some say it was an accident, but it was covered up.

Flash forward to present day. There are offices there, even a movie company on the ninth floor, and a huge telemarketing company on the fifth. During a break, they’d head for the elevators for cigarette breaks only to find the elevators delayed. Then the elevator would come and they’d push the first floor button, but the elevator would travel up to the ninth floor. The doors would fling open and no one was there. Then the elevator would shoot quickly back to the fifth floor and pick up more who had buzzed the elevator. They would be picked up and then it was back up to the ninth floor again, same drill. Finally, the elevator would let everyone out of its clutches and travel very fast down to the lobby level. It was packed tight by then. People were a bit rattled over it.

Leslie Siegel, ghost hunter, once worked at the building and one day she and another girl dared each other to get on the old car elevator. It was working and inviting, with an open gate. Leslie Siegel and her friend stepped in and pulled the old lever that shut the old style gate closed and pushed the big handle to a big red 5 for the fifth floor. Leslie Siegel felt like she was starting up the Titanic. The elevator was moving, but it was going up to the ninth floor. Once there, the door would not open. They pushed 5 again and the elevator took them to the ninth floor but the doors would not budge and by that time both girls were screaming their heads off and full of terror! The elevator seemed to be going even faster back up to the ninth floor and even the clammy air felt creepy. It stopped abruptly, then headed right back to the fifth, but took the two women down to the dreaded basement where no one lurked. Then it was a fast ride, as if the controls were stuck, back to the ninth floor. Finally, both ladies were screaming, “Howard Hughes, let us go, let us go, please!” They were crying and truly afraid. But, just as quickly as it had begun, Howard Hughes’ car elevator gave both girls up to the fifth floor hallway, the doors sliding open as both women ran out!

Leslie Siegel started telling anyone who would listen and even called a local newsman from ABC Channel 7 Weather! He was very interested and wanted to send a crew down for a different spin broadcast of the weather and when Leslie Siegel tried to clear it with security at her job, she was fired. The day Leslie Siegel came to pick up her last check and saw tons of elevator trucks lined up and down Vine Street in Hollywood, she thought about Howard Hughes and wondered! It would seem that the owners of the Broadway Building got wind of the story circulating and probably didn’t want any local news people nosing around to see any code violations in the background of their shot, so just as much as Leslie Siegel was scared by Howard Hughes’ ghost in the car elevator, the building owners must have been frightened by the publicity, so they called all the owners of all the big buildings on Vine, then in turn, called the Elevator companies to have them come to reset every single elevator in every single building on Vine. They even tried to reset the ones in Howard Hughes’ old building! So the building still stands to this day, and has even been re-done and redecorated, but Hughes’ ghost still haunts the elevators on Vine!

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