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Ghosts of Hollywood Book Review


Some books are weighty, nutritional tomes that nurture the soul; others are confectionaries that amuse and entertain. The Ghosts of Hollywood series belongs in the latter category; written in a lighthearted tone, this series is a gathering of stories about the ghosts that purportedly linger on within the boundaries of Hollywood. The author, Marla Brooks, is a lifelong Hollywood resident and has centered her career on paranormal investigation and reportage. Luckily for us, she is also an aficionado of Hollywood lore, combining these passions with lively prose.

There are three volumes in the series. The first two are subtitled The Show Still Goes On and Talking to Spirits respectively. The third Volume dispenses with the subtitles and is simply Ghosts of Hollywood III. Each volume contains a collection of ghost stories that move from area to street to building in no particular order. Brooks dishes dirt on hauntings in nearby Beverly Hills, Laurel Canyon, and Catalina Island as well as in Tinseltown itself, telling tales of mysterious and/or grisly deaths that led to claims of tortured spirits still wandering through the canyons.

The usual legends of early Hollywood debauchery are here in all their glory. The sad story of Fatty Arbuckle and Virginia Rapp is retold, with the addition of Rapp’s ghostly hauntings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The spirits of well-known Hollywood legends such as Errol Flynn, Tallulah Bankhead, and Rudolf Valentino have also been sighted in the area, and Brooks details their wild lives both before and after their deaths. Brooks also shares the lesser-known tales of Ramon Novarro and Tiburcio Vasquez, two men who should be better known.

The buildings of Hollywood themselves have paranormal stories, and Brooks has collected ghostly tales about a number of them. Yamashiro Restaurant, Hollywood Wax Museum, and Greystone Mansion are just some of the places thought to be haunted, and Brooks narrates these tales as well. These stories feel more uneven than those about historical or film people; while some have exciting stories, others are merely places where ghosts have been seen at some point in time. The paranormal urban legends retold here also suffer from this unevenness, and at some point, those more interested in Hollywood trivia than in strange noises and odd sightings will find themselves skimming.

Tourists will enjoy this series in conjunction with visits to the areas covered; those with an interest in Hollywood gossip or paranormal activities will find these books to be a fun read. Each book can be read on its own. They are available on amazon.com and can be ordered from brick-and-mortar bookstores as well.

Disclaimer: I borrowed these books from a local library, and have no connection to the author.

Brooks, Marla. Ghosts of Hollywood: The Show Still Goes On. ISBN: 978-7643-2883-1

Brooks, Marla. Ghosts of Hollywood II: Talking to Spirits. ISBN: 978-0-7643-2997-5

Brooks, Marla. Ghosts of Hollywood III. ISBN: 978-0-7643-3201-2
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Content copyright © 2015 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.

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