Graveyard Shift

The Haunted History Of Hollywood's Magic Castle  

Cristina Sanza
28.9k views 11 items

The Magic Castle is the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts. Located in Hollywood at 7001 Franklin Avenue, the castle is private; only members and their guests are allowed inside, though it's rumored that you can get in if you spend the night at the Magic Castle Hotel. 

The castle is filled with magical memorabilia and is reportedly haunted. There's the Houdini Séance Room, where guests are able to make contact with the spirit world. In the Haunted Cellar, the ghost of a young girl has been seen wandering the halls. Several people have died there, including a beloved magician who died by suicide just before he was supposed to go on stage. 

Is everything inside the castle just a magic trick, or do ghosts really haunt the historic building? Guests are not allowed to take photos or video while inside, so the evidence of any ghostly interactions are scarce. But even though the Magic Castle tries to keep its secrets close, rumors still fly, and this list contains just some of the spooky stories that have made it outside of the Castle walls.

Magician Daryl Easton Was Found Dead In The Castle
Magician Daryl Easton Was Foun... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Haunted History Of Hollywood's Magic Castle
Photo:  Michael Feldman/via Wikipedia

On February 24, 2017, magician Daryl Easton's body was discovered inside the Magic Castle shortly before he was due on stage. He had hanged himself.

A frequent visitor to the Magic Castle, Easton was well-respected in the community and known for inventing two card tricks called Hot Shot and Ultimate Ambition. He reportedly suffered from depression that had gotten worse in the weeks leading up to his suicide.

The Magic Castle closed on the night of his death and called Easton one of their "most beloved and talented performers."

The Houdini Séance Room Is Filled With Spirits
The Houdini Séance Room Is Fil... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Haunted History Of Hollywood's Magic Castle
Photo:  Library of Congress/via Wikimedia Commons

William Larsen, Sr., the father of Magic Castle founders Milt and William Larsen, was an attorney and a magician. He worked for Harry Houdini's wife, Bess, and the Houdini Séance Room is now filled with Houdini memorabilia that the Larsen family collected over the years.

Houdini did not believe in séances or mediums and he tried to debunk spiritualism throughout his career. He and his wife came up with a code phrase for him to say if he ever made contact from the afterlife: "Rosabelle, believe." After her husband died in an accident on Halloween, Bess held a séance every year for 10 years, but was never able to make contact with her late husband.

Today, the séances continue at the Magic Castle. A medium connects groups of 10 - 12 guests to the ghostly occupants that haunt the castle, and more than a few spooky encounters have been reported. It's rumored that the original resident medium, E. Raymond Carlyle, made contact with his recently deceased daughter during one séance.

One of the current mediums, Misty Lee, said she once saw a dark figure standing behind one of the guests. She thought it was a staff member trying to scare someone, but when she mentioned it afterwards, the guest said the mysterious dark figure had been following him for his entire life.

A Beloved Magician Haunts The Theater
A Beloved Magician Haunts The ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Haunted History Of Hollywood's Magic Castle
Photo:  Jacob Daley and George Starke/via Wikimedia Commons

Dai Vernon was a magician-in-residence at the Magic Castle. He watched shows from the front row of the Palace of Prestidigitation, one of the performance venues inside the Castle, every night until his death in 1992. His ashes now sit on a shelf outside the theater.

A team of paranormal investigators explored the castle and set up a camera directly in front of Vernon's favorite seat in the theater. While the camera was rolling, they investigated the room next door and asked the spirits to perform a magic trick for them. A ghostly voice responded from the empty Palace of Prestidigitation, right where Vernon used to sit. You can hear the spooky recording for yourself here.

A Ghost Named Irma Is The Resident Piano Player
A Ghost Named Irma Is The Resi... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Haunted History Of Hollywood's Magic Castle
Photo: via YouTube

The music room at the Magic Castle is occupied by a piano-playing ghost named Irma. Guests can request any song that comes to mind and Irma will play it.

Only the Castle staff members know what kind of magic trick lies behind Irma's piano playing, but according to Castle legend, Irma was a frequent guest at the mansion in the early 1900s. She loved playing the piano, but the homeowner, Rollin B. Lane, was not a fan of music. He moved the piano up to the third floor so he wouldn't be bothered by it anymore, and Irma took this as a great personal insult. She died in 1932 and vowed to return and haunt the mansion. When the Magic Castle opened in 1963, the piano was moved back downstairs and Irma has been entertaining the guests nightly ever since.

Her story may just be some fun fiction created by the Magic Castle, but the owner swears that one night during a power outage, the piano was playing all on its own.