Jayne Mansfield's car, a flower from Charles Manson’s grave, and a trip past the night club where a young Hollywood actor met his untimely demise: these are just a few of the ghoulish things you'll experience on a Los Angeles Dearly Departed tour. As creepy as it might sound, going on a celebrity death tour through Hollywood is one of the best ways to learn about the city.
Created by Scott Michaels, a Hollywood historian and aficionado of all things grisly, the tours don’t revel in the passing of actors so much as they shed light on forgotten Hollywood scandals and provide insight into the lives of people you’ve only seen on the big screen. And with the museum located directly across from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, you can make a day out of memorializing late stars.
Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea’s Remains
Donald "Shorty" Shea was an occasional stunt performer and full-time ranch hand on Spahn Ranch, the home of the Manson family. According to most accounts, Shea never got along with the group and especially despised Charles Manson. After the Manson Family was taken in on charges related to auto theft on August 16, 1969, Manson believed it was Shea who tipped off the police.
After they were released, Manson and some of the members of the Family took Shea for a drive where they took his life, allegedly cutting his body into multiple pieces. Nearly a decade later, a Manson Family member drew a map for the police to Shea's remains. A portion of those remains is now encased in a casket in the Artifact Museum of Dearly Departed Tours.15533Is this disturbing?
No macabre trip through Los Angeles would be complete without a visit to the site of Sharon Tate's former home on Cielo Drive. The house - or rather the place where it once stood - where Tate and her friends met an untimely end at the hands of Tex Watson and members of the Manson Family is one of the many harrowing stops on the Helter Skelter Tour.
The tour is guided by Manson aficionados who know the case and its surrounding story well.11534Is this disturbing?
- Photo: O.J.: Made In America/ESPN
One visitor wrote on Trip Advisor that while on the tour, they learned that Nicole and OJ Simpson once visited the Menendez residence for an event.9833Is this disturbing?
- Photo: The Addams Family/MGM4
The Remains Of Ken Weatherwax, Pugsley From ‘The Addams Family’
When Ken Weatherwax, the former child actor who portrayed Pugsley Addams in the ABC television series The Addams Family passed in 2014, he was working as a grip and set builder. Because there were no royalties to be made from his time on the classic gothic sitcom, his family didn't have the money to pay for a memorial service.
Scott Michaels, the owner of Dearly Departed Tours, launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to help the Weatherwax family pay for funeral expenses. Michaels told LA Weekly that the family was "overwhelmed" by the support they received, which culminated in Michaels hosting a Halloween memorial service at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood. The museum was given Weatherwax's remains as a gift.11245Is this disturbing?