Millicent "Peg" Entwistle was once a young actress trying to make a name for herself, but instead she found fame as the ghost of the Hollywood sign. Found on pretty much every haunted Hollywood list, the sign sits high on Mount Lee in the hills of Griffith Park. Stories began swirling about its paranormal activity after 1932, when 24-year-old Peg Entwistle ended her life by jumping off the letter H.
Entwistle had moved to Los Angeles from the UK, hopeful about her acting career. She had some minor roles and found work for RKO starring in the film Thirteen Women, but the critics tore the film apart. The studio did as well; they re-edited it, cut out most of Entwistle's part, and dropped her contract. Completely distraught and probably drunk, she walked the park trails from her uncle's home to the sign (which then read "Hollywoodland") and ended her life. In a cruel twist of fate, she received a letter a few days later offering her a major role in a film – as a woman who commits suicide.
Entwistle gained fame as the actress that committed suicide on the Hollywood sign, and is also known as the only person in history to do so. Perhaps she's still around in more than just the popular imagination. Many people claim to have met her ghost, a sad looking blonde in 1930s clothes who smells of gardenias, as she makes the same walk to her death, night after night.
Beachwood Canyon Trail passes by the Hollywood sign, and people often report seeing Entwistle there. A couple was hiking the trail one morning in 1990 when their dog began to whine and cower by their feet. They were unsure why the animal was acting so strangely – until they encountered a woman who they assumed was also out for a walk. They chalked her 1930s style clothing up to the fact they were in Hollywood, but noticed she seemed to be in a daze, like she was on drugs or drunk. They couple decided to avoid her just in case, but she suddenly vanished into thin air.
After attending a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in the 2000s, four friends decided to extend their evening activities by paying a visit to the Hollywood sign. Although the area around to the sign is off limits to the public, the group hopped over a fence and went to check out the famous landmark up close. On their way back, one friend was separated by a fall and was surprised to find a figure walking towards him.
"It was a woman, wearing a dress similar to the style of the 1930s," he said. "She wore heels and a veil over her face. She walked effortlessly up the hill. Her footsteps made no sound."
Griffith Park ranger John Arbogast has several stories about encountering Entwistle's ghost. He notes she usually comes to visit the Hollywood sign when it's foggy, and always late at night. Arbogast also discovered that the alarm systems installed around the sign to distance vandals or other suicidal people sometimes go off, seemingly at random.
"There have been times when I have been at the sign and the motion detectors say that someone is standing five feet away from me... only there's nobody there," he said.
Many people use the trails in Griffith Park for their daily exercise routine, and Megan Santos is among them. She was jogging one evening in 2013 when she was suddenly hit by a sneezing fit. The scent of gardenias filled the air and she was overcome by a very odd feeling.
"And then, there was this woman with blond hair and she seemed to be, like... walking on air," Santos recalls. "I immediately ran the other way."