For the month of October, I’ll be featuring famous real-life haunted houses and the stories that surround the hauntings.
First one up: Jean Harlow’s House in Los Angeles
For those who don’t know, Jean Harlow was a well-known actress in the 1930s who starred in many movies produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
When Harlow was 22, she met 40-year-old MGM producer Paul Bern, who helped elevate her to Hollywood fame. They married in July of 1932. By September, he was dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Apparently, a suicide. However, there is much speculation as to whether his death really was suicide, or whether it might have come at the hands of his blushing bride.
Bern’s naked body was found by the butler, who immediately called the studio (not the police). This, of course, gave studio executives time to tamper with the scene and even potentially skew evidence. Allegedly, the head of MGM found a suicide note, which he gave to the police. The note suggested Bern had killed himself to right a terrible wrong—a cryptic statement to say the least. Later, it came out that their short marriage may been fraught with abuse by Bern, or that Bern may have been impotent, or that an ex-girlfriend may have caused some concern and complications. And perhaps one, or all of these things, is what the letter alluded to.
Note given to police and presumed to be suicide note.
Harlow moved out immediately following his death, but she died only four years later at the age of 26—from a complicated illness that apparently ended in kidney failure.
The story does not end there.
In 1963, famous hairstylist and founder of Sebring International bought the house, and he and his girlfriend Sharon Tate moved in.
Sharon Tate in Eye of the Devil (1966).
Sebring was intrigued by the house’s history, which was one of the reasons he purchased it. While living there, Tate claimed to see apparitions, including a “creepy little man” that woke her out of a sound sleep. Later, she remembered a figure hanging from the banister with a slit throat—potentially an omen to her and her boyfriend’s eventual deaths.
Sharon Tate dated Jay Sebring until she met Roman Polanski.
On August 8, 1969, a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger went to dinner and returned to the Polanksi residence. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins and Charles “Tex” Watson—the Charles Manson “family”—invaded the home. Sebring begged for Sharon’s life and the life of her unborn child. He was brutally shot and stabbed. The others were then all killed.
Following Sebring’s death, the house was sold. Supposedly, the house has stayed in the family of the original purchasers.
Here is some “chilling” footage of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring hanging out at the pool at the house.
Incidentally, several other deaths reportedly have occurred within the swimming pool of the Jean Harlow House over the years.
The Jay Sebring/Jean Harlow House in Benedict County
15 Creepy Haunted House Stories