Crime and mystery have always been fascinating topics, and people seem to really take an interest, which is why traveling to sites where horrid murders were committed opened the door for a new type of tourism. Morbid tourism if you will. Although the name may not look appealing, learning new and interesting facts about murder mysteries from more than 50 years ago is trending. You may have heard about the â€˜Black Dahlia’, right? It was a horrible murder in 1947, which became quite famous because of its graphic nature. Leimert Park, the Los Angeles neighborhood in which the crime took place, is on several bus tours, but if you want to find out about other spots in LA where horrendous murders took place, you should stick around.
7312 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
El Coyote is one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, but did you know what happened there? If you have seen Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, then that name might ring a bell. It was the location where the actress Sharon Tate had her last meal with Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger, before all of them being brutally murdered in Tate’s home by the members of the Manson family. Sharon Tate was stabbed 16 times, 5 of those wounds being fatal, according to the coroner. When the movie was made, Tarantino used the same Mexican restaurant to recreate the scene, and a lot of fans took that as an invitation to see the location.
8763 Wonderland Ave, Los Angeles
The 80s are not considered as eventful as the 70s, according to crime aficionados. However, there is one crime that stands out. It was the crime that inspired Val Kilmer’s Wonderland back in 2003. The Wonderland Murders are still a mystery because nobody knows who actually committed the crime. You may have heard about the Four on the Floor Murders or the Laurel Canyon Murders.
It was 1981. Location? The Wonderland Gang drug house in LA. Apparently, there were 5 targets, but only 4 people died. Three of them were gang members. Ron Launius, Billy Deverell, and Joy Miller were brutally killed along with their accomplice Barbara Richardson. They all died from blunt-force trauma injuries. There were several suspects, and according to Launius’s wife, Susan, the nightclub owner Eddie Nash might have been involved. And to top it off, the notorious porn star John Holmes was even arrested for the crime but acquitted in 1982. To this day, nobody knows who committed the gruesome murders, which makes this location even more fascinating for true crime lovers.
1200 Santa Susana Pass Rd, Topanga
You cannot bring up true crime without mentioning the Manson family. So, if you are interested in stepping in their world for a little bit, we suggest you try the Spahn Ranch. Well, what is left of it. The location was a movie set for a cowboy movie, and it was owned by George Spahn. He allowed the Manson family to occupy the ranch, although many people have tried to convince him that he was conned into doing it. Apparently, he did not feel that way and let the Manson family live there until they all started to leave after Manson was arrested.
The Manson family occupied the ranch at the peak of their activities. They did some work in exchange for a roof over their heads, but the work was mostly done by Manson’s girlfriends. After his arrest, the family members started to leave, one by one, and in the end, the ranch was just a ruin. Several fires and the fact that nobody managed it turned the place into a sad, abandoned location. Today, the Spahn Ranch is a part of the Santa Susana Park State Historic Park. You can take a tour if you want but mind you that not much is left.
Los Feliz Murder House
2475 Glendower Pl, Los Angeles
The beautiful Mediterranean-style house on Glendower Palace is one of the most famous true crime sites in LA, but the story is weird not only because of the gruesome murder that happened inside but because of what followed. The murder story itself is not unusual. Dr. Harold Perelson, who was a cardiologist, was having money problems. While he was a doctor, he was tricked out of the rights of a medical device he created, and while Perelson fought for that in court, he only made a little over 20 thousand dollars. There are several rumors that he tried to commit suicide multiple times in the 50s, but everyone thought that he had heart attacks.
So, early morning on the 6th of December 1959, Harold takes a ball-peen hammer and strikes his wife’s head with it while she was asleep. She did not have a chance. Then, with the same hammer, Harold went into his eldest daughter’s room and tried to kill her as well. He did not succeed, however, but he did manage to hurt her. Debbie, the name of his eldest daughter, started screaming, waking up half the neighborhood and her 2 younger siblings. Apparently, Harold tried to calm them, saying that it was all a nightmare and to go back to sleep. He committed suicide by swallowing a handful of pills. He was dead before the paramedics arrived.
A lot of sources on the internet said that he managed to kill his entire family, and only Debbie survived. Harold’s eldest daughter. But that is not true. All his kids were alive. He only murdered his wife.
But here is where it gets weirder. The Los Feliz Murder House stayed almost intact for half a century. If you could have taken a peek a few years back, you could notice the magazines from the 50s and several items from the start of the 60s. Basically, it was a portal to the past.
The house was sold to Emily and Julian Enriquez, and it is rumored to have been rented to another family because there were a Christmas tree up and unopened presents. The Perelson’s were Jewish, so it couldn’t have been theirs. Rudy, Emily Enriquez’s son, inherited the house, but he never moved in. He used it as a storage space instead.
Today, the Los Feliz Murder House is renovated, and it is worth a few million, but you can still pass by if you really want to feel â€˜uneasy,’ as many people say. You cannot take a peek inside, though, because trespassing is not that easy today. Even if you could, the renovations washed the â€˜creepy’ away.
Lana Turner’s House
730 N Bedford Dr, Beverly Hills
Lana Turner was a movie star back in the 50s, and she had a teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane. Lana has just moved into the beautiful mansion and had no idea the horror she was just about to witness.
Lana Turner had a rocky relationship with Johnny Stompanato. He was a small-time mobster, but he was Mickey Cohen’s bodyguard, a notorious and dangerous gangster at the time. On April 4th, 1958, Turner decided once again to end things with Stompanato, and as you can imagine, he did not care for it. In fact, he threatened to hurt and disfigure her. Lana was, of course, terrified when Stompanato arrived at her house. Not to mention that her daughter Cheryl was home from boarding school.
Cheryl heard how Stompanato and her mother were fighting in her bedroom, and she was genuinely scared because of all the threats she kept hearing. She went downstairs and got a knife from the kitchen. After returning back upstairs, in front of Lana’s bedroom door, she understood that Stompanato was telling Lana that he will disfigure her. At one point after that, Lana opened the bedroom doors and stormed out, and Stompanato was after her. Cheryl noticed that he was getting ready to strike her, which is why she put herself in front of him, knife first. Needless to say, Stompanato went directly into it. His last words were, â€˜My God, Cheryl, what have you done?’ He died minutes later. The police found him in a pool of his own blood.
Cheryl Crane was prosecuted for the murder of Johnny Stompanato, but she was found innocent of â€˜justifiable homicide.’ Even so, nobody will ever know what exactly happened in Lana Turner’s house, which makes crime aficionados even more intrigued.
The Greystone Mansion
905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills
The death of Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett in the Greystone Mansion on top of the hill is, to this day, a mystery. The fact that it happened more than 90 years ago makes us believe that true crime lovers are still very interested in finding out what really happened there on February 16th, 1929. We will probably never know but speculating can be fun. Even so, we do know a few facts.
On February 16th, 1929, Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett were both found dead in the Tudor-style mansion in Beverly Hills. Plunkett was Ned’s friend, but we know that he was also his assistant. In case you did not know, Ned Doheny was the heir of a massive oil empire, and his family was rumored to be involved in some scandals involving corruption at the time. So what really happened on that horrible day? Were both men killed? Was it a murder-suicide kind of situation?
The investigation was shaky from the start. However, the police ruled that it was, indeed, a murder-suicide. It seems that Hugh Plunkett was known to be a bit disturbed, and he killed Ned. To this day, we have no idea whether it was deliberate or accidental. After the murder, Plunkett decided to kill himself. If you were to believe the rumors that the two men were lovers, then this would be a very tragic story. But of course, the rumors were never confirmed, so we are left wondering.
Today, the gorgeous Greystone Mansion that sits oh so proudly on top of the hill is owned but he city of Beverly Hills. It is often rented as a film location, and you may recognize it in the classic The Big Lebowski.
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Last but not least, we will fast forward a little bit and talk about a more recent murder that shook the entire city of Los Angeles. The death of Notorious B.I.G. You do not have to be a rap fan to have heard about Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher George Latore Wallace), and his death in 1997 should definitely be on our list. However, it is not the exact location of his murder that spikes interest in true crime lovers, but the Petersen Automotive Museum.
The Petersen Automotive Museum was the place where Notorious B.I.G was attending a party on March 8th, 1997. It was hosted by Vibe and Qwest Records. The party was shut down half an hour after midnight because the place was overcrowded. Wallace left together with his entourage, in two GMC Suburbans, and headed for the hotel he was staying at. However, around 12:45 AM, Wallace’s truck stopped at a red light just 50 yards from the museum. A black Chevy Impala pulled up, and an unidentified African American, who was driving the car, rolled his window and shot Wallace. Four bullets hit Wallace, and while his crew rushed him to the hospital, the famous rapper did not survive. Weirdly enough, according to the coroner, it was the last shot that killed him.
To this day, we have no idea who killed the young and famous Christopher George Latore Wallace. And we probably never will.
So? What do you think? Are these locations worthy of a true-crime tour of Los Angeles? We definitely think so, which is why if you deem yourself a true crime aficionado, you should hop on a plane and check these places out. Traveling is effortless these days. Besides, you may discover some new ones. But if you do, do not forget to share.