GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let’s put the “Boo!” back into “booze.”
All those who attend will receive a free (square) G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you.
The quaint community of Calabasas is probably best known today as the idyllic (bland), suburban neighborhood that serves as the backdrop to the nefarious activities on the TV series WEEDS. However, long before these (ticky-tacky) houses with their cul-de-sacs appeared, this area was known as one of the wildest stage coach stops in Los Angeles.
The Sagebrush Cantina sits on the site of the old jail, and the historic oak “hanging tree” can still be seen in the parking lot. Incidentally, that was not the original location of the hanging tree, it was moved 100 yards from 23517 Calabasas Road to its current position to make room for a Saturn V lunar launch vehicle (used on NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon) that had to be shuttled to the secret base in the Santa Susanna pass. There are those that claim that this oak, although known locally as “the hanging tree” for generations (and the site of playful lynching demonstrations/recreations for children during past festivals) was never actually used to hang anyone. Likewise, there are those that claim that the real Calabasas hanging tree has been forgotten and currently its at 23504 Calabasas Road. The truth has been lost to history.
What hasn’t been lost to history though (thankfully), is a cowboy, a female shop-keeper, and a former restaurant employee (all from an earlier time) that have been seen within the walls of this establishment momentarily before they vanish. Ghost sighting at this restaurant go back to at least 1974 with the bar area and back portion of the restaurant being the focal points for paranormal activity (the ghostly woman has even been seen in the back bathroom). Also, like other haunted bars in Los Angeles, the mugs and glasses have been known to move by themselves.
As if this place wasn’t creepy enough, they also stage puppet shows here on a regular basis for the kiddies.
It is also worth pointing out that the land that the restaurant sits on was once part of the Leonis estate, until this section was subdivided and converted into shops in the 1920s. The historic Leonis Adobe (now a museum), which is adjacent to the restaurant and just a few feet away, is widely thought to be the most haunted house in Los Angeles. Miguel Leonis was one of the most hated robber barrons in Southern California history, and his bloody, bandaged ghost (along with other ghosts) is said to haunt his home. (note: GHOULA co-founder, Richard Carradine’s family was the last family to own this house, and live in it as a private residence.)
Is it a coincidence that the neighboring building also has a haunted history? Come out and have a drink here, and decide for yourself. If you dare.