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The Hollywood Sign

Ablaze in the night sky, The Hollywood Sign has become a beacon of hope and amusement in American society. But in 1932 the Hollywood sign represented something far more sinister for the thousands of Angelenos basking in its shadow. Many flock to the sun-bleached hills of Hollywood, hoping to find prosperity and success, but not all succeed. 


Peg Entwistle, a 24-year-old aspiring actress in Hollywood came to this very conclusion one evening and jumped 45 feet to her death off the “H.” Her spirit is spotted from time to time along the trails of Griffith Park. Disoriented, sometimes floating above the ground, followed by the chilling scent of Gardenias her favorite perfume. 


Quick Facts:


  • The Hollywood Sign originally said “Hollywoodland” and was built in 1923 to advertise real estate
  • Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler built the sign for $21,000
  • The Hollywood sign was only supposed to stand for 18 months. Today it has been up for one hundred years 


The Tragic Tale of Peg Entwistle


The spirit of Peg Entwistle haunts the ridges of Griffith Park. She has been seen since the 1940s after the infamous H, from which she jumped, had toppled to the ground. They say it was her spirit that brought the behemoth letter to the ground. While this was likely due to poor management and age, sightings of her have never stopped. 


According to local Griffith Park ranger John Arbogast, she appears late at night when conditions are foggy. Trailing her is the sweet smell of Gardenias, her favorite perfume. Many hikers and trespassers — the park is closed at night— have smelled her perfume and seen the figure of a strange woman floating above the ground. She is dressed in 1930s clothing and often appears confused and disoriented. But who was she? And what led her to her tragic end? 


Who Was Peg Entwistle?


Peg Entwistle was born Millicent Lilian Entwistle on February 5th, 1908 in Wales. Her father Robert Entwistle moved her to New York in 1912 after a sordid divorce. Robert remarried but his second wife died in 1921, followed by Robert himself the following year. Tragedy did not dissuade the young actress from following her dreams, however. 


In 1925 she hit Broadway hard, appearing in several productions and joining the prestigious New York Theatre Guild. 1927 brought love into Entwistle’s life. She married fellow actor Robert Lee Keith, but the couple sadly divorced in 1929. 


By 1931 Entwistle had found herself in Los Angeles, living with her Uncle Charles, along with the onset of the “talkie. The silent films of Hollywood yesteryear were old news and many stage-trained actors flocked to Hollywood, hoping for their shot at stardom and success. 


Peg Entwistle was one of many starlets who felt that they had something to offer the five major film production companies of the time; RKO Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Peg’s Downfall


Peg’s big break came in the summer of 1932 with the RKO film Thirteen Women. The producers made many cuts to the edgy film— lesbianism and suicide were very racy subjects for the time— and Entwistle’s scenes were greatly reduced. She was then let go from her contract with RKO. 


On September 16th, 1932, heartbroken, discouraged, and financially unstable she left her uncle’s bungalow. She had been heavily drinking that night and told Charles that she was going to meet some friends at a local drug store. 


Instead, she drove into Griffith Park, hiking into the canyon and onto the 45-foot-tall “H.” Sometime in the night she jumped to her death. Her body was discovered by a hiker the next morning at the bottom of the canyon. 


The Hollywood Sign


The legendary Hollywood sign has become iconic within the skyline of Los Angeles. Millions of people come from all around the world to witness the glowing letters from afar. It once read “Hollywoodland,” all three words lit up in tandem, one after another. The “land” was removed in the 1940s and the sign became a part of American culture forever. 


Hiking directly to the sign is illegal, but many still do. On Syfy’s Paranormal Witness, four friends hiked up to the sign after a Dodgers game. One of them misplaced his step and tumbled halfway down a small hill. While walking back toward his group he saw a woman dressed in 1930s-style clothing. It appeared as if she was floating up the hill, even though she seemed to be wearing heels. 


His story is one of many. Peg Entwistle’s spirit remains underneath the Hollywood Sign and is spotted by a large number of people. Her place in Hollywood history is forever cemented into the ground, a star like no other. 


Haunted Los Angeles


Thinking of coming to Los Angeles to see the sign for yourself? Take our Hollywood Sign Adventure Hike and Tour! We take you up Griffith Park and right underneath the iconic sign! Be prepared for some serious hiking and spooky stories along the way.


We offer a multitude of other tours in Los Angeles including pub crawls, ghosts tours, and a whole lot more! Check our website for further details and information. 


In the meantime keep reading our blog for more scary stories and check our Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for the latest spooky content. 


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