“No more closeted artist bullshit! Do you hear me!”
I was talking with my man in the field, Spooky Noodles, last night on the phone. He told me Nancy Pelosi bought Joan Crawford’s old house that was used in the movie ‘Sudden Fear’. I get on google to find a link, and discover Joan’s house in L.A. was haunted. I told Spooky I was going to do a regular column titled ‘The Joan Crawford Hour’ starring that Closeted Artist theme that won’t die. Spooky had dropped out of sight after the Cat Lady of Greenwich Village made shrill threats invoking the ghost of Vinny the Chin who roams the streets of the Village in his bathrobe knocking on doors begging folks for a good bowl of squid soup.
Spooky told me he checked into a sanitarium where they show old black and white classics to get patients on the Road to Recovery. This place of healing is located in all places Pacific Grove where the Bentons lived. From the Rosamond home Christine left to attend her sober birthday party at Rocky Point. This party is mentioned by Stacey ‘I see dead people’ Pierrot in her failed novel ‘When You Close Your Eyes’ written by two GHOST WRITERS. The party, and the folks coming to the party, have been disappeared. Spooky! I wonder if Christine old house is haunted. Check the closets!
“Fearing that Christine would steal her brother’s spotlight as the family artist, Christine’s mother, Rosemary, forbade Christine to draw at home. The only time she could express herself was at school or in her closet, by flashlight, when everyone else was asleep.”
Any way, Joan was at the top of the Psychological Film Craze, and many Americans wanted to get in touch with their REAL feelings. She was one of Rosemary’s favorites. I used to watch her studying Joan. Joan came alive in Rosemary. Christine’s portrait of Rosemary ‘Rosemary Circa 1950’ has that Crawford touch that would spring out at you from nowhere – for no reason! Thousands of housewives were doing Joan, because they were bored out of their wits. When their husbands hauled them into to see a shrink – they really put on a show! Many women were put in straight jacket – especially the good looking ones that could pass for a Movie Star! Rosamond really captured the flavor of those wild times.
“Come here little girl and get some of Mommie’s milk. Or, would you like some of Mommies wine – and a good spanking?”
In 1992 I began therapy with ‘Phoenix Rising’ in Eugene. The therapist worked with artists who had donated paintings of a Phoenix Bird after they were cured. She fired me after I refused to do a simple genealogy of my family so she could follow along. I had started my first autobiography ‘Bonds With Angels’. My goal in therapy was to put an end to falling out Christine and I had over what I discovered in her closet in 1979. When I showed my therapist this photo of Christine and Rosemary taken at one of Micky Rooney’s houses, she said;
“Your mother is evil.”
O.K. A little harsh. But, Heather’s mother is evil, and, owns that very clever madness Joan was famous for. So, what we have is ‘The Three Faces of Joan’. Did my therapist see Joan in the photo of my mother and sister, and thus gave an educated opinion from her subconscious?
“Trying to support four children with only a high school education and little help from her alcoholic husband, Rosemary was often enraged.”
Here is a murder scene that Spooky sent me. He won’t tell me from what movie. He said it helped him deal with the threats from the Cat Lady.
“I have faced my worse fears. I am prepared to seize the day!”
OMG! STOP THE PRESSES! I went looking for the clip “No more wire hangers!” and found this! I am blown THE FUCK AWAY! ‘Our Dancing Daughters’ was shot in Carmel!! This is the movie that made Joan a Star! She goes knocking on the door of a quaint Carmel cottage that could have belonged to a Carmel Bohemian Pioneer, such as London, or Sterling. This is my Dream Home.
Last night, I lie in bed composing this blog. I began to realize that Patrice Hanson saw herself as THE STAR of the Rosamond Story. When I couldn’t see who my book was supposed to be about, she became furious! I realized she was jealous of Christine after I told her she was my kin. Patrice saw herself as a Famous Woman Liberationist. I saw that she wanted to be like Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor in ‘National Velvet’ she riding her daughter ‘The Whole Pie’ into our Rosy Family Circle – and claiming it all! The ‘Run for the Roses’. She didn’t know Liz is my kindred.
“Mirror! Mirror in the wall. Whose the fairest of them all?”
In 1981 I stopped at the Carmel gallery and read one of the brochure’s on the coffee table. It said Rosamond was forced to hide in a closet with a flashlight in order for her to render superior works of art. Thia was forbidden, because Rosemary only wanted me to bea famous artist. On night, when I five, I caught her. Rosemary whipped her with a clothes hanger – but good – while I smirked. At five, my heart was already, black!
A couple of months later, I see ‘Mommie Dearest’. I stop loving Christine, and started hating Rosamond, who once gave me much credit for her success.
“You let me look over your shoulder while you painted.”
The ROSAMIND FAMILY ARTISTS are out of the picture. Rosamond was “killed” by a rogue wave. After her daughter, Shannon Rosamond, was falsely arrested by artist, Garth Benton, and Vicki Presco, she disappeared for eight eights years. I was blackballed when I asked who lived in that famous house out at Rocky Point.
There is no longer any doubt that Christine has been leaving me messages. None is more louder than this scene. I can hear the waves breaking on the rocks. Nearby is Kara Bromily doing her Tarot Card Reading of Rosamond, where the Death Card came up.
Our Dancing Daughters is a 1928 American silent drama film, starring Joan Crawford and John Mack Brown, about the “loosening of youth morals” that took place during the 1920s. The film was directed by Harry Beaumont and produced by Hunt Stromberg. This was the film that made Joan Crawford a major star, a position she held for the following half century.
While the film has no audible dialog, it was released with a synchronized soundtrack and sound effects.
“Dangerous Diana” Medford (Crawford) is outwardly flamboyant and popular but inwardly virtuous and idealistic, patronizing her parents by telling them not to stay out late. Her friend Ann chases boys for their money and is as amoral as her mother.
Diana and Ann are both attracted to Ben Blaine (Brown). He takes Diana’s flirtatious behavior with other boys as a sign of uninterest in him and marries Ann, who has lied about her virtues. Bea, a mutual friend of Diana and Ann, also meets and marries a wealthy suitor who loves her but is haunted with her past.
Diane becomes distraught for a while with the marriage of her friends with questionable pasts. She decides to go away and Bea throws a party for her in which Ben declined and made Ann decline as well. The same evening Ann hopes to meet up with her lover, Freddie, telling her husband she is going to see her sick mom. When her mom calls and Ben realizes Ann has lied to him yet again they get into an argument and Ann storms out to meet Freddie.
Now alone, Ben decides to stop by the party where he and Diana realize their love for each other. Meanwhile a drunk Ann follows Freddie into the party only to find Ben and Diana. She makes a drunken scene in which both Diana and Ben leave the party declaring their love but saying their goodbyes to each other.
Bea’s husband comes home to find Bea trying to get a drunk Ann home. As Ann is mocking cleaning ladies and her life (as her mom used her beauty), Ann stumbles and falls to her death down a flight of stairs. Headlines show Diana returning home after a lengthy time away and she and Ben are free to unite
This film was the first in a trilogy – Our Dancing Daughters/Our Modern Maidens (1929)/Our Blushing Brides (1930). The first two were silent with Vitaphone sound effects, the last was a talkie. Joan Crawford had gotten good reviews and got noticed in her earlier MGM roles from 1925 to 1928, giving good performances even in some of the dog pictures MGM starred her in. This film is what made her a star. She literally steps into the role of Diana and makes it her own. From the first scene she IS this energetic and honest flapper.
Shot partly on location in Carmel, Calif., with typically lush MGM production values, beautiful Art Deco sets by Cedric Gibbons and Oscar-nominated cinematography by George Barnes, Our Dancing Daughters was released with synchronized music and sound effects. It was an instant hit, grossing a then-spectacular $40,000 in its first weekend. The movie was followed by two similar films, Our Modern Maidens (1929) and Our Blushing Brides (1930), that reunited Crawford, Page and Sebastian. By that time, however, Crawford had far outpaced her costars to become one of MGM’s reigning superstars.
Why has no tabloid zeroed in on the name ROSEMOND which may be the most dramatic name in history? There are several plays and countless poems written about Fair Rosamond. Christine owned two ‘Rosamond ‘ galleries in Carmel. Did my sister see the movie ‘The Sandpiper’? She did not learn Liz was our kin when she was alive. The outsider who ended up with our infamous, dramatic, and creative legacy, did not know this world famous actress shared the same great grandfather as Christine and I. yet, she claims she is “the caretaker” of our family history.
In looking at the images from Sandpiper, I understood a Great Destiny was at work. Sometimes it takes decades to establish an artist as one of the greats. To put Liz Taylor on the beach at Big Sur is to behold the future, the Great Story, that deserves a Happy Ending. National Velvet was shot at Pebble Beach. Rosamond bought one of Micky Rooney’s home with the money she earned from rendering beautiful women.
Joan’s Haunted Brentwood Home
from Hollywood and the Supernatural (1990)
by Sherry Hansen-Steiger and Brad Steiger
Few actresses have rivaled Joan Crawford for star glamour and staying power as one of Hollywood’s top movie queens. Her stardom spanned an amazing five decades and included such films as Our Dancing Daughters (1928), Rain (1932), Johnny Guitar (1954), and her Academy Award-winning performance in Mildred Pierce (1945).
Joan Crawford epitomized the essence of the Hollywood rags-to-riches story — a poor shopgirl who, in the 1920s, becomes the very embodiment of America’s “flaming youth” and then transcends the role of “dancing daughter” to emerge the heroine of America’s favorite melodramas.
In 1978, Christina Crawford, Joan’s adopted daughter, wrote Mommie Dearest and shocked the United States with her heart-wrenching story of what it was really like growing up with one of Hollywood’s most famous leading ladies. Mommie Dearest was on the New York Times best-seller list for forty-two weeks and was made into a 1981 film starring Faye Dunaway.
In 1989, we heard rumors of haunting manifestations in Joan Crawford’s former home, and Christina seemed genuinely surprised that we knew about the stories.
“Not many people know that the house I grew up in may be haunted. It is not in print anywhere,” she said.
When asked if there were manifestations or hauntings that she could remember as a child living there, Christina recounted the following:
I have vivid memories of some things, but when you are severely
abused, you tend to block out other things. I’m positive that there
were manifestations occurring when I was little. I saw them! There
were places in the house that were always so cold that nobody ever
wanted to go in them.
As a child, I was always told that I had an active and vivid
imagination; I was always scared by things, but people just told me
that I just had an “active imagination.” Years later, I thought, oh
well, maybe that was good to have had an active imagination, and I
became a writer because of that.
But as a child, I saw things in the house! There was, of course, no
context or framework in which to put what I saw and felt. I had
nobody to speak to about the occurrences.
Any time I would become extremely frightened and would get out of my
bed to try and find somebody, I was always treated as though I were
just being a “bad child” that didn’t want to go to sleep. I always
expressed my fear to my mother because it was she that I went to find
to help me … because I would be very upset and I’d be crying.
I used to have terrible nightmares and that kind of thing, but a lot
of it had to do with the fact that I saw things in the night; so the
solution to that finally was just to leave the lights on everywhere.
One of the things I saw seemed like an apparition of a child … or
children, but as I said, I may have blotted out a lot.
Christina told us that she had not been back to the house since she was seventeen. “That was when I went to college [in 1956], at which point, Crawford still owned the house.”
Christina recalled her last day there:
I remember the woman who had taken care of me and my two younger
sisters since I was four years old just watching me, without saying a
word. I was going from room to room in the house, without saying
anything, just standing in the middle of each room, then going on to
the next one. She finally asked me what I was doing. I told her that
I would never see this house again, therefore, I was saying goodbye
Many years after I had left, we met again. She was now an elderly
woman and had retired. We always had been quite close. She told me
she had always remembered the look on my face when I said my goodbyes
to the house. It seemed a strange thing to do, to say, ‘I’ll never
see this house again,’ when at that time there was absolutely no
inkling of the house being sold. In fact, it was not sold for another
two and a half to three years, and, indeed, I never have been back.
Christina had learned recently that the current owners of the house had called in the Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere of the Healing Light Center to work with the house:
Rosalyn described what she had seen in the house when she went there.
She picked up on some things that astounded me because they seemed to
validate what I may have seen and experienced when I was little. It
gave me goose bumps when Rosalyn told me that she discovered so many
spirits in the house and there had been signs of ritual abuse in one
of the rooms. Many of the spirits had “underworld” connections.
I was sent to boarding school when I was ten years old. I came home
infrequently after that. I always believed that I was sent away
partly because I was too much the eyes and ears to the world–a
witness. I saw too much, I guess.
Some of the things that I saw that were going on were very violent.
Her [Joan Crawford’s] relationship with men, a number of men, was
extremely violent. I was getting too old, and I was beginning to
understand what was going on.
That house is so weird! Now, evidently, the walls are starting to
catch fire! Other people have heard children’s cries in the walls!
Every single owner has had trouble.
The first one was Crawford. She built the majority of the house. It
was a small cottage when she bought it, but most of the house, she
built. She sold it to Donald O’Connor, who sold it to the Anthony
Newleys. They sold it, I think, to the current owner, who is a friend
of the Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere, and they asked her to “work” on the
Every single family that has lived in that house has had horrible
things happen . . . illnesses, alcoholism, addictions, relationship
problems, and now, evidently with the current owner, the walls are
breaking out in flames! I’ve heard that in particular it’s the wall
that was behind Crawford’s bed.
Although the scene is in her book, Mommie Dearest, Christina reminded us that the last words that Joan Crawford uttered were to a woman who was kneeling at the foot of her bed, praying for her.
“As she was dying,” Christina said, “Crawford opened her eyes and said directly to the woman, ‘Don’t you dare ask God to help me!’ …and then she died.” It was such arrogance, Christina said, that she believes is a major part of the difficulty with the seemingly accursed house.
And that has nothing to do with me! So it would not surprise me in
the least if the “haunting” spirit that is in the house is Crawford!
She was capable of real evil. If you have never experienced that
“look” from another human being, it is almost impossible to believe
that such an experience could even exist! I think perhaps that’s why
so many people are unwilling to deal with the shadow side because
they can’t really get themselves to believe that such a dimension
My brother and I were absolutely terrified of her. In fact, there is
a passage in Mommie Dearest that describes (‘the look” on her face)
when she tried to kill me when I was thirteen. We all saw “that
look.” My brother and I talked about it extensively … it was not of
an ordinary human being!
Later, we were able to contact the Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere of the Healing Light Center, who kindly agreed to share her thoughts on the manifestations in Joan Crawford’s former home.
“It is true that the house was afflicted with spontaneous fires, primarily in the wall behind where Joan Crawford’s bed used to be. However, I did not pick up that Joan Crawford’s ghost was there.”
The Reverend Bruyere expressed her opinion that the house had been poisoned in some way before Crawford had moved into the place but that the evil in the house had added to Joan’s neuroses. The actress had apparently built onto a pre-existing cottage in a very chaotic manner.
“Nothing is where it should be,” Rosalyn commented. “She added dining rooms and hallways that led to other dining rooms. It all combines to form an H-shaped house. Turn a corner and you’re lost.”
The noted healer, who in this case served as an exorcist to clear the home, said that she found the haunting existing in levels.
“It was a place of conspicuous negativity. I called it an ‘Astral Central,’ a gathering of spirits that were attracted to the negative vibrations. People had been tied up and tortured in that house. I picked up on gangland figures, corrupt politicians. There is an area in the house where a child [not Christina] had been tortured and molested. Terrible things went on in that house.”
The Reverend felt that ghosts themselves were trying to burn the house down.
“Once the Beverly Hills Fire Department spent four days there attempting to solve the mystery of the spontaneous fires that would break out on the walls,” she said. “I feel the spirits were trying to burn the house down to protect some horrible secret. There is something hidden there. I am certain that there are bodies buried in that basement.”
She said that there had only been one recurrence in the house after she had exorcised and cleared it. “The house had become an astral dumping ground, but it seems clean now.”
When we [authors Brad and Sherry] visited the former Crawford home in the early 1990s, the current owners graciously allowed us to enter to film a segment for an HBO special on haunted Hollywood. The couple told us that they had experienced some mysterious pyrotechnic phenomena and had witnessed quite a number of apparitions of quite a wide variety of entities in various parts of the home. The couple said that the small cottage next to the swimming pool very often seemed to be center of haunting phenomena.
We kept in touch with the couple for quite some time. It was not long after we had filmed in the Crawford home that they decided to move. We have no comment from them whether or not it was because of any haunting phenomena.
It would seem over the past decade that the once haunted mansion of Joan Crawford has found peace, for we have heard of no further ghostly activity occurring in the home.