The Haunting Of Howard Hughes
The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood is the most famous theatre in Los Angeles and one of the most famous anywhere. The Pantages was a favorite of Howard Hughes—he owned it in 1949 and had his exclusive executive offices on the second floor. Hughes died in 1976 and apparently still frequents the Pantages. His appearance was noted at a recent event I attended there in February, 2012.
The Pantages in the 1950's, host to the Academy Awards
The event was aimed to aid a local church group. 70 attendees were invited to gather money for the needs of the school operated by the church. There were many benefactors: Individuals and Companies donated wine, cheese, hotel stays, dinners, and even show tickets to the Pantages. But perhaps the most impressive benefactor (besides the Pantages itself) was General Cigar Company, a company famous for its fine cigars.
Left to right; Lana Fraser, Events Manager, General Cigar Company, Jef Loeb, Associate General Manager, Pantages Theatre & Auction Event Organizer, and fundraiser attendee
Lana Fraser, Events Manager for General Cigar, attended the event in person. I, and several friends, originally met Lana last year at a cigar event in central California called “Crush & Roll.” We were a bunch of rambunctious men trying to score free sticks—what everyone at the event was trying to do. Lana somehow tolerated our "cigar advances," which is why I nearly fell out of my chair when she agreed to attend the fundraiser at the Pantages.
Lana not only brought cigars, she also brought an entire display station, and provided cut and light service for all the attendees. The cigars she brought were top notch, Partagas Black, Partagas Spanish Rosado and more. None of us could believe that we were graced with the presence of General Cigar, which is unarguably one of the best cigar companies in the world.
Funny thing about fundraisers: where there is Alcohol, people spend money. After bidding a total of $7,000 on the various items offered, attendees began making their way to the cigar table. At one point there were 20 or so men and women who, after bidding on items like a two day stay at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, decided to light up. Several of the ladies enjoyed the novelty of smoking and were especially fond of some of the flavored CAO cigars, while the guys tugged on perhaps General Cigar’s most sought after blend, The Partagas Black. Despite the festivities which we all enjoyed and will not soon forget, two attending patrons had strange encounters which they will never forget. I believe these encounters may have been triggered by cigar smoke.
One of the attendees, after extinguishing his cigar, made his way to a dimly lit, empty restroom. While inside, he watched, in the mirror, a door to one of the stalls creak slowly open. “Nice one,” the man stated, “but you’ll have to do better than that.” With that the stall door slammed loudly shut. Thinking he was the butt of a practical joke, the man approached the stall to "out" the Practical Joker. When he opened the door, the stall was empty, and so were the all the others. Unnerved and shaken, he ran out the bathroom, up the steps, and proceeded to gulp large quantities of Proseccio wine. He confessed he did not actually see anything, but he noted, “the hair stood up on my neck and I felt a very cold draft in the room.” This attendee is a Fortune 500 executive, and requested he not be identified, yet there was another executive who was quite comfortable making himself known.
The Pantages lobby. Just to the left of the staircase leads to downstairs Men's Room.
An attendee claims he was awakened by this man, Howard Hughes,
nearly 27 years after his death.
In the years since his death in 1976, several employees of the Pantages have reported seeing the ghost of Howard Hughes, and some have said they could even smell the cigars that he smoked in his office.
Read more Pantages ghost stories at Yahoo Voices: a-guide-haunted-theaters-hollywood-california