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Spooks of the Rich and Famous


by Art Myers


When Susan Strasberg, a well- known actress and acting teacher, first moved to California she and her then-husband, Christopher Jones, bought a house in Beverly Hills.

“Christopher,” she told me, “said he kept seeing this woman in the house. Being an actor and a little eccentric, he used to talk to her and invite her to come dance with him. It would give me chills. He said he thought she lived in an upstairs room.

“Then I had a girlfriend who was a medical doctor who came and visited and we put her in that room. She said that in the middle of the night she woke up and there was someone pressing on her throat and chest, and that she had the impression of a woman, who then disappeared.

“Then I got a call from a friend in New York and he said, ‘I’m sitting here with the son of Cedric Hardwicke and he wants to know how’s the lady.” Cedric Hardwicke was a famous English actor who had once owned the house.

“What lady?” Susan asked.

“The lady who haunts the upstairs room,”

“I wish you hadn’t told me this,” Susan replied.

“At night, Christopher would say ‘She’s here.’ I’d go under the covers and say, ‘You tell her to stay on her side of reality and I’ll stay on mine.’

“I had candles burning, and Bibles, and Jewish stars, and Buddhas. I wasn’t taking any chances.”

Then a friend visited from Europe. “She had been my stand-in when I made a movie in Italy,” Susan said. “She was a little girl, in her twenties, very fair, almost an albino. She was half-Russian and half-German. Her name was Marina DeYorzo.

“During her visit we were doing some yoga breathing, which can alter consciousness. All of a sudden she started to say in that strange accent – German, like Marlene Dietrich – ‘Wiolet, I see wiolet. How beautiful. Oh, I love it.’ Then she said, ‘Oh there’s a woman. She’s coming toward me! She’s trying to take over my body. SHE WANTS TO POSSESS ME!’

Susan went on “She was talking in this terrified voice. There were two men friends of my husbands in the room, and I said, ‘We’ve got to get her out of the house!’ Well, she was so strong. She was about five feet one, a little, tiny, skinny girl. But she started fighting and resisting being taken out of the house, and we could not get her out. Finally, we managed to half-drag her into the backyard.

“I started calling people on the phone, asking what do we do? And they’re saying, well, you have to do these prayers and make a circle around her, and so on. I’m saying the Lord’s Prayer and I’m saying invocations. I’m sprinkling salt, I’m doing everything I’ve ever heard of or read. I’ve got mediums on the phone, and a reverend who helped with things like this.

“Finally, we decided to get her out of the house by the front door so we could get her away from the place. We managed to carry and drag her through the house. She had the strength of ten men, she was moaning and going through convulsions. I just wanted to get her away from that house. It wasn’t something I wanted going on in my house with a guest of mine.

“So finally we managed to get her out the front door. The men had scratches on their faces, and they were bruised, she was so strong. The minute we got her over the threshold, the second, she suddenly stopped moaning, stopped struggling, and she said, ‘What’s the matter? Put me down! Why are you holding me?

“So when we told her, she wanted to go back into the house. She wasn’t going to be intimidated. But I said, ‘No we’re not!’ And we packed suitcases and went to a hotel till she left.

“In the meantime, I had people come in to clear the house, try to talk to this spirit and dehaunt the place. We had a priest come in, we had a metaphysician, we had an Indian person. But I don’t think the house ever got cleared.

“I don’t know who the woman was.”


Beatrice Straight, an award winning actress, tells of an eerie experience she had while using a house that had been previously owned by her parents in Old Westbury, near New York city. She and her husband, Peter Cookson, a theatrical producer, were using the house as a weekend retreat from Manhattan. Her late father, Willard Straight, had been a diplomat in China, and had brought back many art objects from the Orient. The house had a Chinese Room, and there was a Chinese garden.

Beatrice recalls there was something strange about the bedroom her father had once used. “People didn’t like to sleep in it,” she says. “My husband says the room had a strange feeling. His mother wouldn’t sleep in there because her dog always barked when he was in there”.

One day, Beatrice and her husband brought some people out to the house for the weekend. One of them was playwright, William Archibald, who had an interest in the occult. As the evening went on, Archibald suggested they try some table tipping. They tried doing it in the former bedroom of Willard Straight. As Beatrice relates it:

“Bill said the table would tip and tap out letters. (For example, one tip equals an A, five tips equals an E,). So we sat around a small table without hands on top, and it suddenly started to go like mad, tipping and all. It said it was a spirit from the Gobi Desert. At one point, the table raised above our heads and was shaking, and crashed. Before the night was over, we broke two tables that way. The second table spelled out:


Beatrice went to a closet in the room, and found it full of old books. The table kept spelling out the same message, and finally, at the back of the closet she found a carved ivory statue with twelve ivory monkeys on it. It depicted a tree, with the monkeys climbing the three. Finally, the table spelled out:


By this time, the group was getting nervous and was glad to get rid of the statue. They all trouped out to the Chinese Garden, dug a hole and buried the statue.

Not long after, Archibald came out from his room. On his pillow he had found one of the little monkeys. As Beatrice says, “There was no way he could have taken it off the statue. They weren’t detachable, it was all one carving, one piece of ivory.

She goes on: “But the weekend’s happenings weren’t over. The next morning, when we were saying goodbye to our friends, we found another of these little monkeys on the steps of the front door.”

Beatrice knew a famous psychic, Eileen Garrett, and questioned her about the strange happenings.

“She said go back and dig it up,” Beatrice says. “She said don’t do these things unless you’re with somebody who really knows what it’s all about, that there are spirits who are naughty and can cause trouble. So the next weekend my husband and I went back to the house, and we went to the garden and dug, and there was no statue.”

Art Myers, the well-known reporter of paranormal phenomena and writer of ghost stories has just released an exciting new book “Communicating with Animals: the Spiritual Connection Between People and Animals”. Now available in local bookstores.

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