It’s Freaky Friday again at Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie. There’s nothing freakier than a ghost story. This one’s about Errol Flynn.
In his day, Errol Flynn was the hottest sex symbol on the silver screen.
Off the silver screen, Errol Flynn’s reputation was that of a hard partying ladies’ man. Flynn liked seducing young women and engaging in drunken debauchery. Eventually, he faced (and beat) rape charges. He inspired the phrase “in like Flynn.”
To fully understand this ghost story, we’ll need to talk about Errol Flynn’s house.
Errol Flynn moved into his dream home, sometimes called Mullholland Farm, in late 1941. Mullholland Farm sat in undeveloped wilderness 4.6 miles up the mountain from Warner Brothers Studios. Flynn liked the property’s seclusion.
Below, you’ll see Mulholland Farm in the upper part of the book cover. We’ll talk about this book later on.
The house was a four thousand square foot Connecticut Farmhouse. I’ve also heard the style called California Ranch house. The house was unremarkable..if you don’t count Flynn’s additions to accommodate his burgeoning love of voyeurism.
- Directly behind the bar was a secret door. This secret door opened into a cramped sitting room featuring a view, via two-way mirror, of the women’s restroom. In My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Flynn claimed the bathroom was bugged. According to Gunnar Nelson, this passageway continued past the ladies room and to the steam room, which could be accessed through one of the benches.
- Two viewing tubes installed in the foyer and bar area ceilings allowed Flynn to surreptitiously check out the ground floor goings-on from the second floor.
- In the later-added east wing was the famed bedroom with the two-way ceiling mirror featured in Confidential magazine in March 1955. Here’s how it worked: the bedroom’s activity was visible from the attic, directly above the room, through a trap door in the floor.
- Also of note, but having nothing to do with voyeurism, is the creepy black bottomed pool. My subconscious loves/hates this pool. I have nightmares about it.
That ends our discussion of Mulholland Farms’ construction. If you want to learn more about the house, I strongly recommend Errol Flynn Slept Here by Robert Matzen and Michael Mazzone.
Errol Flynn didn’t have a happy ending. He spiraled into full blown alcoholism and lost his good looks. His appetite for long-legged jailbait continued to cause him both financial and personal trouble. To make matters worse, Flynn’s business manager embezzled vast sums of his money. Troubles with unmade alimony payments plauged Flynn.
End result: Flynn lost Mulholland Farms around 1955. In 1959, at the age of fifty, he was dead.
But, I promised y’all a ghost story, didn’t I?
Well, in 1959, Stuart and Suzy Hamblen bought Mulholland Farm. On the night Flynn died, the whole house shook. The pressure regulator had gone bad, and the shaking was caused by the pipes.
That must have been the start of it.
- The Hamblens reported a bed blocking a secret staircase in the master bedroom being moved without the help of human hands.
- Stuart Hamblen witnessed a spectral naked lady trying to enter the property through a gate. He reported the incident to his family. They went to investigate, and found she’d disappeared.
- A Hamblin cousin reported a dark cloud hovering in the hallway. He saw this dark cloud several times over the years.
- Other Hamblins reported areas of the house that just didn’t feel “right,” areas they wanted to stay away from if possible. Flickering lights were also reported.
Rick Nelson became the owner of Mulholland Farm in 1980.
[Note: My mother would be so upset if I didn't include a picture.]
- Gunnar Nelson, Rick’s son, believed the house consumed his father. Gunnar called the house a living, breathing entity. He claimed a dark, sexually charged energy possessed the house. If you weren’t careful, Gunnar said, that energy became aggressive. If you’ve read much about Errol Flynn’s personality, this ghostly presence sounds familiar.
- Tracy Nelson, Rick’s daughter, reported her shower door opening and closing during the night, the toilet flushing, and the shades rolling up on their own.
- Gunnar remembered the feeling of someone sitting on his bed while he was alone in his bedroom.
- Tracy smelled cheap perfume. With the smell, Tracy felt a cynical presence.
- Gunnar saw reflections of a man’s face in a mirror opposite the peephole where Errol could view the activity in the house’s first floor.
- Tracy Nelson related some very frightening experiences on Celebrity Ghost stories. Update 4/4/12: The videos have unfortunately been removed from You Tube. If you want to see this episode of Celebrity Ghost stories, you’re looking for Season 2: Episode 13. The Bio Channel (www.biography.com) does have some full episodes available. Oddly, iTunes has Season 1 and 3…but not Season 2. So best of luck on finding the videos.
Rick Nelson had a lot of expenses, and was performing often to make ends meet. He perished in a plane crash in 1985.
Gunnar and Matthew Nelson stayed in the house for two months after their father’s death. Late one evening, they had a change of heart. Matt looked out over the living room and felt a foreboding, as though something was telling him to leave. Gunnar and Matthew packed and moved away.
Many stories exist of haunted Mulhollhand Farm. Instead of relating them all here, I’m going to suggest again you get your hands on a copy of Errol Flynn Slept Here. If you’d like to see an eight minute video advertisement for the book, click here.
Hedy Lamarr, Beverly Aadland, and David Niven believed, for different reasons, Flynn’s spirit lingered on earth. From what I’ve read, he was a strong personality, and his life ended on a sour note. Mulholland Farm was the only place Errol Flynn ever called home. It makes sense for him to return home in spirit form. Some hair-raising stories suggest he did.
Since Errol Flynn’s house was razed in 1988, there’s no way for the paranormal activity at Mulholland Farm to truly be investigated. It will remain an unsolved mystery and one of my favorite ghost stories of all time.