Errol Flynn’s Ghost

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.”

If you want more biographical information about Flynn, his wikipedia page is a good starting point.  His autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways is an entertaining read.

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.

Thank you for your interest in this article. I often receive requests for further information on these articles. Please understand my knowledge of this topic is limited to what you’ve read in this article. I have no plans to update or expand these articles. I am currently focusing on my fiction writing career and am no longer writing or researching for non-fiction articles. If you’re interested in seeing what I write, please check out the My Fiction page on this website or visit my Amazon Author Page on amazon.com. 

40 thoughts on “Errol Flynn’s Ghost

  1. Ooh, I love spectacular ghost stories. This one gave me the creeps! Will have to do further reading. My great-gran used to speak of stories she’d heard–about apparitions back home in the Caribbean. For instance, people cited an image of a man working in the field–after he allegedly died unexpectedly the day before. Makes you wonder…
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    (From a fellow myWANA writer)

    • Shadonna, good to see you here. Very interesting stuff about your family’s Caribbean origins. I’ve read a lot of information about supernatural happenings in the Caribbean. If I ever want to write a story about it, I know who to to contact.

      Thanks for stopping by. :D

  2. Another fabulous blog about a famous character that I only knew his name, nothing more. And I had no idea “in like Flynn” was attributed to Errol Flynn. Thank you for an extremely interesting post.
    Patti

    • Errol Flynn is an darkly fascinating character. He was super handsome, but, also, super creepy. I’m so happy you enjoyed the ghost story. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Loved this! Love shivery ghost stories. Not sure I’m ready to share mine, though.

    In an unrelated note – I worked as an extra on SQUARE PEGS in the early 80’s, Tracy Nelson’s first (I think) TV Show. Jamie Gertz and Sarah Jessica Parker were also on that show.

    • Oooh, now you have me very curious to hear your ghost story. Whenever you’re ready to spill it, I’m ready to listen!

      How cool that you worked on SQUARE PEGS. Sarah Jessica Parker was a working actress for a *long* time before her mega-fame as a Sex and the City star. I’ve always loved her work and thought she was very pretty.

    • on ,
      Texanne said:

      Christine–That was a great show! Jamie Gertz was so much fun in that. Everybody was. I bet you were, too. Wish it had stayed on the air longer, but in TV, excellence is no guarantee of longevity.

  4. on ,
    Texanne said:

    Wow! Another winning post, Catie. Did not know all this stuff. Well, something about a yacht, maybe, but it’s hazy. I have seen a couple of his movies, but always get him mixed up with Tyrone Power. Never could tell Paul Newman from Steve McQueen either. I digress, which is rude in the comments section.

    Ghosts. Hmm. You know I worked, for a time, in a building across Hollywood Blvd from the Chinese theater. Across the side street, whose name I just can’t remember, was the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Famously haunted, but too expensive for me. What I saw mostly was the tinfoil hat crowd and the thigh-high boot bunch. Mullholland was a favorite drive. It’s actually a high-traffic artery during some parts of the day. Fabulous houses up there.

    I remember when Flynn died. We were visiting my aunt, who was a big fan of his. Aunt Juanita was standing at the sink or counter, preparing food, and my mom stood next to her, helping. The news came over the radio. My aunt made a funny noise, and I looked over–my eyes were about level with her knees–and saw her knees start to buckle. She caught herself so she didn’t fall to the floor, but my goodness! That man really had some magnetic personality. And handsome! Strange to think he resorted to rape, but that’s for psychologists to deal with.

    I’ve absolutely got to check out your links. Rick Nelson was a favorite of mine, too, and Tracy seems like such a sweet girl. Shiver!

    • I’d love to see some of your Mulholland pics if you’re ever game. You make it sound like such a neat place.

      Errol Flynn–some women like the rogue. Your aunt must have been one them. I think everybody has a celebrity they love more than you usually love people you don’t know. I was very sad when John-John Kennedy died. He was not only very good-looking, but also seemed like an interesting guy.

      My mother *loves* Rick Nelson. I called her this morning hinted some of today’s blog was about him. She was excited. LOL

      Do check out the links, especially the Celebrity Ghost stories link that features Tracy Nelson. Her story is compelling and very well told.

  5. What an incredible story and house. The subjects you find never fail to enlighten and entertain Catie!

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Gene. My catnip is ghost stories. I can’t get enough of them.

  6. Errol Flynn, one of my favorite actors! He was fine in the day, such a shame about his life and end. I had heard something about a ghost and the house but nothing like you have put together here. Absolutely love the spine tingle your blog gives me!

    • I’m so glad this blog post appealed to you. The ghost story is one of my favorites. Thanks so much for stopping by. :D

    • That’s an interesting idea. Thanks for stopping by and for your wonderful comments. It’s always good to have you here.

  7. I’ve never had anything scary crazy like that happen to me. I would run the other way if it did.
    Great story. I’d never heard any of it before.

    • >>I’d never heard any of it before.

      This is what I love to hear. I love it when I learn a new story, and it’s wonderful to pass the same thrill on to other people. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by. :D

  8. I love a good ghost story! A few ghosts appear in my work-in-progress in fact. I’m pretty sure a few are helping write it, too!

    • I’m so glad you said that! Sometimes, I feel like ghosts are helping me write, too. Of course, they appear in my work-in-progress. I bet a lot of authors feel this way. :D

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Wow! That’s a freaky story. I love reading about ghost stories, especially when they involve Hollywood people.

    • Me, too! I love anything weird about Hollywood people, to tell the truth. It’s so lurid. Thanks for stopping by. :D

  10. I lvoe ghost stories. I haven’t ever stayed anywhere haunted, but my hubby’s dream vacation would be going from one haunted place to another- esp in Europe.
    AsI kid I thought there was a ghost in my room- I later learned that clear crystals hanging in windows cast a shadow- who knew :)

    • Your husband and I would get along well. When we vacation, there’s always day we explore the “weird” element. Sometimes that means driving through an old neighborhood where I point out the haunted house. Sometimes, it means an uncomfortable night in an old hotel. :D

      Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Just last night we hosted a party in our 104 year old house just up from a three graves from the early 1700s and over 300 unmarked graves from a small pox epidemic a half-century later. There are rumors that she sometimes Rhonda (the only name you can read on the stone, dies in 1727) comes to “visit” our houses. Laugh if you must, I wasn’t a believer until weird thing started happening. And just last night at the party on numerous occaisions the back screen door slammed shut on people! The first time my husband was carrying a pot of boiled hotdogs into the house and the door slammed, hitting him and he dropped the hotdogs! (Don’t tell anyone we washed them off and served them!) A little bit later I was carrying in a plate of hamburgers and pushed the door open and it slammed on me and I dropped all the hamburgers (we didn’t wash those off, so it was the dog’s lucky day!) So we joked about it being “Rhonda” visiting, but I have to say I am now a “believer”, and I’m guessing she isn’t a big fan of grilled meats! :)

    Another fabulous post, Catie. Always so enlightening and gives me something interesting to share at the dinner table! Thanks!

  12. Thanks for your story, Jayne. What an interesting happening. I grew up in a house I still consider haunted, and I believe every word you’re saying. You know, I bet your dog likes that ghost. He got free hamburgers!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Great to see you.

  13. Catie! I love your posts….seriously! Amazing work.

    First, I had no idea that “in llike Flynn” stemmed from Errol Flynn beating rape charges. Holy Hell….

    Next, I am now infatuated with his Mulholland Farm. How could they raze the house? With Errol and the Nelsons living there, that house is Hollywood royalty.

    Why was George Clooney reminding me of Errol while I read this? He’s never been accused of rape, but he’s definitely a forever bachelor.

    PS – I had a huge crush on the Nelson Twins…..I had their cassette tape. :)

    • Tiffany, I think Mulholland Farm was allowed to deteriorate to the point that repairs were going to cost a fortune. The wiring and plumbing hadn’t been updated, and it was just a mess. Because the house was not of a distinctive architectural style, I guess no one saw the need to preserve it.

      Also, as I talked about in the post, people felt creepy in there. If you’re interested in the house plans, see if your library can get you a copy of Errol Flynn Slept Here. Inter-library loan is one of my best friends.

      Interestingly, Helen Hunt and, later, Justin Timerblake have owned the property (now complete with a Hollywood mansion) in later years.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  14. on ,
    amber said:

    Of all this things I took from this post, “in like Flynn…man. I may not be so inclined to use that phrase ever again.

    • That’s funny. I was fascinated to learn the meaning of the phrase. I thought it had to do with his fame, but the explanation I gave here make a gross sort of sense.

    • LOL I didn’t even talk about Errol Flynn’s casino and the cock fights he held there. The deeper you dig, the creepier it gets.

  15. on ,
    AmeHunter said:

    Thanks for the story and I was up at the before the house was torn down,just a few days.The windows were out and the house looked very unkept.I went up there because Rick Nelson had lived there,so I just couldn’t help my self.

    In general,Mullholland doesn’t have the greatest vibe.I never felt comfortable driving on that road and felt as though very ancient spirits owned the place.The question is,was it the people living there who caused the haunting or something long before the people were there.Maybe the drug use and strange sexual goings on had to do with a bad vibe left long before.Just a guess yet
    possible.

    Another disturbing thing is that ghost woman one of the Hamblin’s saw.Maybe she was there before Flynn or Nelson,She gives me the creeps.

    I was looking for the Celebrity Ghost Story video with Tracy and it’s gone.I wonder why because the other episides from other stars are there.Very strange

    I haven’t been up that way for years and never will go back there.i feel the whole area has problems.Also Marlin Brando lived in the area and his family was very disfunctional.

  16. on ,
    Phillip said:

    Any new ghost stories of Thelma Todd or Carol Lombard? I hear there have been recent sightings along with Jean Harlow.

    • Sorry, but I don’t. I do need to do another Hollywood ghost post, though. Thanks for your comment.