Category: Haunted House
Although the Greystone Estate (a.k.a "the Doheny Mansion") is probably best known as a location for hundreds of movies, TV shows, commercials, and print ads, it was also the site of one of Southern California's greatest solved (but really unsolved) mysteries. Shorty after this 55-room mansion was built by Edward Doheny (as a gift for his son), Edward "Ned" Doheny Jr. and his personal assistant (and closest friend), Hugh Plunkett, were found dead (each with a bullet hole in their head) on February 16, 1929 in one of the guest rooms of this stately manor. At the time, Plunkett and Doheny (along with President Warren G. Harding and Ned's father, oil tycoon Edward Doheny) were embroiled in the infamous "Teapot Dome" bribery scandal, so the sudden death of these two co-conspirators was big news at the time.
The official story (as reported in the newspapers of the day) is that Plunkett went crazy one night and murdered his employer, and then turned the gun on himself. The reasons given for Plunkett's psychotic episode have ranged from a salary dispute to his recent divorce. (His ex-wife, incidentally, was an out-spoken believer of the paranormal.) The homicide detective who arrived at the scene, Leslie T. White, later wrote an autobiography entitled "Me, Detective," in which he devoted a chapter to the injustice of the Doheny investigation. In addition to waiting a couple of hours before calling the police, the family (with help from the family's doctor) apparently staged the scene of the crime and the placement of the bodies as well as tried to disguise the time of death (which all contradicted the blood and bullet evidence). A proper investigation was never conducted (perhaps because of the family's political influence). Despite the obvious tampering and the "rehearsed" eye-witness testimony from the family's housekeeping staff, the case was declared solved by the District Attorney's office the next day, and the bodies were immediately cremated (even though this practice was contrary to the family's religious beliefs).
Over the decades, there have been many theories and rumors surrounding this case. One of the most popular stories is that Ned's religious wife killed both of them, when she discovered that they were having a gay romance. It should also be noted, that earlier that day, witnesses claimed that the two men were having a loud argument at Plunket's apartment (636 South Cochran Avenue), followed by what sounded like doors slamming. Did the other tenants actually hear gun shots, and just mistake them for doors? Curiously, the Doheny family also buried the remains of Hugh Plunket, the supposed killer of Ned Doheny, near their beloved son/husband's remains. Why?
Whatever happened that rainy day (regardless of "official" reports) remains a true mystery. It is these unanswered questions of this tragedy that most likely are at the heart of this historic house's haunting. Why else would the apparition of a man be seen walking the halls outside the scene of the crime? Is it the ghost of Ned Doheny, or is it Hugh Plunkett? Why does a pool of blood appear (then disappear) on the floor of room where the murders supposedly happened. Why just one pool of blood when there were two victims. Who's blood is it? And more importantly, what are the manifestations trying to tell us?
When visiting this landmark building and gardens, keep your eyes open. Any paranormal experience you have may provide the missing clue that finally solves this forgotten case, and ultimately allows the troubled ghosts of the Doheny Mansion the peace they deserve.
Contact Information:
Phone
(310) 285-6830
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