The Laurel Canyon Diaries: The Jean Harlow House Murders

Since its inception Laurel Canyon has been a hotbed for murders and the macabre. Despite being an overly rich neighborhood the onslaught of destruction and deprived behavior has reeked from the beginning of madness. Examples can be found at certain Canyon area homes like the Bavarian looking house on 9820 Easton Drive. A true haunted house, it has seen its fair share of death, starting with the slaying of director/producer Paul Bern. Bern had lucked out by marrying the hot young superstar actress of the day, Jean Harlow, a few months earlier. He had a huge mansion, loads of money, and the hottest chick on the planet to wake up to in the morning. But his luck was about to run out. On September 5th, 1932 Bern’s butler found his outstretched, bloody dead body in the master bedroom. The studio heads of MGM were called in to investigate the scene before the police, press or even Jean Harlow was aware of the situation. Apparently Harlow had stayed at her mother's the night before. 

The book Hollywood Cauldron describes the early morning scene Harlow missed and those involved with MGM witnessed: Beholding the naked body of a 42-year-old Bern, sprawled in the bedroom, drenched in Harlow’s Mitsouko perfume with this infamous note nearby: Dearest/Dear – unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and to wipe out my abject humiliation/I love you – Paul – You realize that last night was only a comedy. Legend would claim that Bern’s blew his brains out, humiliated over his impotence, and his alluded “comedy” was a pathetic attempt to make love to MGM’s platinum blonde while sporting a dildo. The studio bosses more than likely wrote the note and created the whole story in order to save Harlow’s reputation. It worked. 

Years later a real culprit emerged as the prime suspect who put a bullet in Bern’s head. A crazy ex-lover that flipped her wig when she found out that her man was now married to a famous sex kitten. Bern was actually murdered by Dorothy Millette, his common-law wife, who, after years in a Connecticut sanatorium and a San Francisco hotel, had now come to Hollywood. Millette was raving religious lunatic who vengefully confronted Bern with his bigamy and manically demanded that he star her in a religious epic while Jean was away, Dorothy was at the house that night, shrieking on the Japanese lantern-lit patio, gobbling devil’s food cake that had been saved for Jean, taking a dip in the pool with Paul, shooting him in the head in the bedroom, unleashing an “unearthly” scream heard by the housekeeper, and escaping in the limousine Bern had called MGM for at 1:04 a.m. that night to drive a woman to San Francisco. Two nights later Dorothy Millitte jumped off the Delta King steamboat and drowned in the Sacramento River. 

The infamous murder would leave a paranormal effect on the house for generations after and Bern’s tormented soul would forever haunt the secluded mansion. Thirty years after his untimely death his apparition began showing up to two other unfortunate souls who would go on to share the same fate at a home just a few miles away. Sharon Tate was a famous up and coming actress who just married the director Roman Polanski, and Jay Sebring was the hippest hairstylist in Los Angeles, best known for giving Jim Morrison (the Lizard King will have his very own chapter) his famous ‘lion’ haircut. But before they met a gruesome ending together Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring were lovers and housemates sharing the home on 9820 Easton Drive. From the Complete Idiots guide to Ghosts and Hauntings

Hairstylist Jay Sebring purchased Paul Bern’s home in 1966. Sebring was dating Sharon Tate at that time, and he asked her to housesit for him one night when he was out of town. Tate awoke to see the ghost of Bern, running around the bedroom and crashing into furniture. Tate fled downstairs and was horrified to see an apparition of Sebring tied to the post of the staircase, bleeding with his throat slashed. Banging sounds continued from the bedroom upstairs. Eventually the visions faded, and the noise ended, and Tate, exhausted finally fell asleep…within two years, Sebring, Tate, and three others were bound and murdered by Charles Manson and his followers in a house located just down the Canyon from the Bern-Harlow home. Violence and death would spread as the decades rolled by. You could fill a whole book with all the strange murders and suicides that has taken place in the Canyon lands, especially on special satanic dates such as Halloween. Not to mention the secrets, sorcerers, and double agent spies (Harry Houdini was one) working anonymously in the Hollywood night. This is just the flesh mangling tip of the iceberg when it comes to the beginning of the strange interweaving of occult numerology and covert military connections secretly surrounding Los Angeles.

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