This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Former Creepy, 'Haunted' Hospital Now A Charming Senior Apartment Complex
The Linda Vista Hospital, formerly abandoned and rumored to be haunted, is now a charming community for senior citizens. The Hollenbeck Terrace Apartments are looking very nice. The property, designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, contains 120 affordable apartments for seniors, according to Curbed LA. The former rooms that housed patients, labs and offices are now living areas for the residents, while former common areas remain.
Since it's October, though, let's take a spooky trip down memory lane.
The Santa Fe Railroad Company built the Linda Vista Hospital in 1904 for its employees. In the beginning, it was a very nice, top-of-the-line facility. However, that would soon change as the railroad's importance decreased and the surrounding neighborhood worsened. The hospital began dealing with the victims of gang-related crimes, drug overdoses while combating budget cuts and a waning staff. Finally, in 1991, the hospital shut down for good.
For many years, it was simply abandoned. Film crews used its decaying halls for films and music videos, up until construction on the Hollenbeck Terrace Apartments began in 2012.
We visited the hospital last year with Crimebo. Crimebo is a clown who will take natives and tourists alike to see the dark side of L.A., like areas where victims of the Hillside Strangler were found and the old, abandoned jail. Crimebo has, shall we say, a flair for dramatic storytelling.
He conveyed to us a few of the rumors surrounding the hospital. For one, some say that a number of patients who disappeared and were never heard from again were used for experiments, then disposed of via the hospital's on site crematorium.
Another piece of lore claims that the ghost of a doctor roved the halls. The doctor was supposedly murdered when a group of gang members rushed in a member of their crew who had been shot by a rival gang. Though the ill-fated doctor tried, he couldn't save the gang members' friend and paid with his life.
Francis Kortekaas, a caretaker who managed the property for over two decades, told the L.A. Times in 2010 that he would had seen many strange things around the hospital, things he couldn't logically explain. Sometimes, the water in a scrub sink, typically operated by a foot lever, would turn on by itself. Sometimes, he would feel a child's hand grab onto his own hand when no one was there.
Others reported eerie green light emanating from windows, or a child crying from a deserted fifth floor. Others claim that serial killer Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez hid out there for a bit, leaving Satanic imagery on the walls.
The hospital was popular with urban explorers, and ghost hunters, occasionally finding its way onto to paranormal investigation TV shows.
Though the walls were occasionally marred with graffiti—cliched phrases like "the end is near"—some of that creepiness was the work of art directors. Props were left behind by horror flicks like Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem. Se7en shot there, as did True Blood and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Numerous bands shot music videos at the hospital, including Duran Duran and Garbage.
In a season one episode of Dexter titled "Let's Give the Boy a Hand," the Ice Truck Killer leaves a grisly gift in an abandoned hospital for vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan. That hospital is supposed to be in Florida, but is really the Linda Vista.
The photos from Hollenbeck Terrace Apartment's website show a number of happy couples looking totally unperturbed by any sort of prior weirdness.
But, as we know from horror movies, just because you build something new doesn't mean it will stop being haunted!