Monday, November 15, 2010

Hollywood Ghosts, Curses and Legends

Just about everyone who has ever seen a movie has heard some legend about a ghost haunting the set or a curse put on the crew at one time or another.  But how much truth is actually behind these tales? Today we’re going to look at a few of the most common movie and TV legends and try and figure out what’s actually going on.

The Wizard of Oz

Probably the most popular movie ghost story in history is the one about the hanging man in the Wizard of Oz. The legend behind it states that a munchkin killed himself on set and his ghost supposedly appears in the background of the yellow brick road. I remember hearing this story in grade school and watching the movie over and over trying to find it. I never did find it, not because the scene didn’t exist but because I was told it was in a different part of the movie. The scene actually takes place when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman are dancing their way through the forest. And you really can see something unusual happening in the background if you watch carefully. If you haven’t seen this scene there’s a link to the video here.

Nowadays with technology taking over, people are able to slow the scene down and see what really happens-a large bird flaps its wings. They were kept on set to make the forest look more authentic. Once you know what you are looking at it’s actually kind of obvious. Disappointing, I know.

Three Men and a Baby

If you’ve heard of the Wizard of Oz ghost, there’s a good chance you have also heard of the ghost boy that appears in Three Men and a Baby. The story goes that a little boy was killed in the apartment they filmed at and his ghost is visible in the shot. Once again you actually can see a strange ghostly image in one of the scenes. But to the surprise of many, the ‘ghost’ was revealed to be a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson in a tuxedo. An error in editing made the cut-out seem to appear out of nowhere. Here's the clip. It worked out well for the studio though, the story spread like fire and brought them plenty of revenue.

The Godfather

In the recent DVD release of the Godfather, a ghostly face appears on screen for a split second. It’s pretty noticeable, even with the naked eye. Here’s a link to the video. This one hasn’t caught on as well as the other legends, but a few stories are circulating about who the mysterious woman could be. In my opinion the image looks to be a reflection on the scene that was missed by the editing department. I’ll let you guys be the judge.


While this legend isn’t physically visible on film, it’s still an interesting story and certainly worth a mention. Supposedly one of the Poltergeist films used real human bones during shooting, which angered some of the spirits who put a curse on the cast and crew. There have been an unusual number of deaths tied to the people involved with the Poltergeist trilogy, some of which were violent. There were also reportedly a number of freak accidents that happened on set and at the homes of cast members during shooting. It’s impossible to validate these claims, but they certainly make a good story.

The Ghost Whisperer

During a taping of the TV show Ghost Whisperer, a strange image was caught on tape, which many of the people involved believe is some sort of spirit. There’s a link to the video here. The scene was left in the show. Jennifer Love Hewitt shared the story on Ellen. You can make up your own mind.

These are just a few of the most popular Hollywood legends circulating today. People love telling these stories because they are entertaining and Hollywood loves them because they bring extra attention to their films. And no matter what they are, they’re a lot of fun. Know of any other good Hollywood ghost stories?

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