Residence: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date of Performance/Collection: November 2nd 2011
Primary Language: English
For as long as I can remember my mothers best friend has always been fascinated by the supernatural. Whenever my she is at our house, and I see her, we have conversations about different supernatural topics. So it only made sense that I would approach her for ghost folklore. She told me that she heard an interesting one when she lived in LA about a haunting in Paramount Studios. The story goes as follows:
Hollywood is the home of many eerie tales. So many that there is a tour called the Haunted Hollywood tour. A famous stop is the cemetery, Hollywood Forever, which is located next to Paramount Studios. Security guards who work around the sound stages of Paramount Studios have claimed that sometimes those restless souls in Hollywood Forever come back to haunt the Studio. This happens so frequently that the security guards, more specifically those who work the night shift, have given the studio a new name. They call it Paranormal Paramount.
One of the most famous “hauntings” is the haunting on sound stage 19; the stage where Happy Days was shot. Most security guards refuse to work the night shift on sound stage 19. The stage is said to be haunted by Heather O’Rourke, the little girl from poltergeist. She joined the cast of Happy Days as Heather Pfister, and was featured in 12 episodes from 1982-1983. She died in a hospital in 1988 from mysterious causes, although it is believed that there was some sort of surgical complication. She was 12.
One evening a man was talking to a night shift security guard who worked stage 19 about the paranormal activities that go on at the studio. The security guard told the man that almost every night he hears running and laughing on the catwalk above the set, which is where Heather liked to play when she was on set on Happy Days. The security guard also told the man that sometimes they’d see the little girl playing on the stage. The man asked what they do when they see her. The security guard replied that they usually just tell her to leave and she runs off.
The man decided he wanted to test this out for himself. The guard let him into the stage at midnight and bid him good luck before shutting the sound stage door. The man walked around, and waited. He prepared himself to hear running on the catwalk or to see Heather playing, but nothing happened. Finally after 20 minutes or so he decided to provoke the spirit a little by telling her come out and play. Not a second after the words left his mouth did the man feel a hand brush across his lower back. He immediately ran off the stage in terror. Outside he told the security guard what happened and that he didn’t actually expect anything to happen. The security guard laughed and told the man that his expression looks just like the expression on of the editor for the show Wings (which was also shot on stage 19) had when he saw Heather in the background of one of the shots.
My mother’s friend, as I mentioned, is a firm believer in supernatural occurrences like this story. She said that things like visitations are not beyond being a possibility. I, on the other hand, am somewhat skeptical about ghosts in general. However this story is consistent with themes and motifs found in most ghost stories. For example, dying young, without marrying, without accomplishing, are all aspects of the theme of unfinished business. As well there were claims of malpractice in relation to her death, which is not a natural death. Unfinished business and unnatural death are two very strong motifs in ghost stories that prevent the dead from moving on.