Early morning on Bunker Hill was foggy and bleak. The sun
was not up yet and there was an odd quiet I did not expect in the heart of
Downtown’s Financial District. The gray mist swirled about the tops of the Aon
and B of A buildings. In the background I could hear the faint buzz from the
freeway, the only real noise of the morning.
Looming from the top of Bunker Hill are a
number of Condo
buildings, some going back to the late 1960’s and others are almost new. It was
to one of the taller and older buildings I would be spending some investigative
time unknown to the building’s management.
Over the past few years I have heard stories
and via party gossip about this one Bunker Hill building. The building management
does not want
you or anyone else to know that their building has a haunting reputation.
I was put in touch with a man named David
that lived in this
Bunker Hill Condominium and a year later moved out. Why? According to David his
condo and the building or at least a portion of the building he lived in, was
haunted. David will recount to me his experiences with real passion and a glint
of fear in his eyes.
David’s condo was next to the top floor,
a two bedroom, den
affair that was his special Downtown condo he had been wanting for a long time.
It was an exciting time for David making the big move to the new Downtown.
Things could not have been better.
One of the selling points for these condos
is that the thick
cement between units makes for almost noiseless living. You just don’t hear your
neighbors or even the sounds of water or showers, just really quiet. David’s
unit faced south with an inviting view of Downtown and the magnificent urban
vistas. On clear days he could see the LA Airport tower and the ocean beyond.
David’s first few weeks were filled
with the joy and pain of
a big move. His cat Simon adapted to the new environment quickly and would sit
on the window ledge taking in all the sights and sounds from on high.
July 15th 7:30PM: David was cooking
his cat Simon started to cry and moan. Simon was running all over the condo and
seemed almost out of his mind. David dropped what he was doing turned off the
stove and went running for his cat. Then from the ceiling came a banging, in
threes, bang, bang, bang, then a pause and the banging would begin again. David
assumed the banging was what upset the cat and David figured the maintenance
men were doing some sort of job, but on what? There were neither utilities in
the cement ceiling nor in the walls of the condos main rooms. Where they
working on the floor above? As David moved through the condo the banging seemed
to follow him, even into the master bathroom. After a few minutes the banging
stopped and Simon calmed down and went back to his window. David resumed cooking
and all was quiet
for the rest of the night.
The condo above David had been empty for
about 18 months
according to his real estate agent.
When David had heard this he was struck by the fact that the unit was
not even offered for sale. “They’re working on the unit, I guess they’re slow
workers” was the agent’s remarked when he inquired about the unit. David had
wondered what had happened to the owners but failed to ask.
July 28th, 3AM: David woke from
a sound and
disturbing sleep. He had just had a dream about fire that was a bit unsettling
living in a high-rise condo. He looked over to the bedroom door and noticed it
was closed; he always slept with the door open so Simon could go in and out.
“How did it close on its own”, he wondered? Simon was not on the bed where he
slept every night. The room was
cold and damp yet it had been an exceptionally warm night. David got up putting
on his terry cloth bathrobe and walked around the Condo calling Simon. After a few
minutes he found Simon in the den under a large leather chair growling in an
intense low growl. When David went to reach for Simon he lunged and scratched
David and dashed under a nearby couch. Simon had never ever been aggressive in
his 5 years of life with David. Sleepy, David went back into the bedroom and
decided Simon was just “in a mood”. “Maybe the cat closed the door when he
left,” a smile came to David’s face as he laid his head on the pillow.
I had set up an early before work appointment
with one of
the maids from the Condo. She had been David’s housekeeper for about 6 months
and has worked for others in the building for years. We met near the Condo in a
little café over coffee. I asked what she knew about the “problems” on the
August 14th, 11:00 AM: “Once
walking down the
hallway to David’s condo, I saw a naked man except he had a jacket on, he was
sitting at the end of the hallway, head down, near the front door. I was scared
and opened the condo door
quickly and called security. They came but found no one.” Who do you think
it was? I asked. “I
don’t know I never saw him before, you know it’s a real secure building, no one
can get past the security, weird, huh?”
“David said you would tell me
about the ‘water’.”
September 2nd, 2:12PM: “I
was cleaning the living
room about 4PM and a pounding started from upstairs. It got louder and would
stop and then start again. Water was dripping from above and was making a small
trail across the ceiling. I called security and the next thing I know water is
pouring down. A few minutes later a firemen come to the door asking if
everything is ‘Okay’. I said I was okay. The fireman said there had been a
small fire in the upstairs unit and the sprinklers went on.” I was really upset
over all this and called David at work to let him know.”
David arrived home to a very wet living room
maintenance people already had the dry vac going. All the carpeting had to be pulled up and some of the
furniture was soaked. The resident manager checked in on David to see how he
was and to take pictures for insurance. David asked the manager, “What
happened?” The manager was slow with any information but David was
insistent. “There seems to have been
a fire on the stove in the condo above you. There was a telephone directory on
one of the burners which for some reason was turned on.” “How could that have
happened with no one living there, David asked?” “We’re not sure, crazy stuff
isn’t it? All the maintenance people were on the job elsewhere” the manager
said with a quizzical look on his face.
David knew something terrible
was happening and he was not getting all the answers.