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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 from friends 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 dinner when 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 upper floors.

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 and the 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.


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PART II: The Haunting 

David arrived home to a very wet and soggy living room, the maintenance people already had the dry vac going. 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.

The banging on the ceiling started up again and even though David would move from room to room it would follow him, “Bam, Bam”, and then it would end for a few hours and start up later, always above his head.  The banging was most anytime day or night and as usual the cat would look up, freeze then run for the bedroom to hide under the bed.

October 1st 7:10AM

The morning in Downtown was bright and intense. There was one of those LA heat waves in progress. David went to his window and looked out to an already sweaty day of shimmering heat. 

David smelled something foul, dank and rotten, and thought the cat had thrown up, but he couldn’t find anything. The smell was nowhere and everywhere. He turned to walk down his hallway and was startled to see a dark moving image at the end of the hall. It looked like a swelling of black particles that pulsed in the air. “What the hell…” David was scared. Then as fast as the image appeared it disappeared as did the foul smell.

For the first time David thought the unthinkable, “Haunting, shit man, I’m being haunted.” David turned to find the cat cowering under a bedroom chair, crying.

October 8th 2:34AM

David was dreaming of faces on his bedroom wall. Horrible faces of pain that pulsated in the white wall. He could hear a low heavy humming sound that turned into loud banging. David woke up sweaty, cold, and scared. He looked at the clock, turned on the light and radio and tried to go back to sleep. “It was only a dream.”

October 22nd 4:20AM

David could hear a loud moan and then water splashing. Half conscious David thought the toilet might be overflowing. Tired and still not awake he slowly made his way to the bathroom. Head still in the toilet his cat laid slumped over the seat motionless. The cat had drowned in the toilet. David grabbed the cat and cried, the deep cry of the despondent.

October 30th 9:30PM Pete’s Café, Downtown LA

David was out to dinner with friends at a Downtown eatery. After dinner he shared with the small group the happenings in the condo, and about the horrible death of his cat. No one knew what to say but looked at him as though perhaps David’s sanity was leaving him. “Maybe you need to go on a vacation or something,” David’s friend Jon said with sympathy in his voice. “You’ve been working too hard, that’s it way too hard” Debby sitting next to him said as she rubbed his hand softly. “I’ll be okay, its all just weird stuff, who knows,” David’s voice trailed off. He finished his glass of wine, said his “goodbyes” and left his friends still sitting in Pete’s Cafe. As he walked out he could hear one of his friends say, “Hope he’s going to be alright.” David hopped so too. 

November 1st 10:50PM

Before going to bed David would always take a shower, it helped him relax. After a long hot shower he stepped out to dry himself off. He seemed to not be able to get his back dry. He continued to pull the towel over his back to dry himself off. David finally pulled the towel in front of him it was covered in blood. Shocked he turned to his large mirror in the bathroom. He could see what looked like scratch marks just below his left lower shoulder blade. The knocking in the ceiling started slowly and continued for a few minutes. David looked down at the blood-spattered floor.

November 2nd 9:00PM

David had the telephone number of a Downtown historian he chatted from time to time with on a local bulletin board. “Perhaps he can help me figure out what going on here,” David thought to himself as he dialed the number. “Maybe he can help.”

The Haunting continues Next Month with the very scary conclusion to the story. Not to be missed!

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