By Bruce Edwin
The Greystone Mansion is a truly exciting experience here, and park ranger Steve knows the fascinating history inside and out. This tour is well worth doing.
"The Greystone Mansion is a hidden treasure tucked away in the mountains near Bel Air and inside the territory known as Beverly Hills, California. Formerly a private estate, the house and grounds are now owned by the city, and open to the public during specific hours. Today one may recognize certain scenes from the movies, as a number of well known films have been shot at Greystone using the stately home and its garden-like grounds as a backdrop. The grandeur of the setting also makes it a popular venue for weddings and lavish ceremonies attended by many of Hollywood’s elite."
(text in quotes, source; Greystone website, copyright 2013, Friends of Greystone).
Films that have shot here include 'Star Trek 2,' 'The Social Network,' 'Spiderman,' and Spiderman 3,' 'Stigmata,' 'Batman and Robin,' 'Flowers in the Attic,' 'Ghostbusters,' and 'Ghostbusters 2,' 'The Witches of Eastwick,' and way back in 1963, 'House of the Damned,' among more. Speaking of the 'House of the Damned,' I couldn't think of a better title to describe our tour.
Arriving on this particular Sunday with my sister who was in town to visit, our Park Ranger, "Steve," arrived near the fountain courtyard to meet us and usher is in through the heavy, rustic, wooden doors where nearby sat a couple outdoors on the patio area. I felt their eyes peering upon us as we were guided in to the otherwise dark and empty mansion, as Steve quickly shut the door behind us—locking out any other soul—the doors closed us off to the outside world, and enveloped us within the realm of the unknown.
I began to state, "It feels..." I searched for words to describe my thoughts, contemplating that stating how the house feels would seem odd, and instead next saying..."It smells..." while still searching for accurate yet not peculiar words... "Very old?" Steve followed up. "Yes, I said, it does" ... "This house is over 100 years old," our guide quipped, and it has a very interesting history..." His voice stated something which could have possibly been a warning, then trailed off inaudibly.
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If "the other side" as some call it, has a path to it by way of a majestic mansion, Greystone may very well be one of it's definite starting points. We journeyed privately from room to room, walking through all 55 of the reported rooms of this massive estate, including the kitchen (where shot 'Witches of Eastwick'), the bowling alley ('There Will Be Blood'), the dreaded meat locker, and more. While I won't go into gory detail here, suffice it enough to say that not merely the publicized one; but actually numerous other tragic deaths did befall some of the age old inhabitants of the Graystone Manson, otherwise known as the Doheney Mansion. And while the site now serves as a rental grounds for Hollywood films, weddings, private upscale parties, and the occasional Murder Mystery Theatre Mansion tours, the mansion is actually believed by some to be haunted.
That fact didn't keep away one film crew from filming a razor commercial while we were here, or 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition' model Kate Upton, either, who was also running around the grounds for a photo shoot. And yet, to those who journey through those heavy doors, beneath that massive chandelier dangling on that long brown rope, and enter up those stairs into this mansion's checkered past, one may find a lot more than one bargained for.
Aside from the creepy props still hiding from the Murder Mystery Tour, ready to scare you beyond compare, you may find even more. You may feel it standing beside you, behind you, or even weighing heavy on your chest entering the very air you breathe. You may feel it on your back as you walk from room to room, rushing up your spine...or you may feel it with you as you leave. Or you just may—as I did, also feel it follow you home and in to your dreams—down one of those long, dark hallways that are seemingly never ending in the mansion—ready to grab you, back in to the Greystone Manor.
- Bruce Edwin
Greystone Estate is located at 501 Doheny Road, Beverly Hills, California 90210.
This story is ©2013, Bruce Edwin / The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.