10 – Celebrity Hauntings: Ghosts of Rock Stars

We’re talking ghost stories! Specifically, stories about rock star ghosts and celebrity hauntings.

Ghosts aren’t often reported of people who died peacefully. Many rock stars’ lives have ended tragically and suddenly, in the type of untimely ending often resulting in restless souls with unfinished business. Many witnesses purport to have seen those souls in the form of ghosts, and when those ghosts are famous people, it makes for interesting ghost stories.

The first celebrity ghost we discuss is the infamous Elvis Presley. Although many people believe that Elvis faked his own death, many also claim to have seen his ghost and/or communicated with his spirit in places as obvious as Graceland and as odd as Burger King.

Next, we talk about a dead celebrity, Mama Cass, who visits a living celebrity, Dan Aykroyd! He lives in her former dwelling, which he believes her spirit continues to inhabit. Did Cass’s ghostly visits to Aykroyd’s boudoir inspire a scene in Ghostbusters?

Many recording studios host ghosts: Jim Morrison haunts the Sunset Sound studios and his band mates’ dreams. The Cave, another recording studio and former speakeasy, is haunted by the ghost of Warren Zevon, singer of the song Werewolves of London. Axis Studios, a Wisconsin recording studio where Sunspot recorded parts of their “Cynical” album, has ghosts who get bored and leave if you don’t show fear. A mysterious heartbeat was once discovered on a recording made there.

Given the untimely/tragic nature of their deaths, it’s not surprising that many members of the 27 Club haunt us. Vibes of Kurt Cobain have been uncovered by a psychic in the wood of a park bench in Viretta Park in Seattle, Washington. Others have reported seeing/feeling his spirit there. A woman also claimed that Cobain haunted her laptop until she kissed it on his ghostly request, upon which it stopped working.

Whitney Houston is another, more recently departed, celebrity whose spirit visits her mother, Sissy Houston, by ringing her doorbell.

Pete Doherty (co-frontman of The Libertines), the close friend of Amy Winehouse (who passed away in 2011), is convinced that she haunts his flat. He has gone so far as to flee from the UK escape her ghost, which appears in the form of images and reflects in the night.

Musician Gram Parsons liked Joshua Tree National Park in California, where he and his friends would spend time UFO-sighting, so much that he wished to be cremated there after he died. He ended his own life with a drug overdose at the Joshua Tree Inn, where to this day his apparition appears in haunted Room 8. In a bold move of loyalty, against Parsons’ family’s wishes, his best friend Phil Kaufman stole his ashes from the airport and scattered them in the park he so adored.

Legendary John Lennon’s spirit has been witnessed near the Dakota Hotel where he was killed. When his surviving band mates released a new song for the Anthology, a white peacock wandered into one of the photos, which the bandmates believed was a sign from Lennon. They also claim that their deceased band member’s name can be clearly heard in a backwards section of the recording they made.

Finally, one of our favorite concert venues, First Avenue in Minneapolis, hosts several specters. One is a blond woman in a green jacket, who legend has it hanged herself in the bathroom, and who on occasion reportedly reveals herself hanging in the bathroom. The other one, named Slippy, makes a balloon appear that rises and falls in the staircase. In addition to these apparitions, staff claim that the sound and lighting equipment is susceptible to eery signals from beyond.

Links on Celebrity Hauntings

Bubba Ho-Tep – Movie in which Bruce Campbell portrays Elvis at an old folks’ home plagued by a mummy
Joe R. Landale – Author of Bubba Ho-Tep and other horror/supernatural stories
James “The Amazing” Randi – Writer for The Skeptical Inquirer and creator of the One Million Dollar Challenge
Grand Theft Parsons – Movie about the theft of Gram Parsons’ corpse
Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends by Matthew L. Swayne – Book about rock star ghosts and venue hauntings

Featured Song: Skeleton Key (The Secret Lives of Ghosts)

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a grave without a headstone,
Wandering the earth for rest,
Alone in a crowd,
as a soul that’s dispossessed.
I was a murder without a body,
I was a crime without a scene.
But this dunit needs a who,
And I hope you’ll take my plea.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a grave without a headstone,
Wandering the earth for rest,
Alone in a crowd,
as a soul that’s dispossessed.
I was a murder without a body,
I was a crime without a scene.
But this dunit needs a who,
And I hope you’ll take my plea.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

I was a ghost without a story,
A specter looking for a past.
Waiting and just watching,
All these lives pass by so fast.
I wrote a tale without a hero,
I wrote a song without a tune,
But all stories need an ending,
And I hope that ending is you.

So hear my prayer,
And let me know that you can see me there.
Exorcise,
Take my hand and let’s go towards the light,
For you’re the Skeleton Key to set my spirit free tonight.

6 thoughts on “10 – Celebrity Hauntings: Ghosts of Rock Stars”

  1. I have been binge listening to your podcasts. I must say, they are actually really good. Your songs are also quite well done.

    Weirdly, I too had an experience with a bathroom ghost. I used to get to work quite early and was usually the only one on the floor. Upon entering the men’s room I was surprised to see a figure enter one of the stalls. When I walked past the stall, I was even more surprised to see it empty. I know that several people died tragically on the roof of the building back in the 1970’s, so it does give make a person think. Illusion or spirt? Who knows?

    1. Hi John, thanks so much for listening, very glad to hear you’re enjoying the show and the songs!

      That’s a really interesting experience and it certainly does make a person wonder, when we see or hear things like that… Especially given the tragic history of that location.

      Thanks for sharing your story!