We’re here, we’re queer, and…we’re dead!
Alfred Kinsey claimed that one in ten people is gay. Since gay people go to the other side just like everyone else, that must mean one in ten ghosts must be a gay ghost also, right? Well, since it’s so rare to see a ghost, it’s easy to assume your chances of seeing a gay ghost are as rare as a snowy day in June. That is, unless you stick to the locations below, which are reportedly haunted by ghosts of people believed to have been gay during their lives. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, these stories are sure to intrigue you.
Lizzie Borden’s gay ghost
On August 11, 1892 Lizzie Borden was arrested for the violent axe murders of her father and stepmother in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Lizzie was tried and found not guilty, but many believe she literally got away with murder. The murders left Lizzie and her sister as inheritors of their parents’ wealth. Lizzie never married and, later in life, she had a close and long-term relationship with stage and silent screen actress, Nance O‘Neil, who was known to be lesbian. Many say this supports the theory that Lizzie Borden was lesbian. Over 120 years later, gay ghost of Lizzie Borden and her dead parents are reported to haunt what is now the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum. the Borden house. Muffled voices are heard, unexplained images appear in photos and footsteps are heard throughout the house. The historic house has been investigated by numerous psychics and ghost hunting teams including the casts of Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters.
Silent Film Star, Ramon Novarro
This dashing star of the 1920’s silver screen was known in Hollywood to secretly be gay. In the 1960’s and many years after he retired from Hollywood, he invited over two male hustlers who brutally tortured and beat the star to death. His ghost is said to haunt the place where he died. In the 1980s, a local TV show hosted by Connie Chung filmed at the house. Several film crew members refused to enter the house, citing an eerie feeling hit them as they began entering the Novarro home. When a crew member entered the bathroom, a wave of fear hit them, forcing them to leave the home.
King Edward II and his lover, Piers Gaveston
The ghost of King Edward II is said to haunt the location of his murder: Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England. King Edward II had a number of alleged homosexual relationships with men in spite of being married and fathering several children. Among his favorites was Piers Gaveston of Gascony who Edward met in his youth before marrying Isabella of France. King Edward II’s father (Edward I) was strongly opposed to the relationship and had Gaveston exiled from England. Gaveston ultimately was sentenced to death in 1312. He was stabbed with a sword and beheaded. His headless gay ghost haunts Scarborough Castle in England. King Edward II reigned until 1327 when he was deposed by his estranged wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover. Tortured and then murdered in 1327, King Edward II’s ghost is said to appear annually at Berkeley Castle on the anniversary of his death to let out the same screams of agony heard at the end of his life.
The gay ghost of the homosexual medieval priest
Built in 1450, Fitz Manor Bed & Breakfast in Shropshire, UK is considered by many to be one of England’s most haunted sites. It was constructed on a medieval site, most likely a hall from the Saxon period. It has been in the hands of the Baly family since the 1700s and today runs as a bed and breakfast that is home to both the living and dead. According to legend, among the many ghosts said to haunt this bed & breakfast, is that of a priest who was brutally murdered for being a homosexual. By the medieval times, homosexuality was regarded as sodomy and therefore punishable by death. The priest is believed to have been crucified in the corner of the dining room. Members of the family and their guests have heard ghostly groans and weeping coming from that section of the dining room. The British television show, Most Haunted, filmed in the Fitz Manor during 2003.
Silent Screen Star Rudolph Valentino
He was one of the first film stars to cross over to become a huge sex symbol during the roaring 1920’s. Known as the ‘Latin Lover’ of the silver screen, Rudolph Valentino had several ‘lavender marriages’ with women who were known to be lesbians. Rudolph Valentino also is reported to have had relationships with several men, including gay film star Ramon Novarro. He died at early death (age 31) in 1926 in NYC. His ghost is quite the traveler, having been spotted in 14 different locations but most often at Falcon’s Lair, which is his former Beverly Hills mansion. His wife, Natacha Rambova, claimed to be in contact with his spirit and stated that Rudolph refused to accept that he was dead. Subsequent owners and staff of Falcon’s Lair also claimed to encounter Valentino’s gay ghost. One caretaker is reported to have run into a fully-formed apparition of Valentino. His apparition has also been seen in the horse stables petting the horses.
James Whale, the British movie director
James Whale best known for his 1930s films: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Openly homosexual, he had a 20+ year relationship with his partner, David Lewis. His health took a turn for the worse in his old age. A fictionalized account of his final years is depicted in the Hollywood film, Gods and Monsters, which stars Sir Ian McKellen as James Whale and Brendan Fraser as his gardener and love interest. In 1957, James Whale committed suicide at age 67. He drowned himself in the pool of his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. His restless gay ghost did not cross over and his home was deemed one of the most haunted in the area. Poltergeist activity in the home began to manifest including mysterious banging and the sound of footsteps. An exorcist was brought in who identified the culprit as James Whale. Whale’s spirit was removed and the haunting is reported to have stopped. However, his ghost is seen to continue to manifest itself – this time on Twitter. A spoof account calling itself @jameswhaleghost periodically tweets thoughts from the distinguished director.
The Jimani ghosts
In 1973, a madman tossed lighter fluid and a match at a second floor gay bar, The Upstairs Lounge, located at 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The 20 minute fire left 32 people dead. To this day, this remains the deadliest attack against gay people in U.S. history. The police department and public was apathetic if not homophobic. Bodies remained unclaimed and churches refused to offer services to the victims because they were gay. Although the second floor is closed to the public, visitors to the first floor bar, The Jimani, have reported seeing black apparitions that appeared looking like charred bodies. Moans and screams have been heard coming from the second floor. The voices of restless souls have shared their names with psychics and other paranormal investigators. In 2012, an episode of Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation at The Upstairs Lounge and the Jimani Lounge during which the confirmed that the location was indeed haunted.
The Ladies of Llangollen
Plas Newydd in LLangollen, Wales is a historic 18th century estate that is home to the ghosts of a reclusive lesbian couple. Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, also known as ‘the Ladies of Llangollen’, lived in the stately home from 1780 – 1829. They moved there to escape the pressures of their society, which included the expectation that they each marry a man and bear children. During their time at Plas Newydd, the Ladies wore top hats instead of a lady’s bonnet and they slept in the same bed. Their refusal to confirm with societal norms caused scandal and intrigue, but it also attracted visitors to their estate and gave the Ladies the space to live as they wished. It appears that their ghosts have never left Plas Newydd. Visitors are touched by invisible hands at nighttime and the sound of footsteps are heard from empty rooms that have been locked. From time to time, ghost hunters descend on Plas Newydd to investigate. One notable visit is one by the UK show, Most Haunted.
Pianist Jesse Shepherd
Jesse was a renowned pianist who toured Europe and played at royal parties including some for the Czar of Russia. A Spiritualist, Jesse claimed his music came from the channeled spirits of Mozart and Chopin. In 1887, the “psychic pianist” built and settled in Villa Montezuma in San Diego with his male partner and long-term secretary of 40 years. Today, the Villa is known by locals as “The Spook House”. Apparitions of a gay ghost appear in the window, a presence is felt and ghostly piano music is sometimes heard
Actor Clifton Webb’s gay ghost
His body is buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery but his ghost has been seen in his home in the heart of Beverly Hills. Clifton was a homosexual on the DL and a matinée idol sporting two Oscar nominations. After his death, the new owners of his home began seeing a transparent shadow figure matching his description. Their dogs howled whenever his old movies were played. A seance was held and his spirit is said to have moved on.
Ok, you’ve definitely heard of him in life, but had you heard he was a ghost? Even freakin’ Debbie Gibson has seen his ghost!! The flamboyant pianist passed away in 1987. Soon after, his ghost is said to have moved to Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens in Las Vegas, a building which he owned. Not only have objects moved and lights turned on and off by themselves, but he’s been spotted in the form of “a giant sparkling cape”. Perhaps Liberace wasn’t kidding when he sang his famous song, I’ll Be Seeing You: “I’ll be seeing you / In all the old familiar places / That this heart of mine embraces /All day through.