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Do ghosts haunt this mysterious house in Laguna Beach?

October 7, 2011 |  9:06 am

A rocking chair sits ominously in the corner of a room in Arch Beach Tavern
It used to be a brothel, or so they say.

The old white building sits on the hill like the home in "The Shining," cavernous and creaky, with long dark hallways and strange apartments. It is the Arch Beach Tavern, built in 1915 to house people from the movie industry.

Just like in "The Shining."

Indeed, it is an odd place where mystery abounds, reports the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. There are blank doors with no handles and light switches with no switches. When you walk into the lobby, an empty rocking chair sits ominously in the corner looking at you, waiting to move with an unseen breeze.

Put it this way: On Halloween in Laguna Beach, Oak and Brooks streets get all the attention, but no one trick-or-treats at this house, perhaps because it's too scary.

"Nobody ever comes up to the building," said Briandy Walden, a 10-year resident. "The building itself can be kind of creepy. The carpet used to be red."

Walden tells stories about mysterious sightings on the third floor, the backyard garden and the unexplained sounds.

"People have said they've heard and seen things, but I haven't," she said, fidgeting and glancing over her shoulder.

Located at 2180 Catalina St., the building can make you jumpy.

In fact, according to postings on the Ghosts of America website, out of all the ghost sightings in Laguna, this building has the most stories.

"Two residents have reported seeing a little girl playing on the balcony at night behind the building on the third floor," wrote Ryan, who did not give his last name, on the website. "Another 12-year resident reported hearing digging going on in the laundry room, but the floor is cement, and the digging sounded like a shovel into gravel and dirt."

There have been several other mysterious reports, according to the site.

"I have lived at 2180 Catalina (bottom level) in Laguna Beach and have witnessed several different ghost sightings in the years that I've lived here," wrote Nikki. "Mostly seeing an older woman with white, short perm-style hair in my kitchen and standing over my bed.

"When I first moved in I woke up to what I thought was a nightmare but clearly was not; I saw a woman in old-style courtesan clothing. She had curly long dark hair and was wearing old-fashioned lingerie. She was scratching at me and telling me to 'get out.' I had actual marks on my arms, so this was very real! I remember she had long red-painted nails."

Red. It's always red.

-- David Hansen, Times Community News

Photo: A rocking chair sits ominously in the corner at Arch Beach Tavern. Credit: David Hansen / Times Community News