Amongst the many Eastside related Facebook pages to pop up in recent months, The Boyle Heights Paranormal Project is a project that immediately grabbed my attention. I visited their page and was surprised to discover that indeed, this was a real group of folks from the Eastside who went around to local haunted areas to document the supernatural goings-on of the neighborhood.
It makes sense to find documenters of the paranormal in our part of town. The Eastside is home to quite a few century-old graveyards and cemeteries as this area was at one time considered the outskirts of Los Angeles. For many years I’ve been intrigued by rumors that many Eastside elementary schools were haunted due to being built on the former sites of graveyards – these spots being the last open spaces in our rapidly expanding city. I’ve talked to teachers and janitors who have “seen” things.
The Boyle Heights Paranormal Project members are well aware of this history and their frequent documented forays into nearby cemeteries and other phantom-ridden locations result in a bounty of ghostly photographic images. Many of them are downright creepy, in others, you might be hard-pressed to notice anything out of the ordinary. In any case, visit their Facebook page (website coming soon) to view some of these photos…if you dare!
One of the members of the group was kind enough to answer some questions about their project and even tackled one of LA Eastside’s reoccurring queries: are there cholo ghosts?
How did you get started?
Boyle Heights Paranormal Project was an idea I had in 2005. I started to research the cultural and ethnic history of the community I grew up in and came across some rich stories that I had heard growing up but really never gave any thought too. After contemplating for many months, I decided to create a group of individuals that had similar interests in the rich and diverse community we grew up in and to bring to the forefront the tales and lore of the diverse group of residents that make up Boyle Heights.
Does Boyle Heights have more ghosts than other neighborhoods?
Boyle Heights is rich in cultural history with people from diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs. Growing up my neighbors were Japanese, Russian, Jewish and Mexican-American, all with their own versions of the El Cucuy (or the Bogyman) and their perspectives of life after death. So, I do believe strongly that Boyle Heights, as rich as it is in cultural history is probably as haunted as any other neighborhood here in Los Angeles.
Is the ability to see ghosts a natural born talent or something one develops?
Paranormal research has shown that the ability to see ghosts on a daily basis is experienced by a chosen few who feel that the gift can be fine-tuned and broadened to other aspects of the paranormal.
Are you familiar with the many ghost stories told in Eastside elementary schools?
While attending First Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights, we all heard stories of La Llorona and it scared the heck out of us. We also heard the tales of footsteps echoing through the empty hallways of our school, lights flashing off and on, and the occasional door slamming in the copy-room . Some of the local schools that have documented paranormal activity: First Street Elementary, Malabar Elementary, Our Lady of Talpa and Second Street Elementary.
Why are there no cholo ghosts?
Now, we all laughed at this question at first, then we researched it and found not only are there cholo ghosts but ghosts of all lifestyles and genres. We have disco ghosts, surfer ghosts, and the apparition of the ice-cream man, so the afterlife is filled with a diverse group of spirits who are in death as they were in life. Some here on our staff have had family members actually see the apparition of a loved one walking up a staircase. In fact, in this particular instance, this family member was killed years earlier in gang warfare. So yes, there are cholo ghosts – firme, huh?
Any other news or info you would like to tell our readers?
I would like to add that the Boyle Heights Paranormal Project is a group of professionals that all have the same ideas about the paranormal – we acknowledge that there is something there we cannot understand. We will approach the phenomenon in a scientific light so that we leave all unanswered questions answered to the best of our knowledge and to conduct our investigations in a professional manner and with the utmost respect.
We are happy to announce the launch of our website and the upcoming investigation at Linda Vista Hospital and The Waverly Sanatorium, in Kentucky.
We can be reached on Facebook and soon at www.boyleheightsparanormalproject.com
***Photo by Eddie Ruvalcava