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In Search of

Peg Entwistle

Placed: 2-22-04
Planted By: WWW (Formerly known as Chuck and Molly)
Location: Andover, Connecticut, Tolland County
Rated: Wide, level, old rail bed trail, no hills, easy to find box. About 1.25 mile round trip.

From the intersection of Routes 87 and 6 in Andover, follow route 6 west .4 of a mile to the next set of lights. At the lights you will see a building Benjamin Franklin/Protech. Turn here onto Lake road. At .1 of a mile, pull over and park just before the intersection of Lake Road and Merritt Valley Rd. You will see the trail on both sides of the road which is the old railroad tracks. Take the trail going northeast. You will quickly cross over a wooden bridge going over Blackman Brook. Keep going and soon go through a large tunnel which takes you to the other side of route 6. Stay on the old railroad line. The trail takes a long gradual curve and the rail bed is built up higher than the ground on either side of it. Keep going until you are completely around the curve. You will pass some stairs coming down a hill on the right. Soon you will pass a wooden shed on the left and then a trail that crosses the tracks coming from a blue building. After this, the trail will be straight and raised above the surrounding land. When the surrounding land on both sides of the track are about level again with the trail, stop. Go to the evergreen just ahead on the north side of the trail. From this evergreen, take a reading of 340 degrees and walk off trail 11 steps in that direction to a pile of rocks and sticks that are near the end of an old stone wall On the northwest side of this pile, move a small piece of plywood to reveal an opening and find the In Search of Peg Entwistle letterbox. Stamp in and return the way you came.

In Search Peg Entwistle

Lillian Millicent "Peg" Entwistle was born in Wales in 1908 to a family in the acting profession and spent her childhood living in London England. Her mother died when Peg was very young. Peg’s father decided that they should move to New York and the father found work there in a theater. Peg had another unfortunate incident in her early years. Her father died suddenly one day when he was hit by a truck on Park Avenue. Peg’s brothers were sent to live with their uncle, and Peg struck out on her own as an actress at the age of 17.

The beautiful Peg became a star of Broadway as she became a hit with the audiences. While working on Broadway, Peg married an actor named Robert Keith. The marriage quickly went down hill as they fought about his bad debts, and lies. Her husband owed back child support, for a son from a previous marriage that Peg had known nothing about. This son her husband owed child support for was Brian Keith, who later played Uncle Bill in the television show Family Affair. Brian Keith later committed suicide in 1997. The marriage of Peg and Robert soon ended in divorce.

Peg tried to return to her Broadway career but it was the era of the American Depression and Peg and Broadway did not do too well. Peg decided that she would try to get into motion pictures and headed off to California. She would live with her uncle in Beachwood Canyon in a house located under the huge Hollywoodland sign. The sign is perched on top of Mount Lee, the tallest peak in Los Angeles. This was the original Hollywood sign that still stands today with the shortened Hollywood. She got a part in a play that included Humphrey Bogart and Billie Burke who later played the good witch in the Wizard of Oz. but the play only ran for a week and a half before closing. She did do other plays but nothing became of it. When she got a part in an RKO film called "Thirteen Women" she thought her luck had turned and this would be the start of something big. The movie was not a big hit despite her good acting. The length of the movie was cut and her role in it became very minor. Her luck had changed, but from bad to worse. She tried for small time parts and went to numerous auditions and casting calls trying to get any acting work that she could. Then her short term contract with RKO ran out and was not renewed. She was on her own and couldn’t find any work even in the theater. Her friends started to desert her and she was broke.

The beautiful young actress was badly depressed as she sensed her career was done. On the night of September 18, 1932, she told her uncle that she was going for a walk to meet some friends at the drug store. She climbed her way up the tough, steep, hill through the brush to the Hollywoodland sign. She took off her coat, folded it neatly, and placed it with her purse at the base of the maintenance ladder which led up the letter H. She then climbed up the ladder to the top of the 50 foot letter H and jumped to her death down the hill to the rocks and brush below, dying at the age of 24.

A woman that was hiking found the coat and purse and discovered a suicide note which read " I am afraid I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E." The hiker took the coat, purse and note to the Hollywood police station, left it on the steps and made the following phone call to police "I was hiking near the Hollywoodland sign today and near the bottom I found a woman's shoe and jacket. A little further on I noticed a purse. In it was a suicide note. I looked down the mountain and saw a body. I don't want any publicity in this matter, so I wrapped up the jacket, shoes and purse in a bundle and laid them on the steps of the Hollywood Police Station." Peg’s body was discovered two days later in the brush at the base of Mount Lee. Here’s the ironic part. Two days later Pegs uncle opened a letter addressed to Peg from the Beverly Hills Playhouse. It was mailed the day before she jumped. In it was an offer for her to play the lead role in their next play, It would be a role where her character commits suicide in the final act.

In the following years, hikers and later park rangers would report very strange happenings in the area around the Hollywood sign known as Griffith Park. Many people have reported sightings of a woman dressed in 1930’s era clothing who vanishes when approached. She has been described as a very attractive, blond woman, who seems very sad. There are also many cases of people being overwhelmed with the smell of gardenia perfume which was known to be Peg’s favorite perfume.

Alarm systems have since been set up around the sign to stop vandals and anyone wanting to follow Pegs example to commit suicide. The alarm system uses motion detectors, lights, infra-red cameras and radar-activated zoom lenses to keep intruders away. Many times the alarm system indicated that someone was around the sign and when checked, nothing was found. One ranger had instances where he was out there and the alarm system was telling him there was someone five feet away from him. No one was there.

In 1990, a man, his girlfriend and their dog were walking on a trail near the Hollywood sign. The dog suddenly began to act very strange. He seemed to be frightened, whining, and staying in back of the couple as though he wanted to go back the way they came. They had never seen him act that way before and couldn’t understand what was wrong. Then they spotted a lady walking nearby. She was wearing clothing from the 1930’s. She seemed very strange and walked as though in a daze. They kept away from her but kept watching her wondering what was the cause of her strange behavior. Suddenly she faded away before their eyes.

Known as the ghost of the Hollywood sign, in death Peg Entwistle finally has the fame she sought in life. Her death completely overshadowed any of the merits she may have had as an actress in life. To read more about Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood sign, visit the following websites:

http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/hollywoodland.htm
http://www.prairieghosts.com/hollywood3.html
http://www.theflagship.net/coldspot/docs/mysteriesandscandals-pegentwistle.html
http://www.findadeath.com/Decesed/e/Peg%20Entwistle/peg_entwistle.htm
http://www.poeforward.com/mrperfumery/deadgirls/historical/starlets/entwistle/entwistle.htm

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