Author: Brian Clune

Publisher: Schiffer; 1 edition (August 28, 2017)

ISBN-10: 0764353543

ISBN-13: 978-0764353543

In this short and fast-paced book, Brian Clune, co-founder and historian for Planet Paranormal Radio and Planet Paranormal Investigations, offers descriptions of 12 Hollywood deaths and their paranormal aftermaths from the 1930s to contemporary times. The victims include Thelma Todd, The Black Dahlia, “Bugsy” Siegel, George Reeves, Marilyn Monroe, Ramon Novarro, Natalie Wood, John Belushi, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and other figures less famous but connected to Hollywood in one way or another. 

The 12 short, hit-and-run biographies summarize the lives and careers of people who unexpectedly died due to murder, suicide, overdoses, accidents,  or sometimes the cause of death is questionable and controversial.   When a fatality is controversial,   Clune presents the most prevalent theories but rarely tends to support one possibility over another. It does seem he believes Robert Kennedy was a viable suspect in the death of Marilyn Monroe. While he sketches out Robert Wagner’s known involvement in the drowning of Natalie Wood, Clune doesn’t come out and accuse the actor of, at the very least, negligent homicide.

What links each of these deaths is the ongoing sightings of the deceased’s spirits in or near places associated with them, most frequently where their deaths occurred. These descriptions are often as fleeting as the sightings themselves. None of the ghosts described are what experts call “intelligent hauntings” as there seems little effort in these spirits to try to communicate with anyone. Rather, most of the subjects are “residual hauntings,” the only paranormal term Clune explains. These hauntings are like tape loops where events in the deceased’s lives are repeated over and over. Sometimes, the psychic impressions are directly related to the subject’s death; sometimes, thy echo happier events from the past. 

In many cases, the observed figures seem confused or bewildered.  Clune tells us this might be due to the dead one’s inability to cross over or the spirit has something unresolved to deal with on our plane of existence.  In a few cases, the deceased might move objects around. Mostly, they are seen in mirrors, sensed but not seen, or observed walking from one place to another.    

Clune simply recites sightings or similar events he knows about with a minimum of editorializing.    While most readers are going to learn little about paranormal experiences, many of us will learn about people we knew little or nothing about before.    For example, I knew nothing about actress Thelma Todd,   and I’m not convinced about one of Clune’s longest paranormal descriptions.  That’s what he calls the “possible curse of Roland West's yacht, Joyita.” For one thing, Todd was found dead in her garage apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning. But conspiracy buffs suggest the volatile West might have killed Todd on his yacht and had her body moved to her garage.    Thereafter, the Joyita had a series of major misfortunes over several decades and for a series of different owners.    Perhaps the yacht was indeed haunted. Hard to figure why Todd’s possible revenge might have outlasted West so she could curse people she never knew.

Whatever the case, readers of Hollywood Obscura should come to the book with a skeptical eye. It’s a very short read and not likely to convince anyone of anything and I’m not sure it was supposed to. If you’re into Hollywood history or after-death experiences, this could be a fun and fast re