Big news! Cartwheel Art is preparing to launch two new walking tours—the L.A. Vice tour and the Paranormal Nights tour—and they’re our creepiest ones yet. Are you brave enough to join Cartwheel on these explorations of DTLA’s disturbing past, including murders, mysteries, serial killers, suicides and spooks? Historical journalist Hadley Meares leads the tours, which begin on Saturday, October 27—just in time for Halloween.
On the L.A. Vice tour, you’ll hear tales of famous criminals and crime victims who have lived and loved in the City of Angels. Meares will discuss the city’s original cruising district, jails, red light district, the bombing of the Los Angeles Times, escaped murderers, and the deadly elevator of the Bradbury Building. This ninety-minute tour begins at 3 pm. Get tickets on Eventbrite.
Downtown Los Angeles has historically been home to murders, serial killers, and mysterious suicides—and their spirits may still haunt the area. On the Paranormal Nights tour, believers and skeptics are invited to dive deep into the terrifying true stories and ghostly legends of the Biltmore, Barclay, Cecil and Alexandria Hotels. This ninety-minute tour begins at 5pm. Get tickets on Eventbrite.
The tours are scheduled back to back, so that visitors who want to participate in both tours can easily do so.
Hadley Meares, a historical journalist, will guide participants through the mean streets of Los Angeles. She says, “I’ve always been fascinated with all the shadiness in the land of sunshine. I find lesser-known crimes fascinating because they really tell you a lot about how folks survived and thrived in the Wild West that was, and in some ways still is, Los Angeles. L.A. is filled with people often escaping their past, reinventing themselves, and breaking the rules, because L.A. gives them space and the opportunity to do so. But what happens when those dreams turn dark—or the promised land offers little promise? I find that fascinating. Paranormal-wise, I think ghost stories and legends can often tell us so much more about what people in any given era or place were feeling or thinking than the facts.”
Meares has been working with Cartwheel Art for about a year now, and she also leads the Underground L.A. tour. She says, “Leading the tours of Underground L.A. have really helped me see DTLA with new eyes. Every tour, a guest says something that expands my understanding about both the history of the area, and the effect it has on modern viewers.”
She has been researching the history of Los Angeles for many years and brings everything she has learned to Cartwheel Art’s new tours. “I love to tell a good, well-researched story, and am not big on embellishing facts or spouting fiction—unless the fiction, like John Fante’s ‘Ask the Dust’, perfectly encapsulates the mood of a time and place,” Meares says she isn’t a horror fan but adores noir. “Who hasn’t wanted to roam the mean streets of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain? Who hasn’t dreamed of being anonymous yet somehow endlessly glamorously haunted? Downtown has always been the perfect place to stuff your secrets—to vanish into the crowd, just like Elizabeth Short.”
Meares’ interest in mysterious DTLA legends doesn’t mean she believes they’re all true. She says, “Ghost-wise, I am a skeptical non-committal. On the off chance that they are real, I believe in hedging my bets. No disrespect to any downtown spirits, please!” While Meares isn’t a ghost hunter, she’s passionate about hunting down the facts that inspired DTLA’s strangest and most mysterious stories. Considering everything she knows about the city’s underbelly, she says, “I can’t think of a better breeding ground for ghosts—if they exist!”
Get tickets to upcoming Cartwheel Art tours on Eventbrite.