Cassandra Peterson has embodied the pop culture icon and horror host named Elvira for more than four decades. In that time, she's had quite a few adventures and befriended celebrities from Elvis Presley to Pee-wee Herman. Her new autobiography is Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark. One of the stories she tells is about Briarcliff Manor, a home she bought in 1989.
It began with hearing footsteps from the empty third floor. From there, Peterson recounts in her book, she witnessed an apparition of a woman dressed in a 1930s-style nurse’s uniform, that warned she was going to “take” Peterson’s sleeping ex-husband “into the pool.” Another time, she encountered the spectre of a man in period clothing sitting by the fire.
Not only does Peterson report the house was the site of more than one suspicious death (including that of a Ziegfeld Follies girl who died in the pool, and wasn’t discovered until the next day), she tells of a dinner party attended by Mark Hamill. The Star Wars actor revealed he had lived in Briarcliff in the 1960s, until one of his housemates died by suicide.
Well, that escalated quickly. However, it was neither the first nor the last time Peterson lived in a haunted house or experienced creepy happenings. Read more of those spooky stories from her book at Den of Geek.
Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.