Is Jean Harlow's Old Hollywood Home Haunted? You Decide...

Updated on March 6, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

Jean Harlow was a beautiful old hollywood movie star...whose life ended way too soon.
Jean Harlow was a beautiful old hollywood movie star...whose life ended way too soon. | Source

Jean Harlow & Paul Bern's Ghosts

Jean Harlow was a beautiful, vibrant young actress in the glamorous Old Hollywood days in the 1930s. Jean was known for her bombshell shape and smooth, sexy attitude on film and off. When she was in her early twenties, she married a man named Paul Bern. Paul was actually an MGM executive and Jean obviously knew him through the film-making industry. He was much older than her, being twenty-two years her elder. Jean was a gorgeous, rising movie star at the tender age of twenty-one, and it was said that she was actually the pursuer of what was to be known as a very strange and debated relationship with her much older husband, Paul Bern.

There are many stories circulating the tumultuous marriage between Paul Bern and Jean Harlow, many of which are denounced as mere rumors and Hollywood fluff, but some of which seem to carry a true air of mystery and terror. The true stories surrounding Paul Bern and Jean Harlow's short marriage consist of three deaths. The first death was that of Paul Bern himself. Paul Bern was found shot and bleeding in he and Jean's Hollywood home on a quiet night on September 5th, 1932. He and Jean had only been married for about four months total. There was a suicide note nearby, and Paul was found bleeding all over Jean Harlow's white bedroom, doused in Jean's floral, pungent perfume. Jean apparently had been staying at her mother's this death-filled night and wasn't aware of her husband's demise.

The butler actually found Paul's dead body and notified his wife, who was a cook at the Bern/Harlow residence at the time. The suicide note that was left by Paul Bern said, "Dearest Dear, unfortunately this is the only thing to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and wipe out by abject humility. I love you, Paul. P.S. You understand that last night was only a comedy."

The police and investigators were initially baffled at what this suicide note even meant, but knew that Jean would understand the meaning behind Paul's last words. She apparently did know what they meant, but the actual documented meaning is still debated. Some say that Paul was abusive towards Jean, causing her kidney failure that only five years after Paul's death caused her untimely death at twenty-six years old, while others say that Paul was depressed as he did not have the ability to sexually please his beautiful, bombshell wife. Still others believe that Paul Bern's "suicide" was actually not a "suicide" at all, but most likely a murder. Possibly from someone in the industry, maybe from someone Jean had set up to kill him, or possibly even Paul Bern's recently estranged and mentally disturbed girlfriend.

Even weirder, the woman who was randomly accused of possibly killing Paul Bern years after his death had been ruled a suicide, she had also died an untimely and mysterious death by sea. She had gone fishing and disappeared, with her body to turn up on shore some days after her disappearance. Were the deaths related? Was Jean truly an abused woman who merely wanted to escape her abusive, impotent husband? We may never know, but there is one thing for sure - the old Paul Bern/Jean Harlow mansion still stands today and is most likely a very haunted Hollywood place indeed.

Does Jean Harlow's ghost still haunt her Old Hollywood home?
Does Jean Harlow's ghost still haunt her Old Hollywood home? | Source

Ghostly Sightings at the Harlow Home

Many legends and stories about ghosts roaming the halls and bedrooms of the Jean Harlow Benedict home circulate the Haunted Hollywood Tours and many haunted Hollywood websites today. These legends may be steeped in true paranormal fact, however. The idea that ghosts are trapped spirits on earth and are usually trapped because they do not realize they are dead plays into the Paul Bern story. If Paul Bern was murdered or even if he truly did commit suicide, his death was a tragedy and probably came as a very large shock to his system, leaving his soul to be trapped in his then-new Hollywood home.

It has also been said that many sightings of Jean Harlow herself have been experienced, many times she is seen looking out the second-story window with a sad look on her ghostly face. Other ghosts are said to walk the lonely floors of the Harlow Bern house, including another resident who supposedly hung himself years after Paul Bern had died and the house had been sold a couple of times over. One of the most infamous stories of the Bern Harlow house is one told of a terrifying, possibly ghostly premonition experienced by an actress in the 1960s. That actress was Sharon Tate.

Sharon Tate was the girlfriend of a man named Jay Sebring, who was known as a "hairstylist to the stars". She dated him for a short period in time, but while she was dating him she would stay at his home that was also once the home of Paul Bern and Jean Harlow. One night she had a horrifying experience while staying in the Bern Harlow home.

She felt a presence come into the room that she was standing in and swore that it was the ghost of Paul Bern. "A short and somewhat angry man" was how Sharon Tate had described the ghost of Paul Bern. After leaving the room to get away from the apparition, she went downstairs to have a drink and had a hair-raising vision of a man with his throat slit and tied to the wooden posts at the bottom of the staircase. She had a drink or two and fell asleep after these bone-chilling visions occurred in her boyfriend's old Hollywood home.

The next day, she realized that her visions hadn't been merely dreams but she indeed saw Paul Bern's ghost and the ghost of a cut-throated man tied to the staircase railing. Sharon Tate thought that the ghost of Paul Bern was the same man at the end of the staircase, but after Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring were included in the victims of the hideous Manson murders, people collected that Paul Bern's ghost or possibly Jean Harlow's ghost were trying to warn Sharon Tate of her and Jay's grisly fate at the hands of the Manson gang. The man at the end of the staircase with the cut throat? Well, that is now considered to have been a premonition to Sharon's boyfriend's untimely and despicable death by Helter Skelter.

Do both Paul Bern and Jean Harlow's ghosts haunt the old Benedict Hollywood home? In my opinion, most likely. I also believe that the ghost of another suicidal man, plus Jay Sebring's ghosts also might be trapped or confusedly roaming the halls of the Old Hollywood Bern/Harlow home.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Nicole Canfield


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    • Kristina Stancil profile image

      Kristina Stancil 5 months ago from Tremont

      Thanks! I followed.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 months ago from Summerland

      Kristina - Click on my profile and then hit "follow" at the top right of the page.

    • Kristina Stancil profile image

      Kristina Stancil 5 months ago from Tremont

      You know what's interesting is the similarities to the George Reeves untimely death. That was allegedly as suicide too. If you know how I can follow your article could you please send me a message through here? I love ghost stories.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 3 years ago from Summerland

      wildbluefrontier - I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing...very interesting!

    • wildbluefrontier profile image

      Nathan M 3 years ago from Tucson

      The Sharon Tate ghost sightings have always been one of the creepiest tales out there. I've always been amazed that she could just go back to sleep after what she had seen. By the by....Jean Harlow is also rumored to haunt a bungalow she lived in near the end of her life.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      Interesting, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Dreaming Casually 5 years ago

      Just to state for the record, the lady who died the day after Paul Bern's body was found was his first wife Dorothy Millette Bern, she was married to him before Harlow. In fact, according to California state law their marriage was considered legal since "common law" marriages out of state were recognized, meaning that the marriage between Bern and Harlow was never legal. Look into it, Harlow's reputation would have been ruined, do you think for a second she was going to allow that? In reference to the alleged suicide note found, that was an entry in a guest book that several people who were friends of Paul's claimed they had read at a party at least a month or longer prior to his death, it was a planted note and called a suicide note, it was NOT a suicide note. Paul was murdered outside by the pool, his death was covered up....Dorothy was followed and murdered on a steamboat after fleeing out of fear in the night and going back to S.F. where she had been staying...she then boarded the steamboat headed for Sacramento to get away but someone apparently followed her and she disappeared off the boat only for her body to be found by fishermen in the Delta (Sacramento River). She was not found on the shore or by sea....she was not fishing... I know all about Dorothy's life as I have spent years researching and documenting her life. Never have I found anyone uncover the information I have about her life or her death. Her story is one I am personally attached to, maybe because I know in my gut she has been given a bad rap all these years and I feel the need to defend the defenseless. Look into the story I researched and wrote about and see for yourself. Harlow and MGM weren't as nice as one may think, and also Harlow DID NOT pay for Dorothy's grave or funeral as many claim...I looked into that one too. --- take care-

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good hub and Dolores is right-- a really creepy story! (Just the kind I like!)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Dolores - Yes, it really is scary to think that Jean Harlow died at such a young age, after her middle-aged husband and then Sharon Tate had such a vision while staying in that house! I agree though, ghost stories are intriguing but usually very sad. Thanks for reading!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      A very creepy story. The early death of Jean Harlow was such a tragedy and the link with Sharon Tate makes it extra scary. I love ghost stories, but in the end, they are all so sad.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      jami - Thanks for stopping by. Yes, she was a gorgeous woman...too young to die.

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 6 years ago

      She was beautiful wasn't she? this was a wonderful hub , thanks for sharing!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Prasetio - It is a very scary ghost story indeed. I didn't know about before either but for some reason I decided to look into Jean Harlow's death and if she had been seen in a ghostly form and I ran across all of this info! Funny what you find when something crosses your mind randomly!

      writer20 - Yes, we all did. :) Jean Harlow is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) Old Hollywood actresses, it is such a shame she died so young. Thanks for reading and voting up!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      It seems we all learn something today about Jean Harlow.

      Great hub. Voted up

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had never knew about this before. But it looks so scary to know that a house being haunted. I love something mysterious and this house looks mysterious too. Thanks for writing this. Well done, my friend. Vote up!


    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Paradise7 - Yes, she was a gorgeous woman. It is very sad that she passed so young. I'm not convinced Paul Bern's death was a suicide, but I don't particularly blame it on Jean Harlow either. Who knows...

      And as far as Sharon Tate seeing the ghosts at that house, I thought that part was extremely creepy and fascinating. Too weird. Thanks for reading & commenting. :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Jean Harlow was just so beautiful--it's sad that her marriage was so troubled and that she died so young. I also feel sorry for her husband. If he was a suicide, he might have trouble moving on. It's very spooky that Sharon Tate saw the ghosts at the former home of Jean Harlow.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Husky - I know! I actually just found out about all of these crazy facts today! I love Jean Harlow and I decided to research whether her ghost had ever been seen and uncovered all of these creepy facts in the process. Total insanity! Thanks for reading and I definitely agree with your decision on the haunting! :)

    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      This hub is about a topic of which I had absolutely no knowledge. I was immediately intrigued with the facts surrounding these three deaths. Great job drawing me into the topic, kittythedreamer! Now to answer the question posed in your hub title. I have decided it is YES, mooooost definitely. Voted up and interesting.


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