Boris Karloff’s Rose Garden

Posted by blogger in Los Angeles Ghost Tours
Boris Karloff’s Rose Garden - Photo

Boris Karloff is well-known as the monster in the movie Frankenstein. The movie came out in 1921 and he was soon an international star. The film was made by Mary Shelly and it was a huge hit. Before we get into more detail, let’s take a look at the superstar’s past.




Karloff was born in 1887. William Henry Pratt was the name he was given at birth. He would live with his parents as well as his nine older siblings. He was the youngest of ten children. He lived in Camberwell. This is located in South London.

When he was just nine, he was acting. He had played a Demon King in Cinderella. It was at this point that he was hooked for life. However, his family did not want him to peruse acting or film. Despite the objections made by his family, he had moved to Canada in 1909. This was not an easy time. He would work as a laborer during the day when he was unable to find any acting roles. It wasn’t long before he would find work, however, he didn’t make much money. When he first started, he would forget his lines and ques. He would also fall over furniture and mumble.

Even though he would fall, he would get right back up again. He was a persistent man. He would work for almost a decade in various theatres. He was working to perfect the craft he loved oh so much. It was at this time that he had met his first wife. He also had divorced his first wife not long after. The money was very scarce at this time.

In 1918, he would move to Los Angeles, California. He would again do the same thing. He would work as a laborer until he would find work. Not long into his journey, he had received odd and ends jobs. He would be extras in silent films. He would be a character actor in silent films. The goal for the young man was never to be famous, but to peruse what he loved doing. During this time, he had married two more times and gotten two more divorces.

It wasn’t until 1930 that he was noticed. He had performed on Broadway. In the particular performance, he would be playing a convict-turned-killer. In 1931 he would also appear in Criminal Code. These jobs were better roles for him.

It was in the year 1931 that he was eating lunch. In fact, it was a nice June day. Karloff was eating his lunch at the Universal Studio cafeteria. He was approached by James Whale. James had asked him if he would screen test for a role. He stated he would be portraying an awful monster. This role was turned down by Bela Lugosi.

At the time, this was just another job for Karloff. However, it was Frankenstein who had captured the attention of not only the nation but the world. This was the film that had provided him with endless jobs and security financially. He no longer had to worry about where his next paycheck would come from.

His niche was horror. Since the release of Frankenstein, he would star in numerous other horror films. Horror and Karloff would go hand-in-hand. However, he would have a softer side as well. In 1966, he was well-known for being the narrator from the Grinch movie. He also was the voice of the Grinch as well.

Karloff was known for being a hard-worker. He would work in the studio, on stage, and on television until he would pass away in 1969. He would pass away in England.

The Property

It was in 1934 that Karloff would move into the house with Dorothy, his wife. The property was a paradise. He loved it. The land had many animals on it that included ducks, dogs, cows, parrots, tortoise, and pigs. Not just any pig, a 400-pound pig. The pig’s name was Violet. You can find this at 2320 Bowmount Drive. It is most noted for the beautiful gardens.

The home was previously owned by actress Katharine Hepburn. She had believed that the home was haunted. He reported a jiggling latch on the doors and moving furniture. It was also said that there was a figure that would loom over the guest bedroom. It was after this that she decided to move. However, when Karloff moved in, the spirits did not seem to be there.

He and his wife had created a loving home. This was their oasis. It was about 2.5 acres of land. There was a massive orchard and beautiful lawn. Not to mention, the large rose garden which featured twenty different flowers. It is here that the remains of his friends were sprinkled.

Karloff had lived here until he had divorced his wife in 1946. Most of the land was divided. There was only a small .95-acre lot. The estate is beautiful and full of scenery. You can barely see the estate from the road. Today you can find five beds and six baths. There are six fireplaces on the property with one being outside. There is even a pizza oven, pool, and chef’s kitchen.

After Karloff died, several other people have called this place home. However, many have moved out just as quickly as they moved in due to hauntings.

The Rose Garden

Outside of acting, his passion was gardening. He took special pride in a rose garden he had. Several of Karloff’s friends made unusual requests. The friends stated that when they died, they wanted the ashes to be spread among the beautiful rose garden he had created. They had wished to have their ashes spread amongst the rose petals so that they could enjoy the beauty for the rest of eternity. Karloff had agreed because he was a good friend. It is because of this reason that people believe that this is one of the most haunted places in Los Angeles.



If you are to visit the Rose Garden, you will be able to feel the presence of the friends who were spread there. Many people have stated they have visited the garden and can clearly feel the presence of each individual. However, most of the people state that the spirits feel at peace. They are not angry and only add a sense of serenity to the place. In fact, the hauntings are believed to enhance the gardens.

One of the strangest happenings is when a relative that was late-in-life to Katharine Hepburn appeared. Keep in mind that Hepburn had passed away in 2003. However, the relative appeared out of the blue without warning. She was dressed in black and just inspecting the house and the land. It was at this time that the person stated that she was glad the land wasn’t messed up yet. She simply seemed to vanish into thin air after that statement was said.


The rose garden that Karloff had tended to is said to hold the spirits of the several friends whose ashes were spread there. Karloff’s spirit is not there because he had died in England. However, it is said that if you go visit the garden today, you can feel the presence of each individual whose ashes were spread. These individuals are not considered to be dangerous. Many people state that it adds to the garden. The spirits seem peaceful and are just there to enjoy the beautiful roses. After all, that is what they wanted.

Visit the rose garden yourself and you decide. However, you should first watch some of Karloff’s movies before visiting. It would provide you with a sense of who he was and maybe why he decided to spread the ashes of these friends in his garden. No one knows exactly why the ashes were spread, other than Karloff was a very nice guy.