Is Patrick’s Roadhouse, Haunted?
In 1892, Collis Huntington built the world’s longest pier near the base of the Santa Monica Canyon. It was an attempt to create a competing deep water port-of-entry that would undermine San Pedro’s Port, and create a monopoly for his Southern Pacific Railroad. Needless to say (since that pier is long gone), it didn’t work, and it wasn’t long before rail service on that end of the coast was discontinued. There was a “handsome” passenger depot and a few other tiny structures that were left abandon until it was decided to incorporate this line into the Los Angeles mass transit system (affectionately referred to as “the red cars“). Although a small community including a beach-side hotel had begun to flourish in this very remote location, the actual commuter line was considered very unpopular (averaging one rider per trip). Over time, service became increasingly limited and was eventually removed altogether (tracks and all). Likewise, over those same years, the passenger depot was torn down, and a former switching station was converted into the new passenger depot, until it too was again abandoned. As the decades past, that railroad right-of-way became one of the city’s most dangerous sections of highway, and the small one-room remnant of the “red car” era became a hot dog stand called “Roy’s.”
The Poor Man’s Getty
According to legend, one fateful day Bill Fischler (with his family) stopped in for lunch and had one of the worst hamburgers of his life. Never one to hide his displeasure, Fischler confronted the owner, who snapped back “If you don’t like it, why don’t you buy this dump, and make your own damn burger!” That is precisely what happened. The next day, Fischler renamed the stand “Patrick’s” (after his son) and found himself behind the counter making the kind of high-quality burgers that he liked to eat. With this simple idea, over the years Fischler expanded the stand (breaking through a brick wall) into the adjoining hotel next door, and decorated it (Adams Family-style) with strange artifacts. Referring to the museum on the hill, he used to call his dining room “the poor man’s Getty.” Although, Fischler past away many years ago, his presence is still felt in many ways, especially with regard to the standard he set for his burgers. President Clinton, while visiting L.A., made his motorcade take a detour just to try this famous menu item.
Some even claim Fischler’s presence is so strong in this restaurant that every now and then he makes an appearance (from the after-life) to check up on things. Although his visits are generally friendly ones, a former cook is said to have quit because he didn’t like the dirty looks Fischler’s ghost gave him from the back of the restaurant. Even in death, it seems Fischler is still not one to hide his displeasure.
The Weeping Woman
Secondly, (also from the back of the restaurant) there is the ghost of a woman dressed in black, who witnesses have heard crying. Although her actual identity is unknown, there are many theories about her life. Some believe she is connected to a possible brothel that may have operated out of the adjoining hotel, whose heart was broken when she fell in love with one of her “customers”. Others think that she may have been a frustrated actress, who never graduated past being a waitress. Then again, maybe her story has nothing to do with the actual building, but is connected to one of the many antiques on the wall. That said, it is interesting to note that her appearance bears a striking resemblance to a famous Spanish ghost known as “La Llorona” (“The Weeping Woman”), who has been spotted throughout the South-West portion of the United States, and is always seen along riverbanks or beaches. She is often portrayed as a “bogey man” who abducts the souls of bad children. If Patrick’s Roadhouse is another place haunted by “La Llorona,” it is worth pointing out there is a historic elementary school up the street (just yards away).
In addition, Patrick’s Roadhouse is also been known to have all sorts of other paranormal phenomena, including “cold spots,” strange noises, moving objects, and electrical anomalies. Patrick’s Roadhouse is definitely haunted, and to learn more about LA’s rich haunted history check out Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles.