Sometimes I hate Southern California for its lack of decent history. Sure there are some missions (yawn) and Hollywood Schmollywood, but when it comes to decades-old, ghost-in-the-graveyard caliber lore, Los Angeles (the strip-mall center of the universe) comes up desperately short.
Or so I thought. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of hitching a ride on the 1947 Project's most recent Crime Bus Tour: The Nightmares of Bunker Hill. Donning period costume, a genuine passion for the historical macabre and a healthy sense of humor, Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak (pictured) regaled 40 passengers with a century's worth of mostly obscure crime stories centered in and around downtown Los Angeles.
For five hours we toured dozens of sites of highly unusual crimes and accidents, some gruesome, some downright hilarious. Sadly, most of the crime scenes in question have been torn down and rebuilt beyond recognition, but our intrepid guides had compiled a DVD of historical photographs that we could reference via TV monitors on the bus. They also read contemporary police and newspaper reports of the incidents which proved extremely entertaining if not always politically correct. I applaud Cooper and Marsak for sleuthing to unearth loads of intrigue and drama under L.A.'s disgustingly stuccoed facade.
For more info on the 1947 Project's upcoming tours (there's a Pasadena tour in the works for July) as well as a Black Dahlia tour later this year, check out www.1947project.com. Or, check here to peruse some of the more infamous crime stories and photographs . -- Amy