The House That Inspired Ghostbusters
The former home of actor Dan Aykroyd on Woodrow Wilson Drive had also been home to a teenage Natalie Wood, singer “Mama” Cass Elliot and former Beatle Ringo Starr. The house was not especially known for disturbances—until the former Saturday Night Live star moved into it in the early 1980s.
It didn’t take Aykroyd long to conclude that the house was haunted—something was turning on his StairMaster, playing the piano and slamming doors. Aykroyd says one night, he even felt someone, or something, crawl into bed with him—and it wasn’t his wife, actress Donna Dixon! He chalked it up to ghosts—and believes at least one of them was the spirit of the home’s former occupant Elliot, of the folk-pop group the Mamas and the Papas, who died of heart failure in 1974 at the age of 32. Instead of being unsettled by the paranormal activity, Aykroyd (who later moved out and sold the house) was inspired by it. The supernatural vibes gave him the idea to co-write (with Harold Ramis) the hit 1984 movie comedy Ghostbusters.
“I’m sure it’s Mama Cass,” the actor said in a 2003 interview. What made him so certain? Some of the disturbances were so “large” and noisy, Aykroyd noted, “you get the feeling it’s a big ghost.”