The House That In­spired Ghost­busters

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - PICKS -

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.”

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