Does the Ghost of Jim Morrison Haunt West Hollywood?

It has long been a local legend that the spirit of deceased rocker Jim Morrison haunts his favorite room at the Alta Cienega Motel. Since this decidedly downscale establishment has been purchased by the city for repurposing into housing for the homeless, the ghost of the Doors’ lead singer may be forced to find a new place to hang out. Fortunately, he can still find several sites around WeHo where his spirit would feel welcome.

If any rock group could be considered West Hollywood’s House Band, it would be the Doors. The band got its start and conducted much of its business in and around the city. The first club where the Doors played was the London Fog, but they soon moved up to the nearby Whiskey-a-Go-Go. While the London Fog is long gone, the Whiskey still stands and Morrison’s ghost could find numerous kindred spirits with whom he could share stories – and other things.

Jim Morrison lived in a variety of places over his short career, preferring hotels to more permanent digs. One hostelry where he did not feel welcome was the Continental Hyatt House which tossed him out for hanging off a balcony. The Alta Cienega became a favorite for its proximity to the Strip and the places where the Doors did their business. Since Morrison was prone to losing his drivers’ license due to DUIs, staying here allowed him to walk to most places he needed to go. Morrison’s favorite unit was the infamous #32, where generations of faithful Doors fans have spent a night hoping for a visit from his spirit. The graffiti they left marks every inch of the dingy walls.

The Doors’ management had their office right around the corner on Santa Monica Blvd. and their label, Elektra Records was located a couple of blocks south on La Cienega. Add in the proximity to Monaco Liquor and eateries for everything a hard-drinking frontman needs. Barney’s Beanery was just a few steps away and one of Morrison’s favorite hangouts. His spirit would be welcome here but he might run into that of Janis Joplin, who once broke a bottle of Southern Comfort over his head.

Morrison did try domesticity for a while after he met his girlfriend Pamela Courson and the two shared a cozy crib behind the Canyon Country Store. The view from this home provided the inspiration for the Doors’ song “Love Street,” about “Where the creatures meet.” This property was heavily damaged by fire a few years ago but has been repaired so Morrison’s ghost could still recognize his old pad.

The last stop for Morrison and Courson before they relocated to Paris was one of five apartments in a charming Spanish-style building on Norton Ave. west of Crescent Heights. This property still stands with a sign out front marking it as the last L.A. home of Jim Morrison. The apartment is available for rent so this could be another comfy spot for the singer’s spirit to visit.

The city will probably paint over the graffiti-scarred walls of unit #32 at the Alta Cienega and take Morrison’s photo off the door but they may not be able to exorcise his ghost that easily. 

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