TRAVELS: The "Enchanted Cottage" Turned Out To Be "The Haunted Cottage"

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The "Enchanted Cottage" Turned Out To Be "The Haunted Cottage"

The tree that this stump was carved into:

...Fell next to us on a wind-free evening and almost crushed us in our car. It was cut up:

We took a piece of the wood and had it made up as a Ouija board, just for fun. It gave "bad advice". It was only after this happened that we found out all the details about the "hauntings" and saw these articles:

Notorious San Francisco: Pat Montandon's Curse

"The Enchanted Cottage," 1591 Shrader Street.

Pat Montandon was the hostess with the mostest until she was cursed at her 1000 Lombard Street home, right before the eyes of San Francisco society and visitors including Ted Kennedy. She wrote about it in The Intruders. Published in 1975, the book is former TV hostess Montandon's account of a hex violently levied at this Lombard Street apartment house at the foot of the crookedest street by a tarot card reader "quivering with rage" because Montandon neglected to serve him a drink at one of her celebrated parties. What follows, its publishers said, was "a terrifying confrontation with the supernatural." Certain facts are known. At least three deaths, including a suicide, occurred at the house in the late 1960s. Also among the dead was Montandon's secretary Mary Louise Ward, who died in a fire here under unusual circumstances. Montandon also attributed a string of personal setbacks to the curse. Allegedly the house was given a clean bill of health following an exorcism. Montandon moved out anyway. She continued to be a true San Francisco celebrity who: sued TV Guide over a typo that referred to her as a call girl, was very briefly married to Melvin Belli, conducted round table rap sessions at her society luncheons, presided over house blessings, wrote a column for the Examiner, and published books. In stark contrast to her 1000 Lombard residence, Montandon dubbed her later home at 1591 Shrader Street "The Enchanted Cottage." When a Monterey Cypress at the end of the driveway of The Enchanted Cottage had to come down after a 1997 windstorm, Montandon commissioned sculptor Jack Mealy to carve a huge angel into its trunk. The statue was named "Angel of Hope" by Montandon, who has since sold The Enchanted Cottage and published a book, "Celebrities and their Angels." Pat is the inspiration for the character Prue Giroux, aka Pam Fontainbleu, in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City.

The First Montandon Haunted House

Located on the crookedest street in the world is a house with a eerie and dark past. In the mid 1960's the house was home to Pat Montandon, the queen of the SF jet-set. So extravagant were her parties that Esquire magazine voted her one of the top hostesses in the nation. It's not surprising then that her first book was entitled How To Be A Party Girl. It was at one of her famous theme parties that Montandon was to meet destiny in the form of a vindictive tarot card reader. It was a zodiac theme party and Montandon had invited a number of palmists, astrologers, crystal gazers, and card readers to entertain and mystify her guests. The trouble began when she forgot to bring the tarot card reader the drink she had promised him. Montandon writes of the incident in her book The Intruders

click to enlarge



 
 "I"m sorry. I'll get you one--" But he didn't allow her to finish. He bolted to his feet with his curious retinue following suit, and explaining loudly that he'd never been so insulted in his life. Quivering with rage he directed a stream of abuse at me: He had never been treated so rudely... I was an insufferable, ungracious hostess...he was leaving, but not before he made certain I would never have any happy moments in that house again. He fixed me with a glare, his face puffed and distorted : "I lay a curse upon you and this house. I do not forget, and I do not forgive. Remember that!" 

The Manifestations

It was shortly after that curse was uttered that the strange and horrifying occurrences began. An unnatural chill pervaded the house even though the thermostat was permanently set to 90°. Even with this chill there would be spots of deathly cold that would cause her dog to bark and growl as though there was somebody in the room. Montandon would find doors mysteriously locked from the inside of empty rooms. Blood curdling screams would echo through the empty house. Mysterious blood stains would appear and grow on the ceilings.

The curse turned deadly on June 20th, 1969. Montandon's close friend and secretary, Mary Louise Ward, was staying at the house while Montandon was promoting her book, How to be a Party Girl. A mysterious fire broke out in the master bedroom. The fire department quickly arrived on the scene but were slowed by the locked from the inside front door and master bedroom door. Inside they found the lifeless body of Mary Louise. Investigations were inconclusive as to the cause of the fire and the cause of death. Mary Louise was not burned, nor had she succumb to smoke inhalation. Her internal organs were undamaged, she did not suffocate, there were no signs of injury, and most suspicious of all it was determined that she had actually died before the fire. Marie Louise would not be the last victim of the curse. Two of Montandon's close friends would commit suicide in the house before the year was up.

Montandon, now desperate to remove the curse sent in psychics Gerri Patton and Nick Nocerino (of crystal skull fame) to perform an exorcism. Nocerino supposedly managed to snap some photos of the ghosts. The house was declared clean but Montandon could not bare to live in the house that destroyed the lives of her closest friends and nearly her own.

Since then the house has been quiet except for the throngs of tourists who constantly travel the crookedest street in the world most oblivious to the terror experienced just a few feet from where they snap their holiday photos in the Montandon House.

There is a lovely view right above the "Enchanted/Haunted" Cottage:

 

 

We had worked for Pat Montandon on a project and with Melvin Belli on another project and did not realize, until we saw the article, above, that they had anything to do with this house...

...we were up there looking at the structure regarding future plans to buy it... Good thing we did not... it may still be haunted  ;-)

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