Behind our house, down the hill, past the chicken run, along the swale which catches the run-off water, is the old Tom Mix cabin and next to it The Mansion, once owned by Errol Flynn and now used by Rick Rubin as a recording studio. Across the street is the famous Houdini mansion and apparently, somewhere, there is an underground tunnel which connects the two houses. On the hillside, overrun with gophers, surrounded by overgrown weeds and bushes, cactii and sagebrush, is an intricate web of steps, little caves and grottoes, and stone benches, decorated with old pottery. No-one but the dogs venture there. This afternoon, having been stuck at home for the last four days with my flu-ish daughter, I ventured out with the dogs and my camera while she was sleeping. It was hot, dusky and I was a trespasser. I'd been reading about the seance that takes place for Houdini every Halloween night, the day of his death, and the ghostly carriage and horses seen at Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon. I rather thought I might see a ghost. I kept the dogs close by and clambered on my hands and knees among the new grass.
But it's rather lovely on the hillside, under the trees, almost whimsical. I should love to find out who laid out such a folly. And when. And why.