About

About Craig Owens

Los Angeles-based photographer Craig Owens first fell in love with history and the paranormal in 1972. At that time, he was as a seven-year-old boy playing on the grounds of a Southern plantation known as Waverley, located outside of West Point, Mississippi. While Waverley's owners admitted to seeing and hearing the ghost of a young female child, Craig never encountered her. Yet the atmosphere and history of Waverley stayed with him long after his family moved to Texas.

In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles and began to work freelance in the film and television industry. His production credits include Fudge (1995), The Christmas Box (1995), Wag the Dog (1997), Phone Booth (2002), and The Gilmore Girls (2000-2001). In 2002, Craig left film production to work for the Century City Chamber of Commerce and later the International Cinematographers Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 600. While working for the chamber of commerce, he contributed articles for the Century City View and wrote the History of Century City.

In 2009, Craig began staging vintage style photo shoots at haunted hotels as an idea for an Old Hollywood themed project. While on location, he experienced paranormal activity. This left him wondering if his photo shoots were somehow triggering it.

The following year, he started his Facebook blog, Bizarre Los Angeles, a page dedicated to Los Angeles’ forgotten history. He also continued to hold vintage photos shoots at haunted locations. Little did he know that his love for haunted hotels would bring media attention. In 2013, he appeared on My Ghost Story: Caught on Film after he unintentionally photographed an apparition at the Palomar Inn in Old Town Temecula, California. The following year, the online magazine, The Verge, published an article on his paranormal experiences at the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, California.

Craig Owens has now gained notoriety for his photography and his passion for historical research. He has also appeared in other people's books, including Gourmet Ghosts 2 by James T. Bartlett and Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey. While he firmly believes that ghosts do exist, he is reluctant to accept all paranormal stories. He instead approaches the subject with a good deal of skepticism, preferring to err on the side of not believing enough. He also encourages his readers to form their own opinions as to whether ghosts exist, and warns people not to believe in ghost legends unless the legends are supported by historical fact.

Craig Owens is a graduate from Southern Methodist University with a B.F.A. in Communications.

FUN FACTS

  • Fifth cousin to country and western legend Ernest Tubb.
  • Went to Permian High School (of Friday Night Lights fame). One of his closest friends in high school was Mark S. Allen, currently a well-known local television personality in Sacramento, CA.
  • Was part of a medical study on the anti-acne drug Accutane (now called Isotretinoin) in 1981-82 prior to its approval by the FDA.
  • National Dean's List recipient in 1986-87.
  • Dislikes catsup...intensely.
  • A teetotaler.
  • Favorite food: chili con queso and chips.
  • Once took acting lessons from Spencer Milligan (Land of the Lost) and Richard Hatch (Battlestar Gallactica).
  • In the early 1990s, Owens wrote, directed, and starred in a silent comedy short Blind Man's Bluff, shot in the historic town square of Lancaster, Texas, with a Bolex 16 mm camera. After the film's completion,  a series of tornadoes destroyed many of the old buildings used as locations (including a bank that was once allegedly robbed by Bonnie & Clyde). Years later, a clip from that film was featured in the Made-For-TV film Going Home (2000). In the TV movie, Jason Robards watches the film and laughs uproariously.
  • In 2011, Owens accidentally photographed an apparition in a photo at the Palomar Inn, but is reluctant to post it on social media because it undermines his overall skepticism of ghost photos.
  • Does not use Ghost Boxes, Ovilus's, tracking cameras, seances, psychic impressions, Ouija boards, divining rods, and most other occult practices when conducting paranormal investigations. He prefers EVP tests using high quality recorders, camera monitoring, and historic research because he has found that these methods produce a higher level of accuracy.
  • Favorite film genres: Noir, Western, Silent, Horror, Satirical Comedy, and Science Fiction.
  • Favorite Book: Venus on the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout (Philip José Farmer).
  • Favorite Paranormal Book: An Experience of Phantoms by D. Scott Rogo.
  • Most Influential Author: Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Most Influential Artistic Style: German Expressionism.
  • Favorite Movie: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (1967).
  • Favorite Television Show: The Monkees.
  • Favorite Song: "Happy Together" by The Turtles.
  • Favorite Musical Group: The Beatles.
  • Favorite Old Hollywood male movie star: George Raft.
  • Favorite Old Hollywood female movie star: Marlene Dietrich.
  • Favorite Comedian: Buster Keaton.
  • Favorite star of the past 50 years: Clint Eastwood.
  • Favorite photographer: William Mortensen.
  • Favorite photographic themes: mirror reflections, shadows, humor, surrealism, isolation, role/gender reversals, vamps, implied horror.
  • Favorite directors: Stanley Kubrik, Sergio Leone, and Fritz Lang.

CONTACT & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Linkedin

IMDb

Contact: Craig@bizarrela.com

MEMBERSHIP

Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

San Fernando Valley Historical Society

Culver City Historical Society

Temecula Valley Historical Society

Sons of the Golden West, Ramona Parlor

SAG/AFTRA

Greater Los Angeles Writers Society

 

BOOK REVIEWS

 

"Owens’s gorgeous photo stagings recreate the romantic and heady days of each lodging while adding dashes of visual humor, subtle sensuality, and haunting atmosphere. Lavishly illustrated and handsomely produced, the book’s entertaining and informative narrative dwells on the documented facts while dispelling most of the colorful myths." -- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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on February 16, 2018
"As co-hosts of the podcast Ghosting Around with Kathleen DeRose and John Cason, Kathleen and I are always looking for entertaining -- yet, more importantly, reliable -- sources of information for the haunted places that we cover. After attending a talk by Craig and picking up this book, it has immediately become our primary source for all SOCAL hauntings. We've already recorded one episode on the Mission Inn based primarily on Craig's coverage and will likely be using this book extensively in future episodes. More than just a collection of ghost stories, Craig has put together an encyclopedic history of haunted hotels in southern California that don't just draw from pre-existing sources or travel guides but rather from his own research, immersion, and (gulp!) first-hand encounters. Not simply satisfied with the pre-existing (often over-embellished or outright made-up) stories about these haunted places, Craig deep-dives into their respective histories seeking to verify, correct, or outright ghost-bust some of the established stories while also uncovering a few of his own. But that's only half of what makes this book so novel (pun intended)! Actually staging and photographing historical scenes in the hotels themselves brings the stories to life in a way that few (if any to my knowledge) have. Kathleen and I both highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the paranormal or photography. Don't be afraid to add this book to your collection and make your bookshelf or coffee table just a little bit spooooOOOOooookier." 
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“This is one of the most fascinating books I own. Researched to within an inch of its life – the goosebumps will rise because the stories are true. The new photos in old places are created with inspiration and outstanding talent. Be warned – you might sleep with the lights on for weeks! Enjoy!” — James Radford, author of Adventures on the Queen Mary
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“A must have coffee table centerpiece for lovers of history and all things haunted! This is not your average ‘haunted’ history book. This is one of the most well researched, in depth books on eight of Southern California’s famous and historic hotels and inns. Yes, at the end of each chapter he has a follow up chapter on documented hauntings of each location, but how the author encapsulates both the facts surrounding the history first, and then follows up with the stories or urban legends of each place next, is simply magnificent.” — J’aime Rubio, author of If These Walls Could Talk: More Preston Castle History

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“You don’t want to miss this one. It is an excellent account of history and all that entails for the Glen Tavern Inn/Santa Paula and all the other historical inns and hotels in Southern California.” — Glen Tavern Inn
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Jan 20, 2018 Sara rated it 5 out of 5 stars on Good Reads
"This is now one of my favorite books. Owens dissects the history of some of Southern California’s most historic and haunted hotels and photographically recreates some of the occurrences that have resulted in hauntings of those spaces. He pulls together actors and actresses in period costumes and photographs them in the actual locations of their deaths and tells the stories of those people and the locations. This large, heavy book is full of historic photos and well-written text. I highly recommend it as a coffee table book or a gift for someone who is a history and ghost geek like me." -- Sara Robertson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKYxXDEImrI&t=148s

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