About Craig Owens
Los Angeles-based photographer and historical researcher 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 haunted Southern mansion 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, he began staging vintage-style photoshoots at haunted hotels as an idea for an Old Hollywood-themed project. While on location, he experienced paranormal activity at the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. 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 his passion for taking 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. 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.
In 2017, he released his first book Haunted by History Vol. 1: Separating the Facts and Myths of Eight Historic Hotels and Inns in Southern California, which earned Publisher Weekly’s coveted star review. In 2020, it made the Eric Hoffer Awards’ short list of recommended books.
Due to the success of his book and his encyclopedic knowledge of haunted historic locations, Owens is now considered one of the top authorities in his field. Recently, he began leading historic tours in many of the haunted properties around Southern California.
While he firmly believes that ghosts 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 are real, and warns people not to believe in ghost legends unless the legends are supported by historical fact. His motto is “If the history is wrong, the ghost stories will never be right.”
Craig Owens is a graduate from Southern Methodist University with a B.F.A. in Communications.
- 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.
- 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 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, Slapstick Comedy, and Science Fiction.
- Favorite Book: Venus on the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout (Philip José Farmer).
- Most Influential Artistic Style: German Expressionism.
- Favorite photographer: William Mortensen.
- Favorite photographic themes: mirror reflections, shadows, humor, surrealism, isolation, role/gender reversals, vamps, implied horror.
- Favorite places to visit: Any historic location that is said to be haunted. He feels most comfortable there.