Back in 1927, twin 12-year-olds, Marion and Marjorie Parker, were adored by their father, banker Perry Parker, an officer at Los Angeles First National Trust and Savings. The Parker family lived in a two-story, wood-shingled Victorian-style home at 1631 S. Wilton Place, and the girls attended Mt. Vernon Junior High, a few blocks west at Bronson and 17th Street.
But that December, the Parker family idyll was to end. Psychopath Edward Hickman kidnapped young Marion for ransom, but after she wrote her father a note (“Dear Daddy and Mother, I wish I could come home. I think I’ll die if I have to be like this much longer....”), Hickman strangled the youngster and then severed her legs and arms with a razor. To get his ransom, Hickman placed Marion’s body in his car -- propped up and covered with a blanket so only her head would show -- and drove to a rendezvous with Perry Parker. Parker handed over the money, and minutes later made the gruesome discovery of his daughter’s torso. Marion’s face had been powdered, hair combed and eyelids sewn open with black thread.
Three decades ago, when author Marvin Wolf (“Fallen Angels”) telephoned the then-owner of 1631 S. Wilton to tell her about the famous kidnapping and murder, she interrupted the story to say, “Oh, that accounts for our ghost.”
Seems that the owners had noticed what they felt was a benevolent, small child spirit who moved small objects and occasionally could be heard walking through the house. When Wolf was telling the Marion Parker tale, the lights in the house flashed repeatedly on and off.
A few years later, after paranormal researchers from UCLA had “confirmed” a ghostly presence, the house was sold to James Stokes, who said he didn’t believe in ghosts at all. Indeed, he said he spent a quiet decade in the house with no eerie happenings at all. But later, after contracting to sell the 2,520-square-foot house for about $240,000, and after he began packing to move to Ohio, Stokes said little things made him think that maybe, just maybe.... Someone (or something) kept turning the tea kettle off. And closing doors he had opened. And Stokes’ dog started behaving peculiarly. “Maybe,” Stokes mused, “she doesn’t want to see me go.”
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.