The Playboy Mansion has seen its fair share of residents and guests—some living and breathing and some, well, not so much. One of Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriends Bridget Marquardt gave some intel on the real ghost encounters she had while living there—and yes, the stories will likely keep you up at night. Let’s dive in.
On the latest episode of House Beautiful’s new haunted house podcast Dark House, co-hosts Alyssa Fiorentino and Hadley Mendelsohn chatted with The Girls Next Door star about her spooky experiences at the mansion. For starters, Bridget saw an apparition in her bedroom closet. She explained: “My sister, myself, and my friend Stacy were all sitting on my bed. We were talking, having a glass of wine, and the TV was on. All of a sudden, out of the corner of all of our eyes, we saw a woman standing in my closet.”
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Not only that, but Bridget knew who it was: Years before moving in, Bridget visited the mansion and met the former social secretary, a super-friendly “house mom” figure who looked out for all the girls and pets on the property (which included a whole zoo). Sadly, when Bridget returned to the mansion as a full-time resident, she learned the woman had died of cancer. Did the encounter freak her out? No. “It was shocking, but it wasn’t scary,” Bridget explained on the podcast, adding that she believes the late secretary had come to see the new addition to the household, Bridget’s brand new puppy Winnie (as any dog lover would, naturally!).
Bridget also mentioned that the vibes were off in the mansion’s game house. Apparently, the doors slammed and the games turned on by themselves, and Bridget personally experienced the latter. “I never felt right when I was in there,” she said. “Supposedly, housekeeping always didn’t like to go out there either, so they’d always ask for a butler or security to go with them.”
To top it all off, Bridget may have met Hefner’s ghost at the Playboy Mansion…in a dream! Having been unable to attend the late publisher’s funeral—or visit him at all in the last few years of his life—she was unable to say goodbye before his passing on September 27, 2017. Sometime after, the Ghost Magnet podcast host recalled an incredibly vivid dream in which she drove to the mansion to see her ex one last time. “I could tell the house was sort of abandoned and he was gone, but yet I was there to see him,” Bridget said.
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The mansion was dark, and 1940s music was playing when suddenly, Hugh came down the stairs to greet her. Bridget explained: “He gave me what we call his big laugh, like this big cackle that he did. He said, ‘My darling!’ He put his arms around me, and I felt the hug. I could feel his smoking jacket. I could smell his cologne. It was so real.”
Even when she woke up, she could still almost smell his cologne on her. Did Hugh’s spirit somehow pop into her subconscious to say goodbye? Did her spirit leave her body to meet his spirit at the actual mansion? If you want to overanalyze (and hear all about another notorious Hollywood home, too), you can listen to the full episode of Dark House on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
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Kelly Allen is a writer based in New York and the editorial assistant at House Beautiful, where she covers design, culture, shopping, and travel.
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