The talk of workers on the property today is of exactly where Michael Jackson will spend eternity after his final family memorial service, scheduled for Thursday at Forest Lawn’s Great Mausoleum, inside the elaborate Memorial Court of Honor. In that hall Jackson’s casket is scheduled to be staged under a stunning stained glass rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s "Last Supper" masterpiece. It occupies one entire wall.
This location likely would have met with Michael’s approval. He once commissioned his own special Last Supper painting and for years it hung directly over his bed at Neverland Ranch. In Jackson’s version he occupies the center space where Jesus is usually seen and instead of the disciples there are some of Jackson’s heroes painted in, among them Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
After the hoopla surrounding Jackson’s death dies down, maybe in a year or more, cemetery workers speculate that Jackson will be permanently buried in the uber-expensive “Golden Key” section of Forest Lawn, which is outlined with a prohibitively tall brick wall. Only family members in possession of a special key can enter this rarified space where the likes of Mary Pickford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Humphrey Bogart are interred. It’s a vast and lavish area of the cemetery surrounded with glittering marble statues and elaborate sarcophaguses.
But for now, sources tell me, Michael Jackson will be stored in a crypt almost directly underneath the Last Supper masterpiece.
To get to that spot my guide showed me a wide marble staircase, roped off to keep the public out, but clearly visible as going down. The first sunken level is where it’s expected Jackson will be held. Standing at the top of these stairs is like standing on the top floor of an apartment building and being able to see all the levels of staircases. It has an eerie feeling to it and, according to multiple sources, this is the route to the secret underground catacombs.
Michael Jackson will lie in repose over no fewer than 13 subterranean floors, each holding intriguing secrets, some could date as far back to the late 1800’s. As one cemetery insider told me, ”It’s sort of the opposite of the stairway to heaven.”
When asked to confirm these areas a Forest Lawn spokesperson denied they exist.
But my sources, including another ex-Forest Lawn maintenance man and a mutual acquaintance of both employees to whom they gave contemporaneous accounts over the years, give descriptions that are rich with detail.
“There is a level where devil worshippers were once interred,” my guide tells me. “It’s complete with devil statues, pentagrams and an area where worshippers conducted weird services.”
Another subterranean area, according to the guide, was set aside as the final spot for wealthy gypsy families, the figurines on their crypts otherworldly, and as recently as the 1960s, my sources say, their families would stage elaborate get-togethers to honor their dead relatives.
Many doors remain padlocked deep within this labyrinth but when two workers opened one they discovered a room lined with shelves holding crematory urns for military men, police officers, nurses and city workers who were cremated gratis and held all these years because there were no families to claim them.
*Somehow I think MJ is very happy with this!*
*Love the song, hate the video*