Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Haunted Houses

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Haunted Houses
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I found out today from our realtor that legally sellers of a house must disclose if it has been the site of a murder or suicide. My first thought was that I'm glad this is the case, because I wouldn't want to unknowingly buy this kind of house. But then I thought, aren't my reasons superstitious or at least spiritual in nature? And if that's the case, why would our laws cater to people's superstition? It's not like living in a house where someone was killed would actually hurt you.

Do you think this is a good law or a silly one? Would you have any problems buying a house where this happened? I'm particularly curious what the atheists would say.

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
martel
Member
Member # 3448

 - posted      Profile for martel   Email martel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not an atheist and I wouldn't care. I know a lot of well-educated people, however, who, the best I can discern, do believe in haunted houses, ghosts and other stuff like that...
Seems kinda ridiculous to me.

Posts: 308 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lady Starkiller
Member
Member # 2444

 - posted      Profile for Lady Starkiller   Email Lady Starkiller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I dunno, it seems like a sensible law to me. There are superstitious people, of course, who won't want to live in a house where a murder or suicide has taken place, and some religious people who won't, but whether we agree with their aversion or not, we should respect it, and this is one case where I think it does take a law to make businesses (realtors, rather) respect that. Also, I have several friends who aren't superstitious, precisely, but have very overactive imaginations. I could easily imagine one of them getting worked into a frenzy over this kind of thing.

Oh, forgot to add: I might or might not care. It depends. I can't explain it, but places have emotional atmospheres to me. It's not a superstitious or spiritual thing, but it's not all stuff I can pin down, either. The history of a place plays into that, for me, and I loathe having a place's history concealed from me.

...I dunno. I can't explain it, but I would want to know.

[ June 08, 2007, 11:38 PM: Message edited by: Lady Starkiller ]

Posts: 434 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rallan
Member
Member # 1936

 - posted      Profile for Rallan   Email Rallan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think it's just for folks who believe in ghosts. A lot of people would be a bit unsettled to find out that their house is on the market because the last owner cut his family into little bits and buried them under the rose garden, and they'd feel just the teensiest bit ripped off if they didn't find out until after they'd bought the place.
Posts: 2570 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cherrypoptart
Member
Member # 3942

 - posted      Profile for cherrypoptart     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If a house is haunted, and a realtor has to tell you that, can you sue them if it turns out it's not really haunted?

Of course you can also sue them if they don't tell you anything and you find out it's "haunted".

It's not necessarily about whether it's haunted or there are ghosts, but also about the property having a "stigma" that could affect its resale value, and that can mean big dollars.

There was a case of a lady being accused of molesting a lot of little kids in her house. She was found not guilty in a court of law. A real estate broker sold her house and didn't tell the buyers about it. They sued of course, and they won.

One funny thing is that there is a skeptic who will gladly pay a million bucks to anyone who can PROVE anything weird like ghosts, hauntings, psychic powers, and all that stuff. That's why if I was told a house was haunted, I'd buy it in a heartbeat if that could be proven. Easy money.

I don't know about all states, but in Texas you don't have to tell about suicides or deaths on the property besides murders from outside sources or deaths that have to do with a condition of the property such as someone falling down the stairs or getting electrocuted. It may not be necessary to tell if one spouse murdered another, but if someone from the outside killed someone on the property, that is a condition as far as crime rates and the property is concerned and must be disclosed.

By the way, it is expressly FORBIDDEN to tell anyone if someone died of AIDS on the property, without express, probably written, permission of the family members of the deceased. You may tell about other deaths like suicide or dying of a heart attack but it's not required.

My wife will only live in brand spanking new houses/apartments, and hopefully no construction workers died on the job.

Posts: 7675 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
guinevererobin
Member
Member # 4024

 - posted      Profile for guinevererobin   Email guinevererobin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it's a good law - just because it's wrong to surprise people with something that might affect their feelings about the property or, more importantly, change the resale value.

Personally I'm not sure I'd want to know. I don't believe in ghosts or anything like that, but I DO have an active imagination and I know how I'd feel waking up at night to one of those weird inevitable sounds houses make...

Posts: 463 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carlotta
Member
Member # 3117

 - posted      Profile for Carlotta   Email Carlotta   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I hadn't thought of resale value, good point. Though I have heard that these properties make great investements, because the stigma fades over time, and so you can buy them cheap shortly after but resell them for significantly more after enough time has passed.

I don't know that I would buy a place like that or not. Assuming there were no actual physical dangers to the place I would probably consider it, though I would really have to think about whether my imagination could handle it.

Posts: 1318 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rhoetus
Member
Member # 3937

 - posted      Profile for Rhoetus   Email Rhoetus       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What if the murder was a 'hit' of some sort, local gangs, mob, CIA, whatever, and that group doesn't realize that there are new owners? I certainly wouldn't want to get in a shoot out with someone just because I moved into their enemy's house.

Haunted, though? Whatever, I suppose I'm a cynic.

Posts: 160 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mormegil
Member
Member # 2439

 - posted      Profile for Mormegil         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't believe in ghosts, hauntings, etc.

I actually want to encourage other people to believe though, because then if I want to buy a house I can buy a murder house cheaper, because all the superstitious folk won't want it.

Okay, not really.

There is superstition and then there is superstition. Is there a difference from a real historical artifact in a museum, versus a replica? You get a different feeling when you think you're looking at a real piece of history, but is that superstition?

A person might not want to live in a house where murders took place, not because they believe in the slightest about ghosts or hauntings, but simply because every time they look at the chandelier they remember the story about someone hanging from it, etc.

I got food poisoning at Boston Market. It's not like I think I'll get it again if I go again, but the thought of eating there makes me feel icky, so I don't. It's the association. It's not superstition.

Therefore, I have no problem with disclosing that sort of info. You don't have to believe in spirits. But a murder is a horrific and significant thing to the human mind, and one you might find out about on your own after buying the house.

Posts: 800 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
guinevererobin
Member
Member # 4024

 - posted      Profile for guinevererobin   Email guinevererobin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's the association. It's not superstition.
That's a great way to put it, I hadn't thought of it that way.
Posts: 463 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sunshine
Member
Member # 2990

 - posted      Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with the "association rather than the superstition" comment. When I lived in Tucson, a couple of boys robbed a Pizza Hut and killed all of the employees. It was horrible. The building was torn down and the strip mall next to it extended. I don't think that people believed the building would be haunted; I think people didn't want to associate this eating establishment with a location where four people were murdered.
However, I don't think superstition is irrelevant to the context of many things in culture (and this law in particular). There are reasons why we bury people in the ground and place stones on top of them (to keep them there, for one). I can think of cultures that refuse to live in a house that someone has lived, so I can certainly imagine that associating death, especially 'unnatural' death with a structure designed for the living would be very uncomfortable. However, I'm not sure where association ends and superstition begins at this point.
I'm fairly certain this stigma law you mention is per state, and not all states require it. Many states only require disclosure of physical stigma. Former crack house comes to mind (health hazard).
Interestingly enough, sometimes a "haunted" rumor can actually boost the sales price. Think Lizzie Borden's abode. I'm sure the Amytiville house will go for a bundle when the most recent residents sell, poor people (I hear they get a lot of "drive-bys", and a lot of fellow residents actually send would-be tourists down the wrong streets to give them some peace and quiet).
However, I recall reading the OJ's ex's house took quite a hit when it sold.

Posts: 249 | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lady Starkiller
Member
Member # 2444

 - posted      Profile for Lady Starkiller   Email Lady Starkiller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sunshine - the interesting thing about Lizzie Borden's house or the Amityville house is that the stories behind them are almost seen more as curious folklore than stories of murders. That puts a different spin on them, if you will - for some people, anyway.
Posts: 434 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Richard Dey
Member
Member # 1727

 - posted      Profile for Richard Dey   Email Richard Dey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hell, Sunshine, Lizzie Borden's house is a bed and breakfast today.

http://www.lizzie-borden.com/

In the Northeast, houses (and condos) where people have been murdered are a dime a dozen -- and many in the best of neighborhoods!

I was brought up in a house where lots of people had died -- and been born, and gotten married, and had procreated, and had played the piano badly. Hey, people drop dead all over the place.

17th- and 18th-century houses bring a premium in New England no matter what happened in them. The whole of New England is a crime scene.

Hell, people have died in the Capitol in Washington! Let's shut it down!

But it can affect real estate. Take the case of Nix's Mate, an island in Boston Harbor, the traditional caging and hanging site for pirates. Nix's mate, I think his name was Fly, cursed the hangman for putting the noose on sloppily -- and then the island, claiming that it would wash away his guilt! It was only about 12 acres, but all that's left today ...

http://www.briantague.com/Boston&SouthShoreLights.html

NB: I went to Thompson Academy on Thompson's Island (see photo), am descended from Adm Graves (or lighthouse fame) ditto, and live near Bug and the Gurnet (ditto).

The idea of buying property without knowing its history is like my new Brazilian neighbors -- who just cut down a memorial grove of a dozen spruces planted in 1865 by the son of the builder of the brig Independence (a Revolutionary hero). Apparently the wife wanted "sun"! I told her, rather curtly, if she wanted "sun" she ought to live in Brazil.

In Europe, every house would be haunted by the shallow accounting we get of such things on the History Channel (a children's and LOP program).

Posts: 7866 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gaoics79
Member
Member # 969

 - posted      Profile for Gaoics79   Email Gaoics79   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I actually want to encourage other people to believe though, because then if I want to buy a house I can buy a murder house cheaper, because all the superstitious folk won't want it.
Exactly. I'd totally buy a murder house for the discount! (yes, I really would)

But seriously, I'd insist on being told in advance. I may not care if 20 people were massacred by cultists in bloody Satanic Rituals in my dining room, but other more superstitious people certainly might.

If this negative association would make it harder to eventually sell the place, I'd think of that as a hidden defect. If I bought the place for full price not knowing about its history, I'd feel cheated.

Posts: 7629 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know of a double murder/suicide lover's triangle house in Yakima. Drive by at night and you can see that the original house is dark and the new, built-on portion is brightly lit.

Had a friend who lived there as a child for several years. At night, the dark terrors were awful.

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zyne
Member
Member # 117

 - posted      Profile for Zyne   Email Zyne   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some 30 years ago, when my neighborhood was the kind of place respectable people didn't go and the cops would avoid at night, a serial killer lived on my street, a few blocks from my house, and hung out at the park across the street from my house. I think it's kind of cool -- not that I am up with serial killers or anything like that, but the ones in the past, they had to live somewhere, and and I think it's kind of neat one used to walk by here all the time. And it makes this street kind of famous!
Posts: 4003 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1