Haunted Real Estate: A Real American Horror Story?
By Karen Frazier (Photos by Karen Frazier and Jayme Coates)
magine it. An unsuspecting family seeking a fresh start finds their gorgeous dream home. In today’s depressed housing market, they aren’t at all surprised that the house’s price is so low. After all, who knows how long the present owners have had it on the market? It’s only after they move in that they discover something terrifying: they are not alone in the house. In fact, the house seems to be inhabited by the ghosts of previous residents, many who met unfortunate fates while they lived there. I’ve just described the premise of American Horror Story, the freshman drama in FX’s Wednesday night lineup that wrapped up its first season in December 2011. While American Horror Story features an over-the-top storyline with ghosts that not only rattle chains, but also kill the living, the idea taps into the fears of many Americans. What if, when you finally move into that dream home, you are not alone? Home Alone I experienced haunted living conditions long before the paranormal became such a popular phenomenon. In fact, back in 1987 when I moved into my very first apartment out of college, paranormal experiences were something you
Haunted houses often fall under the legal heading of “stigmatized” properties. Disclosure may or may not include potential haunting, depending on the laws in your area.
kept in the closet lest someone think you were crazy. Still, as a young renter in a very inexpensive apartment, I had my first run-in with things that went bump in the night. As a renter, I was lucky. I wasn’t stuck. I moved after about a year and promptly spent the next 20 denying to myself that anything unusual had happened there. Ten years ago, the paranormal had yet to hit the mainstream. I was still in denial about my earliest ex-
periences in my haunted apartment and hadn’t really given a thought to ghosts in years. Jim and I were newlyweds, moving to a new town and trying to find a house for our family. Almost immediately, we found “the one” — a 4,400-square-foot opendesign beauty perched on a hilltop on an acre of land. When we saw the price, we practically held hands and danced in a circle, because it just seemed to be to good to be true. It wasn’t. We