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Author Topic: Would you live in a "murder house"?
Logoboros
We Three Blings


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I was just watching the wretched remake of The Amityville Horror and this set me wondering about the stigma attached to the sites of murders or other horrors.

My question: would you buy or live in a house in which you knew people had been murdered (especially if it's a great bargain)?

Given that most people (especially on this site -- or so recent topics would indicate) don't really believe in ghosts, one would expect that there's not much of a reason why the answer should be no. Is there another reason to justify the sense of hesitation or discomfort or general ickiness that the idea of a "murder house" seems to inspire even in the non-superstitious?

--Logoboros

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Sara at home
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Being one of the people who does believe in the existence of ghosts, I would think twice about buying a house where people had been murdered. Can't say that I would absolutely not buy it.

ETA: Basically I wouldn't want the hassle of living in a haunted house.

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Christie
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No I don't think I would buy it. Especially of course if the murder case was particularly notorious to the point where you get the sick sightseers.

We had a murder happen down the street from us when I was in my teens. A babysitter raped and murdered the child he was looking after. That house stood empty for a very long time before it was finally sold. And ended up changing hands several times. This was in the days before full disclosure was on the cards (not sure if you'd even have to disclose something like that if it wasn't recent) but anyway no one seemed to stay in that house for long.

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Phaedra
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I knew a young man who was brutally murdered in a house round the corner from where I live now and it still gives me the creeps when I walk past it even though it happened thirty years ago.

The association with an unpleasant image would put me off rather than any concern about ghosts.

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spooookay
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I would have to say I am a fence straddler when it comes to anything in the "paranormal" genre... I don't really know if I believe or not... That being said. Reguardless of whether I believe or not, I don't think I could bring myself to buy a house that I knew somebody had been murdered in... I would probably believe that every little noise I heard was the ghost coming back to get me for intruding on their space...
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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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When my mother was a Realtor, she had an estate listing for a murder house. Son killed father, and the house sat empty for a year until son was convicted and disinherited. Then it sat empty for another several months while lawyers tracked down some second cousin, who was very surprised to find out that he now owned a house in Massachusetts. So he told the lawyers to liquidate the estate, and Mother got the listing.

It was awful. She had to hire a HazMat team to come in to clear out the furniture and rugs in the living room (the scene of the crime) which was soaked in year-and-a-half-old blood. IIRC they had to tear up a lot of the floor, as well.

She said she had two types of customers for the house: the ones that didn't even want to see it when she told them about the murder (full disclosure, she's very ethical!), and the ones who only wanted to see that house because there was a murder there. It sold eventually, but not quickly.

As an aside: the victim had just bought a new Buick. My brother bought the car from the estate -- a few years later, I bought it from him. It was a great car until the transmission went. We always refer to it as The Murder Car.

Four Kitties

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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Sure, but perhaps not if the place were likely to attract sightseers.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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I don't think I'd buy it, but mostly because of resale concerns. I wouldn't want to be stuck with a house no one else wanted to buy if I had to move.

Nonny

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Towknie
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I think it would be killer!

Sorry. I just had to. [fish]

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pirateslife
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Nope. [Eek!] I've got WAAAAAY too active an imagination. When I go upstairs in my house after dark, I always freak myself out if the lights aren't on. Probably stems from my mother's tales of the Man Who Lives in the Attic and Eats Tabasco Sauce (Tabasco sauce was always disappearing at our house). Even though I know the MWLITAAETS was just a joke, it has always freaked me out a little. I also read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark way too many times as a child. No way. I would freak myself out if left alone for the night. No good.

ETA: I freaked myself out just thinking of staying in a murder house. Good thing DH is here and the lights are on. [Roll Eyes] My mind can be so weird.

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snapdragonfly
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Actually our realtor did mention one to us when we were looking - it was a suicide house, not a murder house, though, I don't know which would be worse.

I didn't want to look at it. - But it was a real dump anyway, and the train ran right by it, and the worse of all, it was walking distance from my in-law's house. *shudder*

I never see ghosts but I do feel vibes, if a house is wholesome or not, and I didn't even want to know about that one.

Plus I think the resale issue is a very good point.

My mom's next door neighbor - a man with a wife and three kids, and in fact a prominant DA - shot himself and it was horrible and messy but the house did sell. It got all remodeled and it's really gorgeous but...I don't think I could deal with it. I have an active imagination too.

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Ms. Kringle
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Good question.

Unless, when the house was being shown to us, I got a bad feeling from the house and its environs? I wouldn't have a problem living in a "murder house".

The dead don't bother me, even if they're earthbound spirits. The living annoy the hell out of me, though. I wouldn't want to live in a house that was a macabre tourist attraction (one more reason that 10050 Cielo Drive no longer exists), and I wouldn't want the family of the victim outside protesting if they thought the murderer profited in some way from the sale of the house.

Other than that? Nope, no big deal.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdraculafly:
and the worse of all, it was walking distance from my in-law's house. *shudder*

I would rather live in a murder house than in a house within walking distance from my in-laws! :shudder:

Not all states are the same, but in GA you only have to disclose a murder or suicide if it happened in the home and only if the events happened to the last occupants of the home. So, if you bought a home where a murder had been committed and wanted to resell later, you would not have to disclose the murder. Also, if someone was murdered in the driveway, it would not have to be disclosed.

My in-laws researched this issue thoroughly after a murder occurred in the driveway of a home they had rented out. The husband killed his wife. MIL chose to disclose the murder anyway, she felt it was the right thing to do, and it sold within six months.

Here is an interesting article about sales of homes where high-profile crimes had been committed.

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Loyhargil
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Ya know, I can't discount the existance of ghosts (still deciding exactly what I think about them), but except for the previously cited "gawkers," I wouldn't have a problem with a murder house. Heck, someone has to go in and show it's still a livable place, and help remove the stigma, I think.

Years ago, I read a Dean R. Koontz book where one of the side stories was about a family that specifically bought things like "murder houses," re-did them, lived in them for a while, then re-sold them. I remember thinking at the time, what a nice idea, "cleanse" the house from the bad memories, as it were. Can't remember the name of that book now for anything, though.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'm certian that ghosts do not exist, but I wouldn't want to live somewhere where I knew someone had been murdered because it would be a constant reminder of the fragility and ultimate futility of my own life.

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I wouldn't buy it if it would be a sight-seer destination, and I wouldn't buy it if I didn't otherwise like the house (i.e. I would never specifically seek out a murder house), but if it was the right house and I could get a big discount on it because of the murder, I totally would.

Though I believe in the spirit and the spiritual realm, I don't believe in "ghosts" by any traditional definition. And if I did, I'm not sure I'd be worried.

The way I see it, there would be two possibilities:

1) the ghosts are connected to that parcel of ground itself

2) the ghosts are connected to the structures of the house, i.e. the actuall wood and nails from which it is made.

If #1, then I think you'd be toast no matter what. I mean, especially in the more populated areas of europe, given the sheer numbers of humans that have died on this earth, someone had to have died on pretty much every square foot of land at one point or another, so if it's the land they die upon that a ghost is connected to, then you might as well lump it cause you can't escape that!

If #2, then, heck, I'd probably be doing a lot of reno-ing even if the house wasn't a murder site - new floors, etc. Eventually I'd replace enough of the haunted materials that the house would be sufficiently comprised of enough new material so that, essentially, it was no longer the "murder" house. That is, the materials to which the gost was actually connected would no longer be in my house, but would be in some dumpster in michigan. And if the ghosts could "migrate" from the old materials to the new, then what's stopping them from migrating just as easily to the house next door, in which case the whole thing is moot.

Bottom line then, I don't beleive in ghosts, so it's not an issue for me, but if I did believe in them, then I don't see logically how it could be an issue either.

so, buy buy buy!!

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Salamander
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I'm undecided regarding the existence of ghosts with a slight lean towards "probably not".

I can't say definitely as to whether or not I'd buy a house where someone was murdered. My hesitation has nothing to do with the supernatural though. If we're talking about a crime that drew national/international infamy then probably not. Sure, the house might be going cheaply but I doubt I'd ever get a decent resale value on it either.

Plus, as others have mentioned, "haunted house" tourists would be an issue. I don't exactly like unknown people at the best of times. The attention I'd receive from tourists would bug the crap out of me.

I'd also be concerned for Sal Jr, again not because of any specific belief in the supernatural but because I'd be unsure how it would affect his life at school. It'd either swing one of two ways... it could either lead to teasing or possibly make him the coolest kid in class. It might also cause problems if he wanted to invite friends over who had superstitious parents.

If the place had not really drawn significant attention from the press (and therefore was not likely to draw people to look at it) then I don't think I'd have any further issue in buying and living in it.

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NeeCD
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The first apartment I had was in a murder house (it was divided into four apartments). I don't remember anything weird happening there, though. I don't think it would bother me to live in another one, but I suppose it would depend on the circumstances and if the house made me feel weird. Because a weird feeling will trump logic every time.

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Mosherette
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I wouldn't think twice about it unless, as Jenn said, there was some kind of grisly sight-seeing going on. Such things don't bother me.

I rented a house for a year where the male previous occupant had been stabbed by the female occupant in the house and I think died, although I couldn't swear to it. There was nothing weird about the place; it was just a normal terraced house, albeit in a very poor area. I was far more concerned about the kids putting burning newspapers through my letterbox* than something that happened months ago and had nothing to do with me.

*Happened to my next-door-but-one neighbour

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FrogFeathers
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I believe in the paranormal. I wouldn't have a problem with a murder house unless it was a notorious case that attracted the looky-loos and such. But, I'm not scared of ghosts or alleged ghosts. I'd be more afraid of the living.

Like 4K said, the clean up on a house like that is horrible. There are places (mostly in major cities) that have whole businesses based in that area- they clean up crime scenes and they get paid well for it. I can't imagine making that my life's work, but someone has to do it.

Frog-I ain't afraid of no ghost!-Feathers

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ThistleSoftware
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I'm agnostic as far as the paranormal. For me it would depend on the details of the situation. Would there be any reminders of what had happened? Would it be difficult to resell the house? Is it a house I otherwise adore?

However, if I were buying a house with my boyfriend it would almost certainly be a no-go because he has had paranormal experiences and prefers to avoid circumstances in which he might have more.

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frogpond
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Count me in as one that it wouldn't bother unless it was attractive to sightseers. The living tend to be much more of a nuisance than the dead!

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
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I wouldn't go there at all. I have a really overactive imagination, and the slightest creak or wind or movement in the corner of my eye would freak me out.

I'm trying to remember- is the Amityville Horror the one with all the sequels, where in one of them, the brother seduces the sister?

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Victoria J
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Personally I wouldn't mind at all, unless it was such a famous crime that you would get sight seers.

I don't believe in ghosts - at least as being the souls of the dead, unexplained strange phenomena I'm more open about. I am absolutely convinced that the dead can't hurt us.

I might mind a bit if it was so grisly that you would feel like the house could never be clean. People having died there wouldn't be a problem, but thinking that there was blood in your floorboards would be a bit off-putting.

I was working at an advice agency in Camden when the council put the local serial killers flat back into circulation. There seemed to be some suprise that people were willing to live there, but a council flat on the ground floor is like gold dust. If you are disabled and your only chance of having a home without stairs is a murder house I guess you don't complain.

One of our clients had actually gone out with the man ! And I later met someone (with pre-exisiting mental health problems) who still had nightmares because they had been living just across the road from his house at the time of the murders because they felt it could/should have been them who was murdered. I had never really thought about the huge effect a crime can have on the community before.

I have a question - are those of us from Europe (or anywhere that old houses prevail) less likely to object ? I might never have lived in a murder house, but I grew up somewhere old enough that I always assumed someone had died there...

Victoria J

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Brad from Georgia
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I wouldn't mind it, if it was a nice house. I wouldn't want to live in the house where Jesse James was shot, though. No indoor plumbing.

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Richard W
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quote:
Originally posted by Victoriaarrggh J:
I have a question - are those of us from Europe (or anywhere that old houses prevail) less likely to object ?

I'm not sure about that - it seems to be standard practice these days to demolish notorious murder houses if possible. What happens to the houses of horror?
Ian Huntey's house and the West's house were certainly demolished. (According to that article, somebody in Gloucester may now own a barbecue made out of slabs from Fred West's patio, and not know it...)

I just mentioned a double shotgun murder in a pub near my parents in another thread. It wasn't national news but it was a pretty big deal locally. The pub in question was closed for ages, then re-opened with a new name, but it never recovered its business. Now the building has been demolished and a block of flats built there instead.

In theory, it wouldn't bother me, but in practice it might - all the reasons would be irrational so I can't really say why. I think it's partly just that the phrase "murder house" conjures up a stereotypical nasty, dark, creaky "haunted house" of the sort I wouldn't want to live in anyway. If it was actually a nice house and somebody had cleaned up the bloodstains and redecorated then I probably wouldn't care - it's hard to say.

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LittleDuck
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Like others have said, it's not so much the ghosties I would worry about but the "fleshies" who would come to gawk. I do believe in ghosts but I do not believe they are out to do us all harm and go all "Poltergeist" on our faces.

I would, however, not want to live where someone committed suicide. I can't explain the difference in my head because I am not sure I even understand it.

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vfwchick
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Mickey, I think you might be thinking of the "Flowers in the Attic" books by V. C. Andrews. Then again, I could be wrong...

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put it in writing
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Aside from sight seers, it wouldn't bother me a bit. My mom lives in a 150 year old farmhouse that was used as a temporary Civil War hospital and as a whorehouse in the 20s and 30s. I'm pretty willing to bet the house's seen its share of nasty doings and (at least the aftermath of) violent death. It's still remarkably beautiful and has a very restful feel.

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by vfwchick's scared:
Mickey, I think you might be thinking of the "Flowers in the Attic" books by V. C. Andrews. Then again, I could be wrong...

Nope. I looked it up. I was thinking of Amityville 2: The Possession.

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BeachLife
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I've lived in a house where someone committed suicide. It was haunted no doubt in my mind, and I labeled it as haunted long before I knew the story that went behind it.

I have learned two things from that expereince and others since then. Saying that it wouldn't bother you is all well and good until you actually have an experience. I never felt comfortable in that house, and would not live in it again if given the choice.

The other thing I learned is that some people are more sensitive than others. I've lived in my house for almost twenty years. My kids have grown up there. None of us have ever felt uneasy in that house. The house was built in 1919 which gives it a pretty long history.

'Sensitives' that I know tell me there is an 'active' spot in the house. That same spot, and the room the contains it has been pinpointed by four different people completely independantly. Two of these people have refused to sleep in that room. I slept in that room during the entire 'gecko' renovation of my bedroom without issue. I'm either not sensitve enough or the active cell views me and my family as 'friendly'.

Beach...that all said, I would not willingly move into a murder house...Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

Posts: 12094 | From: Michigan | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
franjava
Deck the Malls


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I WANT the Ammityville house! Those pie-shaped windows in the attic have been removed by the current owner. I'd put'em back. [Big Grin] Think about the Halloween possibilities! WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Seriously, I don't believe in ghosts (which is funny 'cause I'm afraid of the dark!) I, like most, would have a problem with gawkers. If you seriously think about all the people who've died in their homes... Yikes! Unless you build your own house, there's no way of truly avoiding a "previous owner death" situation.

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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Building off of what Victoria said about the degree of grisliness being an issue:

How much of a difference would knowing the details make? Say you were given the Alfred-Hitchcock-trailer-of-Psycho tour of the place? "This is the very shower stall where she was stabbed fourteen times!" or "On this staircase she beat his head in with a baseball bat!" or "Here is the small room in the basement where he imprisoned the girl for six months, slowly starving her to death! You could store your winter linens in it!"

I have to admit that I'm a little surprised at the number of people who say they wouldn't think twice about it unless there were tourists camping out on the lawn. My expectation was that a sense of "taintedness" would linger for most people, even if it didn't have paranormal connotations. That, in a way, you would be regularly haunted by your own imagined memory of what happened here "in this very room!" if not by actual ghosts.

But I can certainly see how if you only knew that someone had been killed but didn't know the specfics, then you might be able to make the idea of the murder abstract for yourself and put it out of your mind. But if it's a story that you know and your rooms are setting, well...

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

Posts: 1025 | From: Memphis, TN & Columbia, MO | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
I've lived in a house where someone committed suicide. It was haunted no doubt in my mind, and I labeled it as haunted long before I knew the story that went behind it.

I wonder if cause and effect are the other way around here? Rather than the "haunting" being a consequence of the suicide, perhaps the person who committed suicide was also sensitive to the things that made you believe the house was haunted, and this made them more depressed and contributed to their suicide. It's a possibility...

quote:
The house was built in 1919 which gives it a pretty long history.
[lol]

(ahem) Sorry. I should know better by now than to laugh at Americans' idea of a "long history".

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard Wilkins III:
quote:
Originally posted by Victoriaarrggh J:
I have a question - are those of us from Europe (or anywhere that old houses prevail) less likely to object ?

I'm not sure about that - it seems to be standard practice these days to demolish notorious murder houses if possible. What happens to the houses of horror?
Ian Huntey's house and the West's house were certainly demolished. (According to that article, somebody in Gloucester may now own a barbecue made out of slabs from Fred West's patio, and not know it...)

If you're interested in that sort of thing, Dr. Kenneth Foote wrote a book called "Shadowed Ground " which examines what becomes of notorious sites. Whether they're demolished, re-used, or shrined.
It's been updated to include Columbine and 9-11.

Posts: 4811 | From: Austin, TX | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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