There are “haunted houses” – you know, the ones that pop up this time of year where you pay to have the bejesus frightened out of you. And then there are “real” haunted houses – the ones where ghastly spooks supposedly live on, long after they should have transferred into the afterlife.
If you enjoy the former, then you might have a hankering to live in the latter. According to the latest spirited survey from Clever Real Estate, a service that matches consumers with realty agents, most people don’t set out to buy a haunted house – but they also don’t give a twitch if they happen to buy one.
Indeed, Clever’s annual Halloween poll found that in the current seller’s market – where some houses are snapped up in a matter of hours or days, for far more than the asking price – almost 75 percent said they’d be open to buying a place they’d have to share with ghosts, goblins and what-have-you. Somewhat more frightening, 13 percent of the 1,000 respondents would prefer to live in a haunted house, and 27 percent of those brave hearts would pay above market value to do so.
Inspiration for ‘The Conjuring’
If that’s you, consider the house in Burrillville, Rhode Island, that inspired the 2013 horror film “The Conjuring.” The three-bedroom farmhouse on 8 acres, which hit the market last month for $1.2 million, is one of the most famous haunted homes in the country.
The current owners, Jennifer and Cory Heinzen, who snapped up the home a couple of years ago for a mere $439,000, are said to have encountered numerous spirits while living there. After moving in, the self-described paranormal investigators spent their first four months in a single downstairs room so the spirits could get used to their presence. However, they said they still received a ghostly welcome from a dark figure that peeked at them from the room’s doorway.
Purported to be haunted by the presence of Bathsheba Sherman, who resided there in the 1800s, the place is the subject of numerous books, movies and stories. But none is more chilling than that of the Perron family, who lived in the farmhouse in the 1970s. The family of seven noticed ghostly goings-on such as beds shaking and a broom moving by itself. The family brought in paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in 1973, who reportedly witnessed the terrifying events that inspired the film.
Although “The Conjuring” was not actually filmed at the house, living there could be a great conversation starter. Ghosts or not, beware of real-life visitors: The previous owners reportedly complained that fans of the movie would show up at all hours.
But that’s not the only paranormal property on the market. London-based company lovePROPERTY lists several, including Earlshall Castle in Scotland.
Sir William Bruce, a descendant of 14th-century Scottish king Robert the Bruce, began to build Earlshall in 1546. Set on 34 acres, the castle is reportedly haunted by Sir Andrew, a brutal soldier nicknamed “the Bloody Bruce.” A phantom figure is frequently seen in the bedroom that Andrew used, and heavy footsteps are heard on the staircase.
The asking price is not widely available, but the place last sold in 2016 for $6.7 million.
Closer to home – and, at $899,000, not nearly as expensive – the Priestley House in Canton, Mississippi, also has a spooky past. The four-bedroom manse was built by Dr. James Priestley in 1852. But the doctor and his wife, Susan, both died in the house in the early 1900s, and ever since, it’s been allegedly been haunted.
The most recent owners insist they saw the ghost of Susan in the bedroom where she died, and neighbors are said to have seen her figure standing at the window. A piano has been heard playing on its own, too.
Who Cares? Who Doesn’t?
According to the study by Clever, most people aren’t turned off by places like these – and there seems to be no shortage of them. Nearly half of respondents said they’d already lived in a haunted house, and a large majority of those said they were aware of the otherworldly occupants prior to moving in. What made them believe their houses were haunted? Most heard strange noises, felt they were being touched or sensed they were being watched. Others saw strange shadows, objects that levitated or moved on their own or other aberrations.
Here’s the big question, though: Did these houses’ sellers disclose the presence of wraiths? Only about half said “yes,” even though the law in many locales requires sellers and their agents to do so.
If the respondents were the ones selling, on the other hand, nearly two-thirds said they would avoid disclosing a haunting – including 10 percent who wouldn’t do so even if required by law.
Thankfully, a third would warn would-be buyers, regardless of what the law demands.
Lew Sichelman has been covering real estate for more than 50 years. He is a regular contributor to numerous shelter magazines and housing and housing-finance industry publications. Readers can contact him at email@example.com.