Daily Archives: October 9, 2008

Skeletons in the Closet


The house at 104 The Mount, York in England is proving difficult to sell. I have been keeping an eye on this property since I read about it back in May earlier this year. I even sent off for the property details. Anyway I just got off the phone with Savills, the estate agents to see if there had been any progress in its sale. Not surprisingly, it is still on the market.

It may be the credit crunch but I think it could also be the presence of a Roman burial chamber adjoining the cellar in the basement complete with its own skeleton. Tanya, the estate agent tells me that the skeleton is visible by torchlight!

This building is Grade II listed by English Heritage, which means that any prospective owner has to put up with the presence of the burial chamber. It is unlikely that they will be granted permission to remove the remains but it would be perfectly acceptable to seal off the view into the burial chamber. Still knowing the skeleton was sealed up in your cellar would be too chilling for most.

Stigmatized houses are properties that are difficult to sell because of some tragedy such as a murder or a suicide. In the worst cases, properties are demolished such as happened with Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment in Milwaukee or the house where the two little girls were murdered in Soham, England. This is an interesting issue that I discuss at length in “SuperSense” as I think that the history of a house is a very powerful trigger for supernatural beliefs.

But how far back in the history of a home do you have to go before it is ok to bury the past? Most old houses will have probably had a death occur within. However, few still have the bodies buried inside.

Could you live in such a house knowing that there was a skeleton in the basement? It reminds me all too much of “The Evil Dead,” and if you have seen Sam Raimi’s debut horror masterpiece or any of the sequels, then you’ll understand why anyone would have reservations.

So tell me SuperSensers. Do you think you could make a cozy home sharing with the mortal remains of another down in the basement? And if not, why?

I would like to know a) your initial reaction and b) your carefully reasoned responses after a moment’s reflection.  

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