I told the story of the “Haunted Money Pit here” and now I’m going to tell you how I came to own the HMP.
It was years ago and I was merging several households together. I had 4 houses full of furniture and neither I nor the man in my life at the time were willing to give up any of our belongings. Isn’t it awful how we hold on to things? Any way I looked and looked and looked for something that would accommodate all our needs. I went through every real estate book, newspaper and friends to try and find a house that was in my price range and suitable to the man I thought was “Mr. Wonderful” at the time.
My real estate agent called me one cold February day and said that he had found a house that he thought would fit the bill. He gave me the address and told me to take a drive by it and see. I drove to the historical section of town. There along the drive stood stately old mansion houses and quaint 1920’s cottages. I turned down the boulevard and there on the corner stood a big neoclassical brick home. It had giant azalea bushes on either side as well as big Camilla bushes. It looked a little worse for wear but hey it fit my budget. I arranged to see the inside of the house and started planning what to plant in the large concrete planters on the steps.
The day we did the walk through I was suitably impressed by several things. One of which was the size of the rooms. They were plenty big for the oversized furniture that I would be combining into these rooms. I was very unimpressed by the owner’s decorating taste. She had flat black walls everywhere as well as murals painted in various rooms that well were to be honest a bit on the disturbing side. I took all of this in and made an offer. I low balled the offer because honestly I knew it was going to be a lot of work. My agent submitted the offer and sure enough within several hours the owners came back with an approval. This should have been my first sign that there was something not quite right about this house.
I had a complete inspection preformed and it checked out sound, the plumbing and electrical in code and the foundation in good shape. Only the house leaned a little. I had an engineer come out and make sure it was truly sound. He told me that he thought the house had in fact done most of it’s settling sometime in the 1930’s when there had been a terrible drought in the area. He said that everything was stable and the foundation was thick and in better shape than most new houses built in the area. So the deal proceeded.
The day of the closing finally came and I went to the attorney’s office to meet for the first time the “sellers”. I walked into the conference room and there sat a man, a woman and another older woman. The tension was so thick I needed a machete. I sat down at the conference table and the older woman gave me a piercing stare and said “Are you sure you wish to buy this house?” I looked at the strange woman and thought did the sellers bring their own voodoo woman? I smiled at her and said “That’s why I’m here.” She pierced me with her unnaturally blue eyes and said “Well, then it’s on you now” then she snorted and sort of spit and continued to stare a hole right through me. Farther down the table sat a man in his early 50’s with a fixed gaze much like a zombie. He never looked directly at me nor did he seem to be looking at anything in particular. I thought that maybe he had gone a little heavy on his Xanax. On the other side of the table sat a woman who was in her late 40’s or early 50’s. She had dark circles under her eyes and just sat and looked at her hands in front of her on the table. There was no return greeting when I said hello, there was no acknowledgement there was only the freaky voodoo like lady who would not stop staring at me.
My agent and the attorney appeared at the door and rescued me from the burning gaze of the voodoo woman and actually inspired a response from both the other sellers. We began the closing proceedings. I had visited the house the day before the closing in order to get some measurements and have some contractors give me estimates on paint and repairs. I had noticed upon my visit that every single light fixture had been removed from the house as well as the upstairs shower floor tile had been torn out. I thought this was odd and needed to be addressed in the closing.
When the attorney asked if there were any amendments or additions to the contract I spoke up. “I have an issue with the fact the house is now missing all of the light fixtures as well as it seems the upstairs shower stall has been vandalized. I think the fixtures should be returned and there should be an allowance for the shower.” Surprised both the agent and the attorney looked at me and then at Mr. Zombie and Ms. Hand. I heard a hiss and knew without looking it had come from the voodoo woman. I stumbled on “there is also the issue of the garage apartment. It seems the tenant was to vacate and it appears he has not.” I heard another hiss and then a growl. I looked at Mr. Zombie and he had not changed his expression. I turned to look at Ms. Hands and she sucked in a long ragged breath and continued to stare at her hands. I wondered what the heck was going on here. Then I gathered my courage and said “I am going to have to demand that the items be made right or the deal is dead.” I had no idea if I had the right to do this but hey it was worth a try. There must have been 40 light fixtures and who the heck knew what the deal was with the shower. The garage apartment wasn’t that big a deal but I thought I would throw it in for good measure.
That’s when I heard what sounded like a screeching howl from the voodoo woman. She stood up and pointed a craggy finger at Ms. Hand. She screamed “you bitch. You have ruined everything in my son’s life. You have left him a broken and empty shell of a man. You are the devil and you will burn in hell.” This actually woke Mr. Zombie up who grabbed the voodoo woman’s hand and barked “Mother! SIT DOWN!” He all but forced the voodoo woman into her seat. Ms. Hand sat still looking at her hands and sucking in air like a fish out of water. The attorney looked at the agent then at me and said “Alrighty then let’s see if we can get a resolution on this and get this deal wrapped up.” He addressed Mr. Zombie and said “Do you have any objection to returning the light fixtures?” Mr. Zombie opened his mouth to answer when the voodoo woman again stood up and screeched “She took them! That bitch took them. Get them out of her.” Ms. Hand looked up at the voodoo woman and spit out “you crazy old woman! I bought and paid for every one of those fixtures. They are mine. You pay for them and I’ll return them.” With this the voodoo woman jumped across the table ready to snatch any part of Ms. Hand and tear her to shreds.
I sat and watched in totally amazement. It was as if I were in an episode of Jerry Springer or Maury. Mr. Zombie wrestled his mother back into her chair once again and said to the attorney. “No I have no objection. Give her whatever. Let’s just get this over with.” The voodoo woman then turned on her son and screamed. “This is MY money. I bought this house for YOU and now she is just giving it all away. She ruined our lives and now you are letting her take all MY money.” This continued through the rest of the signing until checks were exchanged and papers were signed.
Mr. Zombie herded the voodoo woman out the door to be followed by Ms. Hand who still had not acknowledged mine or anyone else presence. The room grew silent and I sat finishing going through the final buyer’s paperwork. The attorney looked at me and then at the agent and said “It’s a shame really.” I looked up at the attorney hesitantly wondering if he meant me buying this house and said “What is a shame?” He drew a long breath and said “That whole situation. You see Mr. Zombie’s mother bought them that house four years ago when they got married. She gave it to them as a wedding present. Then about six months ago she stopped by for a visit and caught her daughter-in-law in a very compromising situation with the young man who was the tenant in the garage apartment. It was all down hill from there.” I thought her actions were a bit extravagant for the situation but said “oh, well, that must have been why she had such strong feelings about this.” The attorney smiled a knowing smile and said “Do you know who she is?” I sat for a moment racking my brain for some recognition of who she might be and came up with nothing. The attorney knowing I was lost said “That’s Mrs. Betterthanyou. You have probably seen her in all the social pages. She is very prominent here in town. This whole situation has really been an embarrassment for her.” I could have cared less who she was or what she had or hadn’t been through I just wanted to close on my house and get on with my move.
I walked out of the meeting much deeper in debt and a little overwhelmed by the whole ordeal when I heard someone call my name. “Ms. McGillicutty, over here” came the call. I looked up to see the voodoo woman standing by a planter smoking a cigarette. I smiled in polite acknowledgement and she motioned me over. I hesitantly approached. The voodoo woman grabbed my arm and in a conspiratorial tone said “the house you just bought is cursed. Your tenure there will end badly. It has been cursed since the day it was built.” I smiled that patronizing smile you give people when you know they are crazy and I patted her arm and said “thank you so much for the information. I will take that under advisement.” She looked directly in my eyes and said “you don’t understand. I was like you and thought this curse stuff was all a bunch of horse hockey. Then I saw the horrors that came from that house I am telling you get out of that house as fast as you can.”
I have to tell you I didn’t heed her warning. I didn’t even believe a house could be cursed or have negative energy. I should have listened. I should have heeded her warning and had the house exorcised or yoga-ed or saged or whatever you do to get rid of a curse. She was right the house was cursed. Every family who lived in that house came to an unkind unhappy end, even mine.