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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Key West Real Estate Horror Story No.2

I rarely watch any of the new horror genre TV shows because I just don't like to get scarred. I loved them when I was younger because I knew the stories and all the gore was fake.  Back in the 1950s when I was growing up we did not have mass shootings, terrorists, and madmen running amok. As I have grown older I realized that the things that really scare me the most are the things that area real, not things that are imagined. Back in the 1950s people with mental problems were often confined to state run institutions. The courts later decided that institutionalizing people was not right and set those people free. Not all people that are homeless that walk the streets are mad, nor are all the people who own homes sane. Maybe losing one's home can make a person a bit crazy, or maybe some people stress out too much in life and end up losing their homes. Today's blog is about a real life house of horror in Key West which became a bank owned property.

A few years ago an agent put up a "For Sale" sign in front of a rather attractive house in Old Town Key West. I drove past the sign for several days and kept waiting for the property to get entered into the Key West mls. I was sure I might have an interested buyer because of the style and what I perceived to be condition of the house. The house was located on one of the better blocks in Old Town. The house next door had sold for over two million dollars a couple of years before. The house across the street likewise sold in excess of two million dollars. I knew this particular house had been foreclosed. I was eager to find a buyer for this place before it hit the market.

I called the listing agent who told me the bank owner was not ready to list the property yet. She offered to let me go inside to take photos for my buyer. She told me a history of the property and warned me to be careful as the house had all kings of things I could fall over. I accepted the offer and went over and photographed the house.
The property was a two story revival style house with a lot of gingerbread on the outside.  For some reason the gingerbread was not used as architectural trim in Key West like it was in other parts of the United States.  There are instances of it to be sure. But most of our period architecture was linear clean lines whether the house was a cottage or a Grand Conch House.  So this particular house stood out a bit. When I opened the front door I saw a staircase on the right wall that lead to an exposed second floor landing that wrapped that space. The stairway was cluttered with junk and cobwebs draped downward from the ceiling.
The doorway from the main entry into the original parlor or front room was blocked off. I made my way towards the rear and came back through a maze of boxes and piles of "stuff". The downstairs area had been gutted as if it were in the process of being rebuilt. But it appeared as though no real construction had been done inside this house for years. I moved to the front of the house. That's when I saw the cages. Cages on the floor and cages lining the walls. Cages where rabbits were housed. There were no living animals in any of the cages when I entered the property.

 I decided to see what was on the second floor. Something happened as I walked up the stairs - something almost surreal. You can see it in the way the photographs changed. I did nothing to the camera. I did not notice anything until I returned to me computer to upload the photos. The photos from the stairway up and around the second floor seem to be possessed in some way. I'm not a believer in ghosts, but something evil happened here.
I have been inside a lot of bank owned properties over the years. I used to manage commercial workouts for a national bank in Denver. I have seen many places where people lived worse than animals. This place topped them all. The master bedroom with en-suite bath was located at the rear of the second floor. The bed was soiled from ages of someone having slept in the same confined spot without washing the sheets: there was no way to put new sheets on without cleaning up the room. Heaven forbid cleaning up the room. 
I made my way back to the hallway and moved to the front bedroom. After I saw the master bedroom I knew nothing could be worse. I was wrong.
I saw the first cage just off the hallway as it expanded to the right. The cage was located just in front of the laundry. The cobwebs are real as is the dried animal waste on the floors. The floors were littered with so much waste that I had to breath through my mouth. I had to take photos to document this place. I could not leave before I took enough photos.

The little fury things on the photo two above are dead rabbits. The little black things are rabbit waste. The cages are where the rabbits lived before they died in this house of horrors.

The property was sold to a party who gutted the entire house and drove out all the bad spirits. The place was beautifully renovated.  A fellow agent sold it  a couple of years ago for in excess of $1.6 million. 

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.