life, thoughts, writing

The Mystery House

Every neighborhood has one of them. Okay, maybe not every neighborhood, but every neighborhood I’ve lived in.

I wrote about the mystery creep house where I grew up in my short story Home Avenue in the book anthology Home Avenue. Some kids called it the monsters house, or the haunted house, or the spooky house. Nonetheless, the dwelling was only two doors down from where I lived.

As an adult, I moved 1,200 miles away from that mysterious, dark home, and now there is another one two doors down from my house.

I don’t have a photo of the one where I grew up, but I describe it to the picture in my anthology. The one in my present neighborhood looks like this. (click photos for closer yucky view)

Yes, somebody lives there. It’s a corner house, and this is just the front. Check out the side wall and then the pool where the fence fell down.

The water in the pool is mold-green.

Do you ever wonder what stories these homes might tell? I shared what I knew about the house from my childhood in the anthology. I’ll share on my blog what I know about this present house.

A large woman lives there all alone. When I say large, I mean the kind that might need to be removed through that side wide window someday. I’m not trying to be sarcastic or mean about it, just painting a picture of her size. She is a hermit who doesn’t answer the door for anyone. Sometimes she’ll speak through a window, like on the occasions when the police have checked on her. The PT Cruiser in the driveway has a two-year expired tag. Cobwebs smothered in leaves and dead bugs grow around the wheels. We haven’t seen trash put out at the curb for the sanitation collectors. I don’t dare imagine what’s growing inside there.

She used to live with an elderly man who we think was her dad, but we’re not sure. Could it have been her husband? We don’t know. When he lived there she used to emerge a half dozen times a year, but since he passed away a few years ago, I’ve seen her twice. We wonder how and when she gets her food, since she is obviously eating well. Once, someone spotted a cab in front of her house in the middle of the night.

We have a Home Owners Association in this little corner subdivision of the world. There is a lien on the creep house. I wonder what will happen to her. She’s been offered help many times but she politely refuses. Can someone be forced to get help?

What stories could her walls tell, and how badly might they want to get away from the smell?

It’s sad, really. My story about the house on Home Avenue had a better ending than this one, at least so far. I hope one day that this woman can find her happy ending.

You can read an update on what happened with this house here.

(For use of photo, please attribute to Lori and this blog.)


9 thoughts on “The Mystery House”

  1. I think it is irresponsible for you to show pictures of someone’s house like that. What gives you the right? The story is fine, but including photos is invading her privacy. How you would feel if you saw your house on the Internet or your Mom’s house? I think it is very rude.


    1. Hi Dan, I’m sorry you feel that way about the Mystery House blog. The house’s disarray is not a secret. It’s been on the local news here, and I’ve done a much more careful job of sharing the news about it than the media. All you have to do is go to google maps and click on street view to see the same house, or my house, or even my mom’s house. The difference is, google gives you directions directly to any house. I kept the address and occupant anonymous. We had a home like this where I grew up too. The point of this blog is how history seems to repeat itself.


  2. I’m sure she needs help but is probably to the point where it’s beyond embarrassing to accept it. There was a man who lived in our neighborhood for about 20 years. He didn’t do much with his yard, but he did keep it mowed. No one thought anything odd about him until he died suddenly and it turned out the inside of his house was a disaster, just full of trash! I guess someone gets into a situation like this and suddenly it seems too overwhelming to try to fix the problem.


    1. Neighbors have worried that she died in there and have called the police a few times. I don’t know if she’s embarrassed about getting help, but you could be right. I think it’s odd how history repeated itself with the same type of house, the same distance from me when I was growing up. Thanks for reading, Terri.


  3. there’s nothing wrong with the house actually. (instead of needs in renovation…) well for me base on what you said she politely refuse the help of others. maybe she’s happy being alone. 🙂 just a thought.


    1. Perhaps she is happy being alone. However, if she isn’t getting rid of trash, she could have a health hazard in her home. Also, she doesn’t take care of the yard and her grass grows ten feet and higher. Her weeds spread into other yards. Our homeowners assoc cuts it sometimes. The house is no longer hers anyway, but no one has forced her out. That’s what sad. Who knows where she’ll go if they do, because it’s possible she has a mental disorder.


  4. Wordsfromannelisaid: I couldn’t find the place to comment when I opened the blog up completely.
    Anyway, I wanted to say how sad it must be for the woman who lives in that


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