Anna Abner

Fully Renovated–and Possibly Haunted–Hollywood Hills Home Asks $2.1 Million

Written by Elijah Chiland

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When last we saw this 1925 Spanish-style residence in the Hollywood Hills, it was being sold in a state of significant disrepair—so much so that we wondered at the time if it could find a new owner willing to commit the time and expense necessary to restore it to its former glory.

Well, we’re pleased to say that four years later, the house is still standing—though the interior is barely recognizable. The current owner has thoroughly remodeled the place, leaving a few vintage windows and a handsome beamed ceiling in the living room as reminders of what once was.

Speaking of what once was, we should mention the house may be haunted.

Various reports of ghostly apparitions spotted at the residence throughout the years can be found in a few dark corners of the internet, and parapsychologist Barry Taff tells a documentary crew that he was once pelted with pennies that mysteriously fell from the ceiling when he visited the house in the 1970s.

 Outfitted with plenty of wide windows that give the place a light and airy feel, it doesn’t look very haunted in listing photos, but one never can tell.

The house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Features include a fully renovated kitchen, fireplaces in the living room and office, three separate bedroom suites, and a tall entryway with an elegant, winding master stairwell.

The home sits on a 5,970-square-foot lot and includes numerous patios and decks that provide excellent views around the surrounding hills. It last sold in 2013 for just $700,000. Now, it’s listed for $2.095 million.

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Crumbling, Iconic, Haunted? Future Uncertain for Casa Grande Domes

Written by Mariana Dale in June 2017

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About seven miles south of Casa Grande hulking mustard-colored domes rise up from the desert landscape like a scene from Star Wars’ Tatooine.

Built in 1982, they were meant to be the headquarters for an electronics manufacturer, but have since become a magnet for photographers, artists and hooligans.

“Virtually anyone who was raised in Casa Grande and went to high school or college here has partied out here,” said Dan Peer, the property’s owner.

The domes might not be an icon much longer.

Half of the largest dome collapsed last year. Pinal County asked the owner to have an engineer assess the domes’ safety or block them from public access. When he did not, the domes were condemned as unsafe, said spokesman Joe Pyritz in an email.

The owner is appealing the county’s decision and will have a hearing with the Board of Supervisors at a future date.

Abandoned, Broken, Haunted?

Peer starts a tour of the domes with a disclaimer.

“First comment is, you enter the grounds at your own risk.”

There’s a no trespassing sign, but the barbed wire fence has been trampled down.

“There are holes. There are unfinished foundations. There is rebar sticking up. There’s rocks, glass — you name it,” Peer said. “Don’t trip. Don’t get hurt. ”

The first dome was the closest to ever being finished. You can see the tiles where the bathroom would have been inside. Unlike the other structures, made of connected orb shapes, it’s shaped more like a flying saucer.

Graffiti ranging from clumsy tags to elaborate images of faces and animals cover the walls.

“We have some good artists in the area, no doubt about that,” Peer said as he gazed up at the walls.

A group of pigeons fly out of the domes as the tour continues.

The Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures” featured the domes in an episode last March.

“This may be one of the most unusual, yet sinister places we’ve ever investigated in America,” the host claimed.

There were rumors of satanic rituals practiced beneath the arching concrete ceilings.

“There were satanic signs they tell me, but I wouldn’t even recognize them,” Peer, who appeared in the show, said.

A man of God, Peer said when he purchased the property, they exorcised any otherworldly presence.

“It is not haunted and Satan is not welcome here anymore,” Peer said.

‘A Unique Type Of Construction’

The domes were built in the 1980s as the headquarters for electronics manufacturer InterConn Technology.

Lonnie Mikkelsen was part of the construction crew and still lives in Casa Grande.

“I didn’t have a clue what they were doing,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, sign me on.’”

Maybe you’ve made a globe or piñata out of a balloon and papier-mâché. The process to build the domes was like that, but in reverse.

First a giant balloon-like tarp was attached at the foundation. Fans inflated the balloon and workers built the dome from the inside, first spraying the sides with polyurethane foam, then concrete reinforced with metal fibers and added rebar.

Interconn went under before the domes were completed and the property has sat vacant for years.

A protective white layer covering the foam has peeled away and the foam turns mustard yellow in the sun. The domes’ surface are pockmarked with handholds people use to climb to the top.

“I would have liked to see them make it just because it was a unique type of construction,” Mikkelsen said.

The company that built the domes on the other hand, still exists.

“So far we have constructed domes in every state in the union except one and in 52 foreign countries,” said Gary Clark, sales vice president at the Monolithic Dome Institute.

The tarp used to build the largest Casa Grande dome structure was re-configured and formed to shape for Monolithic’s manufacturing facility in Italy, Texas.

It’s called brucco, the Italian word for caterpillar.

Clark said before the recession in 2008, the company was creating more than 100 new domes a year for everything from schools, private residences and churches.

Monolithic touts the domes’ weather resistance, insulation and ergonomics.

“It’s very simple to say they are iconic,” Clark said.

Decrepit And Real, ‘It’s Honest’

The Casa Grande domes may not be an icon for much longer. Peer pointed out cracks and holes in the domes as we walk through the cavernous space. Some are no wider than a hand, others you can walk through.

“Concrete does have a tendency to crack anyhow, but none of these cracks are really structural,” Peer said.

He believes vandals caused the destruction, including the collapse of the largest dome. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office reported there have been about 26 calls about the property since 2012 — 76 percent for trespassing.

“Is it really worth the trouble?”

Peer said sometimes he wonders. The property is for sale and has been for years.

“It’s a million-dollar property in little better shape than it is now,” Peer said. “Maybe in quite a bit better shape than it is now.”

For now, Peer occasionally rents the property to filmmakers and photographers, but many people still visit the domes without permission.

On the day of the tour with Peer, Patrick McPherson and his buddy from Phoenix are also exploring the domes.

He’s from South Carolina and read about the site online before visiting.

“There’s just something nice about, I don’t know, how decrepit and real it is. It’s honest.” McPherson said. “It would be a shame to lose this, I think.”

An LA-based artist that goes by Boots stenciled her poetry on the domes walls. Boots became enamored with abandoned places after a break-up from an  eight-year relationship.

“The domes, like other places I’ve explored, have their bad and good graffiti,” Boots said. “There’s artists you recognize and then kids tagging how much they hate their parents.”

Since she visited, several of her poems have been covered by spray paint.

“The domes are dreary, but have a sense of hope,” Boots said. “Their oddness alone is appealing: random domes in the middle of the desert that have become a tourist attraction.”

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Or, Peek Into Baltimore’s Historic Haunted Saloon

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Exploring Baltimore’s Historic Haunted Dive — The Horse You Came In On

Written by Clint Lanier and Derek Hembree in 2017

There’s no controversy about which bar in Baltimore, Maryland is the oldest – the honor belongs to The Horse You Came In On.

Founded as a saloon (under a different name) in 1795, this bar has been quenching the thirst of sailors, shipbuilders, and all other kinds of miscreants since its opening. When it was founded at what is now called Fells Point, the port of Baltimore was an important shipping center for the young United States. Cargo from throughout the world arrived and offloaded here, including African slaves during the height of the American slave trade.

Originally, the bar was quite small with stables in the rear to keep horses while customers imbibed. Its legacy, then, is as a saloon rather than a respectable tavern of the day (like Gadsby’s Tavern down in Alexandria, Virginia). This is fitting considering its proximity to the dock and the type of clientele it saw.

The current name of the joint draws from this legacy. Howard Gerber bought the place in 1972 and changed the name from Al and Ann’s to The Horse You Came In On. He then got a friend to dress up like a cowboy and ride a horse into the bar on opening day. That pretty much sums up what this place is like – funny and fun with an odd sense of humor, but always keeping an eye to the past.

When you walk inside, the first thing you notice is just how damned big the place is. Years ago the owners expanded the bar by replacing the area in the back that housed the stables with three brand new bars, including a tequila bar and a bar with more of a Tex-Mex sort of feel.

The small bar at the front entrance is the authentic 18th century saloon. The furniture and décor are new, but as Rob Napier, the long-serving manager and bartender told us, after 200 years of service things will get updated. He pointed out the tin ceiling, which was probably added in the 1800s, and the electric lines added in the 1900s. Things change.

But not necessarily everything. We think the atmosphere is probably about like it was back when it was founded. It’s energetic but comfortable, bawdy but thoroughly enjoyable. The live music, played 7 days a week, can get a bit loud, but not so much that you can’t have a conversation across the table. It’s easy to see yourself here back in 1849, having a drink at the bar with your friends. And if you had been there then you might have noticed a local, down and out writer having a drink before walking out into the night.

That writer would have been none other than Edgar Allen Poe. You see, this bar was the last bar he would have passed on the way to his house, and so he was known to frequent the place. It’s thought, in fact, that this was the last place he drank before being found on the night of October 3, 1849, deliriously wandering the streets of Baltimore. He died four days later.

It’s Poe, in fact, that Rob tells us is the ghost that causes so much havoc at The Horse. They typically refer to him as “Edgar,” and even Rob, who says he was never really a believer in the supernatural, has had his run in with the spirit. He told us that late one night, as he was closing up with another bartender, they went to lock the front door when suddenly, a beer mug sitting on top of the bar shattered into a pile of broken glass for no reason at all. Rob turned to see a look of terror on his bartender’s face and so asked him what was wrong. The bartender took out his phone and showed Rob a picture he took the night before. It was of a shattered beer mug that exploded in the exact same place on the bar just as he was closing up. Needless to say, Rob is now a believer.

The Horse has a full bar and can whip up just about anything you can order, but they are known for their Jack Daniels and tequila programs. They infuse their own cinnamon, honey and green apple Jack Daniels. They also have a Jack Daniels bottle program where you can buy a whole bottle, leave it there, and then drink off it until empty. They also infuse tequilas and have a huge selection of the smoky, agave-based spirit at their tequila bar.

Lastly, they do have a full kitchen and a great selection of pub grub. We tried the crab and cheese soft pretzel and the street tacos, and we’d definitely recommend either one.

If you visit Baltimore, don’t miss the historic Fells Point, with its 19th century cobblestone streets and historic buildings. And, of all the places to visit, make it a point to have a drink at The Horse You Came In On. Order an Old Fashioned or local beer, raise a toast to Edgar Allen Poe, and drink in some history!

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Nanny Sought for Haunted House in the Scottish Borders

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Five nannies in the past year have blamed their departure on spooky happenings in the “haunted” house.

The alleged incidents have included strange noises and moving furniture.

The family have not experienced any “supernatural happenings” themselves but are happy to pay above the asking rate to find the right person.

The couple, who have two children aged five and seven, are advertising the position on Childcare.co.uk, a social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors.

The successful candidate will have their own room with en-suite bathroom and private kitchen in the family home, a “lovely, spacious, historic property in a remote spot with spectacular views”.

However, the live-in nanny will sometimes be alone in sole charge for up to four nights per week while the parents work away.

The advert said: “We have lived in our home for nearly 10 years.

“We were told it was ‘haunted’ when we bought it, but kept our minds open and decided to buy the house regardless.

“Five nannies have left the role in the last year, each citing supernatural incidents as the reason, including strange noises, broken glass and furniture moving.”

It said that had resulted in a “period of great upheaval” for the children.

“We haven’t personally experienced any supernatural happenings, as they have been reported only while we’ve been out of the house, but we’re happy to pay above the asking rate, and feel it’s important to be as up-front as possible to find the right person,” the advert continued.

“We are keen to find the perfect long-term nanny, so if you’d like to be considered for this rewarding and exciting position, please do get in touch with us.”

‘Genuine position’

They are offering a salary of £50,000 gross per year and 28 days holiday, plus bank holidays.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk, told the Daily Mirror: “When we saw the advert we were stunned.

“Some of the guys at HQ were sceptical but after talking to the family and their previous employees we realised it was a genuine position.

“We have hundreds of thousands of providers on the site and we’re hoping that one of them will be able to help them.

“We’ve had some weird and wonderful families find childcare providers through the site, however I think this is probably the most interesting story we’ve heard.

“The family has assured us that no harm has come to anyone living in the house, however the nanny will have to have a strong disposition!”

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Or, Take A Peek Into The Haunted Mansion

Is an Oswego Spirit Haunting the NY Governor’s Mansion?

Written by Steve Yablonski in June 2017

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Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo being haunted by the ghost of a former Port City pastor?

At some recent public events, the governor has taken to playfully discussing spooky happenings at the Executive Mansion, his 160-year-old Eagle Street home.

He claims he doesn’t believe in ghosts, the noises the mansion makes in the dark of night still “creep him out.”

“It’s me alone when I’m in the house because my family’s in Westchester,” Cuomo said in an interview with the Albany Times Union early last month, alluding to the home he shares downstate with his partner, Sandra Lee. “The kids are in school. So it’s me alone. There are stories that this house is haunted. Now, I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’m a big tough Italian guy. But I’ll tell you – it gets creepy in that house and there are a lot of noise that go on and you are very alone.”

Perhaps he is being visited by Gov. Charles Evans Hughes’ father.

The elder Hughes died in the Executive Mansion in December 1909, “following a recent stroke of apoplexy,” according to the New York Times.

Whether there were any other deaths in the mansion before it came into the state’s possession in 1877 is unknown. At the very least, none were recorded.

A native of Wales, the 77-year-old arrived in the United States in 1855 and preached at churches in Oswego, Brooklyn, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to his obituary.

The Reverend David C. Hughes was the pastor of the West Baptist Church on the corner of West Third and Mohawk streets in Oswego, according to Justin White, president of the Oswego County Historical Society.

The church was an offshoot of the First Baptist Church, which was located on the east side in Washington Square.

The West Baptist Church was formed in 1853, but the current church that stands today was built in 1867.

“Half the cost was financed by Thomas Kingsford, which allowed for a more substantial ornate church,” White said. “It was designed by Andrew Jackson Warner of Rochester, who also designed the Richardson-Bates House and the Oswego Ladies Home.”

Rev. Hughes was the pastor during the construction of the “new” church and was the pastor from 1866 to 1869.

“Ministers often traveled from one church to another and did not stay in one place for long,” White said. “The building of a new church would have been an important legacy.”

What makes this even more interesting is that he was the father of the Hon. Charles Evan Hughes, who had an equally amazing life, he added.

“He was the Governor of New York State, the Secretary of State under President Harding and then Chief Justice of Supreme Court under President Hoover. He also ran for president in 1915,” White said.

Charles Hughes was a child when he lived in Oswego; started school in the Port City and became a “scholar” of the church Sunday school.

“When the stained class memorial windows replaced the original windows in the church by Haskin Glass Studios of Rochester, Hughes donated one the called “Gethsemane” in memory of his father for his time in Oswego at the minister of West Baptist Church,” White said.

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Anna's bookshelf: Read

The Duke Is Mine
5 of 5 stars true
I'm not ashamed to say I cried at the end of this book, or that I read it in a single day because I couldn't stop.
Forbidden
3 of 5 stars true
The story started out a page tuner I could not put down, but by the middle I was skimming to the end just to see how it all wrapped up. I think the James' are wonderful storytellers, but this particular story didn't do it for me. I'd lov...

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