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Shippy's avatar

Would you live in a home with a tragic past?

Asked by Shippy (9852 points ) July 30th, 2012

When I moved into my apartment many years ago, I noticed a tile of some sort, I think it is Catholic not sure, of Jesus carrying a lamb and a child, with the words, bless this home, and all who enter it.

I never removed it, because firstly it would leave a huge hole in the door and secondly it wasn’t a bad sentiment to have particularly if all through your life, you haven’t had a very peaceful home life.

It has got me thinking a couple things. Like for example. If you invite troubled people, or people who are unsavory into your home, does it leave something there, like an atmosphere or a feeling? Many people may laugh at this but may think twice if a person had died in their bedroom, or worse been murdered in the bath tub for example.

Would you buy a home that had many tragedies in it? And if not why not and if you would why would you? I mean what is your thinking. I once saw a documentary about a young woman who died, and was only found three years later. Her TV was still on. All that was left of her was a mass of nothingness seeping into the floor boards. Would you buy that home? For example

The main question here though for me is, then, do you think events, people, or things influence our home space. If they do how do you clear it away. People have remarked that my home has a wonderful peace about it. And often fall asleep here!!

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28 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

I think it is a matter of beliefs and superstitions. To me, this is not much different than allowing a tragic past to ruin your life.

I am ok with it. I however can separate past from future.

JLeslie's avatar

Depends someone having died a normal death, I would not think twice about it. In fact, a lot of people think seller’s have to disclose if someone died in a house they are selling, and that is not true.

If there had been some crazy criminal things going on in the house, I might be relucatnt to buy it. Afraid people from the past might go there not knowing the old owners are gone.

codette's avatar

Fascinating question! Can wait to read the answers. I definitely do believe structures and maybe even objects can be infused with different energies. I would certainly think twice about buying a home that had lots of tragedies in it. I’ve seen a few unsolved-mysteries-esque shows about this very topic. Ideas of spirit hauntings or simply spirits in residence, lay lines, and energy deposits are fairly common across cultures. Even here in the US where we tend to have a whitewashed non-belief toward these topics compared to other societies. Take the Chinese, for example. I read a memoir about a family that emigrated to California, and it described the grandmother’s perspective on the meddlesome and numerous spirits that interfered with her work as a healer.
There are traditions all around the world for blessing, smudging, and cleansing homes and spaces. There’s gotta be something to it, y’know?
In the show I was talking about, (of course this might all be totally bogus, but still…) lots of couples bought this one house and then experienced tragedies within a few months, and it kept going back on the market. Even their pets were dying left and right. Finally a couple (after losing pets and the wife having a stroke) brought in some local native americans who concluded that an ancestral tribe had placed a curse on the land to protect it from invaders. After they did whatever it is they do, contacting the warrior spirit “on post” and making plantings and offerings to the land, the tragedies and bad vibes stopped.

CWOTUS's avatar

Sure, I’d live in it. I might not buy it, though, depending on how sensational its past was and how well known – and how it had affected the local real estate market. That is, I’d be sensitive to how the locals felt about the place, about what it had done to their own perceptions and market values of their own properties (I wouldn’t want to buy in to a lake of resentment and suspicion, that sort of thing), and I wouldn’t want to buy an asset whose own value was still on a downward trajectory.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JLeslie, disclosures and material facts laws vary by state, but, for example, California requires disclosure of a death in the home if it happened within the past three years and the facts of the death are material to the sale of the home.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham True, these things vary by state, good point. I think the key thing is it has to be material to the value of the property, even in California as you stated, and a normal death due to illness, accident, or old age would not need to be disclosed the way I understand it.

Imagine in FL if they required a death on premises disclosure. There is probably a significant number of deaths that happen at home there.

As far as I know the state I live in now, TN, does notr equire a death disclosure, but when I was looking at houses a realtor who was selling her own house disclosed her mother died there. I don’t think she should have. She said she wanted to be up front about everything, and I appreciate her honesty, and of course realtors are held to a code of ethics about disclosures, but it might make some buyers feel odd knowing it, and I don’t think they should or need to know. Why put that idea, picture in someones head about what happened there in the past.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Do I think homes are influenced by their pasts? Only by the holes in the walls; I think it’s the people living there that create the atmosphere not the ones that have left.

Would I buy a home with a bloody history? So long it’s clear (and likely to stay clear) of tourists and the past isn’t going to come back to haunt me (metaphorically speaking) I’m fine with it.

Though if a whole family died of unknown cause preceded by raving madness I might have the environmental conditions double or triple checked first.

My wife however says we’re not allowed to buy the real life equivalent of something like the “texas chainsaw house”. So while I can say I’d buy it, I’d probably be the next victim if I did.

Coloma's avatar

I live on property in a historic town where the native indian tribes ruled for hundreds of years. I am pretty sure I have burial sites around my acreage. The Miwok indians were fond of burying their dead beneath the monolithic old Oak trees in these hills and I have several trees that are over 400 years old. I have no doubt there are dead natives and gold miners and pioneers buried around my house.

Maybe even hanging victims from the wild goldrush era out here

I am not a superstitious type at all, and could probably live in a house with a past.
I agree with @blueiiznh I am not one that is hung up on the past, I live in the now and look towards the future. Besides, it would make for some great story telling. ;-)

SomeoneElse's avatar

I am having a bit of a problem with this question . . . .is it me with the tragic past or the house?
OK, OK, I know! If the house ‘felt’ alright then yes. Some houses feel just right whilst others have an edge to them which isn’t altogether related to the decor, or the blood-stained rug.
If there was a malevolent feel to the place, I don’t know if I could sleep with the light off.

King_Pariah's avatar

Yes, as long as its past has nothing to do with me or someone I care about.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t believe in the supernatural, so yes.

TheIntern55's avatar

Yes. I love ghosts. :)
But I live in an old town, est. 16something. My boyfriend’s house was built in 1807 and a couple of people died natural deaths there. Nothing creepy. But if there was a massacre there, maybe I’d be scared. Maybe.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes, I would live in that home – unless the tragic past had something to do with radiation or chemical poisoning. I that case I’d avoid it for practical reasons not spiritual.

wundayatta's avatar

Stories affect our lives greatly. A story about a home with tragedy associated with it can be very powerful. Some people take stories and integrate them into their lives and live with them. Others ignore other people’s stories.

Some houses are so notorious that it is hard to ignore their stories because the neighbors are always talking about them. Some stories are impossible to ignore because we find them to affect us powerfully.

But it’s all just story. I.e., it has no objective reality. Which is not to say it can’t be very powerful. Stories have a subjective reality that is more powerful than objective reality in some cases.

If I were to imagine a person being killed in my bedroom, and imagine that story over and over, I don’t know if I would let myself sleep there. That’s a powerful story. But if I could ignore that story and not think about it and just live my own story, then there would be no problem.

I’m sure people have died in my home. It’s over one hundred years old. But I don’t know who they are and so I never think about it and I certainly don’t lose sleep over it.

I would live in a home with a tragic past if I didn’t know what the past was or if it was a story that didn’t make me think about it. Otherwise, if it’s a story that engages me, I think I’ll pass.

Coloma's avatar

Okay, after some more thought, I’d have to pass on Jeffrey Dahlmers old house. lol
Hey…What did J.D. sing on the way to his refrigerator? My baloney has a first name….

reijinni's avatar

If the person was murdered there, I might not buy the house or I would it torn down and built a new one. If it was natural causes, I would leave it alone.

ucme's avatar

I wouldn’t mind spending a night in the Bates Motel, dressing up in old ladies clothes & wandering about the place singing show tunes in a voice that would curdle custard sounds like fun. Fuck reception though, those stuffed crows are creepy.

CWOTUS's avatar

Any excuse to dress up in old ladies’ clothes, eh, @ucme?

janedelila's avatar

Ohhhhh @Coloma that is evil. I like it.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

The past is all around us, in the places we work, we live, we visit. So I don’t have a problem living in a home where someone died (or visiting or working in such a place, for that matter).

However, like some of you, I would be hesitant about living in/buying a home where a notorious death took place. Lookyloos passing by all the time would get old, fast.

Paradox25's avatar

It would depend on how tragic we’re talking about here. To give the short answer here I’ll say no. The fact that I believe in ghosts, negative energy, and that bad things usually leave a trace of themselves in some way doesn’t help me too much here either.

ucme's avatar

@CWOTUS ab-zho-loot-lee!

Shippy's avatar

@codette Yes! that to me is the fascinating part. I am not sure of what smudging entails, but I am sure there are lots of different rituals. I would love to know some of them. For example it is said that burning incense cleanses away bad energy? Christians sometimes use oil rubbing and prayer on door ways and this is just a general thing here, I am talking about, like say for e.g. you had a lousy drunk guest! or a period of sadness in your life that you wanted to smudge away. I was wondering how effective they are you know?

Coloma's avatar

Well maybe the ghosts of dead Indians approve of my pet cemetary under an Oak tree overlooking their burial grounds
. Maybe I am protected by good spirits that have welcomed having some pet spirits to cavort with. lol

codette's avatar

@Shippy I don’t really know how effective smudging is supposed to be. When I have done it or been around it, I think a lot of the relief is probably just a placebo… It feels satisfying to me when I move in to a new place to open up the windows, turn on lots of lights, clean it up and “smudge” with incense, just to fill all the corners of the spaces with a pleasant smell. It airs the place out and makes it feel like I’ve touched all the nooks and crannies and now we know each other. Getting a current of fresh air moving through the space might actually do something to shake up or dispel lingering energy but I’m not sure how that technically works on a molecular level, or if energy waves can be blown out the window, etc.
I’ve heard people call cleaning/decluttering/redecorating as “house magic.” :)

As an aside, have you looked into Feng Shui?

But as far as the actual spiritual implications on the cleansing power of smoke, I’ve heard it mentioned but I don’t really know anything about it.
I do know that different sorts of house blessings happen all around the world, whether it be burning bundles of sage, leading sacred cattle through a building, religious prayer, offerings, telling the ghosts you are their friend or that they need to go away, etc.

For small bits of energy, or for the examples you just gave at the end of your last post to me, I’d say smudging (or whatever you find satisfying) would definitely be effective for your own peace of mind. But if you think you have actual spirits or channels of negative energy you might want to do further research.

Shippy's avatar

@codette Yes as I was typing this I did think of Feng Shui. I’m not sure how popular it is here now as I hardly ever hear of it. I think I wrote this question for a number of reasons, I have been through a time and space where, nothing went right. OK, of course that cannot be, some things do, but I am sure you follow my drift on that? So of course the blocked energy or thoughts could be “me” and not my home.

But interestingly you mentioned the cleaning or decorating of a home as house magic, and possibly can impact upon ones Psyche. I think though I am trying to cram too many thoughts into one question at this point. So may ask another instead. Specially on the Feng Shui angle.

AshlynM's avatar

I wouldn’t buy the Amityville Horror house, that’s for sure. If the person died of a heart attack or something, then yes, possibly I’d buy the house. If it was more tragic than that, then, no, I would never a buy a house like that. Even though ghosts may or may not exist and even though I love scary stuff and the paranormal, better be safe than sorry. I don’t think it’d be that cool to live in a haunted house.

Shinimegami's avatar

I not heed history of house, only consider how it look now. History of it mean nothing, cannot tell if house have tragic past unless someone tell me or I read of it. Ghosts not exist, enegy not linger. I not like unsavory people at my home, when they leave their influence gone forever however. If much blood, decaying body, etc. at house must clean it well or not buy it.

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