New House + Bones

Do houses have a vibe? They are, after all, inert constructs of building materials, animated only when a person or family lives in them. But I rather do think houses have a vibe. When I was about to depart our longtime home on San Gabriel Drive in Rochester, I wrote the new owner a note detailing certain things about the house I thought it would be helpful for him to know. At the end, I said this had been a happy home for my family, and I wished it to be for him as well.

A Houston couple bought a new home, and upon moving in, found the bones of the former owner visible through an attic wall. Certainly sounds as if the woman was murdered and placed there; it’s hard to think how a skeleton winds up inside a wall by accident.

The article said the couple declined to stay in the home on the night of the discovery, even after authorities removed the remains. But nothing was said about what they decided to do going forward. What would you do? Seal up the wall and move in, choosing to let the memory of sleeping skeletons lie? Put the home up for sale — with or without disclosure of the bones? Something else?

I’d like to think if I really liked the home, I’d be able to move past its gory history and stay. I also think if a property has an known unsavory history, that has to be disclosed to potential new owners — which would certainly affect resale price, if not resale at all.

All kinds of weird things may have happened any place I’ve ever lived, and probably did — but I never knew about them.  What would I do in this case, having been the one to actually find the bones? I’m not sure. You?

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