The Murder House

The Murder House
Illustration by Janée Meadows

It looked even scarier than she had hoped. Jennifer Clay stared up at the Spanish-style house from the bottom of a crumbling flight of concrete steps. In this hillside neighborhood of manicured homes, the mansion with peeling white paint stood out like a broken tooth. Jennifer’s mom and cousin had agreed to join her in climbing up to the old house, but as soon as they saw it, they changed their minds. Two arched windows stared down like hollow eyes over the bourgeois community of Los Feliz. The peephole in its tired wooden door was boarded up, and a “no trespassing” sign poked out from the dirt-pile yard. Jennifer started the climb alone.

The 31-year-old blogger had become hooked on Internet speculation about the property. She’d read how Dr. Harold Perelson attacked his wife while their three children slept nearby. She’d read breathless accounts of how this million-dollar home had remained empty ever since, becoming a creepy time capsule from 1959. When neighbors reported paranormal happenings, the house became a macabre tourist attraction. Jennifer couldn’t get the rumors out of her mind. Were the evil doctor’s Christmas presents really still wrapped under the tree? What clues inside might explain what possessed him to destroy everything he loved?

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Jamie Larson