The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about a man who is a real estate appraiser, but with a twist: he only appraises properties where something terrible has happened. Randall Bell has appraised Nicole Brown Simpson's condo, the house where the Heaven's Gate suicides took place, and Jon Benet Ramsey's house in Colorado to name a few. The thing that really caught my attention in the piece was that damage done to any property like that is from the perception people have of it. In other words, there's no tangible reason that a house where a grisly murder took place should sell for less than comparable properties other than people think it should.

I would have no problem buying a house where a murder took place or that was purported to be haunted, especially if its reputation meant I could get a discount on the place. I don't believe in ghosts or poltergeists or wandering spirits or any of that stuff; the only downside would be the curiosity seekers who would stop by, but that should abate in time. By the way, the macabre appraiser says if you own a property like that, plan on holding on it for two to five years to let the notoriety die down.