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9 Ordinary Houses with Very Disturbing Backstories

There’s no place like a home with a grisly past.

Whether you’re in the market for a killer deal, on the hunt for a haunting thrill, or hungry to dine like Leatherface, we’ve got a house of horror you need to visit.

From on-location horror movie sets to the actual sites of grisly crimes, read on for nine seemingly ordinary homes with thoroughly disturbing backstories.

1. James “Buffalo Bill” Gumb’s Home

ordinary house disturbing backstory
  • Photo Credit: Jon Dawson / Flickr (CC)

You should recognize this quaint five-bedroom on 8 Circle Street from the climax of Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs. Yes, it’s the film location where Buffalo Bill lotioned and skinned his lady victims, as well as nurtured hundreds of massive moths. Located in a sleepy village just outside Pittsburgh, the horror movie house boasts more than just lore—it has the essentials of the American dream: a pool with a pool house, a wraparound porch. So why did realtors have such a hard time selling the property? Perhaps it’s the rumored dungeon pit in the basement. In 2016, the abode finally sold.

Related: 8 Freaky Reads for Fans of The Silence of the Lambs 

2. Jeffrey Dahmer’s Childhood Home

ordinary houses disturbing back stories jeffrey dahmer childhood home
  • Photo Credit: Zillow

Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, sex offender, and savage cannibal who terrorized the Midwest, had to grow up somewhere. He did so at this rambler tucked away in the woods outside Akron, Ohio. The unassuming abode was home to numerous boyhood memories, including the most disturbing of all: Dahmer’s first kill. In 1978, an 18-year-old Dahmer murdered Steven Hicks with a barbell and discarded his remains in the backyard.

Related: 10 Little-Known Facts About Jeffrey Dahmer 

3. Nicole Brown Simpson’s Brentwood Condo

ordinary houses disturbing backstories nicole simpson condo
  • Photo Credit: Google Maps

After Ryan Murphy’s O.J. miniseries and ESPN’s expansive documentary, Brentwood residents are bombarded once again with looky-loos attempting to glimpse the site where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered. The exterior of the posh condo, located in the heart of an affluent L.A. neighborhood, was fully remodeled, and looks nothing like it did in 1994. Furthermore, if you’re looking for 875 South Bundy Drive on your tour de horror, you won’t find it; owners changed the street address in hopes of selling the property.

4. The Amityville Horror House

ordinary houses disturbing backstories amityville horror house
  • Photo Credit: Zillow

In 1974, a troubled youth named Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. held a shotgun to his father’s head and pulled the trigger. But the weapon malfunctioned. Months later, he grabbed a Marlin rifle, crept into his parents’ room, then finished the job—and then some. By sunrise, his parents and four younger siblings were dead in their beds. A year later, the Lutz family moved in, and the rest, as they say, is paranormal and cinematic history. Apparently, all this dark and grisly history wasn’t enough to scare away one well-heeled buyer. In 2017, the infamous Ocean Avenue Dutch Colonial sold for around $600,000.

5. The Los Feliz Murder House

ordinary house disturbing backstory
  • Photo Credit: Photo Used With Permission: Michael Locke / Flickr

No one has occupied the Spanish Colonial space at 2475 Glendower Place since 1959, when a cardiologist tried to murder multiple members of his family. Dr. Harold Perelson beat his sleeping wife to death with a hammer, then severely assaulted his teenage daughter (who survived the attack). When the teenager’s screaming awoke Perelson’s two younger daughters, Perelson instructed the girls to go back to sleep and told them that it was all a nightmare. The doctor then committed suicide by swallowing a handful of pills. Though the house initially found ownership, it sat dormant. In 2016, it sold for $2.3 million.

Related: Home Sweet Home: 9 Real Haunted Houses You Can Actually Buy  

6. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre House

ordinary house disturbing backstory
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

So hungry you could eat your own leg? Head south to dine in the very place where one cinematic cannibal clan became pop culture icons. It’s called the Grand Central Café now, but its history is rooted in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Originally located just outside of Round Rock, Texas, the Victorian-style Queen Anne cottage was purchased and dismantled in 1998. The structure was then moved to Kingsland, Texas, and refurbished as a quaint roadside food house.

7. The Lemp Mansion

ordinary house disturbing backstory
  • Photo Credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr (CC)

The Lemp family, of Lemp Brewing Co. fame, couldn’t escape tragedy. Three years after the death of William Lemp’s son in 1901, the patriarch shot himself in his bedroom. Three other family members went on to take their own lives within the mansion’s walls. Lore has it that their troubled spirits still wander the halls. Today, the home is a restaurant and inn—and known as one of St. Louis’s biggest paranormal hot spots. Care for a stop?

Related: The Cursed History of the Lemp Family Mansion

8. The Beachcomber Home of Tragedy

ordinary houses disturbing backstories yates house
  • Photo Credit: Phillippe Diederich / Getty Images

Houston has its charms: tall trees, Southern hospitality, unassuming properties housing grisly pasts. For proof, look no further than the corner of Beachcomber Lane and Sea Lark Road on a quiet block in good ole Bayou City. It was in this home that a woman diagnosed with postpartum psychosis killed her five children, ranging from 6 months to 7 years old. Her name? Andrea Yates. Her method? Drowning them one by one in the bathtub. Today, the home is occupied, in case you were wondering.

Related: Deadly T.L.C.: 8 True Crime Books About Killer Parents 

9. The Ramsey House

ordinary houses disturbing backstories ramsey house
  • Photo Credit: Karl Gehring / Getty Images

Not even a charming brick facade with a basketball court, large terrace, and a wet bar can camouflage this home’s ugly past. JonBenet Ramsey, a pint-sized beauty queen, was brutally murdered here over Christmas 1996. The six-year-old’s body was found the following afternoon with a ransom note. Ramsey’s murder remains a mystery, as does ownership of the house, as it hops on and off the market with regularity.

Featured photo used with permission: Michael Lock / Flickr; Additional photos: Jon Dawson / Flickr (CC); Zillow; Zillow; Michael Locke / Flickr; Paul Sableman / Flickr (CC)

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