An illustration of an old Victorian mansion with a foot sticking out the front door, and a hand sticking out the back window.

How to Sell A Haunted House

Episode #145

2020-08-07 12:02:04


In 1989, Helen Ackley decided to sell her old Victorian house in Nyack, New York at 1 Laveta Place. It didn’t go as planned. There were stories of ghosts, and the house became the center of a case that’s referred to as “The Ghostbusters ruling.” The judicial opinion read: “as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” 

We speak to Mark Kavanagh, Cynthia Kavanagh, Richard Ellis, University of Chicago law professor Lior Strahilevitz, and Randall Bell, who specializes in real estate damage economics. Randall Bell has consulted on the property where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult died by suicide in 1997. He also consulted on Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo, and one of the sites of the Manson family murders. Part of his work is evaluating how the psychological stigma attached to these properties affects their value.