You may have already heard that a notorious haunted mansion in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Illinois, was successfully sold in a week-long bidding war. The home itself, a three-story Victorian built in 1882 for barbed-wire patent holder and Civil War vet Hiram B. Scutt, has also been the venue for an old-world business school for girls, and more recently a history museum operated and owned by a John Wilkes Booth impersonator.
The property also has a morbid and tumultuous history surrounded by spooky happenings. The museum curator suddenly passed away at the age of 29 inside of the property, and that’s just the creepy icing on the cake. Factor in the presence of paranormal hotspots and whole room dedicated to a chill-inducing porcelain doll collection, it’s not that hard to understand why the 4,960-square-foot property was listed at a paltry $160,000.
Although the agreed upon price has not been revealed, real estate agent Maria Cronin was able to generate serious interest in the property and eventually close a deal for way more than the listing price. She was taking requests and offers from all over the world and was able to schedule 70 showings in one week. How does one turn a listing with a troubled past into a stellar sale?
Maria was able to turn what most saw as obvious negative selling points into solid opportunities that would work in her favor. She was able to set up meetings with three separate paranormal investigators to look into the property. Their findings show that the house is indeed “haunted,” which was then reported back to the investigators’ websites and it actually had a huge effect in stirring up some fervor in ghost hunter communities. In the end, the home was purchased with the intent to maintain it as a haunted bed and breakfast.
Closing the Deal on a Haunted House
Shortly after the dust settled on the deal closing, Cronin had the wherewithal to turn the tides even more in her favor. She was able to hold one last open house, not for prospective buyers, but for the droves of folk who are drawn to paranormal investigation sites, to record and experience the mansion before future renovations were made. The event was then picked up by real estate blog, Patch and was even featured on Today.com. The turnout was successful with 175 visitors, all there to revel in the mansion’s phantasmic aura one last time. After exchanging contact info, Cronin took to Twitter with her thoughts:
“I have many buyers for historic, haunted, unusual homes. Please call me to see if your home qualifies.”
Cronin’s diligence to effectively push this listing through the appropriate social media channels and her marketing prowess were just as much of a driving force behind the sale then the apparitions that live within it.
“I do believe that there are energies that can be left in places, and properties that can be left behind,” she said. “Maybe we can change the estate.”