Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Architectural History + Performance Art = Haunted House

Mikaela shares:
I'll admit I'm gullible. My first instinct is always to believe -- yes, even though I'm a liberal!

So when I got a flyer inviting me to pay money for a re-enactment of ghoulish murders that took place in a South Broadway house, my first instinct was to suck my teeth a little. I mean, really, capitalizing on murder and tragedy! It's a little distasteful. I struggled all day yesterday between my nerd-self that thought it was a pretty good idea to research a house's history and turn it into a haunted house fundraiser, and my liberal guilt side that thought the whole thing was less than PC.

Then I was gently put to rights, spoiling the magic a little, but satisfying my prim side. Now I can support the event in good conscience and let both sides feel the chill of fake fear!

Here's the story:

Trifecta +, an Albuquerque based Production Company presents MURDER HOUSE a multi-media, live, interactive, haunted house style reenactment of the grisly history of the famous Albuquerque Murder House.

The Murder House, 1016 Walter St. SE, in the South Broadway neighborhood, has a long history of unfortunate events that include murder, suicide and pedophilia. You've probably heard of the "murder house" because of the infamous "Pickler," the cannibal/serial killer who lived there in the 1950's. But after some extensive research, we've discovered that there is a lot more to the story of the murder house.

The house was built at the turn of the century and originally inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hightower and their daughter Eunice, who came to Albuquerque on the advice of their doctor because Mr. and Mrs. Hightower were both suffering from Tuberculosis. After Mr. Hightower’s death from the disease, Eunice apparently went mad from the stress of her father's death and her mother's illness. She stabbed her mother to death with a pair of sewing scissors. She was convicted of the murder and confined to the state hospital for the criminally insane. She died in the hospital at the age of 16.

After this event, the house was purchased by the Gaunt family in 1908. The Gaunts lived in the house until 1916, when Edward Gaunt murdered his wife and her sister before killing himself. In the 1930s, the house became a home for the mentally ill. In 1936 one of the patients initiated a murder spree, torturing and killing 8 fellow patients after trapping them inside the house.

Natalie Seward purchased the house in 1945. She was drowned in her bathtub in 1946. Although the coroner's office deemed the death accidental, there was some evidence that her husband Harold had murdered her.

In the 1950s, the house was inhabited by Lazarus “Larry” Mercer. Mercer became known as “The Pickler,” when various parts of over fifty humans and animals were found soaked in vinegar in the kitchen. In 1966, the bodies of thirteen missing children were found underneath the estate. The bodies had been placed there by a known sex offender.

The house has remained vacant since the 1980s, when a contractor remodeling the house hung himself in the bathroom.
Isn't that well done? Here's hoping the performance art is on par with the history!