Brad Warner was sitting in the unfurnished living room of the historic but rundown Victorian he'd picked up in foreclosure in 2010. A fire was roaring in the fireplace, and he was working on his computer. Suddenly, the fire went out and his computer turned off. The french doors, pinned open for painting, slammed shut.
Heart pounding, Warner spoke to the "unseen forces," as he calls them. "I want you all to know I am the new owner here," he recalls saying. "We're all going to need to work together. I'm going to ask you to not slam the doors any longer. I would like you to don't mess with the Internet. And by the way, could you put the fire back on." He swears as soon as he said that, the flames came back to life. "That was my first experience with the property."
Older houses come with a variety of interesting features: Cool architecture, intriguing family history, and even tales of ghosts. This listing has all three and a mortuary.
Welcome to a grand and mysterious home built in 1912 and located in Northern California. The place comes with so many stories, it even inspired the best-selling novel, " The Mortician's Wife."
The actual mortician's wife supposedly watched as her husband died at the kitchen table. According to legend, she was so distraught, she retreated to her room and left his body untouched for weeks. Her boudoir is Warner's favorite place in the house. "It was the only place the wife felt safe from the spirits," he says.
Warner and his wife lived in the home, but they have since divorced, and now Warner is unloading the property.
Despite some strange episodes (unexplained sounds, doors mysteriously opening and closing), "I enjoyed living there," Warner says. "There are times when things happen, from benign to scary."
The couple once called the police after Warner's terrified wife thought she had seen a hand on the privacy glass of the bathroom door when she was inside. "We went through the entire house," he recalls. "We determined that there was nobody in the house. That was a dark moment."
The duo decided to turn those macabre moments into "dark tourism." They overhauled the home and had planned to open what Warner jokingly calls a " dead and breakfast."
Measuring almost 9,000 square feet, the seven-bedroom, six-bathroom home also has a wraparound deck, a sun porch, refinished oak wood flooring, a large eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room, and a living room.
On the ground floor of the three-story home is the mortuary, including a viewing area and chapel. The tools of the trade, including a gurney, are still there and come with the purchase price. (None of the other ornate decor is for sale.) According to Warner, another creepy detail is in the basement: the skeletal remains of a 17-year-old girl left in a casket.
The earliest records of the place date to 1911, according to listing agent Cindi Hagley, who did some sleuthing of her own. Sometime in the early 1900s, the Young family bought the property and opened for business.
In addition to the mortuary, the Youngs also ran a furniture store out of their home. Since furniture stores usually built and sold caskets, she notes, having those two combined businesses made (spooky) sense.
There's also a possible link to legendary architect Julia Morgan. Some can place her in Dunsmuir while she was working for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The architect of Hearst Castle worked on another project for the tycoon, Wyntoon estate, near Mount Shasta. While working on that monumental project, Morgan apparently befriended the Young family.
After a fire damaged the Youngs' home in the 1920s, Morgan may have offered her design ideas during the remodel, which was completed in 1936, according to Warner.
There's no documentation of her designs, but Warner calls the home "Julia Morgan-inspired." Hagley adds, "It's gorgeous, the whole home -- the moldings, the stairways. It's just really a special home," she says.
The building is zoned for commercial and residential use, so potential buyers could use the home as a B&B as well as be the next steward of all that haunted history. Don't say we didn't warn you.