What makes a house boo-tiful?

Is it the curb appeal of broken shutters, boarded-up windows, and missing floor boards? How about creaky doors, spider webs, and dusty furniture?

You bet! It's all that and more! Welcome to the first issue of House Boo-tiful! Each month we'll feature information and photos, on the spookiest homes on the block!

There's always that one house in the neighborhood.... Abandoned or not, you always want to know what's inside. And what's the story of the people who lived (or died) there?

House Boo-tiful will feature these homes, and the stories that go along with them.

This month, I thought we'd start off with one of my favorite homes, from my home-state of Pennsylvania.

This is the Oliver Family Mansion, located in Chester, PA. The Oliver family went missing in 1898. Or so the story goes.... On a dreary, fall evening some members of the family were last seen heading into a storm cellar. Several days later, the school was concerned the children had been ill, since they hadn't been to school in a few days. The school principal went to the home and found it empty. The story claims the house looked as if the family had up and left, in the middle of the night. Dishes and food were still sitting out on the table. Clothes and personal items were left in the bedrooms and bathroom. But the family was gone.

According to locals, the mystery baffled investigators and the family was never found.  According to some, many claim they have seen members of the Oliver family in the windows of the mansion. Police reports indicate that may not have been the case, they believe it could have been intruders, or fans of the story, trying to solve this so-called mystery.

Now, being a native of Pennsylvania, here's what I remember about this story.... apparently there was record of the Oliver family living in the home until the mid-1920's. No facts or documents could be produced to prove that the family had ever "disappeared". No records ever indicated that the home or property had ever been sold.

How interesting. I need to plan my next visit back to Pennsylvania, sometime soon.... because I'm dying to make a stop at the mansion, take a look around, and maybe get a few pictures inside!

But there's always more to the story. Research from the Haunted Librarian (November 2014) claims that most of the “haunted” houses photographed and published in the book 13: An American Horror Story (Artivist Publishing 2014) by self-proclaimed “Artivist” Seph Lawless, are made up. False. Non-existent. Or are they?

Whether or not it's true.... the house is still quite boo-tiful, don't ya think?

I hope you enjoyed our first issue, and if you know of a house that should be featured in House Boo-tiful, be sure to send an e-mail, and let us know! Your stories and photos are always welcome.

Have a boo-tiful day!

Violet Price
Editor, House BOOtiful