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Remember last week when the internet was freaking the hell out about a super creepy “nightmare house” listing on Zillow?
If not, let me bring you up to speed real quick.
Here’s the house…
And here’s one of the lines from the description of the home that was creeping people out…
Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances. Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs apartment. Occupant has never paid, and no security deposit is being held, but there is a lease in place. (Yes, it does not make sense, please don’t bother asking.)
Then, just to make it even more creepy, realtor Randal Longo told the Post and Courier, “[The owner’s] got some mystery tenant up there that apparently he can’t answer many questions about, which is kind of strange.”
So yeah, that upstairs tenant is totally someone who has used the phrase, “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again,” right? I mean, what other conclusion could you draw?
Actually, it turns out, not only is the mystery upstairs tenant not a serial killer, he’s actually got a seriously sad story.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer…
In reality, the man in the upstairs apartment is anything but creepy. He is Randall McKissick, a once world-renowned artist and illustrator who has fallen on hard times, a father of two loving daughters and grandfather to a precious red-haired grandson.
The house contains no nightmares, just the artist and his three cats. It is untidy.
“I’m not a housekeeper or a yard keeper,” McKissick said.
McKissick is 5-foot-5-inches tall and weighs 135 pounds, with flowing white hair and beard, and a warm and friendly demeanor.
Well, hell, he’s not even remotely scary.
He’s a sensitive genius who once was at the pinnacle of his profession, with illustrations and paintings in museums, galleries, private collections and corporate headquarters around the world.
But now, after a series of setbacks beginning with the emergence of computer graphics and continuing to a divorce, an eviction, a series of thefts and age-related challenges, McKissick has lost his spark for painting.
He suffers from anxiety, a malady he has battled since childhood. And increasingly, he has trouble focusing. His mind wanders.
So when McKissick fell on hard times an old friend of his since childhood, Michael Schumpert Sr., offered to let McKissick live in the upstairs apartment.
Unfortunately, Schumpert was in a car wreck in December, broke his back and is still bedridden, while his wife, Anne, is also disabled.
“He never asked for any money,” McKissick said. “He never mentioned money. I would like to pay him, but I don’t have any.”
Michael Jr. tried to rent out the bottom floor of the Michaelmas Avenue house, but it needs extensive repair the family can’t afford.
“It just wasn’t happening,” he said.
It was Michael Jr. who wrote the ad to sell the house. The one that went viral.
“We don’t really have much choice but to sell the house; my parents need to sell it,” he said. “But it’s been in the family for so long, we don’t really want to. And we want Randy to be able to stay there.”
He has since taken down the ad, and the house is off the market. What’s the next step? “I don’t know.”
McKissick’s daughter is trying to find a new home for her father, but money is tight for her as well.
If nothing else, hopefully the story of the “nightmare house” on Zillow going viral will help him and the Schumpert family have a happy ending.
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