A series of images photojournalist Seph Lawless has taken of abandoned houses with bloody and brutal histories have been published in his new book 13: An American Horror Story and the photographs are “accompanied by 13 of the most terrifying short stories based on actual events”. So terrible are the crimes committed in these houses, we learn, that they cannot be sold.
All the houses photographed for his book are empty and have served as the backdrop for murders, suicides and other crimes. In an interview with Slate, Lawless described the houses as “terrifying”, but not because of their past:
I’m more concerned with my reality of being attacked by derelicts, murderers or criminals that often inhabit these places.
Lawless also said that in some of those houses he saw things he could not explain, such as doors slamming themselves violently shut, all on their own. And in Detroit, Lawless claims to have seen “what appeared to be a pool of blood” in the corner of one room. He immediately called the police to report what he saw, but “after about an hour the Detroit Police Department didn’t show and I left”, he explained.
Lawless said that he saw “shadowy figures hiding behind objects in the photo” only when he was editing the images on his computer, but believes that “it was more than likely someone in the house was hiding there after I had entered”.
1. The Oliver Family Mansion, Chester, Pennsylvania. The Oliver family went missing in 1898, a mystery that baffled investigators. The family was never found, but locals say they can sometimes see the Olivers in the windows of the mansion.
2. The Sayer House in Kentucky — after both parents committed double suicide their four small children raised themselves for more than a decade in this home.
3. The Hooley Haunted Mansion in Texas was home to several strange deaths in the 1970s, when the mansion served as a bed and breakfast. Lawless said it was only when he was editing the images on his computer that he noticed ‘shadowy figures hiding behind objects in the photo’.
4. The Oliver Family Mansion, Chester, Pennsylvania. The Oliver family went missing in 1898, a mystery that baffled investigators. The family was never found, but locals say they can sometimes see the Olivers in the windows of the mansion.
5. The Nova House, Youngstown, Ohio. Benjamin Albright shot and killed his son by accident and then killed himself and his wife in 1958. The home has been vacant ever since and still has personal belongings inside.
6. In 1941, The Haught Mansion (Brush Park, MI) was used for brothel for upscale gentleman. Years later several dead bodies were found in the cellar of the Mansion. Each body had been marked by a what appeared to be a perfect circle on the torso and chest areas.
7. Abandoned house in East Cleveland, Ohio, where serial killer Anthony Sowell hid victims’ bodies.
8. The Sewell house is now demolished but locals would cross the street to avoid walking on the sidewalk directly in front of the house.
9. The Temple Haunted Mansion in Detroit, Michigan, was the site of a triple murder in August 1942. Neighbors stated they might even hear the ghosts from next door. This mansion was demolished by the city of Detroit on the same day Seph Lawless’ book was released this month.
10. The Bailey Mansion in Hartford, Connecticut, is the haunted house that inspired the popular television series American Horror Story.
11. The Cater House Estates, Buffalo, New York. Home to local Sheriff Donald Caters, who shot himself after the home went into foreclosure in 1968. The house remained vacant and was said to have been haunted ever since – locals often heard voices on site. The home was demolished in late 2013.
12. The childhood bedroom of one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, Robert Berdella (also known as the Butcher of Kansas City).
Share Seph Lawless’ creepy houses with your friends and your thoughts in the comments below.