Real estate

Illinois 'haunted house' sells in bidding war

May 2, 2014 at 4:59 PM ET

Despite reports of being haunted, this historic mansion at 206 N. Broadway in Joliet, Ill., sold in a week in a bidding war. And the enthusiasm hasn't ended. Listing agent Maria Cronin is still planning to hold an open house this weekend — mainly to accommodate ghost hunters who are traveling in to view the property and try to contact the spirits that reportedly dwell in the home.

"I didn't know what I was getting into when I took this listing," Cronin said.

This home's reputation as being haunted didn't deter would-be buyers, who ended up in a bidding war for the Joliet, Ill., property.
Zillow
This home's reputation as being haunted didn't deter would-be buyers, who ended up in a bidding war for the Joliet, Ill., property.

Hiram Scutt, a Civil War veteran who later became a barbed-wire magnate, built the beautiful Victorian outside Chicago in 1882. It was known as “Barb Villa.” After Scutt died in 1889, his son, Frank, took over and the home was eventually sold to Daniel Watson, who turned it into a girls' school and a home for women who came to the city to work, according to the application for historic status.

A later owner rented it out to college students, and a 19-year-old was shot and killed there after a loud party got out of hand in 2004. The home's dark history continued with its next owner, who opened the home as a banquet space and museum, but died suddenly at age 39 in the home. The home went into foreclosure, and much of its antique furniture was sold at auction.

When Cronin learned of the home's past, she took a friend who reads energy to visit the house. She said her friend detected spiritual activity in the home, but was able to “put it to rest.” 

When the listing went online, Cronin found that rather than the home's past being a deterrent, potential buyers were drawn to it. "Some of them would say, 'Well, I would love to open up a haunted bed and breakfast,'" she said. 

She fielded calls from all over the country, and even overseas; the home had 70 showings in a week. Cronin wouldn't reveal the agreed-upon sale price, but she said there were multiple offers and the home sold for more than the $159,900 asking price.

Cronin made plans for paranormal experts to visit the home this weekend for "investigation," but had to close the event to the media.

"I do believe that there are energies that can be left in places, and properties that can be left behind," she said. "Maybe we can change the estate."

See more photos of the home on Zillow blog.

More from Zillow:

What’s It Like Living in a Haunted House?

10 of the Most Haunted Homes in the US

Once Hub of LA Power, Landmark Home in Foreclosure

Emily Heffter, a reporter and writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties, and other real estate topics. Read more of her work here.

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