The ruins were hidden among the pristine McManions in a moneyed section of town. Shrouded in poison ivy vines and thorny brambles, the exterior was long ago worn away by harsh southern weather.
Urban legends alleged its former occupants were geriatric cannibals that feasted on tender hooligans, or were metrosexual vampires, or more likely murderous run-of-the-mill fugitives. A spine-tingling foreboding lingered over the ramshackle house, hampering any plans of demolition.
Black scarab beetles, kamikaze nettles, and nocturnal infestations were the only perceivable tenants. Their scratching and scurrying, amplified under the tin roof, were enough to confirm the house’s haunted reputation.
A broken front door, slightly ajar, gave a peek into the house of horrors. The glowing eyes of vermin a more practical deterrent against trespassers than any vicious canine, or actual ghost.
Foolhardy talk of tossing a lit match into the tinderbox was quickly squelched when no brave souls would volunteer for fire brigade if the blaze spread to wholesome homes.
Then a new resident moved into this peculiar community unaware of the dread history of the cursed home. Dumbfounded by the irrational shared fear of a derelict pile of rotten wood, he took it upon himself, with the blessing of his neighbors, to employ his personal brush mower to clear the property. A well-contained bonfire completed the razing.
Widespread gratitude for the exorcism soon gave way to mass hysteria, when displaced specters inhabited each of the co-conspirators’ homes.