Marla Cooper

My haunted mansion/ B&B / writers’ retreat / wedding venue

Occasionally, for fun, I like to browse the real estate listings in cities I’ve thought about moving to. Move back to Austin? See if I can take the rain in Portland? Try out a small town like Auburn in Northern California?

That’s how I stumbled across my future mansion. I don’t throw around the words “my future mansion” lightly. I’m not really “mansion people.” Give me a Craftsman bungalow any day of the week; anything more than 2,000 square feet is wasted.

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But. But! This mansion is different because it is clearly haunted. It was built as a wedding present for a young couple in the late 1800s. It’s been on the market for since last year  and the price keeps dropping. Which is all the proof I need that it is haunted.

So, I have a plan — because my haunted mansion is over 5,000 square feet, and for a house like that, you need a plan.

  1. Fix it up. Ghosts are fun-scary, but some of the wallpaper is just plain old scary.
  2. Rent it out as a haunted bed and breakfast.
  3. Also rent it out as a wedding venue, thus collecting more material for my Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries.
  4. Add a track that runs through it and have my own Haunted Mansion ride. (Sorry Disneyland, I’ll come up with my own name because I know you’re litigious and all that.)
  5. Throw whodunit mystery dinners (Lisa, you in?) and a Halloween ball.
  6. Have writers’ retreats, maybe even a writers conference for paranormal writers, because what could be better than a paranormal writers conference in an actual haunted mansion?
  7. Write a paranormal mystery series based on my haunted B&B/wedding venue.
  8. Sell the film rights, then lease the house — excuse me, the mansion — out as the movie location.

I think this is a sound plan and will more than justify the price — not to mention the extraneous 3,000 square feet. Why? Because it’s good to have goals! And the ghosts haven’t had anyone to haunt in a long time.

Readers, have you ever stayed in haunted mansion? And which part of my grand scheme do you want in on?

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29 thoughts on “My haunted mansion/ B&B / writers’ retreat / wedding venue

  1. I think you’ve found a winner, Marla! I love the stage in the library — how much fun you could have with that. And maybe there is a quirky bride somewhere who would like a haunted wedding destination. I’ve never stayed in a haunted house before, but I’ve heard stories that the house we are living in now has a ghost. No sightings yet ~

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree! I’m kind of smitten with the little stage. Let us know if your ghost ever makes an appearance. I’ve always wanted to live in a haunted house — but with a friendly, benign ghost who brings me coffee in the mornings.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love your plan! And since half your bullet points are writing related, I’m pretty sure you could write off this purchase come tax time (of course, it would be wise to verify that with your accountant first).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Marla, Marla, Marla…
    I’m down with it. Writers retreat for sure! Make each of the main rooms a different part of the writing process and decorate accordingly. The plot point. The character development ballroom. The research library. The editing salon. And of course, as it is haunted, the kill your lines and darlings graveyard.

    I’ve never stayed at a haunted mansion, but I’ve been in two haunted places that I know of. One was the Aramark Hotel in downtown Dallas, where someone took a nap on my bed but security said no one entered the room. The other was a retreat I stayed at last year outside Amarillo. Every night after I turned out the lights, I would hear a knocking. Knock, knock, knock. Wait 3 minutes and repeat. For over an hour. It never happened unless the lights were out. And I was having strange dreams about a Mexican rancher who was trying to protect women from being killed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooooh, love your ideas! “Kill your darlings graveyard” is pure genius! And “character development ballroom” made me giggle, too. You should hire yourself out for themed naming! 🙂

      P.S. I’ve stayed in places that were supposedly haunted but never experience anything. Then I wondered if it was just marketing…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good luck with that. I’ll pass on visiting you there. Which is ironic since I don’t believe in ghosts, but I tend to stay away from places like this, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh, Hestia, under one of those big trees looks like a perfect spot for a Kill Your Darlings graveyard! You’ll find me in the editing salon. 🙂

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    • I had high hopes for a supposedly haunted lighthouse on the Oregon coast. I even booked the specific room the ghost was said to haunt. Nothing happened, but at least the breakfast was great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wait, where is this property? Wherever it is, let me know and I’ll get licensed to broker for you in that state. (By the way, a buyer client recently asked me about disclosures for ghosts in a home she wanted to offer on and I had to break it to her that the State of NH does not recognize ghosts.) Anyway, even I might agree to a retreat here, with any Chicks who would hold my hand in the middle of the night if I got scared. Love the bathroom…

    Liked by 2 people

    • That big clawfoot tub looks amazing, doesn’t it! Until you find wet footprints leading away from it when no one has been home… Mwahahaha. (P.S. I’ll give you the least-haunted room.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh, I love it. The windows are gorgeous! Excellent plans you’ve made.

    In fact, if you need an investor, I’m in (though really I could only offer emotional support after ghost sightings and cheerleading as your plans become reality, not actual money).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG, I LOVE your idea!! I hope you’re serious because I am SO there. And yes, I’ve stayed in a haunted house, at a writers colony in Dorset, VT. No time to elaborate but I’ll just say that I insisted on changing room because the guy appeared to me three mornings in a row at exactly 4:15 a.m.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, one of these days we’ve got to *make* time for your Dorset, VT, story! As for the house, it started out as a total fantasy, but now I can’t stop thinking about it. And it costs about the same as a one- or two-bedroom condo in SF, so there’s that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Auburn is awfully cute! We stopped for dinner on our way back from Left Coast Crime and I almost called you but we were starving and exhausted. Let’s meet up at the Alehouse sometime!

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  8. Ooh, WRITERS RETREAT! I kind of like the idea of having a resident ghost for a retreat. At least I’ll have someone to yell at/run ideas by when writer’s block hits in the wee hours of the morning.

    And for the final night, you could have a mystery dinner ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We stayed at the Rutledge B&B in Charleston once and when my daughter and i were sitting on our separate beds reading, we each felt something bounce off the bed, like how a kid would jokingly come bounce on the bed. Turns out since we were staying in Sarah’s Suite, the story was a little girl lived there and was killed in a fire long ago so even though I’m among the “I don’t believe in ghosts but just in case” thinking, um maybe this was little Sarah coming by to see how her suite got remodeled and to say hi. We knew there were stories but most of them we read after we had stayed there. Good thing we didn’t see the Travel Channel special before we stayed there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooooh, what a great story. I actually got goosebumps when I read that! Also: Charleston is on my list of places I want to visit. Maybe I’ll book Sarah’s Suite! 🙂

      Like

  10. Pingback: Friday Fun Facts | Chicks on the Case

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