The City of Ghoulish Love by Harper Dimmerman
"It's Close To Midnight And Something Evil's Lurking In The Dark
Under The Moonlight You See A Sight That Almost Stops Your Heart
You Try To Scream But Terror Takes The Sound Before You Make It
You Start To Freeze As Horror Looks You Right Between The Eyes, You're Paralyzed” Thriller by Michael Jackson
Before I attempt to make the connection between Thriller and the Philadelphia real estate market seem less attenuated than it really is, I think it's time for me to finally come clean. The guilt has been gnawing away at me for months, even years. It's become as intolerable as making sense of the Uniform Commercial Code. Not only did I recently karaoke to Thriller (alone of course and in the wee hours of the morning) but I also used to own and wear out in public a replica of the jacket popularized by the King of Pop himself. For those of you who are cringing because you too owned one or perhaps even the Beat It number (each to their own) or are simply too cool for school, let me refresh your recollection. It was extraterrestrial in design, with a strikingly large "V" running down the front and of course finished off in a reddish orange and black pleather.
Anyway, it would appear that the King of Pop's interpretation of death as depicted in the epic Thriller video might have more relevance to Philly than some might originally think. Philadelphia's dirty little secret has gotten out and real estate professionals everywhere are screaming bloody murder. There are even rumors of talk in the spooky corridors of City Hall about changing the town's moniker from the City of Brotherly Love to the City of Ghoulish Love.
We are living in one of the nation's most haunted cities. Wherever I turn, I see dead people and I know I'm not alone. There's even a tour through perhaps the most spirit laden section of the city devoted to bringing tourists face to ghastly face with our founding fathers. Ben Franklin himself has been known to meander the nighttime streets of Old City in search of mutton pie and ale. St. Peter's Cemetery literally comes alive at night, as the zombies boogie on down to J.T. and Beyonce. You know you've arrived when the dead are line dancing and bringing sexy back to your funkadelic beats.
Some developers would say that where there's an apparition, there's opportunity. John Westrum, CEO of Westrum Development Company, has big plans for a seventy-five acre site many claim to be haunted. It's the former home of Byberry, as in the mental ward. Tales of gruesome murders, rape and torture (picture The Shining times a thousand) besmirch the legacy of this unhallowed ground, soon to be home to a luxury 55 and over community. With a name like "The Arbours at Eagle Pointe", the horrors of yesterday will be erased with the stroke of an ad exec's stylus. There's a monolithic rebirth in the offing, and one with the promises of monolithic profits. Unless of course there's a specter insurrection, which wouldn't be entirely surprising once the finishing touches are put on the shiny happy hamlet. I hear phantoms have a real disdain for the Pleasantville experience. And that of course would be very bad for the salespeople charged with the task of peddling these little beauts. Heads might begin to roll.
How long before we see a rash of failure to disclose ghoul cases? Something tells me subpoenaing spirits will prove far easier than an eyewitness in a Philadelphia murder trial. So advise your clients accordingly. Make them spend that extra couple hundred for the inspecter, a Ghost Buster type character packing an EMF detector and infrared thermometer. Negotiate a spirit contingency into the deal. Welcome to the new Philadelphia, the City of Ghoulish Love. Something evil just might be lurking in the dark...