Would You Live In A ‘Murder House’ ?

Posted by Xavier Ortega | June 19, 2010 16

If you ask people, most would think twice about living in a place in which a murder took place. Especially if it was a gruesome one. Some, pay no mind to their home’s horrid history and believe that what was the past, stays in the past. Unless you’re talking about ghosts.

I myself would feel a bit weary of living in a place where a murder took place, I believe in residual energy more than I believe that actual ghosts will haunt a location. I leave the stories of ghosts wanting vengeance to the Hollywood writers.

Most don’t really care as long as they personally anointed the place. People in New York find themselves specifically searching the daily obituary section of theshining-twins newspaper just to see what new vacancies have opened up in the area. Although not a home-owner, I do find myself researching the places that I’ve rented in the past. You know, just to be on the safe side. Last thing I want is to stumble out of bed at night heading towards the bathroom and run into twin girls in a blue dress asking me to “Come play with us“. Screw that.

A GhostTheory reader recently emailed me to ask if I knew anything about any Pasadena, CA, hauntings.  They’ve mentioned a few murder houses that I was not aware of. And you know me, I’m usually in the know about serial killers and murders. The email talked about a blog post at the LA Times website titled “Rampages revisited“.

The article mentions two of Pasadena’s most known murder sites. That of the Rawlings family and the Oilar family.

Harvey F. Rawling’s murderous spree started and ended in his home. A well-to-do lawyer, Harvey is said to have cracked under severe stress in his life due to an impaired child and massive debt.


Nov. 27, 1957
Los Angeles

Everybody says the Rawlings family are fine people. They have a big house at 307 Tamarac Drive in San Rafael, one of the finer neighborhoods in Pasadena.

Nice house, isn’t it? Four bedrooms, two baths, 2,300 square feet by the arroyo. Maybe you’d figure whoever lived here was happy. That’s what the neighbors thought about Harvey Francis Rawlings Jr. They were wrong.

It’s about 5 a.m. and still dark outside. This is a bloody, nasty crime scene that involves a couple of kids. If you don’t want to go in, that’s fine with me.

OK, keep your hands in your pockets and don’t touch anything.

Quite a place, isn’t it? The whole house is wired for the hi-fi system.

Harvey is a 43-year-old attorney with a legal practice in Pasadena. Has an office on East Green Street. Except for a round of golf now and then, Harvey’s life is his job.

His wife is named Marjorie Ruth but she goes by Ruth. She’s 43, a UCLA graduate, sorority girl–Gamma Phi Beta–and keeps busy with women’s clubs like the Lawyers Wives of Pasadena.

They have two boys. The older one is Robert. He’s 16. The younger one is Raymond. He’s 12. For a while they thought Raymond was mentally disabled, but it looks like he was just partially deaf and the doctors have been treating him for it.

Nice home, good family. You’d think Harvey would be grateful a few days before Thanksgiving. But underneath whatever looked like success, his life was a mess. He was worried about Raymond and deep in debt from some bad investments.

This is him, lying in the bathroom with a bullet between the eyes.

Let’s keep going.

This is Ruth, lying in the hallway. From the way it looks, Harvey attacked her first by beating her in the head with a brass ball peen hammer. Then he went into Raymond’s room and shot him as he was sleeping.

Looks like the gunshot woke up Robert because he’s lying next to his bed. Police will figure that Harvey shot him as he was getting up.

Ruth wasn’t dead though. You can see her trail of blood where she went into Raymond’s room and bent over him. Then she came out here to the hallway and Harvey shot her twice in the head.

These are their cats, Charcoal and Cinder. One of the neighbors heard screams and shots but “didn’t want to interfere.” He’ll get home from work tonight and wonder why the Rawlings home is so quiet except for the cats yowling because they are hungry. He’ll get a ladder and look in one of the windows.Then he’ll call the police.

We don’t know exactly what made Harvey go crazy. Before he killed everybody, he called a doctor and said he was under enormous strain. The doctor wanted him to come over to the office right away, but Harvey refused. Other attorneys say Harvey was having a hard time but seemed to be “over the hump.”

Source: LA Times Blog

And here is the home now.

View Larger Map

I don’t know if ghosts exist or not, but I can tell you that whenever I read about these types of ghastly murders, it sends shivers up and down my spine.  The idea of  sleeping in a room where someone was shot while in their sleep, terrifies me. I don’t think I would be able to comfortably sleep in such place, knowing that the prior occupant probably had the bed setup the way I would set it up. They probably slept in the same position as I would. Left their shoes in the same place as I would and went to bed thinking that tomorrow is just another day, just like I would.

Interesting enough, the article over at the LA Times blog, also mentioned another Pasadena murder that occurred awhile back. This time though, a reader who had spent his childhood in the house after the killings, left a spooky comment about his experiences in the home.

December 1954, Pasadena, Ca, 555 ave. 64 as the Oilar family is finishing off a Christmas party, compliments are exchanged, hands shake and kisses on the cheeks are given. A little girl, friend of the Oilar kids, stays behind for a slumber party. After singing Christmas carols, Harold, Husband and father of three, sends the little girl outside to the porch. Once outside, Harold bludgeons his wife and children to death. Some speculate that Harold was facing a heavy financial burden and wanted to find a way out. For himself and his family.


Here is the comment from a Derek Anthony, who said he grew up in the Oilar house:

Creepy house, I lived at 555 Ave 64 from 1964 to 1972. They never told my mother what happened until after she bought the house for around 21,000 which was cheap even in 1964. People in the neighborhood eventually started telling us what happened even though we could never pinpoint the exact date or circumstances. We just heard it was an axe murder. My grandmother who into the supernatural and psychic always saw a man walking through the house at night. In 2002 when the house was for sale I stopped by and talked to the owner who bought it from my mother in 1980. He said his daughter always saw a man walking through the house as well. Weird huh? Another weird thing, I developed a phobia of dark windows as I felt a man was watching me at night if a window had any part not covered by a shade. Come to find out Harold was arrested for being a peeping tom. I hated that house, I still do. Even though it looks less sinister now.

Whatever the case may have been, it’s a tragic way of trying in despair to solve such a insignificant issue in the grand scheme of life.

There was a previous post I had made about someone buying the Jeffrey Dahmer home. Owners of the Dahmer home never really reported anything supernatural. So what say you fellow GhostTheory enthusiasts, have you ever lived in a murder home? Did you experience any paranormal events? Would you even consider living in such sites?

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released fall of 2016. Got a question? Drop me a line.

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16 Responses

  • BC

    Yes, the previous occupant of the house I live in was murdered. I didn’t know this at the time or I would not have moved in. I’ve had a few odd experiences but I haven’t experienced anything related to the murder. I’m reluctant to discuss it- I don’t want to stir up anything! From everything I’ve heard the guy who was murdered was a nice fella and the people who did it were caught soon after.
    Oh, there was one weird thing that happened. So I moved into the house and drove into town to get a library card. As I’m checking out the periodical/newspaper section an older issue of the local newspaper which just happens to be at the top of a stack of newspapers catches my eye- it has an article about some people from out of state who were on trial for the murder of a local man. It turns out I was reading about the trial and didn’t even know it. It was probably a couple years before I found out.

  • jbondo

    A neighbor heard screams and SHOTS but didn’t want to interfere?

    In South Central that sentence wouldn’t really catch your eye but in a quiet upscale neighborhood? You hear screams and then shots and do nothing but of course you have the nerve to carry a ladder to their yard 10 hours later, lean it up against their house and climb up to look into the second story windows? Sounds awfully fishy to me.

    Could it be that aside from all the pressure Mr. Rawlings was under that he may have discovered that Ruth and Mr. Anti-interfere were having an affair? And as most affairs go, it’s all about sex, so Mr. Anti-interfere wasn’t emotionally vested. Therefore he wasn’t going to get involved in the probable argument that he was intently eavesdropping on until 5am when he heard the screams and shots. Who knows, if my theory is correct Mr. Anti-interfere may have just thought his problems were solved right then and there. In fact, I’ll be he didn’t wait till that evening to peep into those windows and once seeing everyone dead he felt relieved that his secret was safe forever, especially from his own wife. Then he concocts the story he told the police.

    Then again, maybe I’m wrong…..

  • G

    That’s an interesting theory, jbondo. Didn’t think of that.

  • Peter

    If you think on a long time line, most places in America have had violence or murder on or near them. Dating back even to before English/Spanish/French/etc, many of the Native American tribes had boundary disputes or sometimes outright war with one another. As settlers came in and we displaced them, many on both sides were murdered. After all, ghosts don’t necessarily need a house or physical object to haunt a location.

  • Tom

    Ok so the neighbors heard gunshots and screaming but didnt’t want to interfere? Kinda odd….

  • oldhousegal

    My husband and I bought a huge 1892 Victorian. It was in a sad state of disrepair and at the same time was our dream home. We worked our butts off on that house. We had to live in it as we restored it. Every time we tore into a room we had all kinds of strange things happening. Including hearing voices, footsteps, doors slamming, whispers and seeing things that shouldn’t be there. We would have left if we weren’t so far into debt with the place so we were stuck, nothing to do but keep working on it.
    Finally after 4 years we learned what all had happened there. It started out in 1897 when the 5 yr old daughter fell to her death from the balcony overlooking the back yard. Her piano teacher found her and died of a heart attack on the back patio.
    In 1917 a maid fell to her death on the servants staircase. The next family moved in and had young children. They came home from school to find their mother strangled in the front parlor. It was never solved. They moved out shortly after that. A man and his wife bought the house in the 1930’s and his wife killed him in an upstairs bedroom and then went into the master and killed herself.
    Once we learned of all this we had the house cleansed and put it up for sale, it was completely restored. It sold in the 1st week. I have no idea if the cleansing worked but I am happy to be out of that house!

  • oldhousegal,

    Did you verify these occurrences via public record?

    I hope you at least made a tidy profit.

  • Dan J

    Who is the ghost? Did this man kill himself after destroying his family? If not, when, if ever, was he executed. Those who believe spiritually in the supernatural (as opposed to people who only believe in ghosts, not God) know the demons can and do prey on the innocent living by creating images and sounds based on real horrors of history. Sometimes they “borrow” personalities to get attention and thus, wreak havoc. Ask anyone who’s had a bad experience with a Ouija board. Don’t assume every image is THE departed in particular.

  • Anna

    I had psychic impressions of my home after being in it a month. I was vaccuming the bathroom and I saw blood everywhere in my mind. I knew it was the kind of blood you have to go to the hospital for. I senced a big fight had happened. I started to feel really sad every time I came home to my house. Prior to moving in to the house I had a spirit wake me p and tell me to remember 4-11. On April 11th in my new home I saw a ORB, yes I saw an ORB change into a full figure of a old lady. She passed into our back yard and dissappeared. Long story short, stuff happens in my house that I cant explain and I just fond out that a son brutally killed his father by beating him to death in this house I call mine. Also that victum’s granddaughter was killed in the road infront of my house. She was hit ny a car. So I Has a pastor pray and bless my house. The activity has increased. I dont have how to research this stuff.

  • Doug W.

    I knew this story from my genealogy work as Betty Oilar was a distant relation of mine. But am writting to tell you the story of a house down the street when I was growing up. The house was built in 1971. The first owner was a divorced Dr. who was finishing his residency. He and two others were killed in a light plane crash. The second owners son developed bone cancer, The third owner was driving in ID hit a patch of black ice and his teen son was killed. The 4th owners were crossing a street to their children’s school for open house when they were both hit by a car – they survived but screwed up. This all occurred over the course of about 20 years. After that I know nothing about the owners. All of the other houses in the neighborhood were fine.

  • Mike O

    Harold was a relative of mine!

  • SN

    This house is for sale, actually it’s in pending status now. I wish I would have one o the open house. But there are photos of it and it looks nice. I wonder if it’s haunted still.

  • T_Kelters

    Hows the water pressure?

  • lisarombach

    I would consider it for the right price, but probably not go through with it

  • da90027

    Interesting reading these comments, I am Derek Anthony who lived at 555 Ave 64 from 64-72. I just recently rode my bike past the house and in broad daylight it does not look creepy at all. Of course alot has changed, new windows, the front yard and wall have been updated. Knowing that my late mother was a shrewd businesswoman I don’t think knowing this ahead of time would have stopped her from buying it. This was an affluent area in 1964 and it still is.


  • Khai Fox

    I was born and raised in a house in which demonic sacrifice and gruesome mutilations occurred many decades before. The house itself was demonically possessed and this defined and was the dominating force throughout my life. I, myself, was spiritually gifted and had spiritual allies to help me defend myself, but my family was vulnerable to possession and extreme violence. The demonic presences in my house destroyed my life and the lives of everyone who lived in it. I only just now rid the house of its evil after years of studying witchcraft and gaining access to advanced techniques. Now I’m here.

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