From those too-close animal encounters to exploring haunted homes, these stories were some of our favorite picks! We are accepting submissions for our Fall 2021 Appraisal Buzz Magazine. If you have shared a story with us in the past that was never published, please resend it. Have you had a crazy encounter during the pandemic? Well, we want to hear all about it! We are asking for submissions about your wildest appraisal stories! Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first story was originally published in our Fall 2020 Appraisal Buzz Magazine.
I had an appointment at a home in the country out in the woods. The access instructions said the cat MIGHT be caged. Got to the home and the cat was at the front door and hissed at me as I went in. I tried to make friends with the cat, but it didn’t work, so I ignored the cat and started my inspection. As I came out of the first-floor master, he was waiting. Hissing, he lunged at me as I had to use my clipboard as a shield. I ran to the other bedrooms hoping to complete the inspection, but he followed me trying to attack. Thank goodness for clipboards because I was using it to keep this cat from charging me. Next was the basement. As I was down there, I could hear the cat pacing the floor from one side of the home to the other. He got faster and faster. I came up the stairs slowly, knowing he was waiting. Sure enough, there he was. And he was mad, really mad. He was hissing and would stand on his hind legs and lunge at me. I ran to the laundry room that was attached to the garage and finally felt safe as I shut the door behind me. I decided I would shut the garage door and jump the beam to get out and secure the home. So out I went. All was good and I proceeded to the front door to secure the home. Wouldn’t you know it, the cylinder in the lock turned and turned but it was at that point I realized I would have to go back in to lock it from the inside. For those wondering why I did not call the realtor, this home was in the middle of nowhere and I had another appointment to make, so I decided I had no choice but to go back in. He was waiting as I expected. He stood on his hind legs, teeth showing, hissing, and came at me. Once again, I used my clipboard and ran to the laundry room where I was able to shut the door. I was safe. I had to jump the beam again, but I was willing to do anything to get away from this cat. I named him Psycho Kitty.
– Pamela Weirick
This next story was originally published in our Spring 2020 Appraisal Buzz Magazine.
As an appraiser for well over four decades, I have had to value dozens of historic houses, some of which were supposedly haunted. One of these was the home of Grace Sherwood, the infamous “Witch of Pungo.” She was a colorful character, to say the least, and way ahead of her time for the 1690s. She was prosperous, wore trousers, rode astride horses, danced naked in the moonlight, and was well versed in herbal remedies. However, if the pigs sickened and died, the hens wouldn’t lay, or the tobacco crop got washed out by a storm, it was obviously the work of some witch. When a dispute arose with a neighbor over a property line, it was inevitable that she would be accused of witchcraft and hauled into “court.”
In those days, witchcraft trials involved being trussed up, thumbs tied to opposite big toes, and the defendant being thrown overboard into waters previously consecrated by a priest. If the defendant floated, it was proven to be a witch. Conversely, if they sank and drowned, they were innocent. Not only did Grace survive, but she swam around the boat mocking her accusers as well as those on shore. Proven to be a witch, she was thrown in jail until the enlightened Governor Spottswood granted her a full pardon and a hundred acres for the troubles. Grace faded into history, but legend had it that her home in southern Virginia Beach could never be damaged by fire.
Flash forward many centuries, as I had been tasked with appraising the property. Arsonists set a fire on the front porch. The local volunteer fire department, returning from a call-out nearby, happened by at two in the morning and the fire was quickly extinguished. The arsonists returned again a few days later, this time igniting fires at numerous locations throughout the two-story structure. This time though, it was destroyed, but since it was now federal property, a federal arson investigator was called in.
In the crawl space, the investigator found a singed, signed, and dated – the previous day – application for unemployment insurance: An incriminating clue if there ever was one – with the perpetrators name and address clearly legible. It was the investigator’s later testimony that the paper was part of one of the trash piles that had been ignited by the arsonists, but that this had mysteriously fallen through a crack in the floorboards into the crawl space where it survived completely intact. When arrested, the miscreant quickly flipped on his co-conspirators, but since the value of the dwelling was greater than $5,000, it was now a federal felony.
Now, I have testified in dozens of court cases on local, state, and federal levels, but this was one of the shortest trials I have ever been a part of. The conspirators were found guilty on all counts, though the remains of the dwelling were demolished soon thereafter. Was the spirit of Grace Sherwood still around? Try to shove a piece of paper through a crack with just two fingers…
This final story was originally published in our Fall 2019 Appraisal Buzz Magazine.
I was appraising a duplex in Hollywood, California. The front unit was vacant, but there was a tenant in the rear unit. I made an appointment with the tenant and met the real estate agent the next day at the subject property at 9 am. We did a walk–through inspection of the front unit.
Next, we knocked on the door of the rear unit. We could hear all kinds of noises…and then, “just a minute.” The door opened and a young couple was scurrying around the room, picking up and organizing things. However, there was a very large cabinet that was open, displaying an assortment of choke balls, handcuffs, whips, dildos, and a lot more!
We want to hear all about those memorable stories! We are asking for submissions about your wildest appraisal stories for our Fall 2021 Magazine! Send your stories to email@example.com.