“Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”
– Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto I
In early morning chill of December 6, 1959, Dr. Harold Perelson was found unresponsive at his sprawling 2475 Glendower Place home. He was lying in his blood-soaked bed next his wife Lillian, who he had just bludgeoned to death with a ball-peen hammer. The doctor had attempted to murder his 18-year-old daughter Judye as well, but she survived his blows. Even with a massive head wound Judye was able to crawl up the backyard steps.
“Go back to bed. This is a nightmare,” Perelson told his 13-year-old daughter Debbie when she got up to check on the noises. Debbie and her 11-year-old brother Joel weren’t attacked.
Before the police could arrive Perelson swallowed a handful of pills, believed to be Nembutals and tranquilizers, and drifted off to a death more peaceful than he’d given his wife. Some reports claim he drank a cup of acid, which would not have been a pleasant suicide, but the most convincing reports cite pills as his cause of death. Police found a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, opened to Inferno, Canto I, near his body. Whether or not he was reading this before his deranged frenzy is just one of the many mysteries surrounding the Los Feliz Murder Mansion.
Another mystery, of course, is why he did it. Police found a letter Judye had written an aunt that revealed her family was under financial strain and that she was looking for a job. According to neighbors, the wealthy cardiologist had been decimated by legal bills. He’d sued over the rights of a medical device he helped developed, but only received a meager payout that didn’t cover his lawyer fees. Just the previous year his children had been involved in a car accident, and he sued the other driver. Again, the settlement paid medical bills but did not cover the expenses of filing the suit. Money is frequently an issue in murder-suicides involving families, but usually, the murderous parent kills the entire family because he thinks he’s saving them from a life of misery. Perelson seems to have had a change of heart in the middle of his rampage. He’d already taken so much from his children at that point, but he left them with their lives.
For nearly 60 years after this horrific family violence, The Los Feliz Murder Mansion stood, to the knowledge of neighbors, unlived in; a horrific time capsule mostly untouched except for a coating of dust and the minor disturbances of neighbors and trespassers. The house stayed empty because its owners Emily and Juan Enrique, who bought the house soon after the murder-suicide, never moved in. They did use it for storage, and there have been rumors that they briefly rented it out (as you’ll read below, subsequent owner Rudy Enrique may have claimed to have lived there a while himself) but for decades, the 5,000 square-foot house has mostly stayed empty. In 1994 Emily Enrique died and left the house to her son Rudy, who also refused to move in.
Curiosity seekers have ventured onto the property to peek in windows, often coming back with eerie photographs. For a time, onlookers could see through a window a 1950s television set and Christmas ribbons and wrapping paper left on a bench; an unstaged abandoned moment, a living snapshot of a present past.
Some of the objects inside the house make it evident that, despite the legend of stasis, the house has been touched and rearranged since that horrific night in 1959. A May 1960 edition of Life magazine can be seen as some of the photos from over the years, as well as a can of ShaghettiOs, which wasn’t introduced to the market until 1965. Things like this could not have been left behind by the Perelsons, but the abandoned house still has remnants of the Perelsons. One former neighbor told the New York Daily News that she once snuck in and found that the nameplate on the light switch in one of the daughters’ room still had her name on it.
Ghost seekers flock to the house, bringing their own ghosts with them. One woman infused haunted meaning into a black widow spider bite she received while visiting the property; another claimed to have a sensation of being followed after she left. Talking to the LA Times in 2009, Rudy Enrique said that while he would never live there, he didn’t see the place as haunted, “The only spooky thing there is me.”
In 2013 a Find A Death forum member reported having this conversation with Rudy Enrique:
“This is where it get’s interesting, and don’t read on if you want to continue to believe all of the folklore and myths about the house that have somehow started. I decided to ask him a few questions I was curious about. Keep in mind that neither of us ever mentioned the murder/suicide there in 1959. First, I asked him if he had the original blueprints to the house. He said he did. I told him that I have heard that the house had been vacant for over 50 years, and no one lived there since 1959. That is where he showed the first signs of frustration. He said that was baloney, that he and his mother, father, and Aunt Virginia had lived in the house a number of years. I told him I also heard that much of Dr. Perelson’s famiy belongings (such as furniture, dishes, unwrapped presents, the infamous SpagehttiOs box) were left with the house when his family bought it. He said that also was not true, those were his family’s possessions and all of the previous owner’s items were removed. I referenced the bright yellow chairs sitting in the living room specifically, and he told me that he did not even buy those, but that in fact he inherited them from friends, and he mentioned he was 81 and many of his friends were passing away and he would get some of their possessions. Lastly, I asked him what he plans to do with the house. He told me he did not know, because if he decided to move back in, it would take a lot of remodeling and he did not know if he had it in him to do that as his stage of life. He did acknowledge that he had heard the property was probably quite valuable.”
Rudy Enrique, who was in his 80s, passed away last year (2015) and this March the infamous house went up for sale. It’s asking price is $2.75 million, which is below similar houses in the area because of its stigmatized history and lack of care over the past 60 years. It will more than likely be torn town by its new owners.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please show your support by sharing this link. You can also support this blog and help it keep running by contributing to Patreon. Every share and/or cent are much appreciated!