THE MURDER MANSION
On the night of December 6, 1959, Dr. Harold Perelson, from Los Feliz, California, beat his wife to death with a hammer, severely beat his 18-year-old daughter and then committed suicide by drinking a glass of acid. The murders became a twisted puzzle to the neighbors in Los Feliz. It was not bafflement about the murder themselves; they were easily solved. The real mystery was why the mansion sat empty and untouched – left exactly as it was on the night of violence – for the next fifty years.
No one knows why Dr. Perelson committed his dark deeds. But on the night of December 6, 1959, the wealthy Inglewood heart specialist bludgeoned his wife, Lillian, to death with a hammer and then seriously injured his daughter, Judye, while two other children slept soundly in the house. Judye survived her beating and, although bleeding badly, ran down the hillside to a neighbor’s home at 2471 Glendower Place to ask for help. In the meantime, the two younger children woke up and asked their father about the screaming. Dr. Perelson told them that had only been having a nightmare and should go back to sleep. A few moments later, he drank a glass of acid and died in agony. The police arrived a short time later and all of the Perelson children were removed from the house and eventually, went to live with relatives back east. The motive behind the brutal murder/ suicide was never revealed, although some have speculated that Perelson was in financial trouble.
But that bloody night was not the strangest part of the story…
About a year later, in December 1960, the Perelson’s Spanish-Revival mansion was purchased by Julian and Emily Enriquez through a probate auction. And while the couple, who lived in Lincoln Heights at the time, visited the mansion on occasion and even stored some things in the house, they never moved out – and they never removed any of the Peterson’s belongings. In fact, it was left exactly as it had been on the night when Perelson killed his wife and committed suicide. Curiosity-seekers, and even some reporters, who peered through the dusty windows stated that not only was the Perelson’s furniture, dishes, books and clothing still in the same place where it had been left, even the Christmas tree and unopened gifts were still in the living room.
The mansion, which was built in 1925 and was quite beautiful in the days before its slow decline, boasts four large bedroom, three bathrooms, a conservatory, maid’s quarters, a large ballroom and a sweeping view of Los Angeles. Over time, though, the house has fallen into disrepair. Neighbors do what they can to keep the grounds in order and a burglar alarm has been installed to keep away intruders, but other than that, the house remains frozen in time.
But the lingering question remains with many – is it truly empty?
It’s no surprise that rumors have spread about the house being haunted. Trespassers who have attempted to enter the house have left, muttering about “ghosts.” A friend of some neighbors who lived nearby was bitten by a black widow spider when she broke into the house on a “Nancy Drew moment.” Two nights later, the alarm on the back door at the neighbor’s kept going off without explanation. There was no one there. “It was like the ghost was following us,” the neighbor later remarked.
A few years ago, the city required current owner Rudy Enriquez to replace stucco that had peeled from the sides of the house and front walkway walls and repaint the place. Enriquez inherited the mansion when his mother died in 1994. Since then, he has been approached many times by potential buyers but has steadfastly refused to sell. He tells everyone he hasn't decided what he wants to do with the property.
Enriquez, a 77-year-old retired music store manager who lives in the Mount Washington area, said he remains uncertain about his plans. He told a newspaper that he has no interest in staying or living in the house – although that lack of interest has nothing to do with the mansion’s violent past, he said.
So, why does the once beautiful home remain a time capsule to the rampage that took place there in 1959? No one knows. But it is a haunted place. If not haunted by ghosts, then haunted by the tragedy that occurred within its walls.
When the police found Dr. Perelson lying dead next to his wife’s blood-soaked bed, he was still clutching the hammer that he had beaten her with. On a nightstand next to his bed, detectives found an open copy of Dante's "Divine Comedy” with a passage clearly marked...
"Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost . . .” it read, perhaps defining the dark struggle that had taken place within the mind of the man who killed murder.