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No Place Like Home: Truly Disgusting Houses

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I've lived in a bad apartment or two in my time; most of us have. My worst overlooked the I-10 freeway overpass in Los Angeles, which despite double-paned glass on the windows rattled my ears night and day; worse still, the homeless folk who collected on the adjoining embankment (a mere 10 feet from our "balcony") would hang out, drink, fight, copulate beneath thin blankets and shoot up in broad daylight ... welcome to Hollywood!

The inside of the apartment was considerably better -- and thankfully, you could always close the curtains. Much worse IMHO than an unsightly view out the windows is an unsightly mess inside them -- which is exactly what we'll be looking at today. Partly out of looky-loo fascination, and partly out of some kind of decor schadenfreude, seeing messy houses always makes mine feel cleaner by comparison. These make me feel downright OCD.

Houston's House of Horrors

Recently made famous on Digg, this apartment is either home to the messiest person on Earth, or some kind of ingenious art installation. I mean, just look at the repeating patterns and colors here:

Here are the Landlord's 2 cents:

We had a resident who had an outstanding balance for over a month and no one could get ahold of her. The Bookkeeper went inside after so many tries to leave a note and this is what we found. The pictures do NO justice. There is suppose to be 2 cats living here but we cant find them (we think they're dead somewhere inside the apartment-we contacted the SPCA). The place REEKS to say the least, i gagged non stop.

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I for one am stunned -- and somehow impressed. Firstly that they didn't burn the place down after stubbing out a thousand lit cigarettes on evry available surface, and secondly that owning a trash can seemed like more hassle than being evicted from your apartment.

Scaling the Beer Can Mountains

YouTube user CuddlyPythons uploaded this video of an (attempted) animal rescue from an apartment someone was being evicted from. (They never found the cat in question.) Mind-boggling numbers of empty beer cans fill each room -- the bedroom seems to be entirely devoted to empty boxes of Natural Light and Milwaukee's Best. Amazing.

Rathouse of the Palisades

I blogged a few months ago about a local (LA-based) messy house horror story -- the pestilence in question being not just trash, but rats, fed huge bags of dog food by two elderly sisters for years and years in West LA. When the neighbors noticed rats leaping from the sisters' roof into their yard in large numbers, they tried to get the city to take action; barring that, they threatened the sisters with legal action and publicity until they agreed to hire exterminators. This was the result:

A crew wearing facemasks and hazmat suits emerged pale-faced and sober, as if they had just witnessed the aftermath of a biohazard spill — which, in a way, they had. Scott Denham says they hauled several large garbage bags heavy with dead rats from the bedrooms, kitchen, attic, basement and guesthouse, as the Denhams took photos.

What's the messiest apartment/house/trailer/yurt you've ever been in?

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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