(What follows is a craigslist blurb I posted advertising a room to rent in NYC, and some of the 50+ responses...)
Great, Huge room for cheap! - Bedford Ave L - $350/month!
I'm writing today with an excellent offer on a HUGE room in the coolest neighborhood in Brooklyn: Williamsburg!
The apartment is a two-bedroom located on North 5th street and Driggs, one block away from all the great shops, venues, restaurants and bars on Bedford Avenue, and three blocks from the Bedford L-Train. Only one stop from downtown Manhattan!
The room itself is quite large – 12x13, with one large window looking south. Because we are separated from the main drag, the streets are quiet at night, and your room is very private. What's more, it comes furnished with a queen-sized bed and an antique oak bureau. Our living room and kitchen are spacious and sunlit, and I have a big-screen entertainment system pre-installed (big plus for movie buffs!)
I'm asking $350 per month, which includes all utilities. Move-in would be anytime between now and September 1st.
If you're like everyone else I've told, you're probably wondering why the price is so low. Well, here's the deal:
The last five people to live in the room have died.
I promise this is not a joke. While I'm not a superstitious person, it's only fair for me to tell you. If I didn't, my neighbor Frank would. He's very gullible, and because of the strange circumstances, he's become convinced the room is cursed. Not only that, but he can be very passionate on the subject, and has dissuaded a number of my potential roommates. My friends won't touch the place, despite the great deal.
Again, I think this is all hogwash, and anyone who believes in curses or ghosts needs to re-think their world view. Nevertheless, in the interest of full disclosure, here are the details of the last five roommates. In my opinion, the stories themselves prove that NOTHING strange is going on.
Roommate 1: This was my first roommate, my best friend from college. He signed the lease with me. Everything was fine for several months, until he was hit by an errant taxi while visiting his girlfriend in Manhattan. Total fluke accident, could happen to anyone. He managed to struggle home, half-conscious, before dying in the room. His girlfriend was fine.
Roommate 2: His name was Pedrag, and he came from Serbia. We actually met at my work. He had barely unpacked when he received word from home that his brother was ill, and had to return. The day before he was supposed to come back to the states, he fell prey to street violence and was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Personally, I don't count this, because we all know that Serbia is a very violent section of the world. It was not smart for him to be on the streets like that.
Roommate 3: Another college friend whom I was trying to help out, despite his history of depression. I don't like to talk about this, but after everything was seemingly going well, I came home to find him hanging from a noose in his room. Again, this was more due to his psychiatric depression than anything else. It was at this point that Frank became convinced the room was cursed. Getting a new roommate became real tough.
Roommate 4: This was a random stranger who needed a place for a month. Turned out he was a drug dealer, and got knifed in Bedford-Stuyvesant when he couldn't pay up in a deal gone wrong. I still have his futon, and would sell it to you at low cost if you want a couch in your room.
Roommate 5: This was one of my younger sister's friends who'd just graduated from college. I admit this incident was slightly strange. I was away for the weekend, and on Saturday morning she was found dead in the grass outside the window, which had been smashed. Everyone thought it was a break-in, but the fire department determined the window had been broken from the inside, and the door hadn't been opened. Nobody's been convicted, and the official story is that she went nuts and banged her head through the window, severing the carotid artery. Personally, I think that's bunk. It was probably an angry boyfriend or something. She was quite promiscuous. That was three weeks ago.
So you can see, those incidents were all COINCIDENCES! I mean, three of the people weren't even in the room when they died. I don't see how anyone could believe in the "curse" nonsense.
But as I said, it's been impossible to get a roommate, so I've had to lower the rent considerably just to get any money at all. Normally, a place like this would go for over $1,000. If you're interested in jumping on this great deal, please send me an e-mail. Tell a bit about yourself, and convince me you won't bolt the first time you get freaked out and hear a noise or something. I'd rather not have to find a new roommate right away.
Please also tell me what kind of music you like.
Note: This is a SERIOUS posting. Please don't take the memory of my roommates lightly in your response. Thank you.
I must say I was a little freaked out of your story about the room and your roommates. Though I'm not a very superstitious person it did give me chills. However I'm someone who believes in having his faith in his own hands. So I thought I might as well reply to your great deal.
I am sorry to hear about the passing of your roommates.
I am very interested in the room you have for rent. I would love to
speak to you about it and make plans to come check it out. I agree
with you that the passing of your roommates is nothing more than
coincidence. I don't believe in curses.
I am interested in possibly taking the haunted room. I am not superstitious, but it is kind of creepy that two people died in the room recently, but the price is right. Let me know if it is still available.
Look, I am really looking for a place, if this is some gay art project or school assignment BS please do not waste my time. I don’t wanna be on some new MTV show either, so please fuck off if that is the case.
Good luck with your apartment- that is a horrible story.
I'm writing to inquire if you'd be interested a documentary short on the subject of your apartment and that room? I've worked on and shot several docs, and would jump at the opportunity to interview you, and to find out if the room is truly cursed. I promise the piece would be respectful and considerate of the last five roommates.
i'm not superstitious, but i do believe in ghosts. i
find the story unsettling, especially the last
roommate. really unsettling. i'm sorry that this
strange plague has been visited on you, i hope that
the next roommate breaks whatever it is.
i like brasilian music, cuban, a lot of electronic,
lounge, blues, some jazz, experimental, etc.
What a funny thing. By some chance all of my previous
roommates have died under mysterious circumstances.
How strange and wonderful the workings of fate must be
to bring us together.
I don't really like music. What's the point in
listening to a song more than once? By that time
you've heard it already.
I feel you're offer will allow me to live on the edge a little (j/k). Honestly-seems like you have all had a terrible time lately, so I feel for you. I couldn't be depressed if I tried-with rent that low! Seriously, if I like the place, I would be willing to pay more than $350; I'm looking for long-term and I want to pay closer to my fair share.
i don't believe in ghosts
i'm a romantic violin player who is staying till april 30th
i don't practice, i just play for the public
my money comes from the french government
ok so i read your post about the room for rent and i have mixed feelings!
it is a great price-i am a 22 year old fresh art school graduate and female looking to live in williamsburg starting september 1st for atleast a year and for the least amount of money possible.
i must admit however i do not believe in ghosts, but the stories of your roomates are incredible and are a little too coincidental. i am sorry!
By the way, if you haven’t already you might want to ask older neighbors in the building if there’s a story that might explain the situation. I’m sure the police would have a record of past incidences, if you’ve a mind to follow them up. Could prove to be interesting.
"Mr. Single" says...
do u have a phone number?
I just saw your ad on craigslist. I was wondering if
it might be possible for me to go see the "haunted
room". I'm really sorry about your loss, but to be
perfectly honest I'm not supertitious AT ALL. As
long as you are not a serial killer who murdered your
past roommates, i'm up to give it a try.
Jeez man, those are pretty horrific tales of the room. My question is:
Are YOU all right? I've been through some wild things myself but
nothing could compare to that sort of thing. My heart goes out to you.
Hi! My wife and I are interested in the room you have available. As far as the room curse goes, we'll chance it. Even if we did believe it
was cursed, it's such a great location that we'd probably take it anyway! My
wife stayed on Bedford and N. 4th last winter, and it's an absolutely
fantastic neighborhood. We dreamed about finding a place there she/we could
afford, so this sounds just great.
hi i m maximo
i m a student of academy of fine art! i m italian
and your room is fantastic for my claims!!
i m interesting for to schedule an appointment
tell me if for you is good and where is possible the appointment!!
I'm not sure where to begin, but without sounding demonstrative, I would like to help you reframe your ad to get more responses. I'm sure you'll find someone anyway, but if you want some input from a writer/ editor read on:
I would reframe the entire death explanation. First of all, I am truly sorry for all your losses, no matter how close they were (or not), it's still incredibly stressful.
I would not mention the deaths of several people who died outside of the home, even if Frank winds up mentioning it later on. The reason is that (practically speaking) there is a lot less gravity in explaining that a drug dealer who you barely knew got killed on the street than trying to convey the suicide of a roomate in the bedroom. Also the guy in Serbia can be left out, respectfully. The suicide could be more difficult but I feel this is more a question of whether you would feel personally guilty not telling prospective roomates about this, as opposed to telling them just on principle. When you consider it in this way, if you and your roomate get to be friends later on down the line, you can always share your personal stories and tell them that a roomate committed suicide, without going into where and how. But again, this has a lot more to do with what you feel is right/your conscience than it does with principles/standards that you may not even agree with. I agree it's important to be forthcoming but this does not always mean totally explicit in every sense.
Hey there, I believe in ghosts, but I'm not too worried, I have a Vietnamese aunt who is a professional Buddhist exorcist/psychic so I can ask her to come by and bless the place. It's all good.
Hey man I'm Joe,
It sounds like you've had quite a messed up time in your home. It's admirable that you choose to stick around. Please consider me completely unafraid and eager to be the end of a very bad story.
I was cruising craigslist and was heavenly surprised to find a room in williamsburg. When I read through all the horror stories of your roomies I spat out my artifical fruity flavored yogurt and realized this is a perfect place for me! One, I'm a morbid asshole (female, 24 years old originally from ukraine) who has a fair collection of photographs depicting freak accidents on the beltparkway stowed away in my basement apartment right now. Perhaps I can show you mine if you show me some photos of your roomies? How many other roommates do you have in the apartment? The deal sounds really good. And quite frankly, i don't care if I die, i'm suicidal anyway.