Speed Reads

house of horrors

Thanks to a TV show, woman discovers her house was once a serial killer's lair

No one wants to see their house featured on a documentary about serial killers, but that's exactly what happened to Catrina McGhaw.

McGhaw was shocked when a relative told her to turn on a program about Maury Travis. There on the television screen she saw crime scene photos of her house and even the dining room table she was given by the landlord. It turns out that the home she rented for $810 a month in Ferguson, Missouri, had once been Travis' residence, where he recorded some of his crimes. "The whole basement was his torture chamber and it's not okay," McGhaw told news station KMOV.

This was something that her landlord — who happens to be Travis' mother — never told her, McGhaw says. Immediately, she tried to get out of the lease, but said Sandra Travis wouldn't let her. Travis told KMOV that she told McGhaw about the house's sinister past before she moved in, something McGhaw vehemently denies. As the law stands now, violent crimes, murders, and suicides don't require disclosure when you're buying or renting a house.

The St. Louis Housing Authority has since become involved, and McGhaw will be moving at the end of July. Now that she knows the history of the house, she says she can't stop thinking of an eerie incident that happened when a 2-year-old relative went downstairs and stood near one of the poles where Travis — who killed himself in jail in 2002 — tied up a victim. "She looked over, and she was like, 'She's scared, she's scared,' like she saw somebody that was scared and crying," McGhaw said. "Nobody was there." --Catherine Garcia