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Alisa Rabinovich, haunted florist extraordinaire, tells us about an Arizona haunted house (it’s actually quite a crazy house) that she keeps finding herself drawn back to. Or something within that house is drawn to her; it’s not entirely clear.

On this episode, we hear about the weird house in Tucson that Alisa tried to buy. Bizarrely, this house might have also injected a haunting into her own home. Is it possible for a ghost to follow you home? Because after spending some time in this clearly haunted real estate, Alisa and her roommate started being awoken at the Witching Hour by hands poking and gripping their bodies and trying to pull them off of their beds!

About the Guest

Today’s guest Alisa is the owner of Galleria Florist in Falls Church, VA. She describes her floral artwork as “not your mother’s flower shop”. She can deck you out for any event where customized, modern, beautiful floral displays are appropriate. Seriously, they cater flower arrangements to events all over the United States! So please check her out regardless of where you live.

Alisa Rabinovich, our guest who purchased an Arizona Haunted House
Alisa Rabinovich, owner of Galleria Florist

Arizona Haunted House

Before moving to Virginia, Alisa has lived all over the world. Originally from Uzbekistan, she’s lived in Italy and Latvia, in addition to Tucson, AZ, where her most “memorable” haunting took place.

What attracts us to crazy houses?

Don’t you just love crazy houses? By crazy houses, we mean personal dwellings where the architecture seems straight out of a dream, or even a nightmare. Of course large event centers and skyscrapers invite artful interpretations of form. But when there’s a house in the middle of a very vanilla neighborhood that just lets its freak flag fly for all to see, we are naturally ravenous to know more about it.

Crazy houses can take infinite forms. There may be stairs that lead to nowhere, like you’d find in the Winchester Mystery House in California. The structure could be octagonal and built out of scraps, like Becky’s grandpa’s house in Florida. A walk through the house could mimic a hike through the woods, like the Cave House in Tulsa.

Alisa’s crazy house love is an ex-boarding house from 1916—which turned out to be an Arizona haunted house. The house she spent weeks trying to figure out how to buy and get up to code was originally a boarding house for railroad and city development construction workers. It has also been sold off about 5 times in the past 4 years, if that tells you anything about how fun it isn’t to live there.

We refer to it as a “crazy house” because it had doorways to nowhere, staircases for no reason, and just generally senseless architecture. We’re picturing a suburban middle class version of the Winchester Mystery House. We imagine for the average house-buyer, these features would be a turnoff. But for us, they just increase the mystique. Which actually also increases the home’s value for us weirdoes.

Is it reasonable to assume that most of these crazy houses are likely to be at least sort of haunted? After all, if the living are dying to know what’s inside…

Should the first person to enter your new home be a cat?

If you subscribe to our newsletter, you already know that the first person to enter your home on New Year’s Day (aka the quaaltagh) should ideally be a tall, dark, handsome dude. Also after your wedding, you may want to carry your new spouse over the threshold for the first time. But what about the very first person to enter your new home, either after you build it or after you buy it?

Alisa taught us about the custom of letting a cat into your house before you move in. Specifically, she said, if you have a cat already. Don’t get a cat just for scoping out your new house; that’s nearly as crazy as bricking one into a wall. But you could maybe borrow a highly social adventure cat from a neighbor or local family member for this exercise. Hell, in Diana’s neighborhood, she could just leave the door ajar, open a can of tuna, and wait.

What’s with this crazy custom of letting a cat into your new house?

This isn’t just a lucky tradition, like a quaaltagh. The cat serves a very specific purpose. In fact, besides mousing, this may be the second main purpose domestic cats serve for humans. Alisa explained that you should let your cat in to explore the new empty home first. Kitty can give you a free feng-shui consult simply by meandering from room to room and reacting to energies.

Apparently, all you have to do is follow the cat and take notes. Where does she quietly groom herself, peacefully curl up, or shriek while doing hardcore parkour off the walls? For example, let’s say that the cat flops down and lounges in one spot for a bit. That might indicate a relaxing spot for your sofa. But if the cat walks into a space only to howl once and then dart out and disappear down the hallway, maybe call that the guest room.

So before you move your furniture in, let the cat in. She’ll decide the coziest place to put the love seat and the most peaceful place to put the bed.

Slavic haunting customs

Eastern Europeans and Russians view ghosts more as freeloading prankster roommates than evil or terrifying. When Alisa consulted her Russian family for advice on what to do about her scary uninvited guest, they recommended entertaining and feeding the ghost instead of trying to get rid of it. This reminds us of another Arizonan whom we’ve interviewed. Actually, multiple guests on our show espouse the belief that one should treat ghosts like roommates.

When Alisa started leaving bread and playing cards out for her ghost in her Arizona haunted house, it became significantly less annoying to her. The bread signified support and nourishment. The playing cards were just for some entertainment, since the dearly departed haven’t done a damned thing since 1782 and need viable options other than messing with the living. Leaving a glass of saltwater under her bed also seemed to help Alisa’s ghost problem. But it also may have just misplaced the ghost temporarily.

Thank you for listening to our show!

These creepy stories from this Arizona haunted crazy house sure gave us a lot to think about! If you’ve lived in a crazy haunted house, submit to tell your story on the next episode of Homespun Haints, so we can have a spooky day together!