Evaluating Satan worshiping’s effects on real estate
Plenty of people have had some strange living situations, from incompetent landlords, fixer-upers that never quite seem to get fixed and beyond. But what about properties affixed with a legacy of ghosts and murder?
They came to the Las Vegas mansion in waves, chasing tales of ghosts and murder. Some came to gawk or snap photos in front of its black metal gate. Others came to worship Satan. Thrill seekers broke in and drew pentagrams and carved upside-down crosses throughout the house.
The vandals came after “Ghost Adventures” featured the mansion on an episode that warned of a “nasty, evil spirit” that lurked inside. The homeowner fumed and sued. He wanted the Travel Channel show to pay damages.
Simply bring in Randall Bell, a real estate appraiser whose entire career is focused around evaluating stigmatized property, but the aforementioned Satanic-associated haunts to the World Trade Center site and areas damaged during the Rodney King riots.
Read the full story, possible mob hit site renovations and all, in our latest Column One feature.
Photos: Isaac Brekken for the Times
Nino Frediani: The world’s fastest, and most secretive, juggler
Frediani has performed for decades, entertaining crowds across the world with his skill and dexterity. But across those decades, he was hiding something from his audiences.While he hurled knives and torches with expert aim, no one watching knew one simple fact.
Frediani is legally blind.
Born with chronic dystrophy of the optic nerve, he cannot drive and follows a mnemonic system to recall the location of objects at home — a razor in the bathroom or the wine-opener in the kitchen — because things even a few feet from his face fade into a blur.
And so no one knew his secret, not his audience, not many partners or friends, until just a few years ago when he revealed it to the world:
"I never wanted to be treated as a handicapped person," he says. "I don’t act blind. It comes from my circus roots — we’re all pretty tough people. I wanted to be known as a fast juggler, not a blind one."
Read more of John M. Glionna’s story, and find out how Frediani became such a master of his craft, here.
Photos: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
The incredible devotion of Douglas Kanai
What would you do to open your own temple? Ask a religious leader for permission? Go it on your own? How about enduring a 100 day trial to prove your fortitude and devotion to your faith?
Buddhist Douglas Kanai, seen above, is the first American to pass the 700-year old, and sometimes lethal, Nichiren test, and now has his own temple in Las Vegas.
His days began at 2:30 a.m., ended at 11:45 p.m. and consisted largely of kneeling and chanting for hours upon hours, with just rice gruel keeping him going.
From Kathie Quinn, who drove to L.A. to watch him recreate the ceremony:
"Only he knows the torture he endured, but it seems worse than any military boot camp. From what I understand, you need that kind of trauma to see what he saw — the good and the bad of his soul.”
Photo: John M. Glionna / Los Angeles Times
Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas tilts toward nostalgia: The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas has its winners and its winners: the visitors who play the games love the chance to enjoy them again, and their quarters benefit charity.
Photo: Two visitors enjoy one of the vintage machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
From life on the streets to life as a mom: After a cycle of crack cocaine and prostitution in Las Vegas, Michelle Mitchell works to build a new life for herself — and for the children she’s still getting to know.
This is harrowing:
Mitchell jumped to Nov. 14, 2009. That night, when she started to crawl into a car, the driver gave her the creeps. Then she noticed his passenger seat was covered in plastic. “And I knew if I got in that car he was gonna kill me.”
Photo: Michelle Mitchell waits for her graduation ceremony from the Women In Need court program in Las Vegas. The program provides counseling, rehab, job training and other support to repeat prostitutes. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times
child prostitute…jail cell….does not compute.
The girls are detained for two weeks. In that time, they meet with Marisela Quintero, the county’s only social worker for child prostitutes: “Success was measured by how long Quintero could keep them away from the pimps. The more time spent in group homes or with supportive relatives, the better the odds that they wouldn’t sprint back to the streets.”
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Hostages of child prostitution: Las Vegas social worker Marisela Quintero tries to help girls who have all but sold their souls to pimps. Some run even when offered a way out. Others wind up dead.
Photo: A 17-year-old girl reads a Danielle Steel novel in her cell at the Clark County Detention Center for juveniles. “My quota — I had to at least make between $500 and $800 dollars a day. If I didn’t, I had to stay out until I did,” she said. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Turning the sidewalk into a stage: Street performers on the Strip jostle for space with promoters, peddlers and pedestrians. County officials recently announced a plan to tame the space, but for now, it’s anyone’s game.
Photo: Michael Jackson impersonator Chris Gardener and Elvis impersonator Tony Gallardo ply their trade with a tourist while Elvis impersonator Robrigo Gonzalez, right, watches. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
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The Sahara - 1971 (via L.A. Times)
Photo credit: Sahara Hotel and Casino
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