feng shui and murder

Linette and I just took a little walk around town and discovered something pretty interesting. The former house of John Norman Collins, the so-called Michigan Murderer, has changed orientation. Sitting at the corner of Emmet Street and College Place, the front door used to face College Place. Now, however, it faces Emmett. Between that, some new siding, and a few replacement windows, it looks like a completely different place.

I didnt think much of it at first, but then, as we got a few steps away from the house, it occurred to me that it might not be all that easy to sell the home of a well-known and prolific serial-killer. (John Norman Collins killed as many as nine women between 1967 and 1970.) Maybe Im reading too much into this rehab project, but it seems to me that changing the front door would not only change the look of the place, but also the mailing address. Pretty ingenious, huh? Now, when potential homebuyers go and do their property searches, they wont find stories of the co-ed killer and the evidence that was apparently removed from the charming little home.

I wonder if this might make a good show for one of those home-repair networks. Every week they could go to another infamous murder house, filling in bullet holes, washing up blood, creatively changing addresses, etc. Hell, you could even move the houses. Who would ever suspect that they could be moving into the house where the Manson Murders took place in a suburb of Atlanta!

Actually, according to the accepted version of the Collins story no women were killed in that home. Collins lived there, and souvenirs were kept there, but thats apparently about it. (There is another house here in Ypsi, however, one that belonged to his aunt and uncle, where one murder did take place. The others, from what I can tell, were done either in his car, in wooded areas around here, or in abandoned farmhouses.)

John Norman Collins turned this town upside down in the late 60s and hes still a local boogeyman to some extent. People still talk about him, telling stories of their close calls, pointing out the house where he lived, talking about the girls he killed. Its hard to erase or forget something this evil. I guess its good to try though.

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5 Comments

  1. Bob
    Posted January 5, 2005 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    JNC also lived at the old Theta Chi house at 603 W. Cross. He was kicked out of the frat for stealing from brothers. His pic was even cut out of the members composite picture. Years later members occassionaly used the line “Be a Thet, kill your date.”

  2. mark
    Posted January 5, 2005 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    … I need to post something else about JNC. An author recently got in touch with me who is working on a book about him and he wanted to know if I knew anyone who who had stories about him. I said I’d put the word out on my site, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think this anecdote of yours is exactly the kind of thing he was looking for.

  3. Posted April 20, 2005 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Wow… thanks. I now live at the house at Emmet and College Place and subsequently will never sleep again. I just found out about the murders today and I guess now I know who spray painted the swastika on the basement wall next to the Theta Chi letters.

  4. mark
    Posted April 20, 2005 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Steven, if it helps you sleep any easier, I don’t believe there’s evidence that any murders took place there. It’s been a while since I’ve read up on the “Michigan Murders,” but I think the only reason that house is significant is because some evidence was found there… and, of course, he lived there. Hopefully, that’s some consolation.

    If you have photos of the basement, send them in. I’d be curious to see them.

  5. Sandee Rodriguez
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Ok, I know I’m reading this way after it was published, but about 2 years ago I took a road trip and went to each site where they found a body. It was an errie and eye opening experience. Mark, my husband, Rob Rodriguez is in contant with you often. He frequents your site.

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