The pleasurable effects of browsing real estate online are well-documented. A recently published Surety First survey of over 1,000 Americans found that 55% of respondents spend at least one to four hours a day browsing Zillow, and over 49% said they'd rather browse Zillow than have sex. Comedian Ted Alexandro has a bit about how he and his wife prefer to send one another Zillow and Trulia listings over sexting, and, in February, Saturday Night Live aired a widely shared commercial parody for Zillow.com, aka a "website to satisfy your sexiest fantasies." It's clear that for many, looking at property listings online is satisfying and stimulating, but when you devote multiple hours a week to scouring these sites, you're, unfortunately, bound to run into some listings that have the opposite effect. We recently found one such listing. (Because of legal reasons, we cannot host the pictures on Refinery29.com's servers, but YOU MUST click through while you can and see the images with your own eyes. Then come back, because there's a lot to discuss.)
Located on Big Fish Lake in Cold Spring, MN, this particular listing is all the more horrifying because the first few photos trick you into thinking it's an incredible lakeshore sanctuary, like something that was plucked directly out of your wildest Zillow-fueled fantasy. But those are all exteriors, and who wouldn't be enchanted by wood-and-stone siding, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a wrap-around deck that sensually beckons to you, and inspires daydreams of summers spent sunbathing, barbecuing, and communing with nature in luxurious comfort? All that and lake views? What could be better? Well, maybe an interior that doesn't belong to a serial killer — of animals, but still!
Once you get inside of the massive, 7,458-square-foot house, your property-browsing libido instantly plummets thanks to image after image that are little more than a blur of animal carcasses. Perhaps you've stayed in a cabin before, and are picturing some deer antlers mounted above the fireplace, or perhaps even a stag or boar's head? This is not that run-of-the-mill (if still vaguely disturbing) rustic-chic lake house decor. Instead, the dead bodies of animals are not only hanging from the home's walls and ceilings, they're also staged on the floor, with some of their body parts hacked up and Frankensteined together to form various pieces of furniture. Of the 69 photos on Zillow of this home's interior, 38 of them are stuffed (pun intended) with dead animals. And many of the animals in question are massive, exotic, and questionably legal to hunt — like, there's a polar bear.
There's a lot about real estate in 2021 that will make a person's stomach turn, but, in this case, it isn't the price-tag (though at $1.3 million, it's not exactly a bargain). Far more disturbing are the taxidermied baboons, crocodiles, cheetah, giraffe, wolf, lion, otters, and grizzly bear. This property won't make you think about a relaxing retreat away from the hustle and bustle of your life. Instead, it will send you into a spiral, imagining being held hostage by whatever maniac owns this place, convinced that they probably have a taxidermied human or two that they put in a closet for the listing photos. Even if that's not true, just picture being asked to sit on one of the grotesque elephant foot bar stools underneath a troop of long-dead monkeys suspended on a large branch. Their faces, set in a soundless squawk, peer down at you, begging to be released from this tacky and despicable purgatory. Nearly everything you would usually get excited about in a home is ruined by the appearance of death: The pool table is covered in zebra skin and set up next to an elephant tusk; the sunroom features a coffee table designed around a hippo's head; the fireplace in the master suite is obscured by the absolutely massive skull of an unidentifiable creature.
But what about the few interior photos that don't include murdered animals? Surely, there's the potential for an uptick of good old fashioned escapism for those few spots in this mansion of terrors. Turns out, no — those nooks and crannies are also a total and complete horror show. One of the closets contains a large collection of stuffed animals — and not the kind of stuffed animals that are wedged into the rest of the home. This is an entire wall of shelves filled with white teddy bears wearing various green and red festive accessories like snow flake-adorned mittens, marching band uniforms, and Santa hats. Perhaps the home's monstrous owner sprinkles these teddies amongst their more realistic but equally eerie friends around the holidays, or maybe they just like to have this prison of toys to make them feel powerful — honestly, either scenario tracks. Other non-animal-related, but creepy nonetheless, items scattered throughout this home include a see-through toilet seat and lid (because everyone wishes they could see in more detail what's inside the toilet); a toilet paper holder that's shaped like a gnome holding its nose and is situated between another toilet and an alligator's head; a large cardboard box simply labeled "muzzle"; a collection of several crockpots; and a refrigerator that's so big it looks like it could hold a human body.
Everything about this house is so upsetting that you'd think the realtor would have insisted that the owner clean out all their freaky animal murder trophies before listing the property — or at least spring for a storage unit for the teddy bears and swap out that toilet seat. Well, turns out, the listing agent did acknowledge the absurdity of some of the home's features in a video posted to his Facebook page. After introducing the property as "one of the most pristine West-facing Sandy Beach homes in Central Minnesota" through voiceover, the agent goes on to say, "What's the catch? Well, there may be just one. The current owner is an avid outdoorsman, and we get it, for some of you, this may be a perfect fit, but for others, not so much. Well, that's where a little creativity and vision can play a huge role." The video then shows viewers what the home could look like without the clutter of carcasses: namely, four spacious bedrooms, five bathrooms, a chef's kitchen, jacuzzi, sauna, fire pit, and many more amenities.
Still, it seems not everyone needs that simulated redesign to get their jollies off this property. One Facebook commenter wrote, "Who kills and stuff a giraffe for their living room?" and another replied, "Looks awesome!" Perhaps the fact that there is actually a person for whom this particular home is their sexiest Zillow fantasy come-to-life might be the most disturbing part of this whole thing. Or, no, probably it's that closet of teddy bears.