HOMES that once boasted of luxury but have now crumbled into decay, hold an air of mystery for most of us.
Earlier this week, pictures emerged of an abandoned house in London with a Bentley still parked on the drive, which used to belong to a Greek property tycoon who vanished with his family.
Empty since 2016, the house was recently discovered by a photographer, who found toiletries still littering the bathroom and dirty dishes stacked in the kitchen, suggesting the occupants left in a hurry.
While the mystery of why the family fled is still unknown, many homes found in similar conditions have been abandoned for tragic and sinister reasons.
An eerie stone castle in Scotland which used to be a mental institution stands is one, while a stunning mansion in Los Angeles hides the blood-soaked past of a doctor who attempted to murder his whole family.
Here we reveal the shocking stories behind the multi-million pound houses that no-one wants to live in.
Los Feliz 'Murder Mansion'
Dr Harold Perelson was a successful physician, with a wife and three children, when he moved into a Spanish style mansion in the sought-after Los Feliz neighbourhood in Los Angeles.
But on the night of December 6, 1959, at 4.30am, Perelson bludgeoned his sleeping wife Lillian, 42, to death with a hammer before attempting to murder his three kids.
After killing Linda, he walked calmly into his 18-year-old daughter Judye's room and attempted to smash her skull.
Unlike her mother, Judye screamed after the first blow, loud enough to wake her younger brother and sister Debbie and Joel.
Perelson told Debbie to go back to sleep, saying she was having a nightmare, but in the chaos Judye managed to escape and alert the neighbours, who called the police.
Police found the two younger children waiting, unharmed, in the lobby and Perelson lying dead beside his blood-soaked wife, having overdosed.
Two years after the murder-suicide, the house was sold to a couple named Julian and Emily Enriquez, who never moved in.
Their son Rudy inherited the property, in 1984, but told the LA Times in 2009: “I don’t know that I want to live there or even stay here,” adding that he used it for "storage".
Those who were brave enough to peak inside the house – estimated to be worth £1.9m – report a household stuck in the 1950s, complete with the original TV and Christmas presents brightly wrapped and left untouched ever since.
The house was recently cleared before being put on the market.
Scotland's abandoned asylum
Lennox Castle in Scotland was built in 1812 for John Kincaid Lennox but in the 1930s, it was converted into an asylum for the mentally ill.
Reports of squalid conditions and cruel treatment of patients began to leak out as the institution, built for 120, became grossly overcrowded and conditions were described as “wretched and dehumanising”.
In 1956, a fight between patients turned into a full-blown riot causing staff and inmates to flee.
Eight men barricaded themselves in, setting fire to the building and pelting firemen, who came to tackle the blaze, with a volley of missiles.
By the 1980s Dr Alasdair Sim, the hospital’s Medical Director at the time, said he had never worked in a “worse pit”, adding that he was “sick to the stomach about the plight of these poor people”
Former patients have told of being hit with baseball bats and forced to run round the castle barefoot as punishment for not calling staff "sir".
Those who attempted to run away were drugged, locked up in isolation for up to six weeks and refused visitors.
The hospital was vacated by the 1980s and officially closed in 2002. There are now plans to convert the building into flats.
Tragedy of millionaire designer’s £3m castle
When David Abercrombie, founder of Abercrombie and Fitch, built a castle in New York state, he and wife Lucy Cate named it Elda Castle – after their four children Elizabeth, Lucy, David, and Abbott.
But the family home, which sits in 49 acres of land and boasted 25 rooms, including servants' quarters, would become blighted with tragedy.
A year after its completion in 1928, the couple's daughter, Lucy, died in a chemical explosion at her father's nearby factory.
In 1931, at the age of 64, David Sr. died of rheumatic fever and six years later, David Jr. was killed in an accident.
After her husband died, Lucy Cate went to live with oldest daughter, Elizabeth, in New Jersey, until her own death in 1955.
Elda sat empty for years and was attacked by vandals who poured paint on the marble floors and set fire to parts of the building.
It was eventually sold, last year, for £2.9m.
Italian countess murdered at summer house
Known as the "House of Witches" the imposing Villa de Vecchi, near Lake Como in Italy, dates back to 1854-1857.
Built as a summer house for Count Felix De Vecchi and his family, the stunning villa boasted priceless wall frescoes and 13,000 acres of land.
But five years after it was completed, in 1862, the Count came home to discover his wife had been brutally murdered and his daughter was missing.
He spent a year searching for his daughter before, in despair, he took his own life.
His brother lived in the house until the First World War but it was then left empty.
An attempt to sell in the 1960s failed, partly due to its reputation as Italy's most haunted house.
In 2002, an avalanche destroyed all the houses in the area but the villa remained standing.
The Minxiong Ghost House
The Liu family mansion, in Taiwan, had been abandoned since the 1950s when the wealthy family fled abruptly.
Local legend has it that the family's maid was having a secret affair with her employer, Liu Rong-yu.
When rumours about spread, and Liu's wife found out about the romance, the maid was consumed by shame and jumped down a well.
Some claim the family fled after the ghost of the girl came back, every night, to haunt them.
A few years later, the property was occupied by members of the Chinese political party, Kuomintang (KMT), who fled to Taiwan to escape persecution.
Many were said to have taken their own lives at the property, adding to its spooky reputation.
£3m Cheshire mansion blighted by bloodshed
Oakleigh, a five bedroom mansion in the most affluent part of Cheshire, was a spacious Victorian home set in two acres.
But the former home of lawyer Christopher Lumsden sat vacant for over a decade after he killed his wife in the master bedroom.
Lumsden stabbed 53-year-old wife Alison over 30 times in the face and neck, in 2006, after she told him she was leaving him for a family friend.
After pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, he served just two and a half years in jail.
The house was bought by a property developer in 2007 but buyers were put off by its grim past.
It is believed the house has now been renamed and put up for sale, at £3m.
Cults and murder on Billionaire's Row
The most notorious empty mansions are those in what's known as London's 'Billionaire's Row', mainly owned by foreign investors who leave them empty as the price soars.
But Bishops Avenue – where the average house price is £7.5m – has seen its fair share of drama, with a murder, squatter and a paedophile cult in its history.
In the 1970s Kingsdene, one of the mansions on the Hampstead street, was a commune for the Children of God, who later became the Family International.
Squatting there after a property developer supporter went bust, they allegedly ran a rental TV scam from the property, but other activities within the cult were far more sinister.
Last year we told how founder David Berg put 12-year-old girls on a "sex schedule", making them sleep with different men every night, and sent teenagers on "flirty fishing" expeditions to recruit new members.
Boys, including late star River Pheonix, were reportedly abused from the age of four.
In 1984, in nearby Heath Lodge, 40-year-old Greek fashion mogul Aristos Constantinou was shot with six silver bullets in the family chapel.
Wife Elena claimed the couple had been ambushed by raiders after returning from a New Year's Eve party and that she escaped out of a bathroom window.
Constantinou paid £400,000 for the property shortly before his death and now it's estimated to be worth £6.7m.
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