The handsome Spanish Revival mansion at 2475 Glendower Place in wealthy Los Feliz has long been one of Los Angeles's creepiest mysteries. If the story was just that a doctor had killed his wife with a ball-peen hammer, then himself with Nembutal and pills, it'd still get passed around among neighborhood kids. But after the murder-suicide, the house sold and stayed empty for decades—still decorated for Christmas as it supposedly had been on the December night of the murders. It was a lovely house in a desirable neighborhood, abandoned to piles of old trash, thrill-seeking trespassers, and murder mystery bus tours. Now, Jeff Maysh at Medium has dug up the real story of the Los Feliz Murder House, just as its fates might be about to change for the first time since 1959.
The story of the murder-suicide itself is more or less the same one that has been circulating on the internet for ages: at 4:30 in the morning on December 6, 1959, cardiologist Harold Perelson struck his sleeping wife Lillian in the head with a ball-peen hammer, then left her to asphyxiate on her own blood and he went into his teenage daughter Judye's room, where he struck her in the head with the same hammer. The hit was off, though, and Judye started screaming, waking the neighbors with screams of "Don't kill me" as her father told her to "Lay still" and "Keep quiet." Judye escaped, found her mother, then ran out of the house, found a neighbor, and called the police.
Back in the house, when Judye's two younger siblings woke up, her father told them, "Go back to bed. This is a nightmare." Then he took two doses of Nembutal and 31 small white pills "believed to be codeine or a powerful tranquilizer," went to lie down, and was dead before the ambulance arrived.
Internet rumors say there's still a Christmas tree and wrapped presents left in the house from that night in 1959, trespassers have found Spaghetti-Os and Life magazines, and you don't have to look very hard for someone to tell you it's haunted. No one, though, seems to know why Perelson would've committed this horrible act, or why the house would be left to decay for more than 50 years.
Maysh tracks down as much of the story as there may be to track down. A neighbor who was 14 at the time of the murder-suicide says Perelson was "quite a mild-mannered man," but he seemed to be in a lot of financial trouble. A partner had stolen the rights to a medical device he'd come up with and sunk thousands of dollars into developing; he hemorrhaged more money in a long legal battle over the matter, and won only $23,956 at the end.
In 1957, Judye and her siblings were in a car accident at Vermont and Los Feliz Boulevards. Perelson sued the other driver involved, but won only enough to cover medical bills. Judye wrote to her aunt shortly before her father's attack, "My parents, so to speak, are in a bind financially." Perelson had multiple coronaries, or that's what the family told people. It came out later they were suicide attempts, and that Perelson was going to be committed.
None of the kids responded to Maysh's requests for an interview, but he found that an aunt probably took guardianship of the two younger Perelson children. In 1960, the house sold in a probate auction to a couple from Lincoln Heights named Emily and Julian Enriquez.
There's a rumor that another family briefly rented the house after the Perelsons, and that it's their Christmas tree in the living room (the Perelsons were reportedly Jewish). The rumor goes on that they fled the house on the anniversary of the attack, leaving their wrapped presents behind. Most of the other junk in the house dates to sometime after the murders too.
Emily Enriquez died in 1994 and her son Rudy, who lived in Washington Heights, inherited the house. Still no one moved in. Maysh tried to reach Enriquez, but it turns out he died sometime this year. He had no children.
That means the Los Feliz Murder House is probably out of stagnancy and into limbo for the first time since just after the murders. The 1925 house was lovely when the Perelsons moved in: designed by Harry E. Weiner, it had a tiled entrance hall, glass conservatory, breakfast room, and a third-floor ballroom and bar. It was a great old Los Feliz estate. By now it's probably a teardown.
· The Murder House [Medium]