The strange black house

The black house with the red dot on it on Howard’s Knob,” “The Stahl House,” “The Cult House,” 448 Howards Knob Road. It is known by many different names, but almost everyone in Boone has at one time or another looked up and seen the strange black mansion on Howard’s Knob. After seven years abandoned and the former owner sent to prison, it is now in shambles after break-ins, many wild parties and frequent vandalism.

Built in 1990 and once a million dollar home, the property now sits vacant with the front doors chained and locked. Black paint is peeling from every side of the house and several windows have been shattered. Many windows that remain have been graffitied with the likes of spaceships — a reference to local rumors of the red dot having to do with aliens — and “this place got what it deserved. let it rott” [sic].

The inside is no better. After being abandoned and foreclosed on, and with all furniture and receptacle covers stripped out, frequent break-ins and parties have left only empty beer bottles (and worse) visible on the inside. On one wall a large red pentagram has been spray painted on — another reference, this one to a local rumor that satanic activities took place in the residence.

It’s been vandalized at certain times and we’ve found things in the house like used condoms, and people have broken the windows and they’ve broken into it,” said Jason Eldreth, broker and co-owner of A-Plus Realty in Vilas and previous listing agent for the property after it was abandoned. “It’s become like an overlook hangout for people. [I’ve seen] beer bottles, and you know, there’s been a lot of that kind of stuff that has gone on up there. I know the neighbors don’t really care that much for it and I think they might have even called the Sheriff’s Department a couple of times for people hanging out up there and that sort of thing.”