5 Houses For Your Friends Only Escape Compound

Photo by Soroush Bahramian on Unsplash

Does anyone else remember the talks among friends about setting up a compound and escaping the world completely ignoring how you’d all hate each other if you lived together? Well, now you can put your friendships on the line to realize that dream! Each of these houses is currently listed on Zillow for under $500,000 USD, has at least 1 acre of land, a minimum of 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, and some could even potentially get you on a watchlist!

1. The Elm Tree Inn

The front of the home has ample parking while trees provide privacy to the second floor. Image Source

While established in 1796, the current building was constructed in 1975. This bed and breakfast style location offers a lot of space dedicated to eating and cooking. With 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms you can fit all of your cult leaders in one place and run a bar/restaurant to help finance it! Currently listed at $344,900, it is an affordable distance to Cornell University for all of your prime cult recruiting activities!

And if you’re wondering what you can do in Cortland, NY, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Cortland.

2. Riverbank Ave.

Your grand entrance to this waterfront property! Image Source

If you can survive the 20 minutes to get to Philadelphia from Beverly, New Jersey this may be the house for you! This waterfront property provides expansive views of the Delaware River for $374,900 and includes 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. While that might not seem like quite enough space for you and all of your friends to learn how to hate each other, keep in mind that this house needs updating and if anyone happens to be the do-it-yourself type then this is the property for you! While it might not be ideal for a full on cult compound situation, it will certainly provide some ideal shenanigan opportunities with plenty of places under the porch to check for raccoons and surprise cat colonies.

If you’re wondering what people do in Beverly, New Jersey be sure to check out the Beverly National Cemetery to learn some history and respect our veterans. Also, be sure to grab a slice at Riccardo’s Pizza. If you’re more interested in animal friendly dining, be sure to check out Las Lus Vegan Cafe. If you need something to do that’s artsy and fun for the whole family, be sure to stop by Haaff Family Arts. And remember, Philadelphia is only 20 minutes away.

3. State Highway 3

Drive up to see your incredible compound! Image Source

Are you looking for the kind of estate that could fit your entire MLM’s leadership team and their families? Have you always wanted to live in a hotel? Then this massive estate off of State Highway 3 in the beautiful Adirondacks of New York is for you! With windows on all sides, you can see everything going on from your 8,000 square foot home sitting on a secluded 1.5 acre lot across the street from state land. Expect to see plenty of wildlife! If you’re looking to get out of the house, head on down to Silver Lake or travel a tiny bit farther to get to Cranberry Lake where you’ll find amenities like The Lakeside General Store and Boat Rentals, or drive 30 minutes to get to Jrek’s Subs for a sandwich. While there may not be a lot of options in terms of dining out or socializing, you’ll be sure to do all of your cooking and socializing here right? All of this for $350,000.

4. Padgett Switch Rd

A large enough driveway for everyone! Image Source

Are you hoping to gather everyone to live somewhere with sunny, hot weather? Would you like enough land that you could easily farm (USDA grant eligible) produce, a full chicken coop, and maybe have a small herd of livestock? Then this small Alabama ranch is for you! Situated on over 6 acres, this 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 2 home compound boasts a swimming pool and plenty of land. All of this for $399,430. Plus, be sure to keep your eyes open for those old out buildings that tell the history of the property and give ample opportunity for exploration. This home offers plenty of opportunity as an accessible property, it’s ready to go with ramps instead of steps. While not ideal for a cult, unless all rituals can be carried out on property, this may definitely be ideal for a compound that may result in friends staying friends given the space!

What does one do in Irvington, Alabama? Go to the Mobile International Speedway of course! When you’re not spending your time farming or heading down to the local Feed and Seed, you can watch vehicles of all shapes and sizes make left turns at high speed! This is a great opportunity for car enthusiasts to cheer their neighbors on as they risk their lives in homebuilt creations or celebrate young racers attempting to get picked up by NASCAR. See, there’s already at least one cult in the area.

5. Nesbit Ave (Formerly ‘Farwell Arms’)

Plenty of curb appeal for those looking to impress! Image Source

Have you dreamt of living somewhere with mirrors on the ceiling? If so, then this 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom former Bed and Breakfast may be for you! This unique property features unique architecture that maximizes the use of space while providing fantastic conversation pieces. You can easily fit your whole group of friends into this facility and enjoy the 2 acres boasting outbuildings and 5 garage spaces. Inside you’ll find a large dining room, and multiple bathtubs built for 2. The land is so flat here that you could even built additional houses on the property. Currently listed at $419,000 USD it’s cheaper than houses a quarter its size in many parts of the country.

What does one do in Farwell, Nebraska? Get a drink at the Back 40 of course! If pub fare isn’t quite your thing, you can strike up conversations with the locals about why the “Danish cemetery” and the “Czechoslovakian cemetery” are on opposite sides of town. In nearby Ashton check out the Polish Heritage Center. If you’re interested in dining out, check out nearby St Paul for a variety of restaurants and unique stores such as Runza, Loup River Distilling, Casey’s Pizza, The Sweet Shoppe, Bed Head Coffee Company and Twin Loops Quality Meats. Be sure to also play a game or two at the Riverview Lanes Bowling Alley.

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you would like me to do more posts like this, please like and subscribe 🙂

No Me Gusta Col Rizada – A Short Story

Content Warning: This story contains mention of suicide. Reader discretion is advised. This is a work of fiction.

Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

In a little Italian neighborhood near the Coit Tower, a swath of green space invites families to sit on park benches with aesthetic spikes keeping them empty. Some stray travelers use their time to read actual books or eReaders; many play on their phones. The locked Washington Park public toilets hide behind green and gold painted metal – inaccessible monuments to the city ordinances against the homeless. On a light pole nearby hangs an Italian flag – acceptable ethnic pride in a city so focused on Pride.

Two large dogs – larger than their owners – try to distract each other by initiating play. The Bay’s blue water shimmers through the trees as Union Street heads downhill. Against a clear blue sky, the world maintains an invisible boundary: the city on one side, me on the other.

This boundary follows my neighbors when we enter stores, or avoids us on trains. It turns heads when I speak Spanish to those that speak it to me. It garners looks in even the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, depending on the street. Fuiste de mi vecina… Hablé el idioma de mi vecina. Planning outings, I hear people say they’re “just not comfortable taking public transit because of the people using it.” By “the people,” they mean anyone too poor to use Uber or Lyft – my neighbors, as they’re priced out of their homes. Anyone forced into homelessness by landlords taking advantage of the influx of affluent young people coming to the city, anyone hurt by those supporting and choosing to be part of the problem.

San Francisco culture obsesses over hustle and definitions of achievement, creating blinders for “focus.” I watch my coworkers and the people I thought I knew focus to the point of denying that anything bad ever happens here. They shun or punish those that dare try to draw their attention to something outside their minds. In our company’s Human Resources department, I watch as they “solve” problems by silencing employees that raise concerns rather than admitting any harassment incidents occur. The company wins workplace culture awards from a third party reviewer based on an employee survey none of us ever see.

My friends seek out cults of social acceptance on the weekends. Each event they attend promises their problems will go away and solve themselves with enough positivity (and denial). I hear them talk about the latest seminar over a group dinner. Mental illnesses are a mindset problem. Anxiety, depression, or anything else can only be solved by seeking out “your higher power” – the goals you wish to achieve rather than fall for this weakness. They discourage each other from seeking medical help. 

One friend throws himself in front of the commuter train. I imagine him, so positive that the only escape from the pain he felt powerless against was to throw himself in front of that train he shut down for four hours. His mother sobs over thousands of crackling miles of static and telephone lines. His mother lives in Vietnam. I meet her at SFO and pay for the Lyft to her hotel. We sit in silence in the back seat, and she reaches for my hand. “Sean was a good boy,” she whispers to me. I squeeze her hand, feeling the lump in my throat grow and choke out tears. She flies out two days later after collecting his remains and making arrangements for his belongings. I never hear about a funeral.

But the mantras continue for the others: yoga and kale cure everything, including major depressive episodes. Your higher power is what you wish to achieve. That causes people to throw themselves in front of trains. They tell me I don’t understand. They tell me I’m not eating enough kale. I’m not doing enough yoga. In San Francisco, every conversation leads back to Yoga and Kale. No me gusta col rizada.

From the top of Twin Peaks, I gaze out at the sun reflecting off The Bay and compose my resignation letter. My brain can’t choose to ignore what I see. Closing my eyes, I imagine Sean with his mother—a pair I never saw in life. His beautiful mother, a refugee in America, now, a returned Việt Kiều, lives on without her son. Would my own parents return to the land that they fled? How far does this invisible boundary between water and sky extend? ¿Hasta dónde llegaría para echar agua en el mar?

If this story brought up any difficult feelings for you regarding suicide, please reach out to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800-273-8255 (USA). They are also available to chat 24/7/365

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story today. If you enjoyed this story, please like, comment, and/or share it. This helps me know which posts my readers enjoy the most and can help me cater content.

If there is anything you see in this story that needs correction, please let me know! I am happy to work on aspects of this story to improve it for my audience.

Things That Influence My Writing: Montana Cow Mutilations

Newspaper clipping from the Billings Gazette, October 10, 1975

**Content Warning: This post discusses the killing and mutilation of animals by unknown perpetrator(s) over the past 50+ years in the United States. As a non-beef eater myself, reader discretion is advised**

While the world is caught up with everything that is 2020 (do you have your apocalypse bingo card yet?) I’d like to visit an ongoing state and national news story that captured my attention when I first moved to Montana in 2013. In October, 2019, new developments arose. I think it’s time to share this news with readers for the purpose of distraction. So, I’ll compile some basic information here. While I have some thoughts on what the possible explanations could be, I will save those for the end.

Cow Mutilations

From the GIPHY keyboard

On October 2, 2019 the Billings Gazette reported a new report of 5 dead cattle being found in Salem, Oregon. While tragic, the random death of cattle in the Pacific Northwest would not turn heads under normal circumstances. These were not normal circumstances. Instead, this was the newest report in an ongoing series of documented cow mutilations throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, with the majority of documented cases in Montana, dating back to the 1970s.

According to the original newspaper clipping from the Billings Gazette on October 10, 1975 (shown above) about 175 reports of mutilations were gathered from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho in addition to Montana at that time. At that time, given the cost of the equipment necessary to cause the types of mutilations and damages found, the issue stumped authorities, leading to the concern of a cult traveling throughout the country traveling “by helicopter”. Reasonably so, this was thought to be ridiculous.

There is a Wikipedia page on Cattle Mutilation as a general concept, but it is important to note that this page includes international and domestic horse, goat, and other unidentified livestock incidents. These non-bovine and international incidents have mutilation patterns not matching those specifically found in the mutilated cattle of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. That said, they may still be worth discussing for contrasting purposes.

The Investigation

From the GIPHY keyboard

The common pattern with these mutilations is that the sex organs and tongues are removed with all blood drained from the corpse. An investigative report mentioned in a 2001 article in the New York Times mentioned that a group that researches these incidents, The National Institute for Discovery Science, did find one interesting variation in a case in Utah where there was a hole in the head of one of the cattle with both BHT and Formaldehyde present, indicating that an embalming/preservation process took place. This group is/was funded by Robert Bigelow – a man that became obsessed with aliens and the Skinwalker Ranch – a place so notorious even the History Channel has added it to their questionable line up.

As their website is now defunct and it is hard to find information on anything other than his alien focused ventures, I am not going to spend much time focusing on this aspect for now.

I used the Wayback Machine to look up their website and I have to admit it’s hard to take this seriously. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20071009234743/http://www.nidsci.org/

Another common element between all of these cases? They remain unsolved. To give readers an idea of how extensive and compelling these reports are, there is an open case file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the recurring ritualistic serial mutilation of cattle. At this time, the FBI only investigates mutilations that occur on tribal land and all have been closed unsolved according to the Billings Gazette.

Private and public reward monies for information regarding cattle mutilations continue to accumulate, including a $25,000 reward for the recent mutilation in Oregon.

My Interest And Thoughts On These Events

From the GIPHY keyboard

Shortly before moving to Montana, on March 1, 2013, a rancher found more mutilated cows approximately 5 miles outside of Browning. Given how current it was in the news, this provided the opportunity for me to learn more about these incidents and start compiling information on this truly bizarre fascination.

Spoiler Alert: I don’t think this has anything to do with aliens. While I do not dismiss the possibility of life in this universe more intelligent than humans, I don’t think it is coming to Earth and messing with our cows.

I have 7 years of research and thoughts on these events and there are a few options regarding what I can do with this information. The option currently in the lead:

  • Start An Investigative Podcast/YouTube Series With A Funny Name

I would present each individual documented event in chronological order, the information available that I’ve been able to gather, any additional leads people are able to provide, and similarities between the events that I’ve been able to observe. This would then include leads from listeners that have been followed up on in later episodes.

The reasoning behind presenting the same information in two formats is because I want to be inclusive of non-auditory individuals, and those needing closed captioning and/or lip reading to assist with auditory processing. For more information on auditory processing disorders you can visit that website or read the Wikipedia page here.

Possible Explanations

From the GIPHY keyboard – credit to Trey Parker and Matt Stone

The big rule here driving my investigation: It’s Not Aliens. The perpetrators could be many things, but the response of “aliens” has become the standard cop-out. There is a lot of additional evidence, even from those that do believe aliens visit earth, to suggest these mutilations are not being performed by aliens.

I mentioned before that I have thoughts on alternative explanations. I don’t think these cases are going to be a “one explanation fits all” kind of thing. These potential explanations include: insurance fraud, publicity, public diversion from other questionable activities, ritualistic or cult activity, and intimidation. That said, I absolutely expect that there are potential explanations that I have not yet thought of. Who knows – maybe I will be proven wrong and there are aliens. I have to be open to that possibility, no matter how skeptical I am and how little I think it makes sense.


If you are interested in this kind of investigative podcast about the unsolved mysterious cow mutilations that have been ongoing throughout the United States for at least the past 50 years, please like this post and/or comment your suggestion for title of the series, what excites you the most, or if you have any thoughts you would like to contribute. If you think a friend would like to listen to this podcast or would have anything to contribute, please share this.

I’m excited to have as much input as possible in this 100% bizarre side project, even if you disagree with me and want to tell me you think I’m wrong; even if you insist that it’s aliens.

If this gains enough interest (100 likes) I will launch the first episode of the podcast.

Until then, I will continue to focus my efforts on reviews, my book becoming available for pre-order later this summer, “A Hundred Different Skies”, and my short story collection coming out early next year.

As always, thank you for reading. Without you, this post would have been meaningless electrons sent out into the void.