Serial killer's home becomes tourist attraction

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The property

A California home has been opened up to the public, allowing visitors to look around the former boarding house where landlady Dorothea Puente killed her elderly tenants in the 1980s. A mannequin with a shovel was on display in the garden where seven bodies were dug up, and guests were shown around the room where Puente drained fluids from the bodies of her victims.

So why has this home been opened to tourists, and is this the weirdest tourist attraction in the US?


Killer's home

Puente was convicted in 1993 of murdering three people and stealing their Social Security cheques. The jury did not reach a verdict on six other murder charges, and she died in prison in 2011 at the age of 82.

The home has since been completely renovated by the owners - who bought it at auction in 2011. Local channel KCRA said that the current owners realised that no-one would forget the history of the house, so they decided to make it part of the refurbishment. They have even hung a sign saying 'Trespassers will be drugged and buried in the back yard.'

The Sacramento Bee reported that it was opened up last weekend, as a one-off for the Sacramento Old City Association's home tour. The charity opens homes in a different neighbourhood each year in order to raise money to restore neighbourhoods in the centre of the city.

The reaction has been mixed: the Association was forced to defend the tour on its Facebook page, saying: "Turning the Puente house into a home and a work of art is proof that no home - no neighbourhood - is beyond redemption." And on Sunday the tour proved particularly popular.

Weird attractions

It seems strange that people would travel to see something like this, but there are plenty of oddities which draw the crowds. Here are five of the weirdest:

1. Carhenge, Nebraska.
In a Nebraska field in 1987 Jim Reinders decided the best way to pay tribute to his dead father was a reproduction of Stonehenge in cars - painted grey.

2. The world's largest chest of drawers
In 1926 in the small town of High Point, locals decided to demonstrate that it was the furniture capital of the world - so they built the monument - twice the height of neighbouring houses - called the Bureau of Information.

3. Toilet theme park, Suwon, South Korea
This is built in the home of the creator of the World Toilet Association - dedicated to improving sanitation in the country. The garden is now home to statues shaped like poo, statues of people going to the toilet, and a toilet museum.

4. The world's largest peanut, Ashburn, Georgia
It was built in 1975, as a memorial to Nora Lawrence Smith, a publisher of the Wiregrass Farmer magazine. The town is also home to the world's largest peanut shelling plant.

5. Corn Palace, South Dakota
This is a wooden castle, complete with turrets and domes. It is decorated every year with corn, and is used for an annual festival, concerts and sporting events. It's then left for local birds and squirrels to consume - until it is decorated again the following year. It attracted controversy in 2004 when it received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

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