Woman Learns Her House Was Serial Killer’s Torture Chamber While Watching A&E

Someone moves into a new house only to discover that it was the scene of horrific murders. It’s a pretty basic set up in horror movies and for one St. Louis woman it has become a real life, shocking nightmare. She was living in the home that serial killer Maury Travis used as a torture chamber for his estimated 12 to 17 victims. Should she should just get in her car now and “not look back” or prepare to do battle with vengeful The Grudge-style ghosts?

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Catrina McChaw moved into the house after getting approved for a subsidized housing voucher that would cover the rent for $810. The only thing horrific here is that someone could get such a sweet deal on a house. That was until a relative called her one night and told her to turn on one of those true crime shows on A&E. You know the kind of show where you’re flipping through channels and then you get stuck watching a story for an hour about some guy who murdered his wife in 1997 but they are being coy about who did it. Like you know the whole time it was the husband; Terry had his DNA all over the crime scene and he was cheating on Samantha with Chrystal, so come on, I have to sit through another commercial to find out what I already know! It was Terry!

Terry the wife murderer took up an hour of my Sunday.

So Catrina gets a call from a relative to turn on the television and flip to one of those damn true crime shows and bam; the house she is renting was a serial killer’s torture chamber. Authorities believe that Maury Travis may have killed between 12 and 20 people before committing suicide after his arrest.  

Serial killer Maury Travis

He used a pole in the basement to tie down victims. To top it off, when she moved in the landlord even told Catrina that she could keep the dining room table… the same table that is clearly seen in the crime photos in the documentary. It turns out that the landlord is serial killer, Maury Travis’ mom. So if your landlord lets you keep some furniture you could be eating breakfast where a serial killer ate his breakfast as well.

The law doesn’t require property renters or sellers to disclose violent crimes that took place on the premises, only material damage. Although she has a lease that the serial killer’s mother/ landlord wants her to keep, the St. Louis Housing Authority intervened and Catrina will be able to break the lease at the end of July. I think there is a nanny in California that is going to be looking for a place to stay soon, so that might be a good tenant- landlord fit.

The serial killer’s table. Luckily not Hannibal.

Catrina hasn’t been visited by any vengeful ghosts just yet, but there was a pretty freaky incident when a two-year-old relative was playing in the basement and looked toward the pole where victims had been tied up. “She looked over and she was like she’s scared like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there, nobody there.”

Learn more about the Maury Travis killings watching this short documentary or as he was known in the media “The Street Walker Strangler.”

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Would it bother you if you found out your house or apartment was the scene of gruesome killings? Some people don’t have a problem with it. In fact a few months ago the apartment of the Aurora Movie Theater Massacre killer James Holmes was made available for rent.


In fact if you are in the market for a home with a horrid past, check out this list of real life horror stories more horrifying than horror movies. This includes a woman who got so fat that she didn’t move for years  and she grew into a couch. And I thought I was a couch potato! *rimshot*

Keep Phil Haney in the basement on Twitter @PhilHaney