The Mystery Tenant Of That Zillow ‘Nightmare House’ Has Been Revealed, And It’s Not Who You’d Think

News & Culture Writer
05.15.17 3 Comments

Earlier this month, a listing for a house in the town of Cayce, just outside of Columbia, South Carolina, captured the Internet’s collective imagination due to the — uh, unconventional nature of the Zillow listing which stated that the upstairs apartment could not be shown “under any circumstances,” alluding to a mystery tenant who did not pay rent and would not be vacating once the home sold. This, paired with photos which made it seem as if the dilapidated property had clearly seen better days, led many to speculate that there was almost definitely a serial killer living upstairs who would probably use your skin for lamps if you bought the place.

But as it turns out, that couldn’t have been further from the truth, because the Raleigh News & Observer was able to track down the mystery tenant, who has been revealed to be 70-year-old Columbia native Randall McKissick, a divorced father of two and artist who has had his work displayed all over the world, from billboards in Times Square to galleries in Paris. Sadly, McKissick has since fallen on hard times, and has lived in the apartment — owned by his childhood friend Michael Schumpert — for the past 10 years or so.

McKissick began his career as an illustrator, and one of his original pieces still hangs in the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. However due to the rise of computer-generated graphics in the ’80s, McKissick found it increasingly difficult to find work as an illustrator and turned to painting to make a living. He rented a studio overlooking the Congaree River but eventually, he could no longer afford the rent and was evicted around the same time his marriage came to an end. Since then, he has been in the Cayce apartment, where he lives alone with his three cats. McKissick suffers from anxiety, which makes it often difficult for him to leave the home.

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