Exploring the Neverland Ranch
June 27, 2014 11:30 AM   Subscribe

 
the strangest thing to me was the little boy in pajamas sitting on the moon logo, everywhere

YA THINK?

This is the setting of the scariest horror movie that never was, ever. Hell, the ranch already names the movie.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:36 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


We didn’t have to break any laws, because it was open.

Really, walking into someone's home and going through their mail isn't breaking any laws just because the doors weren't locked?
posted by waving at 11:48 AM on June 27, 2014 [11 favorites]


At the time, most people probably didn’t realize that he was part of history, and I knew that there was the potential for everything that was associated with him to be quickly lost.

I've been reading this line over and over again and I still don't understand what he's talking about. (It's also shitty that they read his mail.)

This guy did an interesting AMA two years ago about visiting Neverland when he was 12.

I wonder what will happen with that property. Michael's belonging are in storage now. Everyone from Jay-Z and Beyonce to Lady Gaga have been rumored as wanting to buy it. I think it's owned by his estate, then will one day go to his kids, and I wonder what they will do with it.
posted by girlmightlive at 11:53 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in 2003 who knew that Michael Jackson was kinda a big deal??
posted by ian1977 at 11:56 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do urbex and there's a big difference in my mind between abandoned and not currently occupied. This was way over the line towards the latter. Not cool.
posted by tommasz at 11:57 AM on June 27, 2014 [10 favorites]


The property is being restored.... by his kids?
posted by HuronBob at 11:58 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish there were more pictures.
His life has always struck me as one so obviously sad while appearing so rich. I don't think he wanted to molest little boys. I think he wanted to be a little boy and just play games and ride bumper cars and eat mac and cheese.

What a strange, sad life. I really hope he didn't actually molest anyone.
posted by sio42 at 11:59 AM on June 27, 2014 [14 favorites]


There must be a link to more photos?
Must have been awesome. They don't seem too much like dicks, and besides, I bet plenty of us would have done the same thing, to a certain degree.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:04 PM on June 27, 2014


One of his kids is named Blanket?

Blanket?
posted by sio42 at 12:04 PM on June 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's cool they're taking care of it. I haven't really heard much about them. But I don't really follow celebrity news, either.
posted by sio42 at 12:06 PM on June 27, 2014


We didn’t have to break any laws, because it was open. It was all open. The house was open.

Yeah, no, I'm pretty sure that's totally not how the law works at all. It's breaking & entering even if you don't have to actually break in, and drinking his grape soda makes it burglary.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


You see officer, I didn't steal the television because it wasn't nailed down to the entertainment center!
posted by ian1977 at 12:08 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Michael Jackson was a weirdo and most likely a repeat child abuser and all that, but I really hate the tone of this article. The interviewees and interviewers are so fucking self-congratulatory about breaking into a freak show's house, simply because he was a freak show, and writing it off as "oh, we're just 'urban explorers.'" It's no better than dipping a handkerchief into John Dillinger's blood as he lay dying and justifying it with "but it's history!"

It's not unexpected for Vice to be so giddy about people who flagrantly flaunt convention and do wacked out shit, man, but it's still gross.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:08 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


R.I.P., Michael.
posted by waving at 12:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Blanket?

His third kid's nickname.

most likely a repeat child abuser

More than likely not.

It's not unexpected for Vice to be so giddy about people who flagrantly flaunt convention and do wacked out shit, man, but it's still gross.

I do agree with this.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Blanket: nickname for Prince Michael II.

Wow, does he looked pissed in HuronBob's link.

On preview: agree with girlmightlive, he was probably not an abuser.
posted by Melismata at 12:14 PM on June 27, 2014


No, it's cool, they don't normally go into other people's houses. I'd be in favor of not giving these guys more attention.
posted by starman at 12:16 PM on June 27, 2014


I've never seen a photo of Prince Michael II not looking really tee'd off with the world.

It's nice that they're restoring it, shame about the fairground that may have rusted away, still could function as a really dreamy camp for kids by the sounds of it. The main house looks a little bit like the entrance to Disneyland/world.
posted by dabitch at 12:20 PM on June 27, 2014


I think it's kinda hard to really think of this someone's house which only adds to the idea that MJs life was never really his own. He was always public.

The interviewees say they did not enter the kids' rooms because they were locked. I appreciate that. They could have busted the door down but they weren't there for that.

It's a hazy line but I see it. Neverland from the outside seems like walking around Busch Gardens or Disneyland after closing. Yes, it's trespassing but not in the same way as going in someone's house is.

I don't know what I would've expected going in there.
posted by sio42 at 12:20 PM on June 27, 2014


Thanks for clarification that it's a nickname. Still odd.
posted by sio42 at 12:22 PM on June 27, 2014


You know, all those people out there becoming apoplectic about the news regarding Marion Zimmer Bradley, and burning her books and vowing never to buy or read them.

And yet, for 20 years (maybe more) everyone has known that Michael Jackson was a pederast, and yet no one is burning his albums.

I'm confused.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:29 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think you're mistaken that everyone -- much less anyone -- knows MJ was a pederast.
posted by unwordy at 12:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Jordan Chandler
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:40 PM on June 27, 2014


Anyone who has read more than a passing headline about the allegations and the trial would know that they have nary a leg to stand on.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:40 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Reading the article, those guys just sound like ignorant childish jerks breaking into someone's house. Just no respect for anything. Ugh.
posted by jillithd at 12:52 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Considering the subject matter, this is a spectacularly boring article. You'd think that a source like Vice would zazz it up instead of just "welp, there you go!"
posted by Legomancer at 12:54 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I, for example, would have probably continued reading MZB's books if I'd known about the rumors, because rumors are rumors, but I won't at this point because of the depositions. She admitted to acts that I consider repugnant in sworn testimony. Michael Jackson was acquitted in a criminal trial. Those are very, very different states with relationship to that particular sort of accusation. It's still entirely possible that he did it, in my view, but while I don't listen to his music myself, I don't fault others for doing so.

Anyway. My real reaction to the actual article was Vice occasionally does some good stuff, but that this is mostly just another example of "we're white and we can do whatever we want" kind of showing off, doing things that would get people from any other background prison sentences with impugnity because they know that they won't get any worse than a slap on the wrist.
posted by Sequence at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


As a non-fan, what's the significance of the clock that's stopped at 2:55? I'm doing my best not to make a joke about five to three year olds.
posted by forgetful snow at 1:09 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


255 is the combined total of MJ's Gold, Platinum, Double Platinum and Triple Platinum records.
posted by Flashman at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think you're mistaken that everyone -- much less anyone -- knows MJ was a pederast.

I don't know, and I'm certainly hoping he was not, but whether or not there was inappropriate physical contact, I think he certainly messed with the kid's heads.

I do think he was one sad dude with a lot of talent that didn't have a great start himself.

Perhaps things could have been different for him...
Coulda, shoulda, woulda.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


As a non-fan, what's the significance of the clock that's stopped at 2:55? I'm doing my best not to make a joke about five to three year olds.

No significance. These people are just really caught up in their personal narratives so they attached some meaning to an uninteresting coincidence.
posted by zixyer at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nobody here's going to discuss his most obvious indiscretion? We're just all going to pretend like no one approved that NEVERLAND logo on the gate use Lucida Calligraphy in ALL CAPS?!?!?!
posted by hal9k at 1:19 PM on June 27, 2014 [18 favorites]


re: talk about someone's house -

someone's former house, which had been abandoned by its owner, years prior, and was in foreclosure.
posted by entropone at 1:21 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I found this Slate article interesting, in part, because I'm not a Michael Jackson fan, but I'm a big fan of Disney--specifically of contrasting the source material for Disney movies with the Disney product--and this article makes some interesting points about Peter Pan.

Relevant bit:
When Jackson said that he was Peter Pan, Bashir took it as an opportunity to portray the singer as if he were a mental patient on national television, and the world mostly took it to mean that Jackson fancied himself a whimsical sprite, prancing around Neverland in green tights, sprinkling fairy dust everywhere—that guy had to be guilty of something.

But that’s a misconception based on our own cartoonish understanding of both Jackson and Peter Pan. Michael Jackson was, among other things, a smart and voracious reader. . . . And the source of Jackson’s Peter Pan obsession was not just Disney’s 1953 animated film, but also J.M. Barrie’s original play and book, vintage editions of which Jackson collected for his library.

In Barrie’s original telling, Peter Pan is a very different creature. Unable to grow up, he is trapped in an eternal present. He lives without consequence. He has no memory, and therefore no understanding of how his actions affect others, meaning he can never truly connect or empathize with anyone. He is alone. It’s no accident that Pan’s home, Neverland, is an island cut off from reality. Taken at its most literal, Neverland is a place where you can never land, never rest.

Peter Pan, like so many great children’s stories, is a dark and morbid piece of
work.


I think there's lots of evidence that Michael Jackson was not an adult enveloped in healthy adult relationships, but I'm not convinced he compensated by having unhealthy, illegal or abhorrent relationships with children.

At any rate, as fascinating as these pictures are, I'm on mudpuppie's side of the fence that this "exploration" was a little gross.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [22 favorites]


Neverland Ranch is 3,000 Acres.
posted by boo_radley at 1:49 PM on June 27, 2014


And yet, for 20 years (maybe more) everyone has known that Michael Jackson was a pederast, and yet no one is burning his albums.

I'm confused.


Putting aside the fact that, no, not everyone does know that (though I suspect he probably did unintentionally cross the line into pederasty without malicious forethought as a consequence of his own sexual immaturity and naivete), I'll take a crack at an explanation.

Simple answer: Is Michael Jackson still profiting off his art while possibly engaging in pederasty without consequence? No. He's dead. When he was alive and there was still so much doubt around his innocence, I couldn't stand listening to his stuff anymore because it was impossible to justify rewarding him with more money if the guy really was the monster he might have been.

More complex answer: MJ was a lifelong victim of child exploitation and abuse himself. I believe in free will to a point, but I also recognize some people really are too screwed up by their life circumstances and don't have the right kinds of social support to stand a chance of leading a decent life. Statistically, abuse victims are much more likely to become abusers. I'm assuming there's some real world reason for that and one likely inference is that it's much harder not to become an abuser when you've had certain formative experiences.

MJ's own childhood was a ridiculous, tragic farce. And the treatment he got from the public as a celebrity was often just as bad or even worse in some ways. Now, he might have been a monster, but he did not make himself a monster. And in the beginning, there is no denying he was an extremely talented little boy that could light up a whole room with his voice and his smile. How can anyone not be both fascinated and horrified by the mythology that remains of the guy? He embodied American pop culture in its hey day, and to me, it's really tempting to think we might learn a few lessons about the nature of our society and all the ways it doesn't work for us by giving his story some thought.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:02 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ugh. These guys are the kinds of people that give urbex a bad name, and fuck it up for everyone else. This is way far into "bling ring" territory.
posted by emptythought at 2:08 PM on June 27, 2014


There seems to be this idea that Michael Jackson was so fucked up that he couldn't function, so maybe he was abusing kids and not really understanding it, but personally I think that explanation is without merit.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:13 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, according to his bodyguards, he may not have been so fucked up he couldn't function in the way you're implying, but his life definitely was so fucked up by circumstance, he never had the slightest chance of being a normal human being. On top of his own personal history being physically and sexually abused in childhood, he couldn't go anywhere in public or do anything remotely like what most of us would recognize as living a normal life due to his extreme celebrity and the celebrity culture surrounding him in America.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:20 PM on June 27, 2014


I've read a fair amount about it and I don't think MJ is a pederast. I'm out now so can't link it but anyone who hasn't should go read the big Rolling Stone article about it. Every single thing about the case points to Jody Chandler's dad looking to make a quick buck. Michael Jackson might have been eccentric and might have had mental problems, but I think that the whole child abuser thing was a nasty, horrible smear that the public ran with and which ultimately might have ruined his life.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:20 PM on June 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, saulgoodman, that's all true. I'm not saying he would ever have a normal life or be a normal person like you and me. What I am saying, though, is that it seems to be implied that he didn't really know how strange his circumstances were, or that he was creating a fantasy world but didn't realize it.

I think that's why, for example, people were so offended by the mere idea of him owning the Beatles' catalog. He's not supposed to be a shrewd businessman, he's supposed to be a weird, crazy freakshow who doesn't know what he's doing. I think that's what the Salon piece is talking about.

triggerfinger, the piece you're referring to was published in GQ and blows that allegation wide apart.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:25 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in 2003 who knew that Michael Jackson was kinda a big deal??

For a while there it seemed like his popularity and relevance were waning.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:26 PM on June 27, 2014


I think that's why, for example, people were so offended by the mere idea of him owning the Beatles' catalog. He's not supposed to be a shrewd businessman, he's supposed to be a weird, crazy freakshow who doesn't know what he's doing.

In that instance he was both, because he absolutely knew everything there is to know about the huge power of pop music but really nothing else.

We've had many threads here about his incredible perfectionism, assiduous and careful understanding of the pop music landscape, ridiculous childish idealism and mad schemes, plus wild yet laser-focused originality in regard to his music. All those features are in the Beatles' music.
posted by colie at 2:39 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do people have reason to believe James Safechuck is lying? Just trying to get money? I really don't know much about it and haven't read any of the earlier trials so I don't know what to make of all that.

Regardless of guilt or innocence, I also found this really callous and bizarre that they didn't believe they were doing anything illegal and only vaguely thought they "shouldn't violate someone's privacy".
posted by xarnop at 2:40 PM on June 27, 2014


ps The Beatles also did Apple in 1968, which was much more mad than building your own theme park with a few playstations and llamas.
posted by colie at 2:41 PM on June 27, 2014


Do people have reason to believe James Safechuck is lying? Just trying to get money? I really don't know much about it and haven't read any of the earlier trials so I don't know what to make of all that.

Pretty much every child who came into contact with Michael was questioned by police or put on a stand during the 90s. Safechuck was one of those people and he defended Michael, saying he was never abused. He also briefly worked for Michael when he was an adult, I think in 1995.

He had the same story as Wade Robson, ie. I didn't realize that I was being molested until 2014.

Sure, anything is possible, but I'm skeptical.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:49 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Correction, he was questioned in the early 2000s.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:55 PM on June 27, 2014


Thanks for the clarification girlmightlive. Agreed.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:17 PM on June 27, 2014


These guys apparently don't know the law too well.

I served on a grand jury and got schooled in the law that they broke. I just read CA penal code and is similar to MA. They at least committed trespassing. If anything they did constitutes a felony, or petty theft (drinking grape soda), it's burglary.

In MA, to commit burglary you have to break (which can be as simple as opening a door) and enter at night with the intent of committing a felony. CA appears to allow a lot more to be considered burglary.
posted by plinth at 3:21 PM on June 27, 2014


The only significance of the clock is that the picture was taken at 2:55, which is the same time showing on the clock. it was unintentional and not notice until a year later according to the article.
posted by sio42 at 3:26 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks, sio42, I didn't see that at all. FWIW Google also says that his doctor bought 255 vials of the killer drug.
posted by forgetful snow at 3:35 PM on June 27, 2014


To me it seems Michael Jackson was a rare, beautiful gift to the world that we really enjoyed for a while, but then got bored with it, broke it in two and threw in the trash.
posted by shala at 3:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The interviewees say they did not enter the kids' rooms because they were locked. I appreciate that.

The fuck they didn't.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:37 PM on June 27, 2014


That is to say, they went right straight into those rooms, be assured, and they found *something.*
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:38 PM on June 27, 2014


The interviewees say they did not enter the kids' rooms because they were locked. I appreciate that.

The fuck they didn't.


As I was reading that part, I immediately wondered how they knew that the rooms were the kids rooms if the doors were locked and they didn't enter.
posted by zug at 4:40 PM on June 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


I remember an anecdote Doug Benson once told about being an extra on Captain Eo how during stop-down in between shots a minder would bring a child to sit on Michael's lap.
posted by basicchannel at 4:52 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


what if dead michael jackson's house had the code to a dirty nuke and there WAS NO TIME
posted by passerby at 7:18 PM on June 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the correction and the link, girlmightlive (I was hurriedly typing the comment out on my phone while waiting for friends at a restaurant).

The GQ article is really excellent, but if it's a tl/dr, the wikipedia on the case as well as the one on Evan Chandler give shorter versions.

The Slate article linked by crush-onastick is also good:
Jackson was different. His actions were outside the norm. People need a context, a framework, in which to understand him. Humans are storytellers. It is our nature to shape facts into a narrative. Jackson’s narrative, driven by the tabloids and adopted by nearly everyone, was that of a boy genius who morphed into a weirdo and a freak and possibly a criminal. That’s the only story we know, and to date no satisfactory counternarrative has emerged to replace it. The allegations against him have long been proved false, but they haven’t been replaced by a more compelling truth. And that’s the problem. Absent a new truth, people remain free to say whatever they want about him. Depending on what day of the week it is, Jackson is either a serial pedophile or a virginal man-child—or, somehow, both.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:07 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


what if dead michael jackson's house had the code to a dirty nuke and there WAS NO TIME

Quick! Drink all the grape soda you can! The code's under the bottle caps!!
posted by Spatch at 8:08 PM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


A couple sculptures and some abandoned bumper cars. I can find you creepier shit within 100 feet of Disney World's main gates.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:17 PM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


> I immediately wondered how they knew that the rooms were the kids rooms if the doors were locked and they didn't enter

Decorative signs? Not uncommon on kids' doors.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:18 PM on June 27, 2014


I'm flabbergasted that "Blanket" still hasn't renamed himself to something less terrible/more adult yet. After all, the Phoenix, Zappa, and Farrow kids did and very nicely. I'm rooting for the kid to come up with something else sometime.

"That’s the only story we know, and to date no satisfactory counternarrative has emerged to replace it. The allegations against him have long been proved false, but they haven’t been replaced by a more compelling truth. And that’s the problem. Absent a new truth, people remain free to say whatever they want about him."

Good point on the lack of counter narrative.

Though really, once a person is presumed guilty of something, we seem to always assume they are, even if they eventually get cleared. Fuck if I know if he did or didn't, but once the stain is on your name, it never comes out.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:52 PM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


« Older A Planet in 12 Photoshop Layers   |   Peter and Patricia picked a peck of perfect... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments