Star Trek's George Takei was clearly amused by a sign posted by Shelnutt Real Estate outside a building in New Orleans that read "Apartment Not Haunted."
Takei posted a picture of the ad on his Facebook fan page, where it proceeded to garner as many as 124,689 likes and 24,227 shares on the social networking website.
Some people also posted pictures of the backside of the sign, which read "Haunted" in big red capital letters. Several similar photos of signboards used by Shelnutt Real Estate surfaced, too.
(photo courtesy: Facebook Screenshot)
USA Today, contacted Finis Shelnutt, the company's owner, who said he started the whole thing as a joke. New Orleans is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the United States, and the signs were an "apparent reference" to the horror jitters of the city. Shelnutt said he thought he could ward off competition by using these quirky signs.
When asked why all the signs have "Haunted" and "Not Haunted" on either side, he said he liked to "hedge his bets."
This particular sign hangs in front of a rental condo located in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans. The oldest neighborhood in the city, the place is known for its ghost stories, with several ghost and vampire tours offered there.
Among those who have taken a tour is the actor James Franco, who said of the experience:
"[Our tour guide] told us that New Orleans has recorded the highest number of missing-persons cases since those statistics began being tracked. There was something strange about hearing all this at the start of a walking tour. At a carnival, inside a fun house or around a campfire, the recitation of disturbing information serves to create a certain mood. That's the way many Disney films work. But to use missing persons and murder to set a tone within the environment where those things are still happening confuses entertainment and reality. Basically, New Orleans is an amusement park where you can get killed."
According to one local, such ghost stories are a selling point for realtors. Commenting on Takei's post, the Louisiana-native said:
"@Mr. Takei. Speaking as someone whose from NOLA (New Orleans) that IS actually a selling point. That particular place is located in the French Quarter. Can't swing a thing without running into some haunted local. Ah, the charms of home."
Such "charms" seem to be working: According to a latest report released by the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, home prices continued to rise steadily in the city steadily, with some areas recording a 15 percent hike in home prices, according to The Times Picayune.