Stephen King's Pet Sematary house just hit the market, for real

Contributed by
Aug 4, 2017

Famous houses go up for sale all the time. A few years ago, I was tempted to scrape together the funds to buy Nancy's house from Nightmare on Elm Street. But this house is a bit different. This wasn't a filming house; this is an inspiration house. For this is the house which helped inspire Stephen King to write Pet Sematary.

In 1979, King was serving as a writer-in-residence at the University of Maine at Orono, and he and his family rented a farmhouse at 664 River Road in nearby Orrington. According to King's official website, the house was near a major trucking route, and cats and dogs were regularly killed by trucks rolling by. Because of this, local children built a makeshift pet cemetery in the woods just behind this house.

One day, King's daughter's cat, Smucky, met the tragic fate that other neighborhood pets met. King decided to bury Smucky in the pet cemetery, then tell his daughter what happened.

"It was on the third day after the burial that the idea for a novel came to him. He wondered what would happen if a young family were to lose their daughter's cat to a passing truck, and the father rather than tell his daughter, were to bury the cat in a pet cemetery. And what would happen if the cat were to return the next day, alive but fundamentally different.

"'I can remember crossing the road, and thinking that the cat had been killed in the road — and [I thought] what if a kid died in that road? And we had had this experience with [my son] Owen running toward the road, where I had just grabbed him and pulled him back. And the two things just came together — on one side of this two-lane highway was the idea of what if the cat came back, and on the other side of the highway was what if the kid came back — so that when I reached the other side, I had been galvanized by the idea, but not in any melodramatic way. I knew immediately that it was a novel.' After dreaming that night of a reanimated corpse walking up and down the road outside of the house, he began to think about funerals, and the modern customs surrounding death and burial."

The house, built in 1904, can be yours for $255,000. A couple of caveats: King didn't actually write Pet Sematary in the house; he wrote it in the storeroom of a store across the street from the house. And former owner Loran Dosen admits that "some super fans have knocked on the door and asked to come inside."

By the way, that basement looks as if it has more than a few horror stories to share: