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Inside Neverland Ranch

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By Jonathan H

Editor’s Note: The post below was originally published in March of 2008. Since the tragic events last week, I felt compelled to write a follow-up. View the farewell post and the entire set of Neverland photos here.

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is up for auction next week. Bearings has gained access to the ranch, and has posted the images below.

As an aside, I personally believe Jackson is innocent of all charges. I speak as someone who has been on Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. It’s a bit disconcerting to think that I stand in solidarity with Geraldo Rivera, but what can ya do?

Many images I am not posting, out of respect for Jackson’s privacy. What I do post are places that were largely seen by the public (or at least by hordes of kids who count it a privilege to have been on “the Ranch.”) Whether or not you believe he’s innocent, one can still appreciate the beauty of Jackson’s vision in creating such a place. None of us should ever lose our sense of wonder and amazement at the world, and I think Jackson truly wanted children to have this, largely because he never had it as a child himself.

Without further ado, here are the photos.

The Train Station on Neverland Ranch
The train station at Neverland Ranch, taken on Kodak T-Max 100 speed film. Taken using a Tachihara large format field camera.

Neverland Ferris Wheel
The ferris wheel – What I would give to have a ride on this puppy.

Neverland Carousel
The classic, 50-foot carousel. Each horse and character seemed to be unique.
Neverland Bumper Cars
The bumper car tent.
Neverland Statues - Bronze
Statues near the front gate with aspen behind.
Neverland Station Clock
The Neverland clock at the main train station. I believe the time was accurate.
Bumper Car Controls
Ride designed exclusively for Michael Jackson. These were the controls for the bumper cars.
Neverland Front Gate
The front gate of Neverland Ranch.
Lithograph of the Michael Jackson
A lithograph of Michael Jackson with children at the front gate.

More pictures at: http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/albums/album/72157603558879859/Neverland.html

Saying Goodbye to Neverland and Michael Jackson

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By Jonathan H


I wanted to make this post, not simply to jump on the bandwagon of the media outpouring for Michael Jackson. I’m not here to judge his life or talk about his finances, or his troubled past, or the allegations, or even Bubbles. I’m writing this simply to tell a story. It’s a story that I didn’t really have the inclination to say before. Now that Michael’s “Ranch” no longer exists, and — rides dismantled — it simply stands as a bank-owned shadow of its former self, I wanted say a few things about my experience at Neverland, and the truth behind how I was able to get in.

In many ways, I feel this is sort of a confession. I never saw Neverland as an interesting place. At first, I didn’t understood its potential to tell a photographic story. As someone who finds significance in historic architecture, I neither saw Neverland as significant, nor historic. All of that changed.

In December of 2007, I was on my way down to Ventura for the Holidays. I had taken multiple trips down the 101 before. Each trip, I made it a point tostop at a roadside abandonment to photograph at night. As it invariably is every December, just prior to Christmas, the radios are filled with the repetitious yuletide jingles of yore. Usually, the six-hour drive is bearable if I switch from one station to the next – between commercials. This particular drive down, I grew weary of the music. I’m not exactly sure why Michael came to mind. Part of it probably had to do with the silence and the habit of mine to imagine music in my head in such moments. It’s also possible that I passed the off-ramp for Los Olivos and thought of the place, only to think of it more and more. Whatever it was, the idea of then-abandoned Neverland began to roll around in my mind. The radio was off, and I began mentally turning over rocks in the process. What did Neverland mean about Michael? Then the big one loomed: Why couldn’t Neverland be “historic” in my mind?

I must admit, I suffer from the myopic view, like most historians — amateur or otherwise — that history must always be equated with old. That’s why Graceland was “history” to me, but Neverland never would be — at least not until it was gone. Hours passed, and the desire to see the inside of Neverland grew stronger. I had essentially exhausted all other photographic possibilities down the 101, and I knew this opportunity wouldn’t last long. Then, a day before I began the drive back up to San Francisco, I exited a theater to find what seemed like snow falling on me. I immediately realized they were large flakes of ash from a fire nearby. The sky was dark and orange. It was an eerie, foreboding signal, or at least that’s what I made it out to be. I needed to photograph Neverland, or else — and I had a strong feeling — it would all go to ashes without proper documentation.

Neverland EntranceOnce it was decided, there was no convincing me otherwise. Still, I thought more than once of giving it up altogether and to continue driving North. I tried to convince myself that I had trespassed many times before at other locations — but the implications had never really bothered me until I considered walking into Michael’s private park. As I write this, I still try to justify my actions by thinking how much Michael truly wanted to share his world. It was a genuine wish of his for everyone to understand things the way he did. And the world largely didn’t understand what he was trying to communicate with Neverland, so he abandoned it.

People have asked me over the past year what it felt like to be in Neverland at night, alone. I didn’t want to say anything except that it was the most surreal and incredible experience of my life. Others asked me how I felt about Michael, after seeing Neverland, but I couldn’t completely answer that. I was withholding judgement. Maybe, like all battle-bruised humans, I had the sneaking suspicion that all of my best feelings about the man would be shattered when another allegation would arise. But it never happened, just as I suspected, because everything I saw at the Ranch indicated to me that he was an innocent man.

The night I drove up to the front gates, the security guard was there, sitting in a well-lit pillbox on the side of the road. Neverland itself is up the road about 400 yards from the front gate. It happened to be a dark night. In fact, there was a new moon, and the sky was clear of any clouds. Out in Los Olivos, the stars shone brightly, and there was little light pollution in the atmosphere. I was sure to maintain my speed as I passed the guard, and I drove up the road to small parking area east of the park. The walk to Neverland was about a half-mile through rolling hills in pitch black conditions. I carried a GPS, set to its dimmest level, and continued on a straight click, towards the North end of the park.


I came upon a back road that seemed to have been a utility road for the animal caretakers. By then, all of the animals were gone, save a few dogs in the old aviary. Bursting out from the branches of valley oak, I found myself in a miniature city. I had emerged right at the petting zoo. From there, my adventure began.

neverland-at-nightStrangely enough, the moment I entered, a howling wind spread across the valley. Trees cracked their massive arms and fell; I could hear the Ferris Wheel creaking; the rope drawbridge waved wild and unpredictable. When I walked up to the deserted bumper car tent, the wind had become so strong, that it was tearing the red, canvas roof. It’s fortunate that the wind also allowed me to roam freely around the park without a single bark from the nearby dogs.

In the midst of all of this wind, the only static elements of Neverland were the frozen, bronze faces of the myriad statues that dotted the grounds. The children’s smiles almost seemed sad, in the context; and other than the occasional jolt of fear that hit me when I encountered a new frozen figure (thinking it was a real person), these statues were the subjects that I found my camera most drawn to. The rides themselves could have been found on any county fair in any state in the country. But it was the psyche of Michael Jackson that drew my curiosity. The statues were a conduit; they were my artifacts to catalog before the time of their eventual liquidation arrived.

I took two more trips to Neverland, each time with close friends. In all, I captured hundreds of photographs of the park. Many of these photographs, I will never publish. Each trip became progressively more bittersweet. I don’t really have any regrets about doing what I did, but if there is one thing I wish I had done at Neverland, it would have been to ride down the Super Slide; I think MJ would have liked that, and I’m sure the friends with me on my final trip would have turned it into a photo shoot.


Despite how kitschy it all seemed; despite the controversy; and the fact that I could only see Neverland from one perspective (that of night),  the times I spent at Neverland are among the most memorable moments of my life. Neverland allowed me to escape the cynical, xenophobic world of a country mired in war, terrorism, and daily reports of suicide bombers.  They may have been only a few nights of escapism, at best, but they allowed me to put myself in the shoes of Michael — moon walking my own way among the soon-to-end dreamscape of a truly magnanimous soul. May you rest in peace, Michael; your dream will live on.

Additional Neverland Sets

Swear word in art ‘breaking the law’ at Brentwood gallery


Swear word in art ‘breaking the law’ at Brentwood gallery

12:06 01 May 2015

Gallery owner John Brandler, 60, now has to cover a swear word in a work of art. Picture: Brandler Galleries

Gallery owner John Brandler, 60, now has to cover a swear word in a work of art. Picture: Brandler Galleries


The owner of an art gallery has hit back after police told him to cover up a swear word in a painting.

Police visited John last month at Brandler Galleries in Coptfold Road, Brentwood, after they received reports of the offensive artwork.

The painting by artists The Connor Brothers reads: “A load of fuss about **** all.

“Modern Shakespeare – edited by The Connor Brothers.”

John said: “The police came round and said if I don’t remove it I’m breaking the law – they said they’re happy as long as it’s covered.”

He added: “Someone’s complained to police about this and you think, ‘where’s your sense of humour?’

“It’s a painted word in the middle of a sentence – you have to look hard to even find it.

“It is what it says – a load of fuss about **** all.”

The painting, which is worth £7,500, is one of many high-profile pieces at the gallery.

“We’ve sold work by Damien Hirst and Pure Evil and we’ve just sold an £18,000 Banksy,” said John.

The art enthusiast said he has had complaints before with a Pure Evil work which reads “you can’t buy happiness, steal it”, with the “I” in “it” being stolen by a man in a hooded top.

“People complained it was teaching the youth how to steal,” said John. “I just think it’s very clever – these artists make you smile and laugh when you see their work.

“I just think people should be honest when they look at art because we’re not all going to like the same things.”

Essex Police confirmed the incident.

HIWAY AMERICA -Monopoly in the Park, The world’s largest Version, San Jose, California


Monopoly in the Park



330 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, California 95110 USA | (408) 995-6487

Welcome to Monopoly in the Park, the world’s biggest version of the most popular board game ever, and San Jose’s new “larger than life” attraction. Here in the park, the real estate market is always booming, as property is traded on a 930-square foot permanent Monopoly board. Now everyone has a chance to make it big in Silicon Valley real estate.

Large groups can reserve the giant board and game pieces for organized events. Participants play with jumbo dice, don gigantic token-shaped hats, and occasionally even wear jailhouse garb. Monopoly in the Park is Big fun for: Family reunions, field trips, company picnics, birthday parties, and corporate team building events.

HIWAY AMERICA -‘Elfureidis’ Montecito, Ca. The Scarface Mansion is Up for Sale




Cool Material

The Scarface Mansion is Up for Sale

You might not know this (we didn’t), but Tony Montana’s Scarface mansion has a name. The estate, known as “El Fureidis” and actually located in Montecito, California, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation so that the 10-acre ………. continue reading





Southern California real estate agent Ken Bannister went bananas—literally—more than 40 years ago. What began as his marketing strategy of handing out banana stickers at conventions ripened into a full-blown persona as the “Banana Man.” He’s amassed nearly 20,000 artifacts now on display at the Banana Museum.

It’s just one of the odd collections found across America. Whether devoted to barbed wire or Bigfoot, most of these strange museums spring from the passionate hobbies of individuals like Bannister. And their labors of love are a reminder that what can be considered worthy to collect is as varied as the country itself.

Unlike major institutions displaying Picasso paintings, Egyptian sarcophagi, or Jeff Koons’s latest balloon animal, these strange museums are rarely crowded. You certainly won’t confuse New York’s MoMA with MOMA—the self-described “museum of meat awesomeness” devoted to SPAM in Austin, MN.

a California farmer has the pumpkin for you



If buying a pumpkin, cutting it open and carving it into a jack o’lantern is too much work — or if your best efforts are scary for all the wrong reasons — then a California farmer has the pumpkin for you.

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Pumpkinstein is already the perfect Halloween pumpkin because you don’t have to do a thing to it. Each one is grown in a mold to take the shape of Frankenstein’s head.


People never believe it’s real the first time they see it; they all want to touch it to make sure,” Tony Dighera of Cinagro Farms in Fillmore, Calif., told The New York Times.

Dighera told the Tri-Valley Dispatch that it took four years and $500,000 to develop the technique and find the perfect pumpkin for the job.

“When you try something for four years of your life, people really start to think you’re wacko,” he told the Times.

What some people may find “wacko,” however, is the price. Dighera is selling Pumpkinsteins for about $75 wholesale, with retailers marking them up to $100 and even $125.

For a pumpkin. A very cool pumpkin that looks like Frankenstein, but still a pumpkin.

At least it’s organic.


Dighera is not finished with his pumpkin tinkering. He told the Los Angeles Daily News that next year, the pumpkins will be grown with eyeballs made of marbles. He’s also developing a second type of pumpkin grown to look like a skull.

Marty the Marijuana Mouse


Marty the Marijuana Mouse

Marty the Mouse became famous in 1974 after he made a home for himself in a box of marijuana stored in the evidence room of the San Jose, CA police station. Police were only able to lure him out by baiting a trap with marijuana seeds. (He ignored bacon, peanut butter, cheese, and a female mouse called Mata Hairy.) He became known as Marty the Marijuana Mouse.

But instead of killing him, he was first sent to UCLA to aid in studies of marijuana. Then he was returned to San Jose where he became a police mascot. When he died in Nov 1975, the nation mourned.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Sep




An integral part of the American scene for approximately 50 years, PEZ Candy has been

enjoyed by generations of Americans.

PEZ was first marketed as a compressed peppermint candy over 83 years ago in Vienna, Austria. The name PEZ was derived from the German word for peppermint… PfeffErminZ. Today, over 3 billion PEZ Candies are consumed annually in the U.S.A. alone.

With great tasting flavors and collectable dispensers, PEZ is more than just a candy… it’s the pioneer of “interactive candy” that is both enjoyable to eat and fun to play with. PEZ Dispensers are a hot collectable for adults and children alike as well as being a staple and part of American pop culture. New character dispensers are introduced regularly to reflect current trends.

PEZ Candy is manufactured in Orange, Connecticut by PEZ CANDY, INC. and marketed through supermarkets, mass merchandisers, variety stores, drug stores, convenience stores, toy chains and gift stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Available around the world in more than 80 countries, PEZ Candy and Dispensers truly have universal appeal.


PEZ MUSEUM STORE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

For a more detailed view, click on the Pez in the picture or search the lists below.

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PEZ MUSEUM STORE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 search
pez exhibit
For a more detailed view, click on the Pez in the picture or search the lists below.

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