What do you get if you take one human being, add 10 points of talent, delete their entire childhood, and then shove their pockets with $750 million? Well, you get Michael Jackson of course, arguably the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen, complete with extraterrestrial dance moves, the catchiest pop hooks ever written, indecisive facial features, and eccentric spending habits which nearly toppled his soaring empire over. Just take a look at the Neverland Ranch, which set Jackson back around $30 million to purchase, and then proceeded to build his own private amusement park and petting zoo in his backyard.
When crunching those Neverland numbers, then adding them to his other properties, plus his extravagant taste in collectibles, plus his ludicrous attitude towards retail therapy, and everyone was quick to learn that Jackson was rich, but not that rich. In 2002, MJ’s $130 million in assets looked pathetic in comparison to his $415 million debt, and eventually, Jackson had to admit defeat, slowly selling off his business investments until he had just about got on top of his financial gloom, only to pass away shortly afterward, in 2009. Nevertheless, despite the death, his name still continues to rake in the cash (his estate receiving a colossal $825 million in 2016 alone), not to mention that his demise meant that the Neverland doors were finally open, as his memories were auctioned off, piece by piece. Here are some of the weird and wonderful things they found in there.
15 Edward Scissorhands’ Hands
The first-ever collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp was obviously a special moment for the whole world, as this was long before the two of them started working together over and over and over again, more often than not on some hyper-stylised remake of a classic film, butchering our youth in the fanciest way possible. Thankfully, Edward Scissorhands was not one of those. The genius lead character came out from Burton’s imagination alone, presented as an unfinished artificial man who had scissors for hands, hence the name. The iconic look was nominated for the best makeup Academy Award, and that was all Jackson needed to know, as he ultimately snatched the gloves up with his Edward Moneyhands, and then I hope he wore them around the house, chasing his butler around. When Jackon passed away, the shears were put up for auction with the predicted value of around $3,600 - $5,300.
14 Bubbles The Chimp
The most annoying thing about famous animals is that they don’t appreciate what they have. Take Bubbles, for example. Michael Jackson bought the little chimp in the early 80s, and despite public ridicule, Jackson really loved his new friend, looking after him the best he could. Bubbles slept in a crib next to Michael’s Neverland bed, used Michael’s personal toilet like a human, and ate all the candy his tiny monkey stomach could handle. When it was time to work, Bubbles traveled the world with the singer, once even drinking green tea with the mayor of Osaka in Japan, which most humans don’t get to do. But Bubbles didn’t know how good he had it, and eventually grew up into his natural wild animal self, becoming aggressive towards these annoying human who pestered him all the time, and had to be sent a sanctuary to calm down. He still lives there today, at age 34.
13 The Beatles’ Back Catalogue
After Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson wrote and recorded some music together, Jackson was surprised to find out that McCartney earned roughly $40 million each year due to the music publishing rights he owned. Turns out that revealing this information was one of the Beatle man’s biggest mistakes, as in 1984, the two of them entered a bidding dispute to acquire the rights to the Northern Songs catalog, which featured almost every Lennon–McCartney Beatles composition ever written. Paul was looking to spend around £10 million, with Yoko Ono (Lennon’s widow) also placing her own £10 million towards the prize. Ono, however, thought this was too expensive, and tried to argue the price down to £5 million each. Meanwhile, Jackson reached into his back pocket, pulled out around $47.5 million, and paid the suits right then and there, now the proud owner of everything The Beatles had ever recorded. When McCartney protested to his former friend, Jackson replied that it was “just business”.
12 A Michael Jackson Statue Wearing The Batsuit
During a secret brainstorming meeting held to discuss the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s 1989 superhero flick Batman, it was suggested that Prince could perform certain funk tracks for the film, whilst Jackson could handle the more soppy love ballad ones. Prince scoffed at this idea and every other idea, demanding that he write an entirely new studio album for the movie, which the people in charge said was “ok”. Regardless, Jackson has often called himself a huge fan of the franchise, requesting to play the role of Riddler in 1995’s Batman Forever (a part which thankfully went to Jim Carrey instead) as well as purchasing this life-sized statue of himself dressed as Batman. Perhaps as some sweet nod to all of this, The LEGO Batman Movie starts with the inspirational Jackson lyric: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change." Solid advice.
11 A Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? How should I know? Let me Google that for you. Ok, so apparently it’s when a patient is placed in a pressurized tube and breathes in pure oxygen. So what is that used to treat? One second. Ok, so you know the bends? When scuba divers get decompression sickness? A hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps solve that issue, by popping dodgy bubbles of air in your blood vessels whilst reducing the chance of any infections. In 1986 it was frontpage news when Michael Jackson was photographed sleeping in one of these chambers, hoping it would slow down the process of aging. You know what also slows down the process of aging? Carving a new face out of your old face. Anyway, Jackson denied these tabloid reports (even though the tabloids claimed that Jackson has given them the photo), and MJ eventually donated this glass box to a medical center, opting to sleep on a much more comfortable human bed instead.
10 Life Masks Of His Own Face
I have searched all around the internet, and yet I can't seem to find any satisfying backstory which justifies these creepy life masks made in Jacko's image, frozen in confusing poses as if experiencing intense pain or a particularly difficult constipation day. Naturally, when these items went up for auction, his true fans were less concerned about what purpose they served and were much more interested about the dotted line they could sign in order to take these faces home and stare at them and kiss them or whatever it was these types of people do. And at an estimated value of $415 – $600, these were some of the cheaper Jackson memorabilia on the market, perhaps because they looked like MJ’s ghost was perpetually screaming in your living room, and that wasn’t everyone’s idea of a fun Friday night.
9 Mannequin Children
For a man who was accused of certain inappropriate activities with his younger visitors, the discovery of various life-size child dolls scattered all around his ranch didn’t exactly do wonders for his reputation. Photos showed some youthful mannequins seated together as if in conversation, whilst others were propped up in weird yoga poses, which Jackson rivals pointed towards as the final black and white evidence needed, the man was undeniably guilty, surely. Regardless, it doesn't matter if you're black or white, and it takes a lot more than a disturbing fascination with figurine kiddies to lock someone away forever, which is why Jackson was eventually found innocent on every charge. If memory serves me, Jackson then moonwalked out of the courtroom, promptly planned the biggest comeback shows of his career, and then overdosed on pharmaceuticals shortly afterward.
8 An Interesting And Vast Car Collection
A large incentive towards becoming ultra-rich and famous is the endless purchasing of really expensive cars, as I think it’s probably in the contract you sign with the devil or something. Jackson went above and beyond his part of the deal, with at least four personal limousines, one of which was a 1999 Rolls Royce Silver Seraph, complete with seats upholstered with expensive leathers, and an abundant use of 24-carat gold everywhere. Another Rolls Royce limo he owned was a 1990 Silver Spur II, which housed a full-service bar inside. Of course, while these examples may be extravagant, they are somewhat disappointing for that crazy Jackson persona we all love, so let’s not forget his Black Dodge Viper Mini-Car with a Simpsons paint job, his electrified horse-drawn carriage, and his lovely custom golf cart, which featured an image of Jackson as Peter Pan on the bonnet. That’s more like it!
7 A Robotic Head Of Himself
In 1988, Jackson starred in Moonwalker, a film which consisted of various different short clips about the man in question, featuring plenty of music videos from his Bad album. Now not to spoil the ending or anything, but I’m just about to spoil the ending, so look away if you haven’t seen it! During the big climactic scene, Jackson becomes a robot version of himself and kills the bad guys, then he turns into a spaceship of course, and flies away. Surprising to no one, the critical reception was a little confused at best, most publications disapproving of the lack of any coherent plotline, as well as expressing concern over the whole stupid spaceship thing. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this robotic head actually exists, lights up and opens itself when you push a button, selling for around $2000-$3000. A steal!
6 The Moonwalker Video Game
To celebrate the lack of success from the aforementioned Moonwalker film, Jackson decided to keep the concept running by getting involved with several video games under the same name. Said games' premise was much like the film's premise (which itself was much like the real-life premise of Jackson’s beautifully perplexed imagination), where Michael would dance his way through scenes and save kidnapped children from the evil adult named Mr. Big. The player would take control of Jackson, fighting enemies with what was called "Dance Magic", because obviously, Michael would never allow himself to make actual physical contact otherwise he would shatter like a porcelain teacup. The game itself was a moderate victory and was not the last of the singer’s exploration into the gaming media, including a short stint working on the Sonic the Hedgehog 3’s soundtrack. However, the man ultimately requested to be uncredited on that project, because he thought it sounded rubbish.
5 Macaulay Culkin Collectibles
The long-term Culkin/Jackson friendship may have raised some conservative eyebrows, but in actual fact, it turned out to be one of Jackson’s greatest defenses. The two became friends around 1990 when Macaulay was about 10 years old, and they spent a lot of time together, running around the ranch, sleeping in Jackson’s bed, best of buddies despite their 22 year age difference. When the topic of Jackson’s misconduct allegations hit the press many years later, multiple publications looked back at the duo’s peculiar companionship as a potential red flag. But Culkin stood firm, dismissing the accusations as “absolutely ridiculous”, and even giving this as a testimonial under oath during Jackson’s 2005 trial. This makes it a little less creepy that Jackson owns an original Culkin finger painting and a signed Culkin headshot, especially when considering that Jackson’s second child, Paris, is Culkin’s goddaughter.
4 A Crown And Throne
After being dubbed the King of Pop for so many years, the title started to go to Jacko’s head a bit, and eventually he decided that, yes, he was royalty after all. He then probably lifted some expensive telephone to his magical ear and promptly ordered a throne and a crown, so that he could sit alone in his gigantic house, improvising songs about himself being the king. Of course, as everyone knows, Elvis Presley was the true king and seeing as Jackson did marry Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, this would technology make him the Prince. But that name was already taken by Prince, and so it’s just a royal mess really. Even worse is that there was no actual gold used in the making of this throne, but seeing as Michael’s special bum had sat on its surface, it was still auctioned off for around $1,200 - $1,800 after he died.
3 That White Sequin Rhinestone Glove
You know a glove must be really expensive when even Michael Jackson could only afford one of them. Be that as it may, this item became one of the artist's most signature pieces, instantly recognizable because of its surface area which was infested with so many fake diamonds that if Jackson had slapped you with it, half of your face would instantly turn into spaghetti. For this reason, and perhaps the promise of still catching the scent of Jackson’s sweaty palms within its crevices, the fashion accessory went on auction with the starting price of $20,000, but crazy fans screamed and cried and eventually the winning bid had shot up to around $64,000 in total. That’s a lot of money, but you just know that whoever bought it went moonwalking all over the street that evening, the coolest kid in town.
2 A Painting Of Jackson Leading Children Away
Jackson was an avid art collector and even an overlooked drawer/painter himself, with the man’s own personal drawings valued at around $900 million in total. But from all of the countless pieces found in his possession, there weren’t many that caused quite as much concern as this oil painting. Titled Field of Dreams by David Nordahl, this bizarre scene shows Jackson walking along with a mass group of children following close behind in adoration, as if he’s some prophetic savior, here to liberate the children from their evil parents or something. And yet, somehow, the longer you inspect it, the stranger it gets, with details that include a young man looking up a girl’s skirt, and a little white boy stealing ice cream from a little black girl. Regardless, Nordahl’s artistic talent is undeniable, hence why he was commissioned to paint multiple other Jackson-centric pieces from 1988 right until the singer’s death.
1 His Many Mansions
As previously discussed, The Neverland Ranch has already gone down in the history books as a more modern version of Graceland, except a little more eerie in that “loss of innocence” type of way. But naturally, with the checkbook and celebrity power as momentous as Jackson, he had plenty of other properties on the map. Firstly, there was his $10 million Las Vegas pad (known as the Thriller Villa), which had an art gallery hidden in the basement, a secret escape tunnel to dodge paparazzi, and a chapel for weddings. Then there was his $8 million Bahrain luxury mansion where MJ went into hiding for a while after his grueling court battle. And finally, there was his $18.1 million home in Los Angeles, the place where Michael Jackson spent his last days, the walls wherein the superstar took his final breath and left a weird yet bright artistic hole in our musical universe, forever.