It is sometimes hard to believe that the Neverland Ranch was actually a home. Everything about it is so over the top that it feels like one of the most magical places on earth. Emitting an air of absolute fun and excitement was the main purpose of Mr. Michael Jackson. He wanted his home to constantly maintain a childlike feel to it, and that it did.
Behind the gates held a home filled with everything you can possibly imagine. Michael created his own country basically with every amenity within so that he rarely had to leave the privacy of his own home. He expressed that it was very difficult to carry out 'normal' tasks like going to a movie or getting some ice cream because of his level of fame. Mr. Jackson took it upon himself to invest mega bucks and build his world from within.
A 70-person movie theatre, a petting zoo and fully equipped amusement park with almost every kind of ride are some of the things that amazed people about Neverland. He also had two trains and tracks that hustled around the ranch. He had two lakes, a guest house, a massive staff and constant guests. Michael enjoyed sharing his ranch with others and welcomed his home to sick and underprivileged children on a regular basis. He was host to many of his famous friends including Elizabeth Taylor.
These facts are all obvious things we already knew about this exquisite ranch, but what are some of the secrets that lie behind those steel gates? Are we better off not knowing some of the negative things that make us want to scream and beat it?
It's time we take a good look at that man in the mirror and expose 10 things we didn't know about the Neverland Ranch and its owner.
10 Michael Felt Violated At The Ranch
Michael Jackson is hugely associated with the accusations of being a child molester. In 2003, his ranch was searched extensively by police in hopes of finding evidence in order to use in his trial, The People Vs. Jackson. There were about 70 officers who entered the premises and completely ransacked the entire place. Michael expressed that he felt the officers violated the property and never felt the same about the ranch after that. In his eyes, it was tainted. Jackson ended up being acquiitted for his multiple counts of child abuse and was a free man.
In 2006, the facilities on the ranch were closed for good and all of the staff was dismissed. There are many mixed feelings people have when it comes to what they believe to be true about Jackson and his guilt with the molestation accusations. His fans were passionate and still are to this day. They exude extreme emotion when expressing their opinions and sentiments when it comes to the late pop star and this massive historical case.
9 Built Because of Lost Childhood
Michael was very clear in expressing to the world that felt he had his childhood robbed of him due to his booming career at such a young age. He attests that he built Neverland Ranch in order to compensate for the loss he felt his entire life of that period. He was constantly in the studio, performing at night clubs or on tour and never had the chance to play at the park or behave like the average child. He said, "I'm compensating for the loss, so when you come behind my gates you'll see an amusement park, animals, everything that I never got to do, there's candy everywhere, it's fun."
He shared this childhood fun often with many sick and/or underprivileged children who would visit on a three-week regular basis. Visiting the ranch allowed them to escape the seriousness of their young lives and just be kids again. He expressed that he always thought those children were so innocent and pure and just wanted to be his friend which he appreciated.
8 Kim Kardashian Had Her Birthday Party There
When it comes to Hollywood, it seems a Kardashian is somehow always involved in the story in some way. At a ripe age of 14, Kim Kardashian had the pleasure of having her birthday party thrown at the ranch for her and her friends. She made the connection with the Jackson family in her early teens. For several years growing up, Kim dated Michael's nephew TJ Jackson. Although, Michael did not attend Kim's party at the time, Kardashian has nothing but positive things to say about the place. "That was the most magical place on earth," the reality TV star said. "When you drove up, there were baby elephants and chimpanzees in overalls, and there was all the rides. It was everything you can possibly imagine. The memories that I have from that place will last for the rest of my life." Since then, the Kardashian klan has gone on to celebrate over the top and extravagant birthdays to date including Kris Jenner's iconic 50's themed birthday party recently.
There are also reports of Kanye wanting to buy the Neverland Ranch for his wife and two children.
7 It Has Been Restored
When Michael died, it was the final nail in the coffin on Neverland never being the same since his presence was gone. It was left abandoned with the rides getting rusted and the grounds looking completely disheveled. Keep in mind, it cost roughly $5 million a year to upkeep when it was at its functioning prime. Aside from his children, Michael's family showed zero interest in the ranch or its well being. The children, Prince, Paris and Blanket took initiative and began to have it maintained and restored to its natural beauty. There is a staff that regularly looks after the upkeep of the grounds. The rides were removed and zen gardens replaced them.
The kids are saddened by the fact that their home could possibly be sold in the near future, but are doing what they can in order to respect the property and legacy of their father. A security guard on the ranch has said, "Neverland has been completely revitalized. There is a full set of staff and people in charge who care about the place."
6 Bubbles The Chimp Was The Main Attraction
If anyone visited the ranch or knew Michael at his prime, they certainly would be familiar with his best buddy, Bubbles the Chimp. Bubbles was born in 1983 and was bought from a Texas research facility. Michael created a very close human/animal bond with Bubbles and they were inseparable. Bubbles even had a crib in Jackson's room to sleep in and would use the washroom like a human as well within the mansion. As Bubbles grew larger, the chimp became too aggressive and large to keep at a residential area. Bubbles was moved to The Center for Great Apes, a sanctuary in Florida. The chimps there are able to be with other chimps, groom each other, play in the trees, nap and be well taken care of within the facility.
Although the media religiously mocked Jackson for always being with his animal friend, their bond was undeniable. Since they separated, Bubbles reportedly was so distraught, a suicide attempt was made. Chimps are very intellectual and human-like creatures so they understand if someone goes away.
5 His Ghost Appeared At The Ranch
Jackson was known to release mega hits like "Thriller" encompassing a Halloween feel to it with an entire horror-story-like music video. Beyond the grave, Jackson is still spooking his fans with his freaky appearances (pun intended). Neverland has a regular flow of investors, visitors and estate agents scoping out the property. An estate agent has gone on to say that local people of the area claim that Jackson's spirit is still haunting the state since his death. Shortly after his death, four photographers broke into the grounds to take photos. They claim that they never felt a fearful feeling in the abandoned area and sometimes that happens with a haunting presence.
Larry King did a segment showing video footage around the ranch. The video stunned viewers as a ghost-like figure resembling Jackson quickly passed by the lens. Many viewers speculate that it was just the shadow of one of the film crew and others adamantly believe that it was the Kind of Pop himself.
4 His Kids Were Secluded There
Growing up with an immense level of fame like the Jackson family had, life seems like it could never be lived fully in a 'normal' way. Since birth, his three children were educated on the property by tutors and rarely left the grounds. They reportedly had a limited amount of friends and lived a very sheltered life. If the children did go off the grounds with Jackson, he was sure to cover their identities and veil their faces, sometimes with masks. He even covered nine-month-old Blanket's face when he dangled him over a balcony in Germany, shocking the world.
After Michael's death, the children went to live with his mother, Katherine Jackson. They attended the prestigious Buckley School and did sports and began living a more social life. After an altercation arose in Katherine's home, TJ Jackson was awarded custody of the kids. With such an unstable home life, it began to take a toll on Paris and she attempted suicide. Recently, she expressed her depression and addiction on social media. To date, the kids have an estimated $8 million a year allowance and things seem to be looking more positive as they take it day by day.
3 There Were Controversial Animals At The Ranch
Bubbles was not the only shining star at the ranch, Michael possessed an entire herd of wild and exotic animals within the premises. The petting zoo was one of the exciting features that many visitors loved most about Neverland. Unfortunately, the fate of the animals needed to be determined by veterinarian Martin Dinnes when Jackson could no longer care for his at home zoo. "Michael didn't care about making money from his animals, he just wanted me to make sure they went to the best possible homes," Dinnes said. Jackson had the final approval of Dinnes' decision about each animal in the end.
To sum up a few of the animals' geographical relocations, we'll start with his two tigers. The tigers resided at a sanctuary in L.A, eventually one dying of lung cancer. Apparently after they were moved, there was no follow up from Jackson's end to see their well-being. Two of his giraffes died mysteriously in Arizona when they were placed with two inexperienced animal enthusiasts. It is speculated that the new owners, Tommy and Freddie Hancock exposed the giraffes to cold weather and did not feed them properly resulting in their demise.
2 He Allegedly Used Neverland To Molest Children
It is no surprise that any child would be in awe at the fun, exciting time that Neverland provided, but reports state that there was a lot more going on that wasn't too fun. A recorded interview with Jackson's ex butler and his wife elaborate on the misconduct and lude behavior Jackson apparently did with guests of the ranch. The butler claims that he had knowledge of Jackson watching adult films with little boys behind a secret wall in his private cinema. He was seen holding hands with the kids and staying up all night with them. Reports of physical molestation were even made when apparently witnessed by the staff. Jackson would regularly have sleepovers with the boys in teepees or beds and was reported to cry several times if refusal was met about sharing a bed. Jackson had sounding alarms around his master bedroom to notify him when someone came close to entering the area.
Despite what evidence was found and the countless witnesses, Jackson was still let free and faced no charges for this alleged behavior.
1 Jackson Was Extremely Unsanitary At The Ranch
Accounts from his staff, especially the maids, have exposed Jackson about not only his perverted behavior but his hygiene in general. Kristina Fournier, a maid for over a decade, testified in the Jackson trial about what she saw go on behind closed doors at the Neverland Ranch. She said that Jackson often seemed stoned and incoherent and there were syringes left all around the house. She said that Jackson would object to his sheets being changed and the maids would have to do it in secret. "There would be socks and underpants in the bed and half-eaten chicken and potato chips, empty bottles of wine and whiskey on the floor," Fournier said.
He would notoriously drag animal poop into the house after being outside with the animals. He even urinated in the front hallway shortly after his famous interview with Oprah Winfrey. Fournier feels that everything began to unravel and spiral out of control in 1993, when the molestation trials began to peak.