Strange But True: Home to be Raffled Off for Charity

For $50, a raffle ticket, and a little bit of luck, a 7,400-square-foot, 7 bedroom mansion in Athens, Ohio, could be yours. And a new car, and utility and taxes paid for 5 years.

Sometimes referred to as "the castle house," the 80-year-old estate is being raffled off by owners, Dr. Ernest de Bourbon and his wife, Jennifer, to raise money for local nonprofit May the World Dance, which helps poor children with obesity and related health problems. The contest, billed as the "Ultimate Life Makeover," is designed to revolutionize the life of the winner, who will be announced July 4.

The winner -- to be chosen through a drawing -- will receive the title to the house, a new car valued at less than $20,000 and money to pay the income tax on the house. In addition, five years of utility bills and property taxes will be covered, provided that the winner lives in the house for those five years and maintains the original integrity of the home.

"It is a life-changing event, which is what we wanted it to be," Dr. de Bourbon said.

Tickets are obtainable by buying $50 in goods or services from Artemis Laser & Vein Center in Dublin, Ohio, by donating $50 to the charity, or by providing four hours of service to the charity. Minnesota residents willing to relocate to Ohio would probably just want to make the donation. And if you win, could we be your seller representative? Just sayin'. ;)

More about this amazing house:

The home, which the Athens County auditor values at about $500,000, was completed by prominent Athens businessman D.R. Zenner in 1930. It presides over an east Athens street like something out of The Canterbury Tales.

In fact, the Chaucer stories are depicted in a series of stained panels on the home's lead-glass windows. Otherwise, the house is all dark oak, heavy timbers, limestone and arches.

The living room features a mantle imported from England, and the characters are molded into the arched ceiling leading into the library. Seven bedrooms -- two of them built for the servants -- occupy the second floor, most with their own baths.

A 12-by-20-foot fountain and 20-by-56-foot pool dominate the terrace. The 2-acre lot also has a formal English rose garden and two brick gazebos.

A two-story caretaker's home is attached to the four-car garage, which includes a turntable allowing a car to be reversed once it is parked.

The contest organizers reserve the right to cancel or modify the contest if too few people enter. Theirr goal is to distribute 36,000 tickets at $50 each, would raise $1.8 million. For details of the home give-away contest, visit

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