Florida on a Tankful: Plant City Halloween house estate sale

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 11:29 PM EDT

"It looks like an average home from the outside,” said Danny Triplett.  “But as soon as you walk in, it's eye candy, everywhere!"

Inside a Plant City home, find the story of one man's personal haunted mansion.

"Once upon a midnight dreary…” recited a animatronic butler in the kitchen, sharing the famed line from Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Raven.”

"This one is over the top,” Danny says in amazement. “Really cool."

The estate salesman has staged several liquidation sales across Florida. But none like this.

Mummies. Pharaohs. Skulls. They’re all here.

"He did collect a lot of antiques and fine things,” shared Leo "Punk" Watson, the co-executor of Arden Mays Merkle Jr.’s estate, a direct descendant of the founders of Plant City.

"We miss him a lot,” Leo said, offering a deep sigh while collecting his thoughts. “It's been a tough year."

In Hillsborough County awaits Merkle’s well-appointed home. The artist, interior decorator and Halloween aficionado created a home where art and décor played a commanding role.

"He was fun loving. He was always happy. Everybody liked him,” Leo recalled of Arden, who went by “Mays.”

Following his unexpected passing in January, pieces of his treasured estate are up for sale this weekend.

With the help of Danny from Full House Liquidation, Mays’ cousins Leo and LouAnn are ready to part with the extensive Halloween décor and artwork.

As you can see from this video, Mays would take a month to get ready for his annual Halloween party and haunted walk-through.

While the home still looks spooky in some parts, there's no cause for concern, as the Eagle Scout will be remembered for his artwork.

"He did paintings of most all 50 of the States,” Danny shared. LouAnn and Leo joined Mays for a tour of the east coast, where he photographed landscapes to be later included in a collection of oil paintings featuring icons from each state.

The framed oil paintings are for sale, just minus the mural on the bathroom ceiling. Other items include clothing in the style of recording artist Prince, old Disney and Busch Gardens brochures, maps and marketing materials, Haunted Mansion reproductions, décor and paintings.  See the entire collection here (scroll down).

"He would love the fact the stuff is going to go to good homes,” Leo said.

Know Before You Go:

The sale of Mays' earthly possessions begins at 8 a.m. on Thursday, August 17.  Danny says arrive early for the best selection. The sale continues through Sunday, Aug. 20. Cash and credit will be accepted, and deals will be made on the spot  Note: the home may not be full of the same possessions as seen on TV by the time you arrive.

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