Michael Jackson’s ‘secret safe room’ at Neverland exposed in explosive new book
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The 50-year-old quickly rose to fame to become one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers in the history of music before he died in 2009. Jackson was preparing for his comeback ’This is It’ tour when he was found unconscious at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, having suffered a cardiac arrest after his personal physician – Dr Conrad Murray – gave him medication to help him sleep. In August that same year, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled that Jackson’s death was a homicide and charged Dr Murray with involuntary manslaughter on February 8, 2010 – which he would later serve two years for.
Two decades earlier, at the height of his career after releasing ‘Bad,’ the singer had become so famous it was almost impossible for him to leave the house, leading him to purchase 2,700 acres land near Santa Ynez, California, to build a new home – Neverland Ranch – at a cost of $17million (£13.5million).
But, in his new explosive book ‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up,’ investigative journalist Dylan Howard reveals how Jackson kept the whole thing from his parents.
He writes: “Several weeks after settling into Neverland, Michael hosted a housewarming gathering for his closest friends and relatives.
“Quite contentiously, his parents weren’t on the guest list.
“Put simply, Michael didn’t want to tell his parents, with whom he had always lived.
“He didn’t want them to talk him out of his extravagant relocation.”
Mr Howard goes on to claim that Jackson’s mother was concerned about the move as soon as she found out.
He adds: “He didn’t want to lose his newfound freedom. Michael was so secretive about the purchase that Joe and Katherine learned about Neverland from a news report, which Michael claimed to them was false.
“But as slighted as Katherine felt, she was far more concerned for her son.
“Due to the remote location of the ranch — 100 miles north of the Jackson home in Encino — and the considerable isolation Neverland afforded the singer, Katherine feared that Michael, left unchecked, would get crushed under the weight of his own career and his already overtaxed weaknesses would intensify.
“Sadly, she wasn’t wrong.
“With no concern for cost, the entertainer quickly spent millions of dollars turning his real estate into his unreal estate.“
Mr Howard goes on to detail the extravagant purchases made by Jackson at his new home, including a “secret safe room”.
He adds: “The property featured a 12,600-foot Tudor-style home that spanned fifty acres.
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“The main residence included five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The view from Michael’s master bedroom was a tranquil four-acre lake with a stone bridge.
“To ensure his privacy, Michael had multiple deadbolt locks added to his bedroom door. It even had an old-fashioned sliding bolt that only a person within the room could unlock.
“In case of an emergency, Michael also had a secret safe room installed in his massive walk-in closet.”
During his book, Mr Howard claims some of the rooms were in a torrid state with his collected possessions scattered everywhere.
He continues: “Michael’s primary office was a cluttered treasure trove of mannequins and life-sized superhero statues huddled together, rows of showcases filled with personal memorabilia, a television on every wall, comfy chairs, and a desk in total disarray.
“Nothing in the room seemed to have a permanent place.
“His home also had five fireplaces, a wine cellar, 18th-century French oak parquet flooring, and was heavily furnished with antiques, artwork, and collectables amassed by Michael during his extensive worldwide travels.
“One of his prized possessions was the Best Picture Oscar from the 1939 film Gone With The Wind, for which Michael paid $1.5million (£1.2million) at auction.
“He also displayed an array of commissioned paintings featuring himself as royalty, with children, and with historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein – Michael was always in the centre of the depicted scene.”
Mr Howard says Jackson had more than 90 members of staff working at the ranch, which included 40 members of security patrolling the ground.
He continues: “The Neverland grounds had several guesthouses, each with two suites, a fifty seat movie theatre and a video store, a recording studio and a dance studio, a lagoon-style pool and pool house, a tennis court, a barbecue area, and a private outdoor garden.
“And bronze statues of children accented every corner of the stunning property.
“Over ninety employees made Neverland ‘tick’. It was estimated that Michael spent $4million (£3.2million) each year on upkeep alone.
“The full-time staff included gardeners, ranch hands, maids, and chefs. Michael also retained an on-site Neverland Valley Fire Department service in case of an emergency, and he ruled the homestead with an iron fist.
“His ranch also had a maintenance shop and separate staff facilities. Michael even hired a ‘deer chaser’ to keep unwanted flower-chewing creatures off his beautifully manicured landscape.”
‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up,’ is available online and nationwide in the US.
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