Who Knew Christmas Decorations Could Be Weaponized?

Want to hear a story about Christmas decorations that escalates very quickly? Then you’re in the right place, because we’re about to go down Bonkers Lane!

In Ross Township, Pennsylvania, Fairley Road is a cul-de-sac with one house in the middle. The house in the middle of the cul-de-sac belongs to Bill Ansell, who, once upon a time, had a beautiful, dazzling display of Christmas decorations. Then, one Thanksgiving, one of his neighbors asked him to turn it off while she and her family had dinner, because it was so bright that it was interrupting her meal.

And that, friends, crossed a line.

Since then, Ansell has been harassing his neighbors non-stop. It’s been years. He built a display of profane Christmas decorations, including a urinating Santa Claus, a hanged Mickey Mouse, a decapitated choir, and a Virgin Mary with a knife stuck in her head (his neighbor, Joanne Hebda, said that she thought that was a “terrorist threat,” which seems like a little much, but after several years of this, who could blame her?). He posts vulgar signs in his lawn about the township and about his neighbors specifically, including one about his neighbor’s late wife – the day after she died. He keeps the display up year-round.

Ansell’s only public comment on the matter was given to a local news station several years ago: “I used to have a beautiful Christmas display, they hated it. This is my display now. I don’t think it’s against the law to exercise your right to have your own display.” Let’s unpack that: He was asked to turn his lights off for an hour, and that, to him, means that his neighbors “hated” his display, and merits years of harassment.

Meanwhile, because Ansell’s home is in the center of the cul-de-sac, his neighbors can’t just ignore the display. Their friends and family won’t visit them – in addition to the display, Ansell goes out of his way to disturb his neighbors by, for example, pounding away on stuff in his lawn with a sledgehammer in the middle of the night. And of course, they can’t sell their homes.

When I first started reading through this story, I thought “This guy is awesome!” because it started with a description of his display, and I hate tacky Christmas lawn decorations. A lot. It would be an awesome story if this person was an anarchist living out by himself on a plot of land and he only kept it up during the Christmas season, or better yet, for like two weeks in the middle of the summer, because then it’d be ironic and relatively non-disruptive. What’s happening instead is, someone who in all probability could benefit from medical help took offense to a minor incident that by anyone else’s standards would be totally not a big deal, and has been on a revenge kick against his neighbors for years. The police, meanwhile, really can’t do a whole lot – that, or they’re afraid to even try.

So, I don’t know, man. I guess, in case the Fairley Road residents ever come across this post, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season despite the circumstances; well wishes to you and yours.


[ABC News]

[Image via ABC News]

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