Not a single bidder showed up when this Plainfield, New Hampshire, home went to auction in mid-August, with a minimum bid set at $250,000. The $198,908 in back taxes was one likely deterrent. Another reason people might have been scared off is the possibility that it's wired with concealed explosives.
A pair of now-imprisoned tax evaders named Edward and Elaine Brown used to live there. It's where they staged a nine-month armed standoff with the law in 2007, after they refused to pay over a decade of back-owed income taxes to the federal government. The conflict ended when two undercover federal agents came to a picnic the Browns threw for their supporters, and captured the couple after enjoying beers and pizza with them on the front porch.
Often referred to as a "compound," the Browns' home was outfitted to run on wind and solar generators if cut off from the main grid. After they were arrested, law enforcement officials found the property wired with "more than 20 'suspected pipe bombs,' nine 'destructive devices,' bags of high explosives found hanging in trees," and "smoke grenades and materials for many similar bombs, including partially constructed nail bombs," according to a 2007 piece in the Concord Monitor, along with 20 guns, and over 60,000 rounds of ammunition.
The property was being auctioned sight-unseen because of the potential for undiscovered IEDs. According to an official Notice of Sale, "bomb squads from several state and federal agencies have repeatedly searched" the home and its surrounding 100 acres, and though officials believe they found all potential booby traps, "because of inherent difficulties in searching wooded terrain for explosive devices, it is not possible to do a thorough search for and have confidence that any explosive devices in such portions of [the property] have been located."
Also up for auction is the commercial property in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where Elaine Brown had her dental office. If no buyers show up, Plainfield town administrator Steve Halleran has told the AP that he might invoke a state law saying that municipalities can take ownership of a property if back taxes exceed three years.
Here's a depiction of what this piece of American history represents, created by one of the Browns' ardent supporters: