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Vanderlip Mansion


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#1 MSquared

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 02:23 PM

I thought about posting in the real ghost story section, but this is an urban legend.

In Rancho Palos Verdes, California there is a big private gated community. At the top of the hill that the community is on, there is a huge mansion that is said to be “Vanderlip Mansion.” There are 2 stories that I have heard as I was growing up.

Frank A. Vanderlip created the whole city of Palos Verdes, and he and his family were very wealthy and high class (this part is true).

Urban legend #1- Vanderlip’s daughter fell in love with an African American man, which was considered very bad for a white person to do back then. Vanderlip forbade the relationship from happening between his daughter and her black lover, but she did it anyway, and she later became pregnant with his child. Vanderlip built an insane asylum across the street from his house, and put his daughter in there, and killed her lover and her baby. Vanderlip’s daughter committed suicide, and it is said that she still haunts the Vanderlip mansion. I don’t know if it’s true or not, I thought I would share it with you all.

Urban legend #2- the wealthy Vanderlip family lived in a mansion in PV, one day the wife, Narcissa, went crazy and chopped up her family and buried them in the walls of the house. She also killed her two dogs and then hung herself from a wooden beam in the living room ceiling. The dogs reportedly haunt the yard and scare away trespassers. The woman and her family still haunt the house itself. Sightings of glowing dogs have been reported and members of the murdered family have been seen in the windows of the abandon house. Sometimes at night you can hear the children crying for help.

Now I realize that theses are urban legends, but curiosity has gotten to me. I always feel that there is a little truth to every legend. I tried to go up there last night, and got stopped at both gates. I’ve gone so far as to map out the driving directions to the mansion. However, it is impossible to get through the gates. Anyone have any suggestions? Anyone ever hear of or been to the house?

#2 lomarie13

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 05:23 PM

Me and my friends have fiqured out that the only way to get up to the mansion...and past the guards is the 2 mile trail that goes up behind the mansion.  We have gotteb to the gate...but we plan on trying the back way.[SIZE=1][FONT=Geneva] :ph34r:

#3 Turtles

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 08:35 AM

Neat stories! I'd be careful though, you might end up with a police escort off of the property.
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#4 Lady Akasha

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 09:16 AM

yea you dont wanna wind up in jail for trespassing you could get into alot of trouble just try and see what it would take to get permission to go inside.
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#5 trin

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE(MSquared @ Nov 1 2004, 04:23 PM)
I thought about posting in the real ghost story section, but this is an urban legend.


Now I realize that theses are urban legends, but curiosity has gotten to me. I always feel that there is a little truth to every legend. I tried to go up there last night, and got stopped at both gates. I’ve gone so far as to map out the driving directions to the mansion. However, it is impossible to get through the gates. Anyone have any suggestions? Anyone ever hear of or been to the house?

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Your local court house records should be able to tell you who the current owner of the building is.  Write them a letter (OffDutyCop posted a nice example) asking for permission to do a Ghost Hunt on the site.  Include the names and ages of the people in your investigatory group and what sort of equipment you will use.  If you are lucky not only will they allow you to come do an investigation, but they'll give you places to plug in your equipment and give you some historical backround on the real history of the site and the family.


Also to verify/discount the Urban Legends, go to your library or historical society. They'll have newpapers from the period on microfiche and may even have books about the site you are looking to investigate.

Breaking in (which includes climbing a back fence...) makes everyone doing any kind of ghost hunt, no matter how scientific, look like stupid thrill seeking kids.  (though I gotta admit, I suspect there is a bit of stupid thrillseeking teenager in all of humanity...)

Edited by trin, 18 November 2005 - 09:28 AM.


#6 Merlin

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:29 AM

I have heard those stories before but have never seen them in any form that looked like a historical account or documentation. It is likely that they are nothing but stories. Kids make them up about every old house.

There is however something in that area. If you talk with any of the experienced psychics in the area they will tell you to stay away from there. There is something dark over the entire landslide area and the Wayfarers Chappel. In addition there have been a number of violent crimes there, from the newspaper, not urban ledgend.  

If you want to investigate something I would recomend something smaller.

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:34 AM

Pretty interesting stuff. Definitely don't trespass. If you can't get through the gates, then it's private property.

#8 seantastic

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 08:39 AM

I have lived in the South Shores area of San Pedro, which is not to far from the PBC and Vanderlip Mansion, all of my life and have heard stories of the Vanderlip Mansion since I was about 5 lol.  I have had several friends go there, all of them with stories they won't ever seem to forget, yet none of them have ever been inside the actual house.  From my understanding the security is very much in effect due to kids constantly going up there before.  I've heard several stories, including the two listed above, but from what I've heard they were a little different.  First of all, it was Frank Vanderlip himself who had slaughtered his whole family, not his wife, and he did not bury them in the walls of the mansion, yet out on a patio/stage type thing out in the front of the property (which I somewhat believe is true due to the fact that this is where most of the paranormal activity goes on).  And as far as the story of his daughter falling in love with a slave, I've heard that was true as well, but his daughter was actually a cripple who was in a wheel chair.  This brings me to the most recent story I've heard from about a month or two ago.  One of the girls I work with used to go there all the time, and she made a quick visit not to long ago.  Apparently there is a gate not too far from the actual house itself with an open field.  Her friend had to use the restroom so the two of them went down into this field (apparently where the old barn used to be) and immediately began hearing sounds of something squeaking almost as if a wheel chair were being moved through the dirt.  She had shone her light on an area that had caught here eye down at the ground to see a pair of shoes, followed by two pant legs.  As she moved the flashlight up the image seemed to fade out into a smoky type substance, and when she went back down to see the shoes they were gone.  I also heard another story of this field of two horses (almost statuesque if thats how you spell it lol), one large white one and a large brown one that seem to disappear into nothing?  Also, as far as the slaughtering of Vanderlips Dog's, the rumor is that he took out their voice boxes and they still roam the property so they catch any intruders that lurk by, but from what I've heard this is actually a trick the police have used in recent attempts to stop trespassers, but it still is creepy to hear these dogs rustling around in the brush.

Best way to probably get in to Vanderlips is just to wait for someone else to enter the gate and follow behind, the area itself is very trippy from what I've heard, something almost out of a horror movie, and not anything like the rest of Palos Verdes at all.  If anyone knows the gate password, or any other stories of Vanderlips I'd definitely be interested to hear.

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#9 Ubriaca

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 10:06 PM






Saturday night was awesome!!
1st stop was the "diving board" in PV. It is an old storm drain that juts out about 12 feet over the cliffs by Lunada Bay. I guess several years back some high school sweethearts jumped off the thing, killing themselves after falling about 4 stories on to jagged rocks at the bottom. Before the teens swanned it over the edge in the 90's, it was still a creepy place where teens would get together and tell ghost stories about other people jumping off. Those stories were just stories, but that all went by the wayside when the two teens turned fiction to fact.  In the moonlight, I was getting creeped out, we walked all the way to the gate there, and I wanted to climb it, but of course, I was wearing Saturday Night shoes, not anything you want to be jumping fences with...

Keeping with the creepy vibe, after all fall is here and Halloween right around the corner, we headed up past the Point Vicente Lighthouse, where it is rumored that a mysterious apparition of a lady in a white gown appears every so often. The story is unfounded. She was allegedly waiting for her husband to come back from a war and jumped to her death there at the light house.

We continue on further, past the Wayfarers, or "Glass" Church, which also has a reputation for ending up the final resting place for the dead in the general area, and is supposedly itself, haunted, and not open during the night. Apparantly, plenty of real stuff has happened at this church....

We pull in to the left lane and wait for our opportunity to get behind the gates at Portugese Bend. After about ten minutes, a car comes up behind us and we covertly move out of the way and then follow him in. I have never been behind the gates, and naturally, expect it to be similar to the PV that is outside of the gates. I quickly realize it is not at all similar. The houses are older, not at all kept up or manicured. There are stables and old went out cars on blocks. The roads are bumpy and some just turn in to dirt and then back into poorly paved thin cul-de-sacs. It is practically pitch dark in here, no street lights to show the way, except sparsely scattered on the bigger main road.

The Vanderlip Mansion is our destination. I imagine this was a common destination for kids and teens that grew up out here. We had an asylum that had a similar attraction in Valencia. We are following the curving roads around, dead ending into giant cactus bushes when a street stops ,and coming upon some creepy old houses that make me think of Topanga Canyon. If my car broke down I am not sure of my comfort level in knocking on one of these doors. I am getting the faint idea that these houses have either been passed down or this property value was lower 10 or 20 years ago. We drive by a big open lot on my right and our headlights point out some teenagers sitting in the bed of a big pick up truck. At first my stomach drops because it is the first time we have seen people behind the gates. After I realize they are just teens, bored on a Saturday night, I feel pacified.

Finally, after driving around for nearly 40 minutes, checking out the neighborhood, and driving right behind the Wayfarers Chapel on the winding roads, we turn on to the street we have been looking for, Vanderlip Drive. We pass blue wood gates that were, most likely at one time, closed. We pass more gates. The trees along the road curving upward are well thought out, planted evenly, and the bushes that are overgrown are the same. We must be on the grounds of what was once a huge property, reminiscent of Heart Castle. Now there are homes here, sparsely. We pull up to a locked and closed gate. There is barbed wire framing every inch of it, and a large "Guard Dogs" sign. And several security signs. I feel sorry for whoever lives there, if anyone lives there. This property is obviously well known enough to have to take measures such as a huge solid gate and every precaution not to let anyone even see in. Typical of a place that has been the subject of every ghost story told by a teenager in the general vicinity, or at least a 10 mile radius.

My guess is that it is lived in as we park and look at the front entrance. The bushes are cut away from the mailboxes. They look manicured.

As we turn to drive away, not able to see or drive any further, a flood light comes on at the gate. We had been sitting at the front of the gate for a good 5 minutes without the light going on, and as we drive away, we notice it goes off immediately. It wasn't a motion sensor light.

All in all nothing peculiar happened at the Mansion, behind the gates (except for scaring myself silly driving up on teenagers partying) or anywhere in the area. I do know that after living around the South Bay of LA for the past 6 years, there is some strange stuff that has gone down in PV. There seems to be a lot of suicides, a lot of death in the area, just in general. The last one was the football player from USC that fell to his death not too long ago (a year or two maybe?).

I do think one thing is quite odd about the Vanderlip story. According to all the information on the Internet, Vanderlip was part of the conspiracy theory regarding the Great Depression, that several wealthy families (Rockefellers, Morgans et. all) planned the Depression to stay rich, and solidify where the wealth was spread in the US. If Vanderlip bought all of Palos Verdes, like Hearst did in San Simeone, and as they sold lots off and the City of PV was created (plus surrounding towns), why in the hell is there so little information on this family, and why were they not more active in the community that they founded? It seems as if they lived like hermits (ala Howard Hughes, another big contributor to this area). Even the naysayers who are stringent about nothing happening at Vandelip Mansion don't know what it looks like modern day. The only photo I could find was black and white and taken at least 50 years ago!
If this family wasn't so mysterious, they would never have needed those gates....people would know they were normal. Or are they??

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#10 Judecat

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:26 PM

There is another post in the ghost story section about the Vanderlip Mansion -- with proof that neither Vanderlip or his wife chopped up anyone -- http://www.paranormalsoup.com/forums/index...showtopic=26403

As for the story of the daughter --All three daughters lived long enough to get married to some quiet well to do husbands,  
Narcissa VAnderlip Street June 16, 1904 '
Married M Julian Street in 1927

Charlotte Vanderlip Conway --born Novermber 1905 Married Nortone Conway in 1927

Virginia J Vanderlip Scholes April 4 1909  Died 1972

The owner of the house seems to be the widow of his youngest son -- unless she's died to recently.

So Urband legends might have something behind them,  but it doesn't see that this house has any connection to the stories what so ever.    And just one other statement -- non of these daughters could have loved a "slave"  they were born about 40 years after slavery was abolished.

Edited by Judecat, 16 October 2007 - 12:28 AM.


#11 trin

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:30 AM

Ubri... it's very common with estate houses, and large properties to have fences and gates around them.  I'm not sure why, but some of it is about "Look how big my property is" ... it's not necessarily "We aren't normal and have to keep people out." it's just part of the idea of establishing borders.  Driving up Lake Drive in Milwaukee, there are huge houses and huge lots... with fences, walls, and gates, usually gates standing open...  and these are probably similar sized, or even somewhat smaller estates.

Or for that matter, perhaps like celebrities, the locking gate and needing to get buzzed in, IS about security...  (The same way a locked lobby apartment building is about security.)

Keep in mind, with the Depression, even people like the Rockefellers lost money... some very wealthy families lost EVERYTHING.
The Depression led to a lot of changes in how the economy is managed, and how the Federal Government now insures banks.  (Though not so long ago there was the scandals about insider trading and the collapse of the Savings & Loans...)
    It COULD happen again, but there are now safety nets for people, so that the effects won't be quite as bad if it does.

Edited by trin, 16 October 2007 - 08:36 AM.


#12 Augustine

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 12:36 PM

QUOTE(trin @ Oct 16 2007, 12:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ubri... it's very common with estate houses, and large properties to have fences and gates around them.  I'm not sure why, but some of it is about "Look how big my property is" ... it's not necessarily "We aren't normal and have to keep people out." it's just part of the idea of establishing borders.

Very true.  My house and property are relatively modest, but we still have a fence and locked gate around our property.  This is because we live in a rural neighborhood and the homes here are prone to burglaries because the houses are so far away from one another and are usually separated by woods, so it's easy to break in without witnesses here.  The gate and fence, while not 100% foolproof, are at least a deterrent--plus there are "no tresspassing" signs posted in plain sight so that I have cause to press charges against anyone who enters the property without permission.  However, even if there weren't as high a burglary risk, I would still want a fence and gate up to establish the fact that this is private property.  A lot of people lack the common sense to stay off property that doesn't belong to them and that they don't have permission to be on, so it's intended to help send that message.

#13 trin

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 01:18 PM

I have some friends who live in a sort of rural setting, but the local Soccer field is nearby, and people mistake their property for being part of the park and go right through their hedge and poke around in their yard all the time... even when there's no soccer game. The other 3 sides of them are all farm fields and nature preserve!  Thank heavens for their former security dog! (She's a sweetie and at 17 yrs old nearly deaf as a post, but she's an awesome dog! I'd pity anyone who actually would break into their home. )

Edited by trin, 16 October 2007 - 01:18 PM.


#14 Judecat

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 02:24 PM

It used to be a fact in Maryland where I live that if you didn't stop people from using a part of your property as public property then you would loose the right to claim it as private -- for example,  if you had the house on the corner and had a big yard and you didn't say anything about the kids cutting accross your yard to catch the bus,  then after a a certain number of years you would not be able to fence that portion of your yard because you had allowed it to become a "public right of way"

#15 crazycatlady

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:28 PM

I love urban legends.  This one I have never heard of.  I am so glad that times have changed and people are (nearly) free to love whom they wish even if the story is only an urban legend.  We've come along way baby!  And have more to go....

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to turn this thread into a political diatribe.

#16 Ubriaca

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 09:04 PM

Hi All! I am so pleased to see that there are more posts about the mansion! I did a tiny bit of research on it, after the drive, and the only photo I found is on this link:

http://www.maureenmegowan.com/PageManager/...258058&NF=1

The stories are fictitious from all accounts. Nothing of any great interest happened to the family, other than having a very wealthy partriarch who bought the area years ago.

A few points to clarify, after re-reading the post I put up:
*The Vanderlip Mansion is inside of a gated community, but still has private fences/gates around it individually. None of the other homes in this part of PV (Palos Verdes) called Portugest Bend, are gated except for the main gates.

*There is no home in the Palos Verdes area that sells for less than 2 million. They are basically all mansions or mini-mansions. New and Old. Gated and not gated.

*I think what I find odd about the situation is that this family founded the town and never interacted with the town. No one really knows anything about them, which is why all these stories came to be. No one is defending them or debunking all these stories. I mean, where do they go grocery shopping??

Oh, and apparantly, the weekend after I posted this, someone drove off the cliffs, yet again, in Palos Verdes.


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#17 trin

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 07:48 AM

The VERY wealthy don't GO grocery shopping... they send the maid to do it, or have it delivered.
biggrin.gif Either that, or they're vampires...

Happy Halloween everyone.



#18 Judecat

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 11:08 PM

I live ajacent to a verrry verrry upper class gated neighborhood,  and I show at a small supermarket called Eddies of Mt Washington -- or as my friends call it Eddie's of Beverly hills -- all the cooks and housekeeps get the use of the "small" limo and driver to do the weekly shopping,  and occasionally there are women in furs and diamonds dropping by to pick up partie trays and catored meals for the party.    Even ran in to a Kennedy in the middle of the night because her maid forgot to pick up baby formula.

As for the vanderlips -- all of the son's ran the corproration until they died,  except the last one actually lived long enough to retire.   The daughters founded the library and the school,  or is it just the preschool,  but really by the time most of us came along they were old people and ready to retire.

The last widow of the youngest Vanderlip son,  if she is still alive and has all her faculties about her could be living there - I hope not alone,  but since she's gotta be a least 90 years old,  I can see why there are locked gates and guards to keep teenagers out.

#19 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 01:25 AM

View PostUbriaca, on 30 October 2007 - 09:04 PM, said:

Hi All! I am so pleased to see that there are more posts about the mansion! I did a tiny bit of research on it, after the drive, and the only photo I found is on this link:

http://www.maureenme.../...258058&NF=1

The stories are fictitious from all accounts. Nothing of any great interest happened to the family, other than having a very wealthy partriarch who bought the area years ago.

A few points to clarify, after re-reading the post I put up:
*The Vanderlip Mansion is inside of a gated community, but still has private fences/gates around it individually. None of the other homes in this part of PV (Palos Verdes) called Portugest Bend, are gated except for the main gates.

*There is no home in the Palos Verdes area that sells for less than 2 million. They are basically all mansions or mini-mansions. New and Old. Gated and not gated.

*I think what I find odd about the situation is that this family founded the town and never interacted with the town. No one really knows anything about them, which is why all these stories came to be. No one is defending them or debunking all these stories. I mean, where do they go grocery shopping??

Oh, and apparantly, the weekend after I posted this, someone drove off the cliffs, yet again, in Palos Verdes.

Is the Vanderlip Estate haunted?:   No, it is definitely not haunted, despite persistent rumors that it is haunted. The home was built by Frank Vanderlip Sr., the original developer of the Palos Verdes Peninsula who, with an investment group, purchased the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1913.  Two completely untrue stories have circulated on the internet that the wife of Frank Vanderlip went crazy there, or that a daughter of Frank Vanderlip had an illicit  affair and was put into an insane asylum across the street. These stories are ridiculous but the stories still appear on several websites devoted to haunted places.

Mr. Vanderlip built the home in the early 1920's, and came for frequnt visits from his home in New York. After Mr. Vanderlip died in 1937, Narcissa Vanderlip , the wife of Frank Vanderlip, only stayed briefly on vacations in the Cottage next door to the mansion.  She lived to a ripe old age on the East Coast and was a very sane and clever lady who did much public good works, including  founding the League of Women Voters, and chairing the New York  infirmary for many years. Through her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, she was instrumental in Mrs. Roosevelt's participation in the womens suffrage movement and other political activities. Frank  Vanderlip and his wife Narcissa had 6 children, all of whom led normal lives.  


One of Frank Vanderlip's sons, Kelvin, and his wife Elin, lived in the Villa Villetta, as it was known, ( or the Cottage next door ) since their marriage in 1946.  After Kelvin's death in 1956, Elin continued to live in the home, which she renamed the Villa Narcissa in honor of her mother-in-law Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip, Sr., until her death at the age of 90 in 2009. Elin's children continue to own and occupy the home.


5. Is the Point Vicente Lighthouse haunted:  After nearby residents complained about the bright flashes from the lighthouse,  the landward side of the lantern room was painted an opaque, pearly white. The light from the rotating lens seen through the opaque tower room windows created, for some, the illusion of a woman pacing the tower's walkway and gave rise to Point Vicente's "Lady of the Light," yet another lighthouse ghost story. Some said the ghost was the spirit of a woman who leaped into the sea when her lover was lost in a shipwreck off the point. In 1955, a thicker coat of paint ended the spirit's nightly romp around the tower, and the ghost has not been seen officially since.

Yes, it would seem some believe the place isn't haunted, but, you can't keep a good urban legend down
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#20 KlaineyGStudy

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 01:39 AM

Other Scary Sightings

Some say they have seen ghosts of the family members in the windows of the mansion, others have heard cries from the children. Glowing, barking dogs have reportedly attacked visitors.

A Palos Verdes resident named Eryn wrote a detailed account of her supernatural experiences ranging from screen doors opening and shutting when there was no wind, footsteps running on tiled floors, objects moved around the house, tipped over drinks and broken dishes. She heard voices laughing, crying, and calling their names.

Whenever Eryn and her mother would explore the grounds, they could feel the presence of spirits around them, usually content and peaceful. But as soon as the sun would begin to set, they said they could feel a change come over the land, as if the air was constricted and something was lurking in the shadows that did not mean well.

In one particular instance, her mother's earrings had gone missing. The next day, as Eryn headed home, she felt something behind her. She whipped her head around, and nothing was there – except the missing earrings, laying on the ground by her feet.
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