In this article for Atlas Obscura, I tell the story of E. P. Janes, a fast-talking huckster whose Coldswold-inspired cottages in Altadena, CA, are as charming now as they were in the early 1920s–as implied by the title, “Many Houses in LA Were Part of a Scam by A Con Artist Who Disappeared…Yet the Homes are Still in High Demand.” I’ve spent several years tracing the catch-me-if-you-can escapades of Elisha Paul Janes, the youngest of the five siblings whose remarkable story I am chronicling in a forthcoming book. His oldest sister was the novelist Elizabeth Dejeans (see my post “Do Tell”), who was living in Hollywood when he embarked on his building spree. And yet, as far as I can tell, the two never acknowledged their relationship in public. What was up with that?? You might have noticed the “It Will Cure You” photo on my home page. He art-directed that shot during his Soap-Lake-miracle-cure period, which I will discuss in a future post. The portrait shown here was taken in 1925 during his relentlessly hyped Homes Beautiful Exposition. Why the Frankenstein arms, I don’t know, but perhaps he was planning to embellish the image by inserting a promotional sign with his catch phrase, “Why Pay Rent?”