"I think of ghosts and haunting as just being alert. If you are really alert, then you see the life that exists beyond the life that is on top." – Toni Morrison, author & national treasure
Before we dive into some seriously spooky stories, you should know that home insurance doesn't cover damage caused by the paranormal. So what can you do if your house is haunted?
In this special edition of our blog, we’ll present to you four true stories of homes that were haunted – along with what the people involved did to get their lives back to normal.
The Ghost Who Loved Bacon
Paul Allen, who runs the micro-distillery Hope Springs Distillery with his wife in Lilburn, Georgia, was careful to tell us that he isn’t usually a believer in the whole “haunting” thing.
“Our household is basically crackpot free,” he said. “I’m a 40-year veteran engineer, and my wife is a recovering attorney.” She’s also a talented glass artist. Over the years, he said, “we grew close to a fellow with 25 years as a nearby shop owner selling the raw materials for her glass work.”
In that time, Paul said, they often heard the shop owner discuss the “spirits” in his shop. They all had names, kept to specific areas, and were said to be friendly.
“I spoke to a couple of his employees, and they noted that, yes, there was ‘someone’ there,” Paul told us. While everyone at the shop more or less coexisted with these beings, they didn’t like feeling as if someone was running fingers through their hair when nobody was around.
Things might have continued indefinitely like this if not for renovation plans.
“The old downtown area was about to be massively refurbished,” Paul said, “so the shop owner decided to shut it down and move. One afternoon, my wife and I visited for the last time. When she and the proprietor went into the office to handle some business, I stood in the middle of the empty store, and said aloud that it appeared the spirits were about to be homeless, and if they wanted, they could come stay with us.”
He meant it as a joke.
But when Paul and his wife got home, the strangeness began almost immediately.
First, it was smells: cigar smoke, roses, and bacon cooking. House guests would ask who’d been cooking bacon in the middle of the night.
Things steadily worsened, including late-night screeching fits by the pet parrot. The cats refused to go into certain areas of the house. But then came the knife.
“I was cooking dinner when a large knife flew from beside the stove to the casing of the kitchen door,” said Allen. “I can professionally state that things that are thrown and released will follow a specific downward path, whereas this one went straight and horizontally – I measured the departure and landing points. It was clearly moved there, not thrown.”
The last straw for Allen was seeing something floating up the stairs.
“Yes, I prayed, not out of fear but desperation to be rid of this thing,” he said. “I reminded whatever it was that ‘we’ were given dominion over this earth, and thus its time was up – leave!”
It did, he reports. Seriously.
The Ghost Who Left Bruises
John Stewart reached out to us with a much more sinister story of a haunted home.
It all started when he met the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. They both had their own homes, and every time John visited hers, he felt uncomfortable, as if he were being watched.
“It got to the point that I would spin around, expecting somebody to be there,” he said. But nobody ever was.
Whenever he visited the house, strange things happened – doors slammed upstairs when he was in the house alone downstairs and all the window were shut. He’d feel the weight of a body sitting on the foot of the bed.
When John and his partner decided to move in together, he made it clear he would not move into her house. But he agreed to help her renovate so they could get a better price when they sold it. That’s when things got really serious.
“The minute I started renovating, things started to ramp up,” he said. “It felt like someone in the basement was hitting the ceiling with a sledgehammer.” He started to see shadow people in his peripheral vision. His tools would go missing.
Then when he started renovations on the final room – an upstairs bathroom – he saw objects levitating. He heard footsteps running toward him. All of a sudden, he felt as if he were covered in cobwebs and filled with an electrical charge. The longer he stood still, the more uncomfortable the feeling became. He finally managed to run from the room, but then felt the presence push him down the stairs.
When he finished renovations, he was relieved: he could put the haunting behind him.
Except he couldn’t.
“The next thing I know,” he said, “I was watching TV at my house, and from the wall next to it, out walks this shadow person, right into my living room.”
The visits became daily, then more frequent. John felt the presence push him. One night his foot was squeezed so hard he had bruises the next day. Finally, he couldn’t take any more. He called a paranormal group to investigate, deciding that if they found nothing, he’d have to seek treatment from a psychiatrist.
But the group found plentiful signs of paranormal activity, and John reframed the way he dealt with the activity.
“I was running away from it,” he said. “Now I run toward it.” He does that in the form of his podcast, Phantom Faction, where he takes calls from people going through experiences similar to his own.
To hear John tell the story in his own words, listen to episode 360 of the Campfire podcast.
The Homebody Ghost
This next story shows even a benign ghost can be an unnerving experience. Sarah Hancock and her husband Jonny moved into Jonny’s brother’s house while their home was being built. The brother’s family (him, his wife, and their three kids) slept upstairs; Sarah and Jonny slept in the basement.
“Shortly after we moved in, we started to notice some strange happenings,” said Sarah. “Jonny and I would be in the basement and hear what sounded like footsteps walking around upstairs when we were the only ones home.”
Once during the middle of the night, she woke up and swore she heard someone jiggling the bedroom doorknob. Another night, while she and Jonny were getting ready for bed after everyone else was asleep, the TV in the next room started blaring.
But no one was there.
When Sarah mentioned the activity to her sister-in-law, she didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah,” she said when Sarah suggested the place was haunted. “I know.” She mentioned that she, too, had heard footsteps when nobody was upstairs, as well as cabinets opening and closing.
Once Sarah started asking questions, she learned that the people who had built the house had had a daughter who died there. Sarah’s sister-in-law’s parents – the home’s previous owners – had also noticed strange things.
Sarah and Jonny eventually moved out because their house was completed, but she says the creepy experiences with the ghost will stick with her. Today, they live in their un-haunted home and Sarah works to gather reviews of all kinds of products and services for homeowners at BestCompany.com.
The Ghosts Who Wouldn’t Sell
Candy Miles-Crocker is a D.C.-based realtor, so she’s seen and sold her fair share of homes.
But she recalled for us one that she could barely even enter.
“A friend asked me to visit a house that a friend of hers was trying to sell,” said Candy. “She wanted me to see if I could figure out why the house wasn’t selling.”
She looked up the property and visited in the early afternoon. When she walked in, she said, “I felt a heaviness to the house. It was vacant, but it felt full.”
She walked slowly from the living room to the kitchen. She peeked around the corner to the sunroom but couldn’t go in. She opened the basement door but couldn’t bring herself to go down the stairs.
“It felt like someone was in the house,” she said.
She tried the second floor, but couldn’t bear to move past the stairwell.
“I felt a need to leave the house immediately, which I did. Outside, I could breathe again.” But she didn’t call her friend because she didn’t know what to tell her about the house.
Two weeks later, the friend called Candy, and Candy started to explain how she’d felt visiting the property.
After a pause, the friend said, “Do you think it felt that way because three people died in the house?”
“Yes!” said Candy. “And they’re still there!”
For more information about how Candy became a coach to other real estate agents (for non-haunted properties), visit her website Real Life Realtor.
Halloween Tips for Homeowners
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can keep your home and any trick-or-treaters who might visit this year safe by taking a few safety measures:
- Make sure outdoor areas are well lit to prevent tripping, especially as kids’ vision might be blocked by masks or hats.
- Patch up any uneven areas in your sidewalk or driveway for the same reason.
- Don’t hand out food that could spoil.
Happy Halloween, Kin family!