Normally I do not go in front of a video camera, but…due to popular demand, here’s a little commentary on why I discuss haunted real estate. Enjoy!
My Sacramento Realtor blogger friend, Gena Riede, recently helped some buyers to purchase a home known as Snowball Mansion in Knights Landing that was reputed to be haunted. (Knights Landing is about 40 minutes by car from Sacramento.) Her clients have now moved in and are experiencing some telltale signs that they may not be alone. They hear noises – things like drawers opening and closing. Or the doorbell ringing but no one (apparently) there.
Gena tracks the sale through several posts on her blog, Sacramento Real Estate Voice.Her most recent entry is this one: Are There Ghosts at Snowball Mansion? Here she details her clients’ experience since moving in and tells readers about the paranormal team that investigates it. If you’d like to read her series in order, here are the earlier posts:
Along a windy, tree-studded road near the Los Gatos and Saratoga border area there are many large custom homes on big lots. One of them, decades old and lovingly designed, built, and decorated, may well have something the rest of them don’t: a former owner too fond of the place to leave. What makes this even more unique is that she’s dead.
One Realtor, also a broker-manager, Harry Murray, tells me that he heard from two independent sources that this particular home has a benevolent ghost who’s seen in her nightgown in the room which was once her bedroom. She has been identified as the original owner.
Another Realtor who does not believe in ghosts and who sold this home within the last 10 years denies that it’s haunted and says that he’s never heard the rumors that Harry has heard about it.
Is this house haunted? If so, the ghost does not seem to be a scary one. I will see what more I can find out and elaborate on this potential haunt-spot when I get more information.
Harry Murray is Vice President of J. Rockcliff Realtors and Manager of the Danville, CA office. He formerly worked in Silicon Valley for decades as a Realtor and manager in Saratoga, CA. He is extremely well known and well respected in the industry here. He can be reached at his office, (925) 855-4000 or by email at email@example.com
Every state has its own take on disclosure requirements surrounding paranormal activity in homes for sale. In Arkansas, sellers are supposed to disclose it if things “go bump in the night”, but apparently agents there can’t be sued over paranormal issues that creep up after close of escrow.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran an article on August 24 that includes this “ghost buster bill” information as well as a couple of fascinating stories about agents encountering spooks while showing homes. Have a look and enjoy:
Close Encounters of the Ghost Kind.
Today’s post is shared by Dennis Byron, a friend of mine and a Broker (and Realtor) of Byron & Associates in Los Gatos, CA. Over coffee last week, he shared this story with several local agent friends and he kindly agreed to retelling it for my readers here.
In the early eighties I owned, with investors, the Jeffery Hotel, the
Magnolia Saloon and most of the other buildings in Coulterville, California.
The Hotel and Restaurant had been closed for years. I was working on
remodeling the hotel at the time and the restaurant was to be the last of
the items I was going to work on. It still had the chairs and table in the room just as it was after Ed Sacket, the former owner, died. He had owned
it since the 40′s.
I had stayed over in the hotel with one of my investors named Jim. I had
just come down stairs and was walking around the porch, which circles the building, enjoying the morning air, when I saw Jim standing by the front door of the restaurant. He did a double take and asked “How did you get out here?” I replied, “what do you mean?” Jim informed me that he saw a man sitting in the restaurant and assumed it was me. I told him that I hadn’t been in the restaurant in days. He insisted that he had seen someone sitting in there. We went into the bar, where a picture of Ed Sacket hung and Jim said that’s the guy he saw in the restaurant.
Of course it couldn’t have been, since Ed had been dead for years….or could it have been?
Guest Post by Pete Chen
Pseudonym for a San Francisco Bay Area Realtor
I walked back into my apartment from the balcony. It was a still and sunny day but since I was on the third of six floors there was never that much light inside. I really should have been outside enjoying the weather but I was feeling pretty low-key that day. So I turned on the TV and flipped repeatedly between something boring and something uninteresting.
I did manage to get off the couch, if only to walk to my bedroom for a quick nap. As usual, it was surprisingly dark but I managed to find the edge of my bed to sit down and take off my socks. For some reason, I peered up at the bedroom door, which had begun to close.
It’d never really been drafty in the apartment and the door usually stayed put. Whether it was the hinges, airflow, something unlevel didn’t matter. It was no big deal and I was more interested in my nap. But then I noticed that the door didn’t shut, it gently swung open again, then moved back as if it were going to close. It did that two or three times before I walked up to it. It kept going. In a firm but almost a half-joking way, I asked, “What do you want?” Then it stopped. The door never moved on its own from that day forward.
Today’s post is shared by Frances Flynn Thorsen, who is a Realtor in PA and AZ and is the managing editor of Real Town.
Ghosts? Haunted Houses? I confess that I love to read the stories here and elsewhere. I have two personal stories that may be about haunted houses. Perhaps they are NOT about haunted houses. I do not pretend to have an explanation for strange events, but I will share one story here and let you decide for yourself.
The morning was quite bleak, cloudy overcast sky threatened rain. Spirits were soaring as we approached the first house on our round of showings that day. A retired couple from Northern New Jersey was planning to move to the Lehigh Valley, PA, and we embarked upon our second appointment to view properties in search of their new home.
The first home on our itinerary was a detached, single-family, two-story farmhouse in a semi rural corner of Bangor. The house was vacant and the property listing remarks said that there were repairs and renovations underway. There was a great yard and the property had all of the features on the couple’s “Wish List.” We were cheerful and optimistic when I opened the lockbox, inserted a key, and opened the door.
There was no furniture in the house, the ladder in the corner and a set of scattered tools was evidence of work in progress. The rooms were large and windowed to a park-like setting in rear and side yards.
The male spousal unit headed for the basement for a close look at the mechanicals. A retired engineer in search of a “fix” was like a kid in a toy store with an opportunity to roam at will to trace the wires and pipes in the subterranean crevices of a hundred-year-old home.
We left him alone with the furnace and fuse box and proceeded to inspect other areas of the home. The kitchen was large and modestly appointed, and it offered a splendid eating nook with an inviting view of the patio and yard. It was time to see the second floor. As the wife and I started to ascend the stairs we heard a man’s voice. We were surprised. There was no car in the driveway when we arrived. I guessed that the voice belonged either to the owner of the home or to a contractor who was busy upstairs.
The sound of the voice became louder, it sounded like the man was very angry and he was yelling at another person there. I yelled, “Hello! I am a REALTOR and I am showing the house. We are coming upstairs.”
The yelling continued, followed by the sound of a slamming door and a series of crashes. I continued to issue loud greetings and we climbed the stairs. I was concerned that someone was seriously hurt and somewhat fearful that we heard an episode of violence.
Suddenly there was silence. We stepped into the hallway, stopped, and listened. I called out again, “Hello! This is the REALTOR. Is everyone all right?”
There was no response. We gingerly stepped down the hall and looked into the bedrooms and the bathroom. All the rooms were vacant, there was no furniture and no sign of life. The closets were empty. We were chilled. The wife and I shared a look and without saying a word to each other we retreated to the first floor. She called to the basement, “Jim, come upstairs, we are leaving RIGHT NOW!”
He sauntered to the first floor and she ushered him out the door hurriedly, ignoring his pleas for an explanation. I did not say a word. We got into my car and pulled out of the driveway. He continued to inquire about our sudden departure and his wife’s ashen face.
As we pulled onto the highway and headed to the next house on the itinerary the sky smiled. The clouds parted and a glorious ray of warm sun pierced the chilly autumn day. She and I looked at each other and smiled. We never discussed it again. I’ll have to find her e-mail address and send her this link.
This has been a great week for my mailbag!! I do not know Cynthia but received this email from her and thought the loyal readers of the Haunted Real Estate Blog would enjoy reading about her experiences and insights. Thank you, Cynthia, for your post!I have had encounters before I landed into the business of selling homes. Then, I got into real estate, once in a while I can feel when the house is ‘occupied’ whether it’s vacant or not once I open the door. If I am alone previewing homes, I do not enter the property when I feel ‘something’ is telling me not to enter, then I don’t go inside out of respect. If I have clients with me, saying a little prayer seems to work although the feeling that someone is present stays with me.
Well, it may just be me so I do not see any point of scaring clients.
Cynthia Bushman, GRI e-PRO
Real Estate & Home Loan Consultant
The At|vantage Group
5050 Avenida Encinas, Suite 160
Carlsbad, California 92008
Tel: (760) 607-9700, Extension 259
CellPhone: (760) 687-8292
Jackie Colson-Miller is another friend of mine from the Blogosphere. Like Ines (post a few days ago), Jackie was another particpant in Project Blogger. This post of hers is pre-Realtor days, when she was a college student in Providence, RI. Interesting stuff. Thanks, Jackie!
Anyone who has lived in “off campus” housing in college can appreciate a great house, in a great location (out the front gate) at a great price…the tagline is…there’s always a “catch”…
Many years ago, as a college senior, just back from my Junior Year Abroad in Switzerland, my roommates and I rented this “prime” property just off-campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Several groups of students had lived there over the previous years and it was considered THE place to live. We considered it a “coup” to have been the chosen tenants.
Just days after moving in, some weird things started to happen. The back door would suddenly open. We would hear footsteps on the porch and heading up the stairs to the storage room. Salt and pepper shakers would be found under the sink….WEIRD stuff. After three visits by the local police, they assumed we were just a little crazy and told us not to call them again. We chalked it all up to the “home for troubled girls” next door and figured they were just pranks.
About 6 weeks into the adventure, at a homecoming event, one of the previous tenants, a guy who had graduated the previous year, couldn’t wait to pose the question. “Hey Jackie…how’s life with Mrs. Walsh?” “Who”, I said. Jimmy was quick to tell me the story of the landlord’s mother, Mrs. Walsh, who died in the house. She sat on the porch every day and watched the students walk to campus. “She said she would never leave the house”, he said ”when I knew it was you who moved in, I couldn’t wait to ask you about it”. So much for disclosure among friends! Just that afternoon, I had been in my closet, choosing something to wear for this momentous event, and one of my roommates was sitting on the bed. “Something” touched her arm…it was just the beginning of our wild adventures with “Mrs. Walsh”.