Monthly Archives: September 2007

Comments from a Real Estate Agent

I get some interesting mail. What’s below is a fascinating comment made to this blog tonight. Rather than leave it buried as a comment (where you’d never see it), I thought I’d post it and respond here. I hope the writer will see it. Great stuff from a colleague of mine in the real estate business. 

“How did you become interested in haunted properties?

“I am skeptical about paranormal stuff. However, I was once showing a large, old two story in south Minneapolis. Every time I left one of the bedrooms I heard what sounded like a large group of people whispering different things at the same time. If I turned around or re-enterd the room, it stopped. Am I crazy? What kind of phenomenon is responsible for this?”

Thanks for asking. I became interested in this stuff after some personal experiences. I wrote about them at (a precursor to this blog). As a Realtor, like you I’m in & out of houses all the time. I’m somewhat intuitive (sometimes more than others) and once in awhile I can really sense things about the home. At times it might just be a general feeling (the home is a happy place, sad place, creepy place etc. – a lot of sensitve real estate agents do this quite naturally) and other times I get something very concrete that seems to gel in my mind (someone died here, a young family lived here, an old woman died here and is hanging around, a whole family died here and they are still here – haunting it). Wish I could do it on demand, but no such luck. These experiences got my curiosity up, so I started the site listed above – it was sooo popular that the next step was to create a blog.

But back to you. That’s a really interesting thing that happened to you. How did you feel? Was it scary, or just odd? What did your buyer make of it?

Got Ghosts? Mary Pope-HandyI have had two Realtor friends of mine relay experiences somewhat like yours. In each case, they were showing homes to their buyers when there were sounds or apparitions that made no sense logically. In one case, it was very very frightening: the sound of snarling, barking dogs as they ascended a staircase to view the bedrooms. Naturally they flew out of there – but there were no dogs there at all. No living ones, anyway.

If you ask 10 people who seem to know something about this sort of phenomena, you may not get 10 different answers, but it’s possible you’ll get 3 – 5 of them! Your experience could have been a haunting (folks who’ve died but not crossed over – just “stuck there”), or it could have been an “imprint” (they’re not really there, but somehow the energy of something that did happen is still stuck there, and it’s repeating itself like a continuous loop recording). Those are the two possibilities that I think are most likely, although there are others too.

Oh, and you’re not crazy! You are just sensitive enough to pick up on a part of life that many people never quite touch.  Many people would love to have an odd experience like yours but don’t. If you seek out a local ghost hunters society, you’ll be amazed at how many people have had something like that happen to them too.

Thank you SO MUCH for writing in today!

Ghosts of Vallco Shopping Center in Cupertino

Yesterday I received an email from a Silicon Valley resident who says that as a child, she was in the basement of The Emporium (now Macy’s) at Vallco and saw not one ghost, but a large group of them.

Here’s what she told me about it – she would love any feedback on this place that others might have:

“When I was 12 or 13, shopping at the Emporium, downstairs in the basement, I saw a group, yes group, of spirits, ghosts, I don’t know what to call them. There were about 20-25 of them, all different ages and sizes, all dressed from the previous century, and all with a far look of dread on their faces. They were standing at the glass doors that lead out to the underground parking lot, which is now Macy’s. It was the most scariest experience I have ever had, and as I fled up the escalator and looked back, they were all still there, as though something awful happened to them. Years later when I was newly married, I recounted this story to my husband who turned white, freaked out, and said the same thing happened to him and his friend when he was younger, the same exact place, too. We went together (25 yrs later) with our daughter to the exact location, not sure if we would see them again, but it was FREEZING cold and there was a foreboding in our chests.”

Has anyone else had this experience there? Or know anything of the history of that spot that might shed some light on this?

Photos from the Southwest

Today I got a LOT of emails from haunted house enthusiasts from around the country. One of them included quite a lot of great photos and I’ve been given permission to post a few of them here.

These come courtesy of a gentleman in New Mexico, who explained that “I live in a house with a great deal of unusual phenomena, and accidentally discovered anomalies when I took pictures. I hope you  enjoy these.”

Many thanks to my readers who keep things SO interesting around here!

Best regards,

Rengstorff House in Mountain View, CA

Mountain View is an upscale, fast paced city within Silicon Valley. The bustling, traditional old downtown is full of shops and an enormous variety of restaurants of every kind.

But I always thought “Mountain View” sounded like the name of a cemetery. Kind of like Anything “Manor” sounds like a convalescent home. So to me, it just sounds like it should be haunted.

Sleeping Ghostie - art by Clair HandyBut I digress. This morning I found a pretty good source for haunted places (though it misses both the Winchester Mystery House and the famously haunted Toys R Us in Sunnyvale – both here in Silicon Valley). The site is

This site does a very thorough and balanced telling of the notably haunted Rengstorff House in Mounain View. The old mansion was indeed well known to be haunted, fell into disrepair, was later moved and restored and is now basically part of the parks system. I haven’t toured it and in fact had forgotten about it – but I’d like to go see it.  Sometimes I can feel if a place is haunted (sometimes not). So perhaps I’ll go and get a better sense if the young woman is still there. For her sake, I hope not, I hope she has crossed over! But if nothing else, the Realtor in me can feast upon the site of a beautiful Victorian.

To read about the mansion, its history and the apparitions, please visit the Haunted Houses site:

Bay Area Ghost Hunters

Los Gatos Ghost Tour by Mary Pope-HandyA few days ago, a member of the Bay Area Ghost Hunters  society, Mandy,  called me to ask about viewing a haunted spot in Los Gatos – the site of the old cemetery. Turns out the BAGH had a meeting in Los Gatos at the new Starbucks at 6:30 tonight, and I was invited to join them. I did.

What a nice group of people! I had only intended to stay a few minutes since this week, I’m a single parent (only this week – husband Jim is away on business) and I needed to get dinner on for the kids.  OK, “need” is an exaggeration. They are 16 and 18 and they could certainly fix it themselves. But last night I was showing a listing of mine until almost 8pm and dinner was really, really late – and I just didn’t want to do that again. I guess you could call it Momma Guilt. Or maybe it’s “enjoy them now, soon they’re off to college”.

Anyway, I did stay for about 45 minutes (3x what I intended!) and loved hearing how everyone else – most of whom were first-timers like I was – got interested in ghosts and things that go bump in the night. 

Some in the group were quite intuitive, some had experienced ghost phenomena, and some not intuitive and hadn’t experienced anything, but had a deep curiosity anyway. So the gamut was there. All of them simply shared a common desire to learn more and to see what could be discovered together.

Also interesting to me was the fact that several have worked with cameras and video in their professional work and several had seen “something” in the course of their using these tools too.

My contribution was to provide a list and map (of sorts) of the public spots I know to be haunted in downtown Los Gatos. I hope the members liked it!

I’ll be back! Meetings apparently will happen about once a month. 

Guest Post: Roshandra Simon on Halloween

TRICK or TREAT ~ Halloween and Pumpkin timeAnd things that go Bump in the Night     By Roshandra..feng shui practitioner and intuitive and medium.        The Art of Centering ~ feng shui * interior design ~ los gatos          Also  ~ 650-218-0638 Halloween is one of my FAVORITE times of the Year.It is when the Veil is ‘lifted’ between the worlds. Our children celebrate this goblin and ghost time with darling costumes and fantasies of Fairies, Witches, Super Heroes and all kinds of FUN personal alternative personas. I often think of the movies that Bette Midler has been in personifying a neat scary Witch. Also I think of Jack Nicholson in movies like Witches of East Wick.  When we women are in our psychic powers we can intentionally or accidentally create the bumps in the night. On the other hand the history of this time of year is filled with FUN Stories and childhood memories that leave us all feeling the inner child self. I LOVE this time of season and year. A visit a few years back to SALEM Massachusetts brought me a very interesting feeling there. Truly many bumps in the night there and in the haunting of that town and homes. A history of a place leaves a Stigma mark on it and this is true of Salem. But there is also something so profound about Halloween back on the East coast. Although I LOVE the Pumpkin Festival here in Half Moon Bay and remember my daughter’s costumes and sewing it last minute for her heart changes, I absolutely feel as most do Most mystically connected at that All Hallows EVE. The Time of the Harvest and FULL moons we all ENJOY the spirit of this season and the good bumps in the night.   Give those little goblins candy and treats so you may have good blessings coming your way for the season that follows. No Trick just TREAT. Pumpkins are the harvest and a vessel that smiles at the warmth of the season changing. Bright and happy with a Jack o Lantern Grin we Light our Pumpkins and say, “.Happy Halloween Trick or Treat”. .

 The other special day that comes right off All Hallows Eve is All Saints Day. Being Catholic I found celebrating that day November 1st to be always about relatives that had passed over. The custom of lighting a white candle at Church was always followed in my tradition of my family. In Mexico it is the Day of the Dead. Celebrating their loved ones and ancestors that passed over they offer up foods for them and their favorite drink and white candles. I love how this culture of Mexico and Spain devotes a day and night to the Spirits of there loved ones on the other side that are walking amongst them that day. Skeletons of a  happy dance is a way to embrace death as part of life.  A time of Happy fun and music and sounds of the living SPEAK to  the dearly departed ~ They DANCE together and remember and honor them.  Find a White painted Skeleton and enjoy a new custom and find the good part of death that has a Smile and Lighter side.              For the FALL season ~ a feng shui energy tip. CLEAR the energy of the house before Halloween. Get a new stick of Sage. Light it and smudge the inside and outside of your house. Then after that clears, find yourself some really nice Sweet grass at places like Whole foods. Smudge and Bless with sweet grass. Then Light a new White candle For this FALL Season and before Halloween so you may DRAW in the good energy of the children and happy feelings. They will keep you warm thru winter. Also put out a LOT of good treats and remember your JOY of that time. For all SAINTS Day ~ traditionally it is a day of thinking of your relatives and loved ones on the other side.Offer a White 7 day candle for them and your Prayers and GRATITUDE. All be Well

And any bumps in the Night…….email me on ghosts, spirits and angels. Love to help you on that or if you need a clearing of your home or spaces…….Blessings..and On going WARMTH thru the Winter…….Blessings…Roshandra  ~ feng shui ~ The Art of Centering   Los Gatos

Haunted Garage? You Tell Me!

Tonight I got an email from a friend – the story in the email was fake, but the link to the photos real. I’ll post the email snippet here but focus on the link to the photos of cars in the garage.

A New York man retired.  He wanted to use his retirement money wisely, so it would last, and decided to buy a home and a few acres in Portugal.  The modest farmhouse had been vacant for 15 years; the owner and wife both had died, and there were no heirs.  The house was sold to pay taxes.  There had been several lookers, but the large barn had steel doors, and they had been welded shut.

 Nobody wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was in the barn, and it wasn’t complimentary to the property anyway… so, nobody made an offer on the place.

  The NY guy bought it at just over half of the property’s worth; moved in, and set about to tear in to the barn. curiosity was killing him.  So, he and his wife bought a generator and a couple of grinders… and cut thru the welds.

  What was in the barn?

  Go to; and start wishing you had bought the place.

Did you see the photos? About halfway through, I started noticing orbs. Lots and lots and LOTS of orbs in these pictures.

What do you make of them? Ghosts? Dust? Reflections?

Now’s A Great Time to Learn About Ghosts

artwork by Clair Handy

Frost is creeping into many yards in early mornings around the country already; green is giving way to brown and autumn is on its way.

Often this is the time most people associate with graveyards, ghosts and all things spooky. It makes good sense that Halloween would be found in the middle of fall.

For ghosthunters, mediums, and folks involved with the paranormal, this is the beginning of “the busy season”. October may bring a sense of normalcy to many families after the crazyy seasons of summer and back-to-school, but for those in the business of ghost tracking, October is a major rush.

If you are interested in learning more about hauntings, this is a good time to get involved and get an education. There’s a good chance that somewhere near you, a group is meeting to investigate a haunting sometime in October. And there’s a good chance that talks are being provided, books being promoted or classes being offered on the subject matter too.  Check with your parks & rec department, the local library, and the events calendar of your local newspaper. Or do what I do and just “google it”.

If you aren’t in an area where there’s a lot of activity in this arena, you can still get in on the fun. There are books and courses online and via Amazon that can teach you what you want to learn too. I posted about it last month – check out the many resources I’ve listed!

If you know of any great events to help people get their toes wet in ghosthunting or understanding the paranormal between now and mid-November, I invite you to post it here.  Enjoy!

Welcome Note!

Welcome to the Haunted Real Estate Blog. If you'd like to share a story, please email me, Mary Pope-Handy:
Since I get a lot of spam, please be sure to write something in the subject line that references what the email is about. Thanks!

Alternatively, you can send me snail mail here:

Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Or phone me at
408 204-7673
(please, no sales calls).
DRE # 01153805

Stories shared &
opinions are mine
and do not necessarily
reflect those of
Sereno Group.