Friday, May 21, 2010

More Haunted Real Estate

A real estate agent sold an old property in downtown Indianapolis to a metropolitan police officer. The agent, now retired, didn’t expect the telephone call she received from the officer a few weeks later.

“Did you know this place was haunted?” the policeman asked.

“No,” the agent said.

“There’s a woman who glides up our stairs,” the officer told her.

“Are you OK with this?” the agent asked, starting to worry.

“Yeah,” the policeman said. “It’s cool.”

In Indiana, like many states, there are laws that require real estate agents disclose the property is haunted if a potential buyer asks, said Jill S. Beitz, an agent with F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.

“In Indiana, the haunted property falls into the category of stigmatized,” she said. “Under Indiana law you don’t have to disclose that fact until you’re asked directly.”

However, when it comes to the seller disclosing this information, most agents want to remain in the dark.

“Usually that’s the kind of thing you’d like to plug your ears and say, ‘La la la la la. I don’t want to know anything about it,’” Beitz said. “You can always tell whenever you ask an agent those questions (about hauntings). They grimace a little bit because of that legal issue.”

When it comes to haunted property, Beitz is different than most real estate agents – she’s a paranormal investigator. Haunted properties don’t surprise her.

A friend of Beitz who decorates properties going on the market called her one day and told her about a house she was decorating. On her first visit to the house, the seller said the basement was haunted – but that wasn’t the only strange thing about the house.

“She went to the upstairs of the house. All the doors from the third floor are locked from the outside and manacles are on the walls,” Beitz said. “She said, ‘I have to go back to this house. Would you go with me?’”

Beitz did, and found her friend was right about the house.

“We both agreed we didn’t like the stairs,” Beitz said. “I had to swallow pretty hard to walk up them.”

She also had a problem taking photographs in the home – a problem she’s noticed in a number of her listings.

“I’ve had some weird things happen,” she said. “I would notice in some of my houses I’d have a hard time photographing. I’d start getting big orbs, mist, and all kinds of stuff that messed up my pictures. I asked everyone if they had a hard time photographing their property and they looked at me like I was crazy.”

Orbs – bright balls of light that began appearing in photographs at the dawn of the digital age – are often called proof of ghostly activity. Usually it’s moisture, dust or insects that appear as orbs when reflecting the flash. Sometimes, however, orbs are a bit harder to explain.

While photographing the listing of an elderly woman named Rose Garr, Beitz had a hard time taking a photograph without something anomalous appearing in the pictures. Beitz knew it was Rose’s late husband who was upset she was there.

“I said, ‘Mr. Garr, Rose has moved out, she’s fine. We’re selling your house, just be at peace.’ Then I could take the pictures,” Beitz said. “(Paranormal) investigators don’t put stock in orbs, but it always makes me pay a little more attention when things like that happen.”

Although popular culture has glamorized ghosts and haunted locations, they aren’t always popular with buyers.

“The reason those things were always seen as stigmatized is that it’s going to decrease the value of the property or make it unappealing,” she said. “What I’m curious to find out is if there’s a segment of people as buyers who would be looking for haunted property. It would make it a niche property, like lake property.”

However, Beitz warns not all haunted houses are as friendly as the woman gliding up the stairs in Indianapolis or what people see on TV.

“It can be very serious,” she said. “One person could live in a house for decades and be fine and have someone else move in with personality issues which will open it up to it.”

Or, someone could be looking for trouble.

“Right now I have someone who has activity. She’s asking for it. She’s a Wiccan and she’s set up an altar,” Beitz said. “You might think you just have this cute little friendly ghost and it’s an entity. That’s non-human and has never lived on this earth. I would never advise someone to start monkeying around.”

Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Night of Terror on Kauai

The three friends had been awake for maybe 40 hours in early January, Adderall fueling their consciousness. Ellen doesn’t know if the Adderall or sleep deprivation is related to their night of terror, but she is convinced they experienced something.

Ellen, her boyfriend Brad and a friend John, who live on the island of Kauai, had come home from drinking and hanging out by the ocean until dawn when they decided to take the Adderall, a central nervous system stimulant prescribed to people with narcolepsy and ADHD that can cause hallucinations.

“We didn’t lose momentum and somehow we all decided to eschew sleep,” she said. “We remained together for the entirety of the two-day period of sleep-deprivation and Adderall use. The second night is where things get weird.”

At about 9 p.m. on day two, the three drove to an isolated beach under a clear moonlit sky on the south shore of Kauai when they began to notice something wasn’t right.

“I was starting to get minor visual hallucinations,” Ellen said. “At this point they were just minor swirlies and swimming effects.”

When the three neared the ocean, they drove to a cliff dotted with trees and tall grass that gave them a clear view of the beach.

“It is very dark at this place, as there are no major cities around,” Ellen said. “We lit a fire.”

Then the horror began.

“I noticed that the rocks and roots and trees around us looked liked gnarled, grotesque faces,” Ellen said. “I pointed it out to my two companions who agreed. I wasn’t scared because I thought they were merely hallucinations.”

As Brad built a fire, Ellen and John walked down a footpath through the tall grass and started seeing shadows.

“We came to a small clearing in the grass, when I noticed I saw several shadows, like the shadows a person would make,” Ellen said. “There were at least four. Thinking they were perhaps being cast by me and my friend, I raised my arms. Only my shadow moved its arms and I realized that the other things weren’t me or my friend.”

Frightened, Ellen and John hurried back to the fire.

“My boyfriend was skeptical and didn’t seem to think anything of it,” Ellen said. “But he mentioned that we were right next to a heiau – a pre-contact place of worship for Hawaiians, like an alter. I was very miffed that he would bring us to such a creepy and spiritually charged place.”

Growing paranoid they had upset something ancient by their presence, Ellen and John decided to walk to the heiau and offer the only food they brought with them – a pear – as a gift As they approached the heiau, Ellen couldn’t go any closer and stopped.

“The vibe of the place seemed very charged, not like when we had first arrived,” she said. “We said a prayer out loud, stating our respect and that we were giving a food offering. John walked into the grass to deposit the pear and disappeared.”

A few moments later, Ellen heard something running through the grass. It was John.

“He was panting, and seemed very alarmed. He said he’d heard people walking in the grass,” Ellen said. “We listened for awhile, now both getting alarmed. We clearly heard the sound of someone running fast through the grass. It wasn’t wind. Everything else was still.”

The largest animal in the area would be a wild pig, and Ellen was sure it was not a pig.

“It was at this point that faces we were seeing became more pronounced,” she said. “The roots now made full bodies, and the trees started to look like people or spirits.”

The two watched three dead trees near the heiau turn into bluish-gray men in robes, with vertical headdresses made out of sticks.

“They were clearly shamans,” Ellen said. “They didn’t walk, or move their limbs like a human would, but they seemed to know we were looking at them, and their faces seemed alive, like they were making grotesque faces, opening their mouths, looking mournful, or like someone who is making a horrible face.”

As the sounds of movement in the grass became closer and faster, Ellen and John decided they had to leave – now.

“My boyfriend was ignoring us and our fears and wasn’t part of this discussion,” Ellen said. “But John and I decided we had to leave, and we said, ‘Brad, let’s go. Brad, we gotta go.’”

While watching Brad put out the fire, Ellen and John saw faces appear in the night around him, the swollen, pumpkin-like faces of hags.

“I was scared of what I would see at this point, so I stopped watching Brad for fear of what I might see,” Ellen said.

She turned to face the truck and in the reflection in the rear window Ellen saw the fire, herself, John, and two malformed women approaching Brad.

“There were two female figures holding onto his waist as he moved quickly around,” she said. “They were flying, or whipping around, completely horizontal. It was horrible. Never in my imaginings of ghosts would I have thought that they would look that strangely formed or that fantastic.”

Ellen grabbed John and turned him to look at the reflection.

“He’d been relatively calm up to this point, but when he saw the reflection he was as scared as me,” she said.

They dove into the car and Ellen closed her eyes as Brad got behind the wheel and drove down a service road and back toward civilization.

“John calmed down once we began driving out, telling me it was going to be OK,” Ellen said. “I thought, once we get away from this ancient place, back into the populated world, this will stop.”

It didn’t. The trio saw ghost-like figures, menehune (little people of Hawaiian folklore), and nature spirits during their drive home. Although Ellen leans toward a natural explanation for her experiences, the fact that she and John shared experiences makes her wonder.

“Perhaps some of the things we saw were simply drug-induced malfunctions of our brains,” she said. “I just can’t believe, though, that a lot of if wasn’t real. There seems to be a whole ghost world populating ours.”

Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Giant Cockroach – Part 2

Author’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about Jenice H.’s knowledge of and encounters with intelligent insects.

The old motel sat like a row of Army barracks on the side of a grassy hill in California City, Calif., about halfway between Bakersfield and Barstow.

Jenice H. of San Antonio, Texas, was traveling to Los Angeles from Las Vegas in the late 1990s when she stopped at the motel for the night – a night that burned itself into her memory.

“It was good and cheap just for one night’s stay,” Jenice said. “But I never went back there again, it was so horrendous.”

The motel had a big cockroach problem.

Late in the evening, as Jenice sat inside her room watching VH1, someone knocked on the door. She approached the door and pulled it open as far as the chain would let her. She wasn’t prepared for what was in the hall.

“A human voice behind that door had asked if I could hand him some bed linen,” she said. “I never saw his features, but in the slight crack of the door I could see a long upturned giant cockroach cleaning it’s legs frenetically.”

When the creature, Jenice marks at about six and a half feet tall, saw her through the crack in the door, it spat something brown toward her. She screamed.

“Why?” the creature asked, but Jenice didn’t answer. She threw open the door and ran down the hall, past a motel employee crumpled on the floor.

“That poor girl in the hallway all slumped up must have been in shock from what I had seen, too,” Jenice said.

As Jenice neared the door, the great cockroach thundering close behind, it grabbed her.

“It was frightening,” she said. “It grabbed onto my cotton dress and I couldn’t get away from its doubled-barbed hands on my wrists.”

The thing’s antenna brushed against Jenice’s face, her vision grew cloudy and she thought she might faint.

“Then I remembered a Chuck Norris movie and I dropped to my buns on the floor and kicked its ankles out from under it with my tennis shoes,” Jenice said. “Then I kicked it in the face.”

Jenice got up and ran but felt the creature closing on her as she threw open the door at the end of the hallway and slammed it shut on one of the creature’s antenna.*

“You never heard such a loud high-pitched scream come out of living matter as I did,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe how loud these giant upright walking cockroaches could shriek.”

Then Jenice ran blindly into the night and ran into an old man walking his small dog, a corgi. The injured cockroach pounded through the motel door in pursuit of Jenice, followed by another one.

“He saw it too and was taken aback,” Jenice said.

Then the corgi, a Welsh breed that reaches a maximum of 27 pounds, attacked the first creature.

“(The creature) screamed again and deftly bent around to bite the little dog in the neck with its pincers,” she said. “(The dog) bled out and died right there.”

A young man who had seen the giant cockroaches chasing Jenice called the police on a pay telephone next to the motel and seconds later two police cars screamed into view.

“Then out of the right; these two giant roaches were hitting maybe 55 mph speeding up the hill,” she said.

The police got off a few shots as the creatures jumped a fence and disappeared into a fogbank Jenice said came suddenly – a black fogbank that did not look natural.

Jenice is convinced what she experienced – the giant roaches, the fogbank, the creatures’ disappearance – was extraterrestrial, and someone is trying to cover it up.

“I know those cops who got there at twilight had caught them on tape on top of those hood-mounted dash cameras on their squad cars,” she said. “If the government is hiding the pictures from us, we have a right to know.”

Discussions with a former teacher in her neighborhood brought forth the conclusion these extraterrestrial cockroaches may have either stumbled on a “viable grease food source,” or are here to feed on something bigger – us.

“Bugs multiply real fast,” Jenice said. “People I talked to had said they’d seen things flitting behind trees at KOA California campsites. What if they’re breeding?”

*Jenice saw the young man who telephoned the police retrieve the broken antenna. She said he has red hair and is probably now in his 30s. If you are reading this blog, please contact me.

Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog,