Renters sue over alleged haunted house

I saw the caption for this photo on Huff Post.  The caption really cracked me up.

Ghost Busters

Josue Chinchilla (left) and his fiance, Michele Callan (right), say their home is inhabited by ghosts (not pictured).

Hahaha.  Ghosts not pictured.

For those who haven’t heard, a family in New Jersey sued their landlord over an alleged haunted house.  The couple, Josue Chinchilla, his fiancé, Michele Callan, and Callan’s two daughters were in the house less than two weeks when they fled after hearing voices and seeing weird stuff.  Now they want their security deposit back.  The landlord has counter-sued them for breaking the lease.

By haunted, the couple say they heard footsteps and voices late at night.

They found clothes thrown on the floors.

They heard someone say “Let it Burn.”

And once, the bed sheets were tugged and Mr. Chinchilla’s arm was bumped while in bed.

I’m no expert in ghosts, but this sounds more like an annoying spouse than a haunting.

Plus, if the house were really haunted the landlord would be sitting on a goldmine.  I would pay major bucks to sleep in a verifiable haunted house with non-violent ghosts.   (I grew up watching Jennifer Slept Here; I like ghosts.)

I haven’t read the pleadings in the case but here are two weaknesses that I see.  First, if no one has ever complained that the house is haunted, the landlord has a good argument that the ghosts were brought in by the couple.  Like bedbugs or something.

Second, if no one has ever been murdered or  committed suicide in the house, the couple has an uphill battle of explaining how the house could be haunted.   Not to mention if no one has ever died in the house.  Don’t you at least need a death in the house to have it haunted?

Well, I’m sort of kidding.  But there is really interesting case law on this stuff.

For instance, a handful of cases hold that buyers have a cause of action against sellers where the sellers fail to disclose that the house is somehow stigmatized by a gruesome murder or haunting.   Here is a link interesting blog post on the topic.  A lot of states have enacted legislation to counter that case law.

So unless the couple can show that the landlord knew the house was haunted or that there was something about the house that might creep people out, I’m betting against the couple.

The house, by the way, is in Toms River, New Jersey.  The same town where The Amityville Horror was filmed.  Bwahaha.

Lyrics at this link.

Tiny top hat tip:  Matthew S.


~ by siouxsielaw on April 18, 2012.

8 Responses to “Renters sue over alleged haunted house”

  1. There was a house in the where I grew up where “The 22 Caliber Killers” had killed someone. The house sat vacant for years. Eventually, a family moved in. All the kids at my school were really mean to the girl whose family moved into the haunted house. I still feel bad for that girl. I also agree that you should be able to get your money back, if the seller or landlord doesn’t disclose a murder or ghost on the property.

  2. I love the “bedbug” theory that they may have brought whatever it is with them. Wonder if the landlord could throw in charging for an extra entity living there they did not disclose on the lease.

    Although from the article it does sound like they do have some paranormal researchers to back up their claim.

    A more likely culprit of the activity could be the kids, especially if they had to move away from their friends. It is surprising how quickly one small child can destroy a room if left unsupervised for even a few minutes.

  3. A building, used until recently, by a major international company my wife worked for, was haunted by several spirits. While the situation was undelcared, it was well known by those who worked there.

    The building has now been vacated and sold for drainage reasons. It has been stripped back to its original structure. Many contractors, not knowing of the haunting have fled the building, never to return.

    The presences took the form of clothes being pulled, local ice cold temperature, voices calling persons names, lights switching on after the place was empty, sightings by groups of staff of human shapes going through walls.

    A sense of normality has to be cast over this. There never was any violence in any of this activity. Just mischief.

  4. Not everyone is honest about deaths in a house. My grandfather died in a house and my grandmother had it listed in the obit that he died in the hospital so she could sell the house when in fact he died on the living room floor. he had a heart attack minutes before the new year and died minutes after the new year.

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