Renters sue over alleged haunted house
I saw the caption for this photo on Huff Post. The caption really cracked me up.
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.
Lyrics at this link.
Tiny top hat tip: Matthew S.