There are plenty of people who think they’d love to sleep in a haunted house — and if you are, upstate New York says you’ve got just the thing.
Interestingly, a survey found that only about a third of people are actually willing to buy a “haunted house,” and real estate agents are largely aware that if there’s a rumor of a haunted house, your price needs to go down.
In the 1970s, Helen and George Ackley moved into a house in Nyack, New York, only to report shortly thereafter that they found it “haunted.” They lived there for three decades, all the while being awakened by the shaking of the bed or actual sightings of ghosts wandering the hallways.
Everyone in the neighborhood knew of the stories, but the family never reported any physical or emotional anguish related to the haunting — they didn’t tell buyers when they sold the home in the ’90s.
They went to court after the buyers tried to back out and the Ackleys wanted to keep their deposit.
“To his horror, the plaintiff discovered that the home he had recently purchased had a widespread reputation for being possessed by poltergeists, which were reportedly seen by the defendant seller and members of her family on numerous occasions over the past nine years .”
New York State ruled that due to the public nature of the haunting, it should have been disclosed to all potential buyers before the money changed hands.
“The unusual facts of this case, as they appear from the records, clearly warrant the granting of fair compensation to the purchaser, who, as a resident of New York City, cannot be expected to be familiar with the folklore of the village of Nyack. ”
They weren’t done yet, however, and this is where it gets a little strange – because the verdict declared the house legally haunted.
“Not being a ‘local’, plaintiff could not readily learn that the home he had contracted to buy was haunted. Regardless of whether the source of the spectral phenomena seen by the defendant seller is parapsychic or psychogenic, the defendant cannot deny their existence, having reported their presence in both a national publication (Readers’ Digest) and the local one Press (1977 and 1982 respectively) reported and for legal reasons the house is haunted.”
In the remainder of the increasingly strange ruling, the court went on to say that people should not be expected to bring a medium or priest to inspections, and therefore a potential haunt should not be something that falls under “buyer caution” below should future.
Most states in the US do not require a person to disclose a haunting, especially if the haunting is private and you have not spoken to the press about it.
In some states, haunted and “stigmatized” homes must be reported if that stigma could affect future resale value. This includes homes where murders, deaths, or typically other criminal activity that is widely known in the immediate neighborhood (or beyond) has taken place.
So if you live in a state that doesn’t require spirit explanations, it’s okay to believe moms’ word.
But I mean, they’ll probably find out eventually – and of course you can’t guess what a judge will do when you end up in court.