The Ghostbusters Ruling: A House is Declared Legally Haunted
The legally haunted house at the center of the Ghostbusters Ruling: 1 LaVeta Place in Nyack, New York. Photo: housebeautiful.com
In the New York Supreme Court case of Stambovsky v. Ackley, a house was legally declared haunted. It has since been dubbed the Ghostbusters Ruling.
The Story of the Ghostbusters Ruling
The front entrance to the Ghostbusters Ruling house. Photo: housebeautiful.com
Stambovsky v. Ackley was a 1991 legal case heard by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in which the court ruled that a home in Nyack, New York was legally haunted.
The case involved a home that was owned by Helen Ackley, who had previously informed potential buyers that the house was haunted by ghosts.
Helen Ackley, had promoted the haunted reputation of her home in several ways. According to court records, Ackley had told several people that her home was haunted by ghosts, and had even gone so far as to give tours of the home to visitors, highlighting what she claimed were ghostly manifestations.
According to her statements and the information reported in the media, some examples of the alleged paranormal activity at the property include:
Ghostly apparitions: Ackley claimed to have seen ghostly figures in the house, including a “Lady in White” and a “Man in Gray.”
Strange noises: Ackley reported hearing unexplained noises, such as knocking, banging, and footsteps, throughout the house.
Moving objects: Ackley claimed that objects in the house would move on their own, including furniture and household items.
Ghostly touch: Ackley claimed that she and others had been touched by ghostly hands.
Additionally, Ackley had given several interviews to local newspapers and magazines in which she discussed the supposed haunting of her home, and had even written and self-published a book about the ghosts she claimed to have encountered in the house.
These promotions led to the property being known as a “Haunted House” in the local community and across the country.
It is not specified in the court records of the case of Stambovsky v. Ackley whether or not Jeffrey Stambovsky believed the house was truly haunted or if he purchased it with that belief.
What is specified is that he purchased the house with knowledge of the supposed haunting, and later filed a lawsuit seeking to rescind the contract of sale, arguing that the seller had failed to disclose a defect in the property.
The court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that the seller had “created a public nuisance” by promoting the haunted reputation of the house, and that this had affected the value of the property. The court also ruled that the home’s haunted reputation was a “unique defect” that made the home “unmarketable.”
This case is notable as it is one of the few instances of a legal ruling regarding a haunted house and is sometimes cited as a precedent in discussions of property law and real estate.
A video detailing the Ghostbusters Ruling
Other Legal Cases Similar to the Ghostbusters Ruling
While the case of Stambovsky v. Ackley is one of the few instances of a legal ruling regarding a haunted house, there have been other cases where the issue of a supposed haunted property has been brought up in court. However, these cases are relatively rare, and the issue is not typically handled by the legal system.
For example, in some cases, tenants have filed lawsuits against landlords for failing to disclose a supposed haunting, and in other cases, buyers have sought to back out of real estate transactions because of a supposed haunting. But, these cases are very rare and difficult to prove as the issue of haunted houses is often not taken seriously by the courts.
It’s also worth noting that claims of a property being haunted are not considered a legally-recognized defect, and it is not a requirement for a seller to disclose such information. It’s not a common matter that is handled by the legal system and a court ruling in favor of the plaintiff would be difficult to achieve.
Have you ever lived in a haunted house? Tell us about it in the comments!
If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in what it means if you see a white figure in your home or the story of the ghosts of the General Wayne Inn.
The Arkansas Dog Boy
Gerald Floyd Bettis – The Arkansas Dog Boy
A Victorian-era house stands proudly at 65 Mulberry Street in Quitman, Arkansas. It was built in 1891 and is reportedly haunted by numerous spirits including a WWI soldier, an old man, and a particularly terrifying entity known as the “Dog Boy”.
The History of 65 Mulberry Street, Quitman
The house where the spirit of the Arkansas Dog Boy is said to reside. Photo: Jason Roberts Online
Quitman is an old town in north-central Arkansas. During the Civil War, many men joined the Army there. Until 1870, Quitman was a busy place where people traded goods, and it was a key point for those traveling across the state. It had large, beautiful houses and buildings.
The Garrett family built a beautiful house there around 1890. After living happily there for a few years the Garrett’s sold the house to the Jackson family. Benjamin Jackson lived there with his wife, who died young. Their son, Joseph, was born in 1898, fought in WWI, and died young too.
In more recent times, the Garrett House got a bad reputation because of the Bettis family and it’s now known as the Bettis House. Floyd and Alline Bettis moved into the big house in the early 1950s.
After many years without kids, they had a son, Gerald Floyd Bettis, in 1954. People who knew Gerald said he was a naughty kid. “His parents were good people, but Gerald was a troublemaker,” Holabird said. Gerald liked to collect cats and dogs, which is why he got the nickname “Dog Boy.”
The Dog Boy of Arkansas
Gerald, the Dog Boy, would torture stray animals for fun. Neighbors could hear the animals cries and were incredibly unsettled.
Gerald was desperate for attention as a child and was constantly showing off and behaving strangely. He never moved out of his parents home and as her grew older he allegedly imprisoned his elderly parents in their own home, at times being abusive.
When Bettis grew up, people in town say he was very tall, about 6’4″, and heavy, almost 300 pounds, much larger than his old parents. It was often said that he physically abused his father, and there’s even a story about him throwing his dad out of an upstairs window when he was a teenager. His dad, who was in his 70s then, managed to hold on to the window ledge until the police arrived.
As an adult, Gerald sold plants, including marijuana, from a sunroom he built, leading to his arrest based on his mother’s abuse testimony and his illegal activity. He later died in prison from a drug overdose. After his mother’s death, the house was inherited and then sold to Tony Weaver, whose family experienced repeated paranormal activity in the home.
The Hauntings at 65 Mulberry Street
Karen Shillings, founder of The Central Arkansas Society for Paranormal Research (CASPR),became interested the house after speaking with the Weavers about their paranormal experiences.
Weaver’s wife told Shillings that she would switch off all the lights when she went to work at night, but they would be on when she came back. She first thought someone was breaking in, but then weirder things happened. Once, a handful of pennies fell down the stairs from upstairs all at once, right in front of her, Shillings said. After half a year of these things happening, she was really scared and didn’t want to live there.
Tony Weaver also saw strange things. Once when he was working on the house, he saw a man who looked like a soldier from World War I in the living room. But when he went for a closer look, he was gone.
Another couple, Quinton and Stephanie White, lived in the house in 2003. They saw strange things like the toilet flushing by itself. One evening, Quinton heard a noise upstairs, and when he checked, some wooden boards that he had stacked were all standing up straight. They only lived there for a few months.
Weaver still owns the house and tries to sell it, but hasn’t been successful. He says strange things keep happening. Once he lost his glasses and medicine after complaining about not being able to sell the house. He also said that if people the ghosts don’t like come in, they will feel cold and their hair will stand on end.
One woman who wanted to buy the house said her daughter, who is sensitive, felt very sad in the house. Another time, a chair reclined by itself and stayed like that while people were looking at the house. A dog refused to go into the house.
Ed Munnerlyn, who was fixing up the house in 2007, also has had spooky experiences. He said he feels uncomfortable, like someone is watching him, and he thinks he has seen ghosts. He also believes he saw the ghost of the Dog Boy, who was a big, scary-looking man. Sometimes he feels like a cold wind is blowing on his neck and hears noises, but can’t see anything. He believes the ghosts are letting him know they’re there.
The CASPR Investigations into the Dog Boy of Arkansas and other hauntings
Mr. Creep’s Crypt covers the story of the Arkansas Dog Boy
In 2005, Shillings and her ghost research team visited the house two times. “The first time, we felt areas that were colder by 10-15 degrees than the rest of the house. We used a special tool that measures electrical energy, and it found something we couldn’t explain,” she said.
Shillings also said that they sensed a ghost in the kitchen, and one of them felt like he was touched. “We saw a face looking at us from upstairs when we were outside, and we all saw it, but no one was upstairs,” she added.
The second time, they brought along a spirit medium, who made contact with what seemed like the ghost of Gerald Bettis. This ghost was angry and told them to leave.
They took video footage of strange things like balls of light moving through the wall and flashes of light that couldn’t be explained. However, Shillings said that the most impressive footage is lost and they haven’t been able to find it, which troubled her.
Have you heard of any stories similar to the Dog Boy of Arkansas? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other hauntings such as the story of the Sallie House or the Entity Haunting.
Tomino’s Hell: The Cursed Japanese Poem
An excerpt of the cursed poem, Tomino’s Hell
According to the legend of Tomino’s Hell, if you read the poem aloud you will become cursed.
The Legend of the Cursed Poem: Tomino’s Hell
Tomino, was a young boy living in Japan in the early 1900s. Tomino reportedly lived his life with a severe physical disability that confined him to a wheelchair.
He enjoyed writing poetry as a way of helping him cope with the overwhelming emotions he had connected to his disability. Upon composing a rather grisly poem, Tomino’s parents were anything but pleased. This reaction was not surprising given Japan’s tendency for strict cultural norms, and the fact that the poem dove into some pretty intense details.
To discipline him for his chilling verse, Tomino’s parents confined him to their basement without food. In time, due to the harsh conditions of the damp and frigid cellar, Tomino tragically passed away from bronchitis.
The legend goes that Tomino’s spirit lingered within his disturbing poetry. Anyone who dares to recite his poem out loud risks invoking a curse upon themselves, causing bad fortune and despair.
Victims of the Curse of Tomino’s Hell
The curse of Tomino’s Hell Poem became famous when people began to suffer unfortunate events after reading the poem aloud.
In 1974, a movie was released called “To Die in the Countryside”. It was written and directed by a man named Terayama Shuji. He got a lot of ideas from Tomino’s Hell Poem for his film. People started saying that he died because of the poem.
There were also rumors throughout Japan about some college kids dying after they read the poem.
The legend spread, claiming that if you read the poem aloud you could have a bad fall, lose your voice forever, get really sick suddenly, or even have a car crash.
Back in the 1980s in Japan, it became fashionable to record friends while they read the poem aloud. This fad took off and it was said that reading the poem aloud didn’t usually cause any problems.
It appears that the curse has an unpredictable nature. It could even be part of a mysterious pattern that we don’t fully understand yet. These days in Japan, even the older and wiser folk avoid talking about the poem, worried that it might bring them bad luck.
If you would like to try it for yourself, here is a version of Tomino’s Hell translated into english by David Bowles:
Elder sister vomits blood,
younger sister’s breathing fire
while sweet little Tomino
just spits up the jewels.
All alone does Tomino
go falling into that hell,
a hell of utter darkness,
without even flowers.
Is Tomino’s big sister
the one who whips him?
The purpose of the scourging
hangs dark in his mind.
Lashing and thrashing him, ah!
But never quite shattering.
One sure path to Avici,
the eternal hell.
Into that blackest of hells
guide him now, I pray—
to the golden sheep,
to the nightingale.
How much did he put
in that leather pouch
to prepare for his trek to
the eternal hell?
Spring is coming
to the valley, to the wood,
to the spiraling chasms
of the blackest hell.
The nightingale in her cage,
the sheep aboard the wagon,
and tears well up in the eyes
of sweet little Tomino.
Sing, o nightingale,
in the vast, misty forest—
he screams he only misses
his little sister.
His wailing desperation
echoes throughout hell—
a fox peony
opens its golden petals.
Down past the seven mountains
and seven rivers of hell—
the solitary journey
of sweet little Tomino.
If in this hell they be found,
may they then come to me, please,
those sharp spikes of punishment
from Needle Mountain.
Not just on some empty whim
Is flesh pierced with blood-red pins:
they serve as hellish signposts
for sweet little Tomino.
Who really wrote Tomino’s Hell?
Buzzfeed Unsolved covers the legend of Tomino’s Hell
After a little bit of online research we have found that Tomino’s Hell was actually written by a man named Saijō Yaso and published in 1919. Saijō Yaso was a popular children’s author at the time. He wrote Tomino’s hell during a difficult period in his life shortly after the passing of his father. Whether he intended to create a cursed poem or just express the negative emotions he was feeling is unknown.
Have you ever read Tomino’s Hell aloud? Did anything spooky happen? Tell us about it in the comments!
If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other curses such as Rudolph Valentino’s cursed ring or the curse of the Passion of the Christ movie.
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