I’ve Been in Thousands of Houses & Never Encountered “Hauntings” — Until Now.

by | BiggerPockets.com

I don’t even know where to start with this one. I have been inside several thousand houses at this point — from beat up drug houses to overgrown estates. As both a real estate investor and agent, I really get to see both sides of this industry, from the sprawling historic mansions on the M Streets here in Dallas to the Fox and Jacobs cookie cutter tract homes, where I have seen the same floor plan around a hundred times.

What I am about to share with you is quite unusual and unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Maybe I am using this blog a little bit to help reason with myself the events that happened. Unfortunately these events just narrowly missed October; they would have better fit the season, as you will soon find out.

Chris Feltus

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1950s Dallas Victorian-Style House: A Case Study

To set the record straight, I never really believed in anything paranormal. The closest I have been to anything “haunted” in real estate was hearing about the house my in-laws had back in the 1980s with some strange occurrences. In the house they would sometimes notice what seemed like large shadows pass from one room of the house to the other out of the corner of their eyes.

There were no other strange events or sightings until they went to list the house. The real estate agent they hired did his own photography and was taking pictures of the house for his open house flyers. Upon developing the film, to his surprise he realized there was a man’s face in the window. They kept one of the flyers showing this. There was no one else in the house at the time of the photograph other than the agent taking photos for his listing. I thought this was an interesting story but didn’t think anything more of it at the time. Nothing would prepare me for my experience on our latest flip.

haunted house

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Meeting the Sellers

It was a pretty typical lead. It started with a phone call from one of the postcards I send out — this lead took about eight months to convert. We met at the property and performed the typical walkthrough and contract negotiation process. That is, until we got to one of the addendums, the seller’s disclosure notice. I don’t think you were legally required to mention things like “ghosts” on the property — but the seller decided to open up to me about this. And warned me about the visitors that would sometimes make themselves known.

Related: 6 Superstitions That May Affect Your Real Estate Investing (Happy Friday the 13th!)

Nothing ominous had happened to the seller’s family while they lived there; just strange occurrences. Perhaps it was previous residents since this property was built in the 1950s. Apparently they had already met with a real estate agent, but she experienced some sort of paranormal event at the house that had spooked her to the point that she decided to leave the property and refuse the listing. The seller didn’t elaborate any further, nor cared to tell me any personal stories but was honest with me that the house may indeed be “haunted.” She started to lower her voice while explaining this to me as if trying to hide what she was about to say to any passersby who might be listening.

The Child’s Wooden Rocking Chair

We had cleared escrow and now had possession of the property. At this point we were getting ready for the rehab, and I was taken my “before” pictures per usual, moving room to room.

I take professional video and photography myself for all of my flips or listings. While I was working on one of the side bedrooms, I noticed something strange while setting up my tripod. In the corner there was a small child’s wooden rocking chair — not only that, but it was rocking gently. I examined for a window that might be open, letting in a breeze. Nothing. I checked for any vents that might be letting in a draft. Nothing. The house was completely still on the inside — almost eerily quiet.

The chair continued to rock back and forth. I even put my hand on it to stop it so it wouldn’t produce motion blur in my picture. And after a few moments of rest, it would pick back up to full momentum. Again, this was a very gentle, but constant rocking motion. Puzzled, I checked to see if the chair may have been weighted or anything that might explain it further, but to no avail.

I was too busy to analyze the situation any further —  I was multitasking, talking to one of my clients on the phone while taking the photos. So I shot the room and continued on.


Reviewing the Shots

I was uploading the shots to my computer later that night. Now, you have to understand — I shot the room with a wide angle lens (16mm), and this was a small hall bedroom. The whole room was within the picture frame; nothing was cropped out.

What I am about to tell you is the truth. When reviewing the shoot, I flipped through to the hallway bedroom. There was no rocking chair in the shot. No sign of the one that was rocking earlier with no explanation. The one I put my hand on to briefly stop so there was no motion blur on the camera. It was not there. I literally almost fell out of my chair. I felt extremely anxious at this point and decided to put the SD card back in my camera and review it there. Same thing; the chair was not there. I have no rational explanation for this, and I am still quite shaken up about it.

Related: My First Flip & Fix: Termites, Hauntings & A Foundation of Dirt

The Events at the House

We have a crew working on the house right now still finishing up some of the interior spaces. No one other than me (to my knowledge) has had any experience with the house.

In my years in the real estate business, I have never encountered anything like this. Right now, we are finishing out the interior. Wish me luck — I think I may need it.

I have never experienced anything like this before. Does anyone else have any stories or experiences of this nature?

I’d love to hear about it — please leave a comment!

About Author

Chris Feltus

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. In addition, Chris operates as a licensed Realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  1. Brandon Turner

    Doooood. I’m not going to sleep tonight. Crazy story!!

    In college, there was a creepy house that my wife felt really uncomfy driving by. Nothing was weird about the house, but she just had a bad feeling. Later, another friend of ours said the exact same thing. So, of course, a group of guys from the college decided to go check it out. They broke in (it was abandoned) and the entire house was empty. Except… upstairs, was a little wooden rocking chair that just rocked back and forth by itself.


    • Chris Feltus

      Thanks for sharing your story Brandon. To be honest I was hesitant to even publish this – I wasn’t sure how it would be received and I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. Very bizarre to hear about a similar experience with a rocking chair as well.

  2. Interesting story. I have heard about these stories many times. I have watched it on several tv shows as well. I suspect it is very real but I personally have not experienced it. I’m sure the hair stood up on your neck that day though! I’m also sure there is nothing to worry about, seems relatively harmless. Thanks for sharing.

  3. David Roberts

    I feel the same way about hauntings that you did previously. But just a few months ago the house right next to one of my rentals came on the market. It was a foreclosure and had been vacant for almost 2 years. It turned out to be a hud house so i felt i might have a good chance to get it at a great price. It needed 25-30k to make it really nice. This house is in a class B+ neighborhood. Great schools, commerce still moving in, highly desirable. Rent is 1400 for a 1300 sqft ranch.

    Anyway, i went in myself to take a look, and while i was in the basement i felt that weird feeling like i was being watched, but that was it. I completed my walkthru and left. A few weeks later i brought the wife over to walk thru a second time. There was a bird defending the front door something fierce. But we managed to quickly get in and shut the door.

    My wife walked about 20 feet into the house and i was maybe 10 ft in and we heard shuffling in the basement as if a human was walking around down there. Not an animal. We also thought the duct work might be moving/settling so i told the wife to stop moving. We both froze and were quiet. We heard someone walk across the basement and then stop. So i called out “realtor! Is anyone here? ” no response. I called out 2 more times, no more movement no response. I told my wife we better get out of here. So we left.

    We are good friends with the neighbor on the opposite side of that house. I brought up to get our experience and asked if she saw anyone hanging around the house or anything. There was no damage as if someone had broke in, and the neighborhood is such that its filled with homeowners so if someone had broke in the cops would have been on top of it.

    My neighbor started telling me about how the man who owned the house years ago died in the house and then his wife died in the house, and his son took the house over them sold oit. The mans wife was very spiritual. The owner who got foreclosed on used to tell stories about how he saw both the previous owner and his wife on occasion.

    When i heard that i got chills and still do. Anyway, i didn’t get the house because i was stupid and didn’t bid on it, thinking it would come down first before i should bid. Needless to say it sold for exactly what i would have offered! Poop.

    • Chris Feltus

      Thanks for sharing your story with us David. Hearing footsteps seems to be another common occurrence in these types of situations. I have not yet experienced anything like that personally – but after this I wouldn’t be surprised. Thankfully here in Texas, due to the soils, many areas do not have basements. I don’t think I could handle a creepy basement inside of a haunted house at this point.

  4. Jay C.

    The 50 cent question is are you going to disclose the whole “ghost” thing on your listing? If not and the future tenant have issues and litigate are you on the hook since it was disclosed to you? Scary questions with oh so uncertain answers. Hey just like the story.

  5. Tim Hoffman

    I want to see the sales flyer with the face in the front window from the prior “haunted” house you spoke of.

    My story goes like this. My wife and I bought a house when we moved back to our hometown. Nothing much except an occasional sound of someone walking around upstairs (when nobody was there). Our daughter was born and shortly thereafter, my wife started waking up in the middle of the night and would see a shadowy female figure standing over her holding some outfit she had bought for our daughter. The figure of the woman would either give her approval or disapproval of the outfit. I figured it was my wife and the craziness of pregnancy and hormones. This continued for several years with the figure appearing every time my wife bought something for our daughter. Fast forward 5 years and my daughter had made the upstairs dormer bedroom hers. There was little to no insulation so we undertook the project to re-do the upstairs and insulate, new windows and so on. Upon telling my daughter what we planned, she asked this question….. “Will the Eyes Still Be There when you are done?” The hair on the back of my neck stands up even now and my wife used that as proof the shadowy figure was real.
    Upon further research, we found out that the prior owners had DIED in a car crash on their way to visit THEIR daughter at college. The daughter never came back and let the house go into foreclosure and that is where we bought it.
    When we sold it, (after 11 years of living there) we did NOT disclose the haunting.

  6. Vonetta Booker

    Whoa. I thought you were going to say that when you reviewed the images you’d taken, that you saw a ghostly childlike figure sitting in the rocking chair. But for there to be NO rocking chair at all in the photos–now, THAT’S new! And chilling.

  7. james russell

    my family has a fair amount of ghostly stories they talk about. i always sort of thought that they were just trying to scare my brother myself and my cousins as kids. but, as we grew up we heard the stories from so many different people. not at the same time either. to this day i get chills when i recall some of these stories so, rest assured you are not crazy and or alone. pretty fun to read a story like this in the real estate community. thanks for sharing. i may share some of these ghost stories from my family at some point. i think people will find them interesting (or at least fun), because more than one of them have physical (albeit slight) contact involved. until then

  8. Lisa DuFaux

    Definitely got chills reading this and I don’t think you’re crazy. My aunt and her family used to live in a big old mansion and they swore it was haunted. I never spent much time there and never saw anything but they had lots of stories. Also, my husband and I were looking at a potential investment property a couple years ago. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or haunting but something really odd took place. We’ve also looked at tons of abandoned houses. In this one, nothing supernatural happened – just the usual creaks and wind noise but all of a sudden we were both overcome with an urgent desire to get out. We practically ran from the house. I have no idea what it was but it still gives us both goosebumps when we talk about it! I can’t imagine experiencing your rocking chair scenario!

  9. Jason Clark

    The house I live in now was haunted for a few years by my DAD who died in the house in 2002 (I bought it from my mom in 2011). I didn’t believe in that stuff either until it happened to me. Weird things would happen after he died and I would give my mom “the look” that the house was haunted. I would joke about it with her but not really joking if you know what I mean. One time I said something about hearing someone walking upstairs (he died in the upstairs bedroom) and my mom says, “you have nothing to worry about, your dad isnt going to hurt you”. Creeped me out!

    The strangest events were when the TV would turn on at 7:30am by itself occasionally. House would be all quiet and poof the tv was on. I would get up and turn it off. The creepy part is that my dad worked night shift for 30 years and would get home every day at 7:30am, first thing he would do is turn on the tv.

    Luckily we have an uncle in the family that is an ordained Minister and he came over one day to “fix it”. Sorry dad, you gotta go. He chanted some stuff, did the Catholic incense thing, said some prayers. Nothing spooky like in the movies it just stunk up the house with that stuff they burn. No issues ever since. BUT, I don’t sleep upstairs anymore, I got a roommate that rents that room now! Scouts honor truth.

  10. Minh Le

    Chris, thanks for sharing the story. It’s fascinating. I’m reading your story as well as others to my wife. She’s having chills. For the reason you mentioned, she never liked rocking chairs. I didn’t know that till now. Two thumbs up for sharing.

  11. Liam Goble

    Chris, I’ve just bought my own house which is apparently haunted. A few tools have gone missing, which we attributed to some ‘handy’ subs that were working on the adjacent townhouse and got into ours. However, just this week, weird things began happening:

    1) We left a bucket of slop water on the 2nd floor after finishing our tile work. The next morning, I got a call from my contractor to ask if I had returned the previous evening and knocked the bucket over because the tile slop and water were all over the 2nd floor.

    2) Two days later, I was working on the 1st floor and heard something moving in the basement. I announced my presence (not that it wouldn’t have been known with all the noise I was making), and promptly left the house, settling where I could see the two exits from the house to see if anyone would leave. No one did and the noises stopped for the remainder of the time I worked there.

    3) Yesterday, my brother and I were hanging sheetrock and we heard a crash, like scaffolding had fallen over; again, nothing and no one. My brother left for lunch and I was precutting sheets for when he returned. After he had been gone a reasonable length of time, I was upstairs and heard a crash from the room in which we were hanging drywall. I figured he had returned and had tripped over something – except his car wasn’t back. I went downstairs and nothing had fallen or was out of place.

    4) I was completing the hanging of drywall and as I walked into the room to be hung, a cold wind hit me in the face and I felt like I was walking underwater. No windows were open, no vents were open, and it’s a boiler system.

    My wife tells me I need to let the occupant of the house know all we are doing is trying to restore it to it’s former beauty.

  12. R.Q. Hornbuckle Jr.

    Interesting stuff. I’m on a different subject. I’m an inexperienced investor that have been asked to help sell some commercial property by two different owners. One is about a hundred acres in Greenville Tx. And the other is a pretty nice restaurant in Dallas on Greenville ave. looking for some expert help ASAP. Would be forever grateful.

  13. Alex Miles

    You aren’t crazy, you just need to consider the fact that not everthing that is real is already in the text books. A hundred years ago for instance, people you would expect to have known better were predicting that physics was nearly complete. Just one of two little chinks in the armor – the photoelectric effect, relativity, E = MC2. Well we know how those turned out, and this is no different. A rational person cannot say “there is no such things as ghosts”, all they can really say is “I haven’t see one yet”.

    I have seen one. Or maybe several. You never knew if it was the one causing things to appear, disappear, move, reappear etc. or if you had more than one. I’m inclined to think just the one.

    I worked alongside an entity for two years and it was terrifying, at first. Stuff moving, vanishing, people seen where no people actually were. Equipment being repeatedly switched off when you knew you were alone in the building and I mean manual things with taps, not electrical. Chairs moved from tables as if being sat on and when you replace them turn away and turn back they had been silently pulled out again, things suspended from the ceiling being crushed flat when the room had been full of people and you couldn’t even get up there without a great big ladder – all standard stuff for poltergeists though. Once you accept there are such things as ghosts and they will make their presence felt, and that some of them appear to have talents material entities don’t – you just get used to it. Eventually. In the end I ran out of fear and started laughing about it instead, I used to talk to it and ask for my tools back etc., and things calmed down. I named it “Fred” and we all started calling it that and referring to Fred in conversation sometimes. Things calmed down a lot ofter Fred was formally acknowledged.

    The one thing that struck me as very odd indeed though, even assuming you had no problem with ghosts was this – one night we were having a fancy dress party for a lot of people and two guys we knew were seen in WWI flying gear yet they didn’t speak or acknowledge anyone. Our security guy at the only entrance had a perfect memory for faces and came to me and told me he had seen these two guys inside – yet they hadn’t come through the main door!

    The entire staff searched for them and they were not found within the building, however, a couple of hours later they did show up at the front door, in the exact outfits we had seen them in earlier.

    If that had been the only incident, I’d have said they were playing a joke involving switching off fire alarms and leaving through the fire exit. How the got in would have remained a mystery though :/

    There are other incidents, including one where my boss was alone in the building at night switching stuff off while the rest of us waited outside. He came running down the stairs like all the hounds of hell were on his tail, ran smack into the door rather than stop to open it and lay panting heavily on the sidewalk, his face green. (Yup. You really can go a bit greenish if you are freaked out enough it seems). All he could say for a while was “B****y Hell it’s EXCELLED ITSELF THIS TIME!!!”

    What he’d heard when he walked across the floor in the pitch blackness, was “something huge and heavy” walking along beside him. It stopped when he stopped and it started walking again when he started, and worst of all he could tell by the sound that whatever this gigantic thing was “it had f****** CLAWS”.

    So yeah, you aren’t crazy. There’s a much better than even chance you saw what you saw, and the danger isn’t ghosts or that you met one messing with you – even the discorporated need a hobby, I guess – it is this..

    When the staff were talking about Fred, sometimes a customer would overhear us and say “I don’t believe in ghosts” and we would smile fondly, remembering the days we still had a choice. You are through the rabbit hole now, and there’s no way back unless you prefer to believe you hallucinate rocking chairs. Live with it, its OK, and forget waiting for the “reasonable explanation” to occur to you. You have it already – there is more that goes on round here than you get in the text books 🙂

  14. Russell Brazil

    We have a house in my local market that 3 subsequent owners were murdered. This is not an unsafe neighborhood, very high income area…just a freak thing. After the last time they had a really hard time selling the house because of this. The agent handling the estate had to petition to have the number of the house changed, so when people googled the address the murders didnt come up, in order to sell it.

  15. Jerry Kisasonak

    My father died in the house I grew up in. Although we didn’t experience anything there after his death, when we sold the home the new owner (who was a minister) had experiences which caused him to believe my father was still there. The events carried on for a few years and the owner finally called it quits and sold the home for half of what he paid for it. I wish I would have know about his intentions to sell. I would have bought it back for that price! The people that bought it from him still own it to this day. I don’t know either way if they’ve had any experiences. I do know, however, that they are getting a yellow letter (with instructions to hold on to the letter if they’re not interested in selling right now).

    As for the question about disclosure, an owner is not required to disclose if someone died there because it is not a material defect. Personally we did disclose the fact – but we were under no obligation to do so.

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