Paranormal activity has been reported by people from all walks of life, and sometimes these cases can be truly harrowing and frightening. Yet, some of the most frightening of all can be found with peaceful, innocent families who moved into new residences with their lives and dreams ahead of them, only to be targeted by sinister forces from beyond our understanding. It is unclear why these forces should be drawn to these people, but it is obvious that they turned these people's dreams into nightmares, and have gone on to become much discussed cases of paranormal strangeness.

Back in 1972, the Smith family made their home out in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. The newlywed couple, Joe and Mary Smith were pregnant with their first child, and as this was their first real place of their own it was like a dream come true at first. However, shortly after moving in things would get ominous rather quickly, when Mary one day heard something moving about and what seemed to be someone tossing things around and banging things up in the attic. At the time Mary was alone in the house, and when she called her father to come over and check it out he found nothing except items that had been strewn about as if someone had thrown a tantrum in there. The paranormal activity would continue, growing in intensity, with objects moving on their own and more anomalous noises coming from up in the attic and within the walls, and this would go on for years, but things would take a spookier turn as the Smiths looked into the history of the house.

It would turn out that many years earlier, back in the 1940s, the adopted son of the former owners had suddenly and without explanation gone missing on the premises, and it rather creepily happened to be that he had been the same age as their young son now was. One night the boy began screaming uncontrollably, and this began to turn into a regular occurrence. The family at first believed that it was just nightmares, but when he started screaming in the middle of the day at his grandparent’s house he would point to a picture of the devil and say that this is what he had seen in his bedroom. This would continue until the Smiths’ second child was born with a bad case of jaundice. Rather strangely, this affliction was cured one evening when a bright light was seen in the child’s room, leaving the family to wonder whether the forces invading their home were malicious or benevolent.

The family would continue to have strange experiences in the home all the way into the 1990s, with apparitions seen on the stairs and the strange sensation of electrical shocks through their bodies at times for no reason, and this drew the attention of paranormal researcher and parapsychologist Dr. Andrew Nichols. When he investigated the home he found that there were strange bursts of electromagnetic energy coming up from beneath the house, emanating from an old well that led to an underground lake, and he also found that an old dresser owned by the previous owners was absolutely dripping with strange energy readings. What was going on at this house?

Also in the 1970s we have the once peaceful home of the Kelsay family out near Reno, Nevada. In 1977, the family began experiencing a series of intense paranormal activity in their home, including disembodied footsteps, the sound of something swooshing along the floor, and sightings of a mustached apparition they called “Samuel,” and another of an apparent young boy. Rather eerily, most of this unexplained phenomena seemed to gravitate towards their 3-year-old daughter, Jennifer, who was almost always present when these strange happenings occurred. A local psychic was brought in to investigate, and he would claim that the entity Samuel was actually benevolent, there to look over their young daughter.

When the Kelsays later moved to another home, strange phenomena began to orbit their newborn son as well, with Samuel appearing in his room on several occasions to loom over the crib before vanishing and even being photographed. In the meantime, another couple by the name of Steve and Mona Robinson had rented the Kelsays’ old house in Reno, and they too would have some strange experiences at the home, including the apparitions of an angry white-haired old man, as well as another unidentified male spirit and one of a female. In this case the activity seemed to be drawn to their 11-year-old son, Garrett, who was constantly plagued by the entities and even chased by them, and on another occasion his 6-year-old brother was claimed to have actually levitated into the air. The Robinson family eventually moved out and the property was sold to a casino real estate developer, after which it would be placed on the The National Directory Of Haunted Houses, by Dennis William Hauck.

In the 1980s we have the harrowing case of the Tallman family, who in 1987 moved to their new home in Horicon, Wisconsin. Like many of these cases it was a dream for the young family until it all unraveled into a nightmare, beginning when they one day purchased a bunk bed at a second hand shop and set it up in their children’s bedroom. Almost immediately their kids fell sick one by one, and the clock radio next to the bed would suddenly go on the fritz, turning on and off or switching channels at random for no reason anyone could discern. At first this was only seen by the children, and their parents wouldn’t believe them, but they had a change of heart when the father, Alan Tallman, was one day painting a wall only to look away for a moment and look back to find his brush had instantaneously moved from beside him to the paint bucket, where it had been propped up with the brush end facing up.

Whatever weird forces were terrorizing the Tallman children intensified, with shadowy figures seen lurking in the shadows and the presence of a frightening “red eyed witch,” who would appear in the room to stalk about their beds. Accompanying this were various inexplicable incidents of doors slamming open or shut and disembodied voices that all members of the family heard or saw. One day, Alan Tallman shouted out in frustration that whatever was there should come for him and leave his family alone, and this seems to have worked, as the forces began to come for him in a major way. One of the first attacks against him was when he was in the garage one day when he was distracted by a howling sound and a voice from the shadows that said “Come here.” When the startled Alan went to look he felt an intense heat on his back and realized that the garage was on fire. In a panic he retrieved a fire extinguisher, only to find that the blaze was gone without a trace and that there was no damage whatsoever. Something was clearly messing with his mind. Just as he realized that there was no fire and he began to think he had imagined the whole thing, his lunch box then allegedly was thrown across the room to smash to pieces against the wall.

Things would get even more terrifying for Alan after he had foolishly challenged the very possibly demonic forces of the home. He was so worried for the safety of his children that he started sleeping in their room at night, and it was at this time that he witnessed a fog to congeal before him and issue forth a voice that said simply and chillingly, “You’re dead.” A few days after this a relative was over and also witnessed the entity in the children’s bedroom, and it was all enough to convince the Tallmans to move out once and for all, destroying the bunk bed in the process. Fortunately for them, the evil presence did not follow them. The case has gone on to feature on Unsolved Mysteries and in the book Haunted America, by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, and the family has always insisted it is all true.

Moving along we come to the 1990s, and the plight of the Mann family, of Lake Wales, Florida. In 1991, 19-year-old Alan Mann was living with his parents when he started to have encounters with a mysterious female apparition that he would see lurking about only to vanish before his eyes. He told his parents about this, but they did not believe him at the time. It would come to pass that Alan would get married and his new wife, Linda, would move into the same house, apparently really angering whatever entity had been plaguing Alan. A strange smell of perfume that no one recognized began to appear for short durations for no reason, and Linda’s dog would get agitated to the point of being uncontrollable. Even Alan’s parents began to experience these paranormal phenomena, and his father would claim that the entity had whispered to him that her name was Isabella. The most frightening occurrence was when one day Linda apparently became possessed with some ghostly force and attacked Alan, of which he says:

All of a sudden she just snapped, and she got this weird look. She pretty much attacked me. She was laughing. She had some weird laugh I had never heard. It didn't even sound like her. She has this squeaky little giggle, and this was almost an evil laugh. I tried to get away and it made her get more violent, and she started putting more force on my arms. So I pushed against her, and I slammed her against the wall three times, and she released me. She put her head on my shoulder again and started talking and picked up the conversation exactly where she left off before she snapped.

Linda would claim to have no memory whatsoever of the incident, but the entity would continue to put her into trances, and one time a light bulb in an unplugged lamp would explode when she told it to leave her alone. Adding to all of this, the family was terrorized by inexplicable headaches and voices shouting at them or murmuring from dark corners, and oddly when a psychic was consulted she would come away with the name “Isabella Kramer,” stranger still when the house’s history was examined to find no trace of anyone of that name having ever lived there. The case has gone on to be investigated by paranormal researchers, but so far no answer for it all has been found.

From 1993 we also have the case of the Jones family, from Manchester, Connecticut. Their plight started when one evening Mrs. Jones was making dinner and heard her young son screaming from another room. He was found to be curled up in his room shivering from fright, and told his mother that he had seen a strange looking man appear at his bed and reach out ot touch him on the shoulder. A few days after this they were all over having dinner at his grandparents’ house when he became shaken and pointed to a picture of his dead great grandfather, who he claimed to have been the apparition tormenting him. Knowing it was is great grandfather put him at ease a bit, and took some of the fear away, but he also claimed that he could sense other, more malicious spirits roaming about, including one he called “The Shadow Man.”

These evil spirits would get rather violent at times, shaking the boy’s bed or lurking about hallways and dark corners. They also began to allegedly physically assault him, biting and scratching to leave wounds behind, and when his family decided to move to a new home they apparently followed them. A bishop was contacted to conduct an exorcism, but this did little to help. Paranormal investigator John Zaffis has looked into the case and found that the son was not experiencing any physical or mental problems that should contribute to his claims, and they made the ominous prediction that these insidious forces were perhaps preparing to try and possess him. The case would turn into Denise Jones’ book The Other Side: The True Story of the Boy Who Sees Ghosts.

Finally we have the creepy case of the Woods family, who lived in a residential area of Vancouver, Washington. In 1994 they moved into the new home with their two daughters and began to experience strange phenomena not long after. It all began with the anomalous sound of a music box playing somewhere in the home, although they owned no music box and could not locate the source. The doorknobs of the home would also often be turned or shaken by unseen hands, and then there began to appear the apparition of a woman wearing a scarf. When the story hit the news, a woman contacted the family and told them that there had once been a woman who had died of cancer in the house who had often worn a scarf and looked just like Mary Woods. Other apparitions would appear as well, such as that of a man dressed as an old fashioned river boat operator, and another of a little girl. There was also an unseen entity who would touch and accost people who took a shower in one of the bathrooms. Although the home has been investigated by paranormal researchers, no answer has been found to why this family should be so terrorized by these forces.

It is truly frightening to think that these innocent families should become the target of such supernatural forces, and it makes one wonder why this should be. Was it the land these houses were built on, some tragic past embedded within the walls themselves, or something else? Were these spirits, ghosts, or something altogether more demonic? Or is it all just hoaxes and tall tales? Your guess is as good as anyone's, and these tales serve to remind us that the strange and unexplained can seemingly come for anyone at any time.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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