There Are Good Ghosts and Bad Ghosts – and this House Had Both!

By Nick Bell

Author’s Note: This time of year, our thoughts turn to spirits and ghostly goings on. This is the third in our series of stories about Old Northeast hauntings.

Does suicide mean the end of one’s life here on Earth? Apparently not if Steve Deal is to be believed. He and his husband, Frank Hay, believe they had several encounters with a suicide victim and two additional spirits when they bought and renovated their former home on 8th Avenue NE. 

The 1919 home “was a wreck” when Steve and Frank bought the house in January 2000. No heat and certainly no air conditioning. But it did have three kitchens, the result of the house and garage apartment being divided into three separate living spaces. They had to do a total renovation, Steve explains. A renovation that took the better part of six years. “The condition of that house shows you what that part of the Old Northeast was like back then,” Steve says. My how times have changed!

A couple next door (who happened to hear the gunshots that took the owner’s life) purchased the historic home following the tragic death. They bought it to prevent it from being torn down and replaced with a contemporary house. But they didn’t want to tackle a major renovation, so they sold it shortly thereafter to Steve and Frank. 

“Apparently Mr. Lee (the deceased owner) was like a hermit,” Steve explains. He was said to be depressed from having to recently place his wife in a nursing home. Not wanting to go himself, he chose suicide instead. He tried to take his chihuahua, Dixie, with him but she managed to dodge the bullets fired at her (the holes in the living room floor were testaments to Dixie’s agility). 

“I had a feeling about the house when we bought it,” Steve says. “Everything was as if Mr. Lee was still living there, down to his razor sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink.” Apparently, his closest living relative, a distant nephew, wanted nothing to do with his uncle or the house, choosing to sell it with all his uncle’s possessions still in the home. 

The “feeling” became a reality when a clairvoyant friend identified three ghosts inhabiting the home – Mr. Lee, the young daughter of the original owner and an elderly woman, all of whom died in the house. The friend said he could see Mr. Lee’s ghost standing at the foot of the bed in the primary bedroom. “He told us the girl and the older woman were friendly, but Mr. Lee was not and that if we didn’t get rid of him, he’d cause problems for us,” Steve says. Mr. Lee was known to be a very traditional, devout Catholic and the clairvoyant friend believes he was upset at having a gay couple inhabiting his former home.

They took the friend’s advice and placed mirrors on each wall in the bedroom, the idea being the ghost would see himself and flee the home. According to Steve, the experience was very “chilling.” After the mirrors were in place, Steve loudly ordered the ghost to leave the house. “Suddenly the whole room became very cold when I told the ghost to leave; the hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” Steve notes. He has no doubt he’d encountered the unfriendly spirit. 

The reluctant Mr. Lee may have left the house after that encounter but didn’t go far. Shortly after the chilling episode, Steve came face to face with Mr. Lee standing on the balcony outside the French doors in their bedroom. “I yelled ‘go away!’ and he disappeared,” Steve says. That seemed to do the trick – for a while. 

Frank was not a believer in Mr. Lee’s ghost since he’d never encountered it. But that changed one night when the two were enjoying a relaxing evening in their hot tub in the back garden. As Steve explains it, “My back was to the house, but Frank was facing it. Suddenly he got a look on his face that I hadn’t seen before or since. I thought he was having a heart attack; it scared me to death! I asked, ‘what’s wrong?’ and he uttered ‘there’s someone inside the house watching us!’.” It was Mr. Lee making his final appearance. 

As far as the two “friendly” sprits were concerned, the elderly woman seemed content to remain incognito. But the little girl enjoyed running up and down the upstairs hallway late at night. “Guests would wake up and think our dog was running up and down the hall, but the dog was always in our bedroom,” Steve explains. It was just the little girl having a fun run at it. 

Even though Mr. Lee appeared to finally depart the premises after the hot tub incident, Steve and Frank felt they should forewarn future homeowners of the ghostly presence. The next time someone decides to remodel the kitchen, behind one of the walls they’ll read Steve and Frank’s warning that they are not alone – this house is haunted!