1. The Jersey Watcher
For sale: large, six-bedroom home in Westfield, New Jersey. Three bathrooms, wood flooring, and one unnerving stalker. Soon after Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the Westfield home (above) in 2014, they received a letter from someone who called him/herself “the Watcher.” The anonymous individual seemed to be the latest in a long line of family members who obsessed over the Jersey home. “My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched it in the 1960s. It is now my time,” the letter read.
More letters arrived once the couple moved in with their three children. “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought me,” one read. Another chilling missive asked: “Found out what’s in the walls yet?” The Broaddus’ have since moved out—and sued the home’s previous owners for failing to mention its, uh, pre-existing condition. According to CBS New York, the house is back on the market.
2. The Cell Phone Stalkers
Getting a threatening phone call from a stranger is terrifying. But for three Washington state families in 2007, the calls became unnervingly personal. The families received calls at all hours of the night, with threats made against their families and pets. It seemed as if the anonymous tormenters were watching quite closely—and listening in, as well.
Voicemails arrived, playing recordings of the families’ private conversations, including one with a police detective. One family member’s cell phone would send text messages to friends … by itself. The callers knew where the families were, what they were doing, and what they were wearing. Once, when one of the victims was at home slicing limes, a call came in from a restricted number—and the voice on the other end said it preferred lemons. When the calls were traced, they led back to the families’ own phones.
Authorities and cell phone providers were flummoxed by the reports; “We’re not exactly sure what is being done to these phones,” said Sprint spokesman Matt Sullivan. Electronic surveillance experts noted the ease with which our cell phones can be hijacked, while others suggested the calls might be coming from inside the house—i.e. a disgruntled family member.
3. The Demon House of Indiana
Evil children are a familiar trope in horror movies. But finding possessed tykes in a police report is far more rare. The trouble started when Latoya Ammons and her children moved into a rented home in Gary, Indiana in November 2011. Paranormal encounters followed suit; there were ghostly shadows, phantom dog barks, physical attacks by invisible beings, and a mysterious oil that seemed to drip off furniture. Then, in April 2012, a demonic force attacked Latoya’s seven-year-old son during a visit with a family physician. After being thrown across the room, the boy—in front of nurses, social workers, and paramedics who all reported seeing the same thing—glided backwards up a wall while growling and gurgling.
Even Charles Austin, a police captain and a skeptic, called the home’s basement “a portal to hell” after investigating the case. Photos he took of the house disappeared from his phone, a threatening voice yelled “You outta here” through his AM/FM radio, and the driver’s seat in his car started moving backwards and forwards by itself while he stood outside the vehicle. After a series of blessings and exorcisms, Latoya Ammons and her family left the house. In 2014, famed ghost hunter Zac Bagans purchased the cursed property—only to knock it down after paranormal activity became too intense.
4. Death at Dyatlov Pass
The infamous Dyatlov Pass in Russia’s Ural Mountains got its name from a doomed group of experienced hikers led by Igor Dyatlov. The nine members set out on January 1, 1959. When they failed to arrive at their scheduled end-point on February 12, rescue groups went looking for them.
What they found produced more questions than answers. A tent was discovered at the foot of a mountain, seemingly cut open from the inside. Inside were the group’s belongings, and leading away from the tent through the snow were footprints—suggesting that some of the members fled without shoes or socks. The first bodies were found about a mile from the tent, while the rest were discovered in a makeshift shelter. Some had broken bones and internal injuries but no external signs of a struggle like scratches or wounds. Another victim was missing her tongue and eyes. Despite an extensive investigation, what happened on the mountain remains unknown.
5. The Missing Scuba Diver
The warning sign near the entrance to the cave. Photo: Wikipedia
When diver Ben McDaniel descended into the water of Vortex Spring, a large dive park and underwater cave near Ponce de Leon, Florida, he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy plunge. One narrowing tunnel below the surface is even sealed by a locked gate, with a key available only to divers experienced enough to handle its challenges. With the tightest spots in the cave measuring just 10 inches from floor to ceiling, the only way out is the way you came in. McDaniel went down, but he never came back up.
Recovery divers searched every inch of the cave. They explored hundreds of feet beyond the end of the cave map, squeezing through 10-inch spaces. They found just two decompression tanks belonging to McDaniel—but not McDaniel himself, and no other signs that he had been there. No scrapes on the limestone, no feeding fish, and no disturbed silt. His disappearance remains a mystery.