The Haunted House That Lead To A Supreme Court Case
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The Haunted House That Lead To A Supreme Court Case

They Call It A "Ghostbusters Ruling"

The Haunted House That Lead To A Supreme Court Case

Last week I received a text from my friends about an interesting case they were reading for their property class (bless their souls for going through their first year of law school) involving poltergeists. Obviously I was immediately intrigued because a particular haunted house was prominent in the 1991 case. Since they don't really know the entirety of the facts because they are reading an appellate case, I decided to take it upon myself and do some research.

It all began in the late 1960s when Helen Ackley and her family moved into the Victorian house at 1 LaVeta Place in Nyack, New York. Side note but here's a fun fact: Nyack sits on the West bank of the Hudson River, and right across the river rests none other but the legendary Sleepy Hollow.

Helen Ackley later then submitted an article to Reader's Digest that was printed in 1977 detailing the paranormal experiences inside her home. I'll admit, I found these tales to be quite amusing. My favorite one includes the instance where one ghost woke Mrs. Ackley's daughter, Cynthia, up every morning for school by shaking the bed. It gets better. When Spring Break rolled around, Cynthia made an announcement that there was no school and she was planning on sleeping in. Turns out the bed did not shake that next morning. Despite all of these instances, Mrs. Ackley says that it was a "peaceful coexistence with the spirits" because they often left gifts to her grandchildren "in the form of baby rings".

Cynthia's future husband also described his own personal experiences with the poltergeists in the house.

It was a clear dark night, Cyn had already fallen asleep and I was drifting. Then I heard the bedroom door creak, and the floor boards squeak. My back was to the edge of the bed. Suddenly the edge of the bed by my mid-section depressed down, and I felt something lean against me. I went literally stone stiff! I was speechless and could hardly move. I was able to twist my neck around enough to see a womanly figure in a soft dress through the moonlight from the bay windows. I felt like she was looking straight at me. After about minute, the presence got up and walked back out of the room. I finally relaxed enough to shake my wife out of sound sleep acting like a toddler who just had a nightmare.

Later I reflected on the incident. I believe the ghosts were checking me out because they knew my wife and her ex-husband. They probably wanted to see if I was a "good person for her. It was the woman that used to shake Cyn's bed every morning to go to high school. After that episode no other sightings occurred. I did get the impression that they did "approve" of me, and my wife and I were married about 18 months later.

Things take a wild turn when Helen Ackley finally decides to sell her house to Jeffrey Stambovsky to move to a warmer climate. What she failed to mention to Mr. Stambovsky, however, was that the house was haunted. With $32,500 in escrow, Stambovsky later learns about the ghost problem and backed out of the contract. When the Ackleys refused to return the deposit, Mr. Stambovsky "filed an action requesting rescission of the contract of sale and for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation by Ackley and Ellis Realty". After the trial court dismissed his complaint, Stambovsky appealed.

Turns out the appellate court reversed the trial court's decision to dismiss to the complaint. Basically in layman's terms, the appellate court ruled that hauntings qualify as a pre-existing condition that must be disclosed to potential buyers.

Eventually Helen Ackley found another buyer for the house and moved away in 1991. In 1993 paranormal researchers were able to contact the ghosts and published a book on those events.

According to Zillow, today the Victorian house at 1 LaVeta Place is currently not for sale and estimated to be $2.2 million.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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