What to do when you think your listing may be haunted? Believe it or not, that is a question that our Layzell Dreger Team encountered. We had listed a home in the established neighbourhood of the Old City in Nanaimo, dating back to the early 1900's and was a beautiful Craftsman-style design. The owners did not have much information to share about the history of the home as it had been their rental property.
As you stepped inside this impressive property, you took note of the incredible historical features that had been preserved even though the home had been updated in several rooms. However, the air felt almost still and every hair on the back of your neck would rise when you entered another room. At first, the typical jokes about old homes being haunted were shared, but the atmosphere was still quite light and jovial.
However, things changed dramatically as the group entered the basement which was dark, unfinished, and had a musky smell that seemed to overwhelm your senses. The owner cracked a joke about how he was creeped out by the basement, when suddenly coins seemed to appear in front of a team member who was standing just in front of the seller. Once the coins were pointed out, everyone seemed to nervously laugh as there had been no coins a moment earlier. The seller thought that the photographer might have been playing a joke on him, and the photographer had thought the seller to be the culprit. As lights would flicker, everyone decided to leave the basement and return to the main level as additional coins seemed to fall nearby. The team member who thought there had to be an explanation for these weird occurrences looked down at her own feet and to her horror, coins seemed to appear out of thin air in front of her. Needless to say, everyone was happy to leave the basement.
Odd things would continue to happen. The smoke alarm suddenly went off and could not be reset or even turned off without removing the batteries (which were newly installed). Individuals would report weird noises in the house during showings, lights would turn on and off for no reason, and the basement door suddenly locked and would not open. It took a locksmith to replace the lock for anyone to be able to access the lower level again.
Was this home haunted? I am not sure. Older homes may have wiring or electrical issues given their age and how homes were designed 100 years ago. The smoke alarm might have had malfunctioning batteries, the door might have been accidentally locked by someone else, the smell could be stale air - everything could have a reasonable explanation. Except the coins in the basement. To this day, everyone who was in that basement that day is convinced that the home was haunted and that there is no reasonable explanation for what happened.
And yes, the home and the buyers got their wish of buying a home with some history. I wonder if they have found any coins yet...