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"I'm skeptical," Schaible says. "I'm not saying I necessarily believed it. Everyone has their perception of things."

Then the Schaibles moved in.

The second night, it became clear that "there was something in the house that wanted to make itself known to me," Schaible says.

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They were moving in, and stuff was all over the place, including a Civil War rifle that was resting against a wall in a 12-foot-wide hallway. In the middle of the night, Schaible got up, "and this very heavy rifle launched across the hall and landed at my feet." It flew about eight feet, he estimates. He looked for loose floorboards or anything else that could have caused the mysterious occurrence, but he couldn't find an explanation.

So Schaible went downstairs into the kitchen and delivered a spirited monologue. "I said, hey, I live here, I pay the mortgage, and I don't need this scaring me out of my mind in the middle of the night. I ranted for about an hour or so and sat around for a while."

After that, the Schaibles occasionally heard voices and glimpsed figures, but there were no scares in the middle of the night. Incidents have become less frequent as restoration work has progressed.

Cindy Neivert, the real estate agent with Burgdorff ERA who brought the house to the Schaibles' attention, says the presence of "ghosties" can add to or detract from a home's value. It depends on the buyer and what the house will be used for. Someone who wants to convert a big house into a bed-and-breakfast inn might see marketing value in ghost stories as long as they're not too scary. Adventurous buyers such as the Schaibles might not be spooked. But ghost stories might scare away the squeamish.

Neivert is kind of glad that the owner told the Schaibles about the haunting because she wasn't sure if she would have been required to disclose it. "I know you have to disclose if someone was murdered in a house," she says. "As far as a poltergeist or a ghosty, I don't really know."

Bad karma can depress price
There was no history of violence in the house that the Schaibles bought, and that's good because murder or suicide definitely can depress values. Neivert and her husband once considered buying a house where someone had committed suicide. "We were on the edge of yes and no, and it pushed us over the side of saying no," she says.

 
 
Next: "You have to live there to understand. ..."
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