When documenting the paranormal, one will always come across a vast quantity of unverifiable testimonies. These stories can be compelling, however human nature demands us to suspect the fanciful and intangible. But what about when law enforcers – the police – report the paranormal? With nothing to gain, and their reputation at stake, do the testimonies of police officers offer credible evidence of the paranormal?
5 – The Damned House of Puerto Montt, Chile
On 8th February 2017, a poltergeist was claimed to have infected a house in the town of Puerto Montt, Chile. 1
A spirit was said to be causing chaos in the house. Objects were reported as being thrown across rooms by unseen hands; inexplicable scorch marks would appear on furniture; and walls would be damaged. The family lived in constant fear. At the time, neighbours attested to the strange occurrences in the house.
Towards the end of February, one of the family member’s blankets caught fire by itself. With the family’s lives now at risk, the police were called.
When they arrived, inexplicable activity continued to occur. One of the officers on the case, Corporal Olavarría, attested to seeing objects levitate of their own accord. After examining the house thoroughly, he stated that:
“There was no one else inside the house and we could see the blanket on fire… It is something that cannot be explained.”
Whatever was the cause of the strange happenings, it seemed to have a malicious intention. During his investigation of the house, the Corporal himself came under attack.
“I invoked the name of the devil in an attempt to rid the house of the presence. Whilst I was leaving the house, I felt a knife scrape across my back. It was only due to the bullet-proof vest I was wearing that I was able to avoid injury.” 2
At this point, the family was moved out of the house and given shelter by the local community. Unable to explain the events, or find proof of a crime having been committed, there was nothing more that the police could do.
After the family moved out, priests, evangelical missionaries and television crews began to visit the house in an attempt to exorcise the evil force thought to reside within. It was a locally renowned medium by the name of Vanessa Daroch who was claimed to have eventually soothed the poltergeist activity. When she arrived at the house, she is said to have made contact with a female spirit who yearned to know more about a child, also in spirit. After reuniting them, and giving the spirit the information it wanted, the activity was alleged to have calmed down. 3
However, the frightening occurrences in the house did not stop altogether. The family – now back living there – continued to fear what they described as a paranormal presence. Yet, the veracity of the poltergeist activity was placed under question when the medium, certain that she had resolved the troubled spirit, declared the continuing activity as a hoax. As a result, the media concluded that the entire case was a fabrication, most likely perpetrated by the teenage nephew of the owner of the house. 4
The truth, however, remains clouded. Reliable witnesses, including police officers, continued to affirm what they had experienced – that something paranormal did indeed occur at the house.
4 – The Phantom of Gladstone-Benaraby Road, Australia
On the evening of Saturday the 21st of March, 2015 the Gladstone-Benaraby road was closed down in Australia to search for a lone woman wandering the road. She had been sighted several times by local residents, crying and stumbling along the road.
Sergeant Andrea Campagnolo was called to the scene. She herself saw a woman on the road, but when she turned the police car around to help her, she had vanished. The police ordered the dog squad to search the area. Nothing was found. Unable to find the distressed woman, the road was reopened.
Later that same evening, the road had to be closed again. Ambulance officers called the police to report having seen a woman wandering the road. A police patrol was sent back, and the search resumed.
Despite having searched for many hours into the night, they found nothing and no-one. No missing persons had been reported in the area either, thus the case was relegated to mystery.
Since the incident, numerous testimonies have been made by people claiming to have seen a woman along the same stretch of road. One local resident, Karli Hobley, described how she and her mother had seen the lady twelve months before the road closure.
“She had her knees bent in. It looked painful. The way she was walking I thought she was drunk We stopped to see if she needed help, but she had already disappeared.” 5
A few months later, in July, a driver reported that they had seen a woman on the side of the road with dark hair and white shirt. Concerned about her, they got closer.
“She disappeared. I was trying to look for her and heard swishing noises against the back of my seat. As I looked in my rear vision mirror, I saw a figure in my back seat.” 6
Despite a stream of similar testimonies of a mysterious woman disappearing on the road, police have been left confused, and unable to solve the case.
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Some, however, do believe that there is an answer to this case. This particular road, for many years previous to these sightings, has been the site of multiple car accidents and fatalities. Its reputation is so bad, that a local newspaper, The Gladstone Observer, in 2014 had a commentary written calling upon the local government to repair the road to help decrease the number of accidents. 7
As such, to many it makes sense that the woman witnessed by police officers and local residents was an apparition – a spirit of a lady who was tragically involved in one of the many fatal accidents to have occurred on the road.
3 – Haunted Police Station, New Mexico
On 20th September 2014, in the American town of Española, New Mexico, officer Karl Romero allegedly witnessed something very strange on the CCTV camera system of his police station.
“At first I thought it was a fly, a moth, and then I saw the legs and it was a human. But not a real human. No – a ghost.” 8
The surveillance footage shows a blurry white figure walking across the gated area of the station.
Romero reported the incident to his superiors, who did not have an explanation for the figure on the camera, as anything walking through that area of the station would have triggered the alarm. 9
Chillingly, this was not a solitary event at the police station, but one of a long list of inexplicable – seemingly paranormal – occurrences. Occurrences which have been reported by police officers for years.
“A lot of officers have seen certain things […] Some officers have felt someone breathing down their necks as they’re working in the briefing room.” 10
The CCTV footage, has however, received a mixed reception. Some paranormal investigators have expressed scepticism, including Bryan Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. He believes that the rather than being a ghost caught on camera, the officer’s first instinct was correct, and that it was simply a small insect.
“The image appears to have been caused by a small insect (possibly a small spider) crawling on the plastic case that houses the lens.” 11
Regardless, several police officers still believe there is a ghost haunting their station.
After the event, Detective Solomon Romero has stated on record that he does believe it was something otherworldly. In his words: “It was hard to say but I do believe in ghosts.” 12
2 – Andresito, Vitoria-Gasteiz
In the capital of the Basque country, in the very heart of its government buildings, there is a police station that for decades has been reported as haunted.
It all began in 1994, when a security guard at the Vitoria-Gasteiz police station saw an old man holding a young boy’s hand in the hallway one evening. Alerted, the guard went to chide them for being in the building at night. They did not respond to the security guard’s warning. They simply stood still – staring at him in silence. The guard then went to get a co worker to assist him in escorting the two out the building. But, by the time he had returned, the pair had vanished. 13
The guard was left befuddled, and many did not believe him. However, some police officers working in the area did. One, Officer Santos, who worked in another area of Spain offered to help. Keen to unmask the cause of the security guard’s distress, he positioned a radio cassette tape in the empty cells of the police station to be left over several nights. When he played back the tape with colleagues, they were all horrified. It is said that he had captured horrific sounds on tape.
“I did not believe in anything, not even heaven. But when Santos played the cassette I heard groans and screams. I could not understand anything but I heard them with these ears.” 14
For some time afterwards, people reported seeing a boy in the building, who would disappear before their very eyes. Other paranormal occurrences reported in the station included children whispering in people’s ears, furniture mysteriously moving, and even a child’s laughter ringing ominously through the halls.15
The boy phantom became such a phenomenon that he was given the name “Andresito”, in an effort to diminish fear of him. Many have said that the story is a hoax perpetrated by young people in the area. However, stories of paranormal events at the police station persist and people continue to fear the supposed boy spirit.
1 – The Poltergeist of Stonelaw Road
In early August 2016, a squad of police officers were called to a residential home on Stonelaw Road in Rutherglen, Scotland. The property was said to be under siege by a poltergeist.
The family, a mother and her teenage soon, had called the police after experiencing two days of bizarre and terrifying phenomena. The police expected to be dealing with a mental health issue. However, when officers arrived, they witnessed a variety of shocking paranormal activity. Officers claimed that they saw clothes flying across the room, lights turning on and off by themselves, and even a small chihuahua dog seemingly moved to the top of a seven-foot hedge. 16 It is understood a sergeant and two police constables witnessed these incidents.
When asked for comment by the media, a police spokesperson described the case as unique and inexplicable.
“Officers with more than 20 years’ service are saying they’ve never seen anything like this. It really is something that down-to-earth police officers are having trouble getting their heads round […] How do you handle what […] has been described as a poltergeist?”
As the family were devout Catholics, the police assisted by arranging help from a nearby church. A priest came and performed a “blessing”, and thereafter continued to perform pastoral services for the family. 17
The poltergeist activity is said to have persisted, and has been described as “violent”. Despite everyone’s best efforts, with the police giving safety advice, the family could not stand to live in the property any longer, and so moved out.
Since that time, the police have stopped investigating the case. A police spokesperson has confirmed that officers witnessed inexplicable occurrences, but that there was nothing they could do.
“No crime has been established, so what else can we do but deal with any reports of disturbances.” 18
After all, there is no legal procedure for handling a poltergeist or other cases of the paranormal, even when the police have witnessed the phenomena themselves. 19
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