The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 21, 2013

For Sale: 'Slightly' Haunted House


Associated Press

— For sale: A 1901 Victorian. Four bedrooms, 2½ baths. Hardwood floors, wet bar, desirable neighborhood.

Oh, and it's haunted.

But only a little.

If nothing else, Gregory Leeson's listing on the real estate website Zillow.com for his home at 1217 Marion St. home in Dunmore is an attention-grabber.

After a brief description of the home's physical attributes, the listing gets right to the point:

"Slightly haunted. Nothing serious, though. e.g. The sounds of phantom footsteps. A strange knocking sound followed by a very quiet (hardly noticeable, even) scream at 3:13 am, maybe once a week. Twice a week, tops. And the occasional ghastly visage lurking behind you in the bathroom mirror. Even still, this occurs very rarely and only in the second floor bathroom."

Since he and his wife, Sandi, listed the house for sale for $144,000 on Sunday, there has been little rest, though the home's purported preternatural occupants are not to blame.

"We have gotten a million emails about it," Leeson, 35, said Friday. "Just weeding through all the emails trying to find the people who are really interested is kind of a pain.

"But a lot of people, if they are actually interested, are calling, and we are getting a lot of phone calls from people's Realtors, which makes it easier because if they have a Realtor, they are actually looking for a house."

There have been other calls, of course. National media outlets have reached out to the couple, and there have been the inevitable inquiries from what Leeson called "all those annoying ghost-hunter shows."

"Everyone wants to come and do an investigation," he said.

But what about the ghosts or poltergeists or whatever is haunting the Leesons' quiet little neighborhood?

While describing the house as "slightly haunted" would seem to leave no room for equivocation, Leeson conceded he is not certain he believes "in stuff like that, like hauntings."

Leeson, who bought the house in 2005, said he initially dismissed any odd occurrences to the age of the house. Then he and Sandi got married, and she started pointing out "things that are kind of weird."

"My wife swears up and down this place is haunted. She barricades the cellar steps because she is convinced there is something down there and I'm like, 'No, it's just the wind,'" he said.

But even he agrees there are things that can't be explained by the wind.

His most unnerving episode came about a year ago as he put his daughter, now 2, to bed.

"It sounded like people were in the room there talking. It was the creepiest thing I have ever experienced," he said.

The house has become the talk of Dunmore.

Neighbor Gretchen Wintermantel, who lives in the 1300 block of Marion, said she thought Leeson's listing was fascinating.

"I would love to take a tour,'" said Wintermantel, who is spokeswoman for the County of Lackawanna Transit System. "It's definitely an intriguing way to get people to come and see a house you are trying to sell."

Borough manager Vito Ruggiero said he learned about the listing after employees in his office noticed a posting about the haunted property on Facebook.

While he complimented Leeson on his creativity, Ruggiero said he doesn't personally believe in ghosts.

"I think it's a pretty smart move because it has been creating a lot of buzz, but there are no sightings that I know of in Dunmore," he said.

Leeson originally listed the house for sale on Zillow - minus the haunted reference - in June in anticipation of moving in October to Maryland, where he will be closer to his family. He pulled the listing down when it became clear the move would be delayed.

When the time came to relist the home, he and his wife debated whether to mention the supernatural happenings. Sandi argued against it, but Leeson thought full disclosure would be best.

The couple is scheduled to conduct an open house on Dec. 29.

"The only thing I'm worried about is that we are going to get a lot of nuts going through," Leeson said. "But there have been some legitimate offers and we have to focus on that."