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Observations placeholder

Bayless, Raymond - The poltergeist activity in the house of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Smith



Type of Spiritual Experience


For convenience I have placed this observation under Attila von Szalay, as the two men worked together.

A description of the experience

Experiences of a Psychical researcher – Raymond Bayless

Certainly the most interesting haunting case that I have ever participated in involved a little frame house built by friends of mine in 1927. It had been occupied by many people, including the son and daughter-in-law of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Grover Smith. Their son, an old friend of mine, Ceil Smith, encountered paranormal phenomena in this house in 1953 when he heard raps and other sounds. The evening's entertainment finally culminated in sounds which apparently represented "human feet walking across the floor rug so that each foot was dragged heavily after the other one."

I lived alone in this little house until I was married in 1957, at which time my wife joined me in this home. I first noticed inexplicable happenings in 1958. An interesting event, for example, occurred during the evening of March 24th, at 7:45 p.m. While reading in the tiny living room I heard in the darkened bedroom three very heavy, measured blows on the wall at the back of the bedroom. I quickly dashed into the room, looked about, and then immediately searched around the entire outside of the house. It was, by the way, surrounded by high, six-foot fences, but I found nothing out of the way during my search.

Other curious incidents took place, but the most outstanding occurred at 3:05 (I looked at the clock) when I was wakened by a loud creak or rap emanating from the dark front room. As the minutes went by, more and more such sounds were heard until it became very obvious that they were not of normal origin. Eventually, the metal cover of my fifteen-gallon fish tank and a metal shade shielding a long fluorescent lamp were struck repeatedly, and so loud were these blows that I became fearful that the fish tank would be shattered. The four walls were also struck continually by something that acted as if it was a large bird loose in the room.

Finally at about 3:30 a.m. a peculiar sound was heard in the infested front room which sounded exactly as though pieces of cloth were being rubbed together or perhaps as though scuffling footsteps were walking over the rug. I woke my wife hoping that she would hear the strange sounds and serve as a corroborating witness. Her very first words were, "Someone is trying to break in."

At this point I turned on a light, thoroughly searched the house, and even went outside into the night and carefully circled the house, but again nothing was found amiss. The incident was extraordinarily impressive and was a splendid example of haunting phenomena.

Other incidents took place in this house, but inasmuch as they have been mentioned in a previous book I will pass on to another event which proved very exciting indeed.

Sometime during the opening week of August, 1953, I had piled up a number of books on a shelf preparing to put them away when they suddenly and spontaneously fell over. There was nothing mysterious in this fact. I had, in all probability, piled them in a badly balanced group. I restacked them carefully, but a half hour later they tipped over again. This time I was quite sure that they were not unbalanced and I was puzzled.

In my bedroom I had a desk which opened at the front forming a writing surface. The night after the affair with the books, and after I had gone to bed, the desk-front spontaneously fell open with a loud and startling crash. I rose and closed the desk, and no further incident occurred. The following night the same thing happened again. The desk-front came crashing down just after I had gone to bed.

Again I arose and shut it, hoping for no further noisy surprises. The rest of the night was undisturbed.

The third night I waited for my hag-ridden desk to continue its startling performance and, sure enough, down came the desk-front. This time I jammed the desk shut with a shim of folded paper. Quiet followed. The next night in total defiance of my tightly jammed paper wedge the desk panel smashed down again. Now I was thoroughly suspicious of my mysteriously acting desk and jammed it shut again.

It was not only at night that unusual events were taking place. During the day, when I was reading, my front window had been loudly struck by an apparent rock. I searched the ground below the window but could find nothing which could have hit the window. Finally, at the end of the week, after I had gone to bed and was just at the edge of sleep, I was fully awakened by the sound of a hand or hands scrabbling about rustling the papers within my desk. I listened in amazement, but a short time later the sounds died away. When I awoke the next morning, I jumped out of bed and examined the desk but found nothing in any way disturbed. The papers which were rustled during the night were in place and I found the desk completely sealed up with solid wooden panels-eliminating any theoretical mice.

There is no doubt in my mind that the entire series of events was completely paranormal in origin, and I consider that I was extremely fortunate, from a psychical researcher's standpoint, and very lucky indeed to have experienced these interesting events.

The source of the experience

Szalay, Attila von

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Science Items

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