I know I usually don't start my ghost stories and horror movie blogging until October, but it's close enough I guess.
First up, a few weeks ago I posted an article from the statewide newspaper about a group of "ghost hunters" from Arkansas called Spirit Seekers investigating the State Capital here. I figured I'd follow that up for you and point out that they posted a final report on their website with some photos and such and they also linked my blog under media, which was cool of them. So go give that a visit if you like ghouls and such as I do. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they extend me an invite to go along on an investigation sometime so I can have something cool to blog about before the Halloween season begins. (actually, I am planning an overnight stay complete with tour at a certain famous Eureka Springs hotel in late September already)
Also of note, they have some info about the 2008 Arkansas Paranormal Fair here in Little Rock in October that I might have to check out. Looks like it could be fun.
Lastly, there was another article worth reprinting in this past weekend's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette again. It's about real estate people and a "ghostbuster bill" that I found interesting. Here it is:
Close encounters of the ‘ghost’ kind
Real estate agents don’t have to disclose haunt issues, but many do
By Sean Sposito
HOT SPRINGS - David and Ona Robertson own a 2,700-square-foot house that looks a bit like an English castle.
And since some castles are reputed to be haunted, it’s maybe not surprising when Ona Robertson, 62, refers to a supernatural extra that came with the purchase.
But the couple was not made aware of it by a close encounter of the weird kind.
It was a disclosure by a real estate agent when they bought the house in 1998.
Ona Robertson, who sports a tattoo of an angel on her back, pauses to sit in the reading room of her house about 1 p.m. on a Monday, her long, pink fingernails clutching a clove cigarette whose ashes she flicks into an ashtray next to her chair.
“I’ve never actually seen him, but you know how you visualize something in the corner of your eye ... You get the feeling you’re being watched,” she said.
Real estate agent Tera Jones said she showed the house to a prospect two weeks before the Robertsons bought it. At the time she was working for BJ Smith Realty of Hot Springs.
“It was one of those days that had big heavy clouds,” she said. “I’d been showing this guy property.
“[And the ghost] was on the porch. He wasn’t like a ghost like you see in a movie.”
Jones said the apparition caused her to run out of the house. She said she immediately called her boss at BJ Smith and told him what had happened.
The next day, Patsy Doster, a real estate agent who worked for ERA Rushing McAdams Polychron Realtors in Hot Springs at the time, disclosed to her broker the events that Jones said took place at the house. Ona Robertson said the selling agent told her of the supposed ghost that Jones had seen. Doster had put the house on the market for her relatives, the daughters of Paul Teague, who had died several years earlier.
Linda Averitt, an executive broker at McKimmey Associates Realtors, said: “If there is paranormal activity in the house you are selling, you would need to disclose it.”
In the realty business, ghosts are shop talk.
Averitt said she saw the apparition of a skeleton in a house she was showing several years ago.
“I could just see a lady sitting in this chair; of course, she really wasn’t there. My buyer went over to pick [the chair] up and move it. His hair just shot up,” she said. “He said: ‘There is something in that chair - there’s a ghost in it!’”
Real state agents are bound by law to disclose deaths or events in or around a property that might potentially affect its marketability. Before any house is sold, a seller fills out a legal document called a disclosure form that makes an agent aware of any unusual events related to the property.
But, ghosts aren’t necessarily a part of the clause.
Tim Grooms, a real estate lawyer for the Arkansas Realtors Association, said a “ghostbuster bill” prevents buyers from suing sellers and their agents on the grounds of paranormal activity.
The 2003 law, Arkansas Code 17-10-101, protects real estate agents for failing to disclose “any fact or circumstance or suspicion of the existence of any fact or circumstance that indicates that the real property is psychologically impacted.”
The law defines a “psychologically impacted” property as one that “was at any time suspected to have been the site of a homicide, suicide or felony.”
Jeb Joyce, a lawyer with the Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow law firm, said “psychological impact” covers hauntings.
Ethan Nobles, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Realtors Association, said such a disclosure might seem extreme, but a real estate agent has a responsibility to the buyer.
“If a seller tells his agent there is something floating around in there, the agent is probably obligated to tell their buyer about it,” he said. “What we tell our Realtors is if there is anything you know that could possibly [affect] the buyer then go ahead and reveal it.”
However, Sharla Law, a Fort Smith Realtor and chairman of the state association’s Risk Reduction Committee, said that during her 16 years on the board, no one has ever directly asked a question regarding haunted houses.
“I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened, I just don’t think it’s a [normal] thing,” she said, adding that it’s not uncommon to see an item on the phenomena in a trade magazine or newsletter.
Robertson said her house’s ghost is a great excuse when things are misplaced around the home.
“Sometimes, we’ll wake up and things will be out of place,” she said. “And David will say, well, [the ghost] did it.”
This article was published Sunday, August 24, 2008.
Business, Pages 75, 78 on 08/24/2008