If you have ever seen the movie Poltergeist, you’re familiar with the idea that building homes on top of cemeteries are possibly a terrible idea. Nonetheless, that seemingly natural line of thinking never happened to the people who built a series of upscale homes in a neighborhood outside of Houston, Texas, and what unfolded sounds incredibly identical to the movie, to the point where you would think it’s founded entirely on this mystery. This was featured on the show Unsolved Mysteries.
Beginning Of The Unsolved Mystery
Two families, including the Haney family, found themselves in the centre of what seemed to be a real live haunting after moving into the neighbourhood.
Sam and Judith Haney settled in at the far western perimeter of the development.
Sam interpreted it as their dream home:
“When we purchased the house in Newport, it was the house that we had always been looking for. So, it was the house that we planned to stay at for a long period.”
But there was a morbid unsolved mystery about the Haney’s perfect home, one that soon turned their lives into a never-ending misery. Sam said it all started when a mysterious old man showed up at their door with a dreadful warning:
“This elderly man said to me that he had noticed that we were putting a swimming pool in our backyard and that there was something about our backyard that I needed to know about. So I followed him around to my backyard and he indicated at the ground and said that there are some graves right here. And he marked a spot on the ground where they were. And I didn’t know how to respond to that. I didn’t know if he was just kidding. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to joke about something like that.”
Using a backhoe, Sam decided to see if the man’s disturbing claims were true. Sam says it wasn’t long before he hit something:
“And at that point, we stopped with the backhoe and we got down into the hole and proceeded to dig by hand. There were pine boards. When we lifted the first board, we could see an incision of a skeleton form. It didn’t take long to figure out that it was actual human remains.”
Sam instantly called the Sheriff and county coroner who performed an official exhumation. Most of the bones had turned to powder. But 25 grains were discovered, some so fragile that they disintegrated when touched.
The Unsolved Mystery had a lot more
The Williams’ found they had graves to..
A second coffin, discovered alongside the first, hadn’t been disturbed. Inside, two wedding rings were found on the frail index finger of the vulnerable skeleton.
Judith Haney was mortified by the discovery:
“They handed me the rings and it was disgusting to think that I had desecrated somebody’s grave.”
Wanting desperately to do the right thing, the Haneys decided to find out whose remains were concealed in their backyard. The search led them to a longtime inhabitant named Jasper Norton.
Years earlier, Norton had dug many graves in the region. He said the Haneys that their home and a dozen others were built on top of an old African American cemetery called Black Hope. The deceased were largely former slaves. The last burial was in 1939, and as many as 60 people were interred there in paupers’ graves.
Jean decided to dig for the corpses…
The two people buried in the Haney’s backyard were Betty and Charlie Thomas. They perished during the 1930s and their graves were ultimately forgotten.
Judith and Sam Haney made an incredible decision. They reburied Betty and Charlie in their yard and prayed their spirits would rest in peace. But, according to Judith, peace was not forthcoming:
“There was a clock in my bedroom and one night it began sparking and putting out a kind of blue glow.”
When Judith checked the clock, she discovered that it was unplugged. That was only the beginning of the Haneys’ suffering. On another evening, Sam went to work the night shift, leaving Judith alone:
“I heard the sliding glass door open and I listened what I thought was Sam saying, ‘What are you doing?’ Everything was silent, the sliding glass doors were locked, and I guessed, ‘Well, you know, you must be losing your mind. This certainly must be getting to you.’ But much to my astonishment that’s not where the story ended. In the morning I awoke, went in my cabinet to get my red shoes, and I could not find them anywhere.”
Sam backed up Judith’s story:
“So, of course, I began looking for them and went through all of her closets where she generally puts things. And we just couldn’t find them. We had walked just a quick distance from where the gravesites were and I could see something on the grave. And they were both side-by-side like someone had just grabbed them up and carried them over and laid them down on the gravesite.”
Even more alarming to Sam was the realization that this was Betty Thomas’ birthday:
“And I kinda got the feeling that it was like Charlie was giving Betty a birthday present.”
Judith felt she knew what was going on:
“I started to understand that this was not all in my mind and that this had to have some connection to Betty and Charlie’s graves being disturbed. Their spirits were saying, ‘This isn’t right.’”
The Haneys were not alone. A dozen of their neighbors also reported lights, televisions, and water faucets turning on and off, and strange sounds and supernatural illusions. Worse, these shocking events were becoming vicious but unsolved mystery was going right.
Like the Haneys, Ben and Jean Williams thought that they had found their suburban heaven when they moved into the same neighbourhood. But Jean said she never felt at stability in the house:
“After we moved, everything altered. When I attempted to plant new plants, they just would not live no matter what I did. You know, fertilizer or whatever, they still would not live. And I always had a suspicion feeling, a feeling of things are not right or something bad is about to happen.”
The Williams told that near their flowerbed, sinkholes seemed in the unmistakable shape of a coffin. He would fill them in, only to have them reappear a few days later.
He also felt their perfect home was being occupied by a menacing presence. Random shadows slid along the walls, followed by whispered words and an awful smell. A smell of unsolved mystery.
At the time, the Williams’ granddaughter, Carli, resided with the couple. During the blazing heat of summer, Carli said she would stagger into bone-chilling pockets of ice-cold air:
“It would be very, very cold and you’d have this feeling of suspicion, or just, you know like something wasn’t nice. Anywhere in the home, you’d have a feeling that you were not alone. Somebody was seeing you. It horrifies me to be in the house by myself. The latrines used to flush on their own. As the water went down I could listen to it, it was almost like discussions. You could hear people whispering to themselves. It was existence or spirit or something there. Something that wanted to be heard. Wanted me to know that it was there.”👍
Jean Williams did not doubt as to the source of the disturbances:
“I think that all of these things occurred to us because we were on the graveyard and that we were going to be distressed until we left there.”
Ben said he and Jean discussed what to do next:
“Me and Jean, we talked it over. And she said, ‘Well what can we do? Walk off and leave it?’ She said, ‘We ain’t got sufficient money to pay down on another home.’ I said, ‘We’ve always been fighters. We’re gonna stay right here and battle it and try to beat it.’”
According to Ben, it wasn’t long before he got his chance:
“I came home from work around ten after twelve from the midnight shift, and I walked directly to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door, and that’s when I saw these two unearthly figures. And they went straight back into the den. Then they began steering right down the hall to Jeans. And it was standing right about a foot and a half from the end of the bed. The only thing I guessed of was, ‘They ain’t disarraying with me wife.’ As I dove through it, I felt a sticky cold sensation in my body.”
Down the street at the Haney’s, Judith said the disruptions caused her life to unravel:
“I was crying all the time. I was worry about doing my daily routine in my own home.”
The Haneys decided to fight back in court. They sued the builder for not disclosing that their house was over a graveyard, in part, so that everyone would know what was occurring at their subdivision. A jury awarded them $142,000 for mental suffering. But a deterioration ruled on legal grounds that the developers were not accountable. They threw the ruling out and the court ordered Haneys to pay $50,000 in court costs.
Sam Haney reviewed the total cost of their ordeal:
“At that point, we decided to file bankruptcy. All in all, we turned out losing the case, losing the money, losing the house.”
The Williams also analyzed legal recourse. But they say that they were said that without conclusive proof of a cemetery on their property, nothing could be done with this unsolved mystery. It was then that Jean decided that she will always regret:
“That was the last straw. Do you want a body? I’ll show you a body. So, I thought to myself, I can dig about two feet a day and I knew I would reach a body.”
But soon after she began digging, Jean felt ill. Her adult daughter, Tina, enrolled to finish the job. After digging for a half-hour, Tina also fell ill.
Carli Karluk was there that day:
“I remember her saying that she was, that she felt funny. She was getting dazed as well. She put the shovel down and she went back inward. And she just laid down on the couch. She’s like mom, daddy, I don’t feel right. There’s something bad. The last thing I remember her saying was, ‘Mommy, take care of my baby, take care of my baby.’ And she looked so scared.”
While waiting for paramedics to arrive, Jean attempted to keep her daughter conscious:
“Almost instantly her eyes started glazing over. And I was talking to her, attempting to talk her out of dying. ‘Please Tina, talk to me.’ And all this time her eyes were altering until they got to the point where I knew that she wasn’t reacting at all.”
Tina had undergone a massive heart attack. Two days later she perished. Jean burdened the blame:
“I acknowledge that I had desecrated another grave and now I’m paying. I told Ben, ‘We have to get out of here. It doesn’t matter what we lose, what we had.’ And I knew that if we didn’t, that I was not going to make it because my battle was gone. I could battle no more.”
The Williams fled to Montana and later moved back to another home and another neighbourhood in Texas. Today they are a cheerfully growing family, no longer afflicted by mysterious noises, awful apparitions or heart-breaking tragedies.
Remains An Unsolved Mystery
Back in their old neighborhood, none of the current inhabitants has reported any paranormal activity. No one has ever been able to clarify what occurred to the Williams or the Haneys. It remains an unsolved mystery
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