Ghosts, Leases, and Lawsuits Oh My!

By: Michael Seinberg

Finding a nice place to live has never been an easy task, but for one family in New Jersey, it seems the spirits are against them. And they brought their lawyers too.

The couple, Josue Chinchilla, his fiancé Michele Callan, and her two kids moved into a rental house in Toms River, New Jersey on March 1. Almost immediately, they claim they started hearing strange noises, seeing flickering lights and they even recorded a voice saying, “Let it burn.”  Things escalated until March 10 when Chinchilla claimed blankets started sliding off his bed, he felt an invisible grip on his arm and Callan saw a “shapeless dark apparition.”

The family checked into a hotel on March 13 and has been living there since. They called in paranormal investigators who have reported that there is activity at the house, but beyond that, the professionals disagree. One suggests that the house has activity of the paranormal sort but won’t call it a haunting. Another says the house is indeed haunted and the couple’s pastor suggests that “demonic possession” has visited the house.

While all this was going on, the couple also found a live lawyer and filed suit against their landlord, Richard Lopez, to get their $2250 security deposit back. Don’t expect the court to throw this unusual suit out. Courts in New Jersey, like those in New York and a small handful of other states, use an antiquated standard of evidence, which requires only that expert evidence – such as that of a paranormal investigator – be “generally accepted.” This stands in stark contrast to the standards used in most of the country, which require evidence is derived from “scientific knowledge.”

Lopez also managed to scare up a lawyer and is countersuing the couple for breaking their lease. He suggests that they’re just scared to pay the rent. The attorney representing the spirits in question could not be reached for comment.


One comment

  1. What’s wrong with believing in ghosts, goblins and demons? It’s no more rediculous than the beliefs of most religions which we all tolerate!

    — By Stu halstead on April 27, 2012

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