July 14, 1993 Frightening and Exciting to Say the Least

The Bear Incident

Since his arrival, our newborn son had been waking up every hour on the hour every night for more than 2 weeks. When my sister, Karen, offered to fly from New York to help, we accepted and anxiously waited for her arrival the next day.

My Sister Karen is a Lifesaver


She had graciously taken over the nighttime feedings and care of three-week old Taylor for several nights and allowed us to catch up on some desperately needed sleep. Karen was a godsend for 5 days, and she will never forget her last night in Kansas.

It was the night that marked the infamous event that changed our lives forever. It was that very evening, that we were pushed over the edge of disbelief and through the door of terror. The following events are true, and were recorded by myself in my diary shortly after they occurred.July 14, 1993

So what shall we do today?’” I asked. ‘Shall we watch another rented movie?’ Rented movies and a box of bite-size shredded wheat had been the extent of our nightly entertainment since Karen’s arrival.


While at Tony’s Parent’s House


For most of that day, we had been visiting at my in-laws’ house, and during our stay, some of Tony’s other relatives had popped in and out. As we were getting ready to return home, Tony’s sister-in-law, Jeanie, came by. She said she had to tell us something.  She seemed very uneasy and told us there was something she felt guilty about.

Several weeks previous she’d mentioned to us that she had a highchair we could have. She admitted that she had stopped at our house earlier that day to drop it off and even though we were not there she had still wanted to see if the nursery had been finished yet.

Jeanie Confesses


She’d let herself in and went upstairs to take a peek. (Tony and I had no problem with her doing this, but after having done so, she didn’t feel right about it.) In order to ease her guilty conscious, she had searched us out to tell us what she had done. I assured her it was no big deal, and in the back of myJuly 14, 1993 mind, I couldn’t help but wonder why she was still so nervous and upset about it.

Twenty minutes later Tony, Karen, Taylor, and I left for home, which was only five minutes away. After being at the house about half an hour (somewhere around 10:00 p.m.), Tony went upstairs to use the bathroom.

Odd Discovery


When he came back down, he found me in the kitchen and asked why I had put all of Taylor’s stuffed animals on the nursery floor. So, being very puzzled by the question, I responded with a puzzling grimace, “What?” I asked. Again, he told me that all of the stuffed animals were sitting on the floor in the middle of the nursery.

Perplexed, my eyes widened as if to say, “What do you mean? How did they get there?”. Karen had walked in time to hear Tony’s comment. All three of us promptly marched upstairs to take a look.

Stuffed Animals in the Nursery


It’s important to note that several days before Karen had arrived, I had meticulously put a medium, scruffy looking teddy bear on a small wicker chair just inside the nursery room door, two small ones on a shelf above the baby’s crib, a rather large bear and several small stuffed animals inside the crib, a few small ones on top of the dresser, and another large bear on the far side of the room.I had also left a small musical cat on the baby’s changing table.

As we tucked sleeping Taylor in his carrier downstairs in the living room, I tried to visualize, as all three of us went upstairs to take a look at what Tony described about the bears on the floor, exactly how I’d decorated the room. Just that morning, I had admired how adorable and welcoming the toys and stuffed animals looked!

Looking Into the Nursery


We got to the nursery. Exactly as Tony described (not that I doubted him), all the stuffed animals had been placed on the floor in the middle of the room. In addition, they had been neatly organized into a circle; their backs snuggled up against each other, facing forward. As I starred at this display, I got a really weird chill down my back.

Although several things began to run through our heads, we were sure someone had played a trick on us. Since we rarely locked the front door, Tony’s brother, Tom, or anyone else for that matter could have gotten in the house and set this up.



Perhaps when Jeanie was in the house, checking out the nursery while were gone, she had moved them there. But why would she have done that? And if she had wanted to pull off a prank or surprise, why would she have gone to the effort to find us and tell us that she’d been at the house in the first place?

A prank by Jeanie was unlikely, and definitely not in her nature. We thought about the wind and even the cats knocking the bears to the floor; but all the windows were shut and these theories would not explain how the animals ended up so meticulously positioned on the floor.



July 14, 1993 The three of us stood there, quietly going through theories, smirking at each other in disbelief, knowing there had to be a logical explanation. We waited, wanting one of us to say, ‘Okay, I did it.’ But no one did. Still very puzzled and realizing no one was going to fess up, we checked for magnets, transparent strings, and fishing lines attached to the stuffed animals.

None were found. After exhausting our list of signs of typical tricks, we decided to call Jeanie. After all, she had been the last person in the house. Maybe, just maybe, she did prank us.

A Call to Jeanie


As I dialed her number, I wondered if perhaps the toys hadn’t already been on the floor when she’d come into the nursery. She probably would have thought we had put them there and didn’t think to mention the strangeness of it to us.

While listening to the phone ring, I thought about something else. I knew Jean ie was inquisitive, no matter what the subject was; she always had to know why, where, when…. I was positive that if the stuffed animals had been on the floor of the nursery when she’d looked into the room, she surely would have asked me why we had put them there. So before even talking to her, I had a feeling she’d say she didn’t ask about them because they weren’t there.

Talking to Jeanie


A moment later, I heard Jeanie’s voice on the other end of the line, “Hi, Jeanie. It’s Debra. Thanks for the high chair…” Since I had a some really odd questions to ask her and wasn’t quite sure how I was going to go about doing so without startling her or getting her curious nature started, I began with a bit of small-talk first.

After running out of idle conversation and clueless on how to inconspicuously ask someone bizarre questions, I just came right out and asked, “Hey, Jeanie, I’ve got a really odd question for you.” Her response was an enthusiastic, “Yeah?” My nerves settled enough to go on. “When you were here today, did you notice anything weird in the nursery?”

No,” she replied. “Everything seemed to be in perfect order.” For a few minutes, she went on about Tony’s and my artistic talents at creating such a wonderful nursery.

Jeanie’s Curiosity


Just about the time I thought the conversation had gone well enough she wouldn’t quiz me on why I’d asked such a weird question, her curiosity had been piqued. She must have had a delayed reaction. “Why’d you ask about anything weird in the nursery?” There it was, I had to tell her what and how we found the stuff animals in the nursery.

Before explaining our situation, I decided to rephrase my original question; I wanted to be sure the answer she gave was in no way influenced by me. “You didn’t by any chance move any of the stuffed animals to the floor of the nursery, did you?” “No, I didn’t touch a thing. Why? Is something wrong?

Something is Very Odd


A bit shy at first about blurting out what we’d found, I hesitantly told her and, before I could finish, she said, very shocked and distressed, “Oh my god!” I heard her calling out to her husband. “I wasn’t going to say anything,” she said to me, and my heart skipped a beat. She called out to her husband again, repeating to him what I had just told her.

She finally got her focus back to our phone conversation and explained how she’d felt odd, as though something was really wrong, when she’d come into the house. She said that when she’d gone upstairs, she got a real strange, cold feeling and she felt strongly that something just wasn’t quite right.

Overwhelming and Unsettling


After she’d gone into the nursery, she described an overwhelming, unsettled feeling. She said the strange, uneasy feeling just wouldn’t let go of her and made her leave the house very quickly. She drove to mom and dad’s to stop by and tell us about it.

During the drive over, however, her nerves had settled down. Mom and dad’s house had been filled with a lot of relatives when she’d arrived, she decided it probably wasn’t a good time to tell us of her experience except the fact she’d left the highchair in the house for us.

Nope, Not Jeanie


I relayed the conversation to Tony and Karen, who were still in the nursery with me while I was on the phone. We all came to the same conclusion; Jeanie hadn’t moved the toys. There were only two explanations left.

First, someone had been in the house between the time Jean had left and the time we came back from my in-laws (no more than twenty minutes). Second, and altogether unsettling, was the idea we had a ghost.

An Array of wild Emotions


I remembered that I had always wanted a ghost of my own, but because I had never been confronted with the reality, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. My thoughts kept going back and forth with, ‘Wow, this is neat, this is great, I can’t believe it, this sort of scary, this is really weird, is this really happening….’ I wondered what we were supposed do now.

What kind of a spirit was this, what will it do, what does it want? On one hand, I thought about the many possibilities having a ghost in the house would bring. However, I kept a firm grip on denial. Such as the thought, ‘This only happened to other people’. I think this was a just and natural reaction and my only form of defense against something I was, for the most part, unfamiliar with.

There We Stood


The three of us stood in the nursery, considering a plausible alternate explanation for what had happened. We decided, immediately, that someone else must have come into the house while we were gone and set the toys on the floor as we had found them.

It occurred to us that the most likely trickster was Greg, one of Tony’s brothers. He and Tony had always played pranks on each other. Having accepted this explanation for the strange occurrence, we put the stuffed animals back in their respective places and Tony turned out the light  The three of us stood silently in the hallway, looking back into the nursery, trying one last time to assure ourselves something odd wasn’t going on.

Oh My GOD !


I then descended the stairs and was quickly followed by Tony and Karen. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Karen, for some unknown reason, glanced back up. She said, alarmed, “The light in the nursery is back on!” She turned to Tony and said, “I thought you turned out the light?” “I did,” he told her.

With eyebrows raised, we all stared up the stairs at the light emanating from the nursery. Although we had all been within a few feet of each other as we came downstairs and there had been no way for one of us to have returned to the nursery to turn the light back on, we each took turns looking at each other as if waiting for one of us to say, ‘Ha, ha, got ya.’ But no one did.

Freaked out?

Oh Hell Yes!


We had all just come down the stairs, trying desperately to see a little humor in the strange situation. But now it was downright scary!

Once again, after checking that the baby was fine (he was sleeping soundly through all of this), we went back upstairs, quietly sneaking along as if we might catch someone in the act of doing something.

As a side note, we remained within a few feet of each other or at least within visual range of each other for the rest of the night.


We slowly emerged at the top of the stairs, which enabled all three of us to see into the nursery. None of dared to go in. As we stood there, staring motionless into the room, we gaped at the one scruffy teddy bear, laying flat on his back in the middle of the floor.

The last time we left the room, I was the one who had set the bear back on its wicker chair, which was just inside the nursery and to the left of the doorway. We stood, gaping a moment longer as a chilling feeling went through us. Trying desperately to hold on to our composure, we once more checked the bear for any type of hidden strings or magnets. Again, we came up with nothing.

Was There a Stranger Among Us


We thought that if moving the bear was someone’s idea of a prank, the person must still be hiding somewhere upstairs. After thoroughly checking the entire second floor and finding no one, we soon realized a prankster maintaining a hideout within the house was impossible.

This eliminated any hope we had that Greg or anyone else had been the prankster we expected. It boiled down to one conclusion. There was a ghost who enjoyed playing with the baby’s stuffed animals. Thinking aloud, I said, “Maybe it’s a child ghost since it’s playing with the toys.

Against All Odds, There Must be a Trickster


Crediting: hauntedohiobooks.com George Frederic Watts 1903-4

Crediting-hauntedohiobooks.com george-frederic-watts-1903-4

Karen must have been thinking along the same lines because she quickly added, “Maybe it’s a nurturing woman who’s wanting to entertain a baby.” My natural instinct of denial told me to ignore this way of thinking and in the back of my head, I desperately clung to the only reality I knew; one of us had to be playing tricks on the others.

I wasn’t the only one thinking this way. To rule out any foul play by one of us and before leaving the room again, Karen suggested this time Tony place the bear back on the wicker chair and I turned out the light. After doing so, we all headed back down the stairs again. Tony went first, followed by Karen and myself, each of us clung to the person in front of us. If we had been any closer as we went down the stairs, we would have been walking in each other’s shoes!



Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, we all quickly spun around to look back up, fully expecting to find the light back on. However, in almost a defiant sort of way, the room was just as dark as we had left it. During the next twenty minutes, we sat in the living room, silently watching television and trying hard not to discuss or think about what had happened.

Every few minutes, one of us would get up and sneak over to the bottom of the stairs in order to see if the light had come back on, but each time the nursery was still dark.

Still Unsettled but Gotta Pee


About 10:50 p.m., I announced I was going to use the bathroom upstairs. I don’t normally announce things, but with the strange things happening in the house, I thought it was a good idea in case someone wanted to accompany me and assure themselves that I wasn’t the prankster.

I could tell Tony and Karen were shocked that I’d venture up there alone. They asked almost in unison, “You’re going up there alone?” In a very positive tone of voice (pretending; I wasn’t in the least bit scared), I said, “Yeah, why?” They gave each other a disbelieving glance just before Karen said, “We’ll wait at the bottom of the stairs for you, okay?

Watchful Eyes


Whether standing at the bottom of the stairs was their way of wanting to look out for me, protect me from whatever was up there, or whether it was simply to keep a watchful eye on me, I was fine with it.

I knew they were scared to go up and ultimately be left in the hallway alone while I went into the bathroom, but on the other hand they both needed to know I wasn’t going to do anything in the baby’s room. Watching from the bottom of the stairs, they could see the door to the nursery as well as monitor my whereabouts.

Up the Stairs Once Again

I slowly went up the stairs while Karen and Tony monitored my progress from below. As I looked back down at them, I noticed they were physically holding on to each other in anticipation of what might happen while I was up there.

July 14, 1993Being scared myself, I decided that as soon as I could see into the nursery, I would quickly peek in to see if anything had been moved. I knew I could do this a few steps before reaching the upper landing. With each cautiously mounted step, I was thinking about what I would find when I looked in and was consequently very anxious as well as apprehensive when I finally arrived at that particular point on the stairs.

Not really wanting to but feeling compelled to, I glanced into the room lit by the dim hallway light we always kept on. What I saw sent a stroke of terror through me, and I screamed,



(the rest came out in a slow, low monotone sort of rhythmic beat, as if I was trying to be incognito)

“The bear, is on, the floor, again!”


Karen and Tony bolted upstairs to where I stood, perfectly motionless. Sounding severely stressed but also calm, Karen said, “Oh, my god, not again.” The same bear, which at one time had a permanent, comfortable seat on the miniature wicker chair, was once again face up in the middle of the floor. In fact, the bear had been positioned exactly the same way as the last time we had found it.

At this point our adrenaline had spiked, our blood was soaring, and our minds were whirling and we desperately needed a reasonable explanation for this. Once again, we carefully inspected the bear and the surroundings.

No signs of Pranks, Strings or Magnets


We found no hidden strings or magnets, and we knew no one else had been in the house since we had gotten home. For a very short moment, we entertained the idea that we had imagined it all. However, we soon realized how preposterous it was to assume all three of us could have imagined the same exact thing.

So, there we stood, just looking at the toy in the middle of the floor. In a few moments, we ultimately understood, more solemnly than ever before, that we had been witness to the playful antics of a ghost.

Just Dumb Stuck


Speechless and motionless, we clung to each other and desperately tried to fight the crazy thoughts of terror taking root in our minds. The thought of ghosts are terrifying. Our minds raced with thoughts of horrible things this one might do, and when?

Like coming out of a trance, I was suddenly reminded of why I had come upstairs in the first place. The overwhelming need to use the bathroom allowed me the courage to release the stronghold I had on my sister and husband.

Completely Paranoid


I hurried and returned to them, not wanting to spend any more time in a room alone, even the bathroom, than I had to. Tony and Karen were in place, just as I had left them seconds earlier, desperately holding on to each other and staring motionless into the nursery. Motionless that is, except for watching all corners of the room for something to happen.

Given a similar set of circumstances, I think most anyone would have been as terrified as we had been, standing in the nursery. Many people would have been paralyzed with fear, unable to move or speak until they finally regained enough control of their muscles to run screaming from the house.

Do We Stay  or Do We Go


At one point, we did mention running, perhaps going to my in-laws’ house for the night. We would have been more than welcome there. There was the comforting thought that dealing with these experiences by the light of day would be much better and perhaps a ghost wouldn’t bother us during the day.

Then a disturbing thought arose, would it even make a difference? What we did know was that we eventually would have to come back, come back and confront whatever or whoever was in the house. We decided to stay.



The three of decided it would be best for all of us to sleep in the same room; of course no one wanted to alone! So we devised a plan and set it in motion. It was decided that the TV and VCR would go up to the bedroom so that we could watch the scary movies we had rented earlier that day.

I began putting cold soda and movie snacks into a basket, grabbed the baby’s formula and a bottle and with the other hand I grabbed a sofa cushion. The whole time Tony had disconnected the wires from the TV equipment so it was ready to move. He then grabbed the car seat that Taylor was still sleeping in as well as another two cushions.Karen grabbed the the movies and a 4th cushion.

In Motion


We mounted the stairs, saw nothing amiss in the nursery and reached the master bedroom.  Tony had volunteered to sleep on floor on top of the couch cushions, so I began laying them in place while the two of them went downstairs to get the TV and VCR.

Just as I laid the baby in his cradle, I heard
Oh SH*T !


I immediately heard Karen and Tony bounding loudly up the stairs. Tony had the TV and Karen had the CVR and cords. Apparently just as Tony rounded the wall between the living room and the stairwell, he saw out of the corner of his eye, the bean bear on the TV stand spin around.

We sat still a few minutes and looked around the room for anything out of the ordinary, for anything to more. I suddenly noticed a very large teddy bear I had kept on the top of the high boy dresser, promptly got up and put it in the hallway and closed the door.

Safe and Silly

For some stupid reason, we all felt a warming level of safety rise within us. Looking back at the situation, I am dumfounded at how we all sat huddled together in that room and thought we were safe; like ghosts couldn’t come through the walls or  door.

The next day Karen flew back to New York. Tony’s Brother, Greg, stopped in later that morning and Tony shared with him, our experiences of the night before. I had been upstairs unaware that we had company.

The guys were downstairs and had seen humor in the experiences of the previous night. They just knew there had to be a rational explanation for it all. At one point, Greg picked up the 35mm camera and snapped a few pictures.

The Next Morning It Begins Again


As he focused on the bear sitting next to the television, and just before  he took the picture, he said “If your here, do you want to have your picture taken?” As he clicked the shutter the bear spun around right before their eyes.

July 14, 1993 Salllie House

The guys went into immediate panic and called me down from upstairs. Fighting fear and everything other emotion you can imagine we all decided it would be best to leave for a while to gather our thoughts and composure.

Fleeing the house


I got what the baby and we needed to spend the day at my in-laws while Tony readied the car seat and got the baby from upstairs. Taylor must have picked up on the anxiousness and was himself, upset and crying.

I watched while Tony strapped Taylor into the car seat that was on the far end of the sectional sofa nearest the front door. He was bent over slightly and bolted to an upright position and reached for his lower back. When asked what was wrong he brushed it off mentioning that a bug or something must have bite him.

When Ghosts Attack


Minutes later and we were in the car and had arrived at Tony’s parents house which was just across town. After settling in, I asked to see his back where he felt a bug might have bit him. I was shocked to see three long scratches down the center of his back. No one else had been in the room or near him at the time; Greg had been waiting outside for us and I was standing in the foyer, about 6 feet away.

July 14, 1993


Shortly after seeing the scratches on Tony’s back, and knowing that Barbara was in town, we gave her a call. Although it was hard for her to pick up on much, in the way of who we were dealing with or what was happening, we were instructed to stand our ground and reprimand the spirit upon our return to the house. Barbara reported that she would have a better idea of our situation when she met us a few days later.

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What would you have done differently in this situation?

About Debra Pickman

After living in an extremely haunted location with my husband who was physically and mentally brutalized by an unseen force my husband and I became experienced investigators applying our knowledge to other locations. We continue to speak at events, conferences and on radio shows around the world. Contact me at Debra@TheSallieHouse.com


  1. Debra, reading about your family’s experiences in the house is truly terrifying and fascinating. Thank you for sharing this story with us

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