Location: The Freeling House was once located in Cueste Verde Estates, a suburban community near Colma, California, a suburb of San Francisco on Highway 82 not far from the San Bruno State Park. Because of the reputed notorious nature of the house, its exact location has been chosen to be undisclosed to the general public. It has only been revealed to a handful of paranormal agencies.
Description of Place: The location of the Old Freeling House is now a vacant lot surrounded by a perimeter of vacated and deserted homes, further surrounded by a vast treeless neighborhood of nearly identical homes in a geometric concessive pattern. When it existed, the house was two-story split-level Ranch style home located in an open neighborhood. Today, the once populated street is a deserted empty neighborhood street fenced off for now from the public.
Ghostly Manifestations: There have been few haunted houses reported as built on forgotten cemeteries and graveyards. The Tallman House in Horicon, Wisconsin is a documented case as well as the Williams house in Crosby, Texas. The Fischer house in Wausau, Wisconsin is another tale, but the case of the Freeling House is such a mishmash of hype, nonsense and phony paranormal events that one has to believe it was almost certainly a hoax.
Suspicions of a hoax can be directly attributed to the outlandish “paranormal” events that reportedly occurred in the house: a tree that came to life and jerked eight-year-old Robby Freeling through a window (a tree that was conveniently jerked away roots and all by a tornado), a portal in a TV that reportedly sucked Carol Anne Freeling into another dimension (the girl died in 1989 from complications from an illness ) and several corpses which sprang from the ground while still in their caskets. In truth, a swimming pool was built on the property and a resulting rainstorm did flood the hole and bring the underlying caskets to the surface, but Steve and Diane Freeling also claimed the caskets springing up from the ground were coming up through the concrete foundation of the house! In perhaps the most outlandish claim the lack of evidence, the Freelings claimed that everything that they had owned including the house was “sucked into the next world.” In reality, the house was built on a cemetery as evident by later lawsuits to the developer, but under that cemetery was an elaborate system of caves including a sinkhole, which collapsed and claimed the house.
Following their “escape,” the Freelings claimed the ghosts followed them to their next home and then their daughter who was sent to live with her aunt across the country in Chicago. They reported another mishmash of poltergeist attacks even more far-fetched from their new house. Some of the phenomenon sounded normal. Chairs stacked themselves, a child’s toy flew through the air and appliances started up even while unplugged, but much of the activity they described, like being attacked by power tools, sound more like the creations of a demented and vividly-imaginative Hollywood writer lacking any knowledge of the paranormal. Accredited psychic Tangina Barrons said in an interview that she thought Carol Anne possessed great clairvoyant and possibly psychokinetic powers that could have developed as she got older, but since the girl’s death, Barrons has been attacked along with demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren by numerous serious parapsychologists because of the outrageous claims she creates. Once a respected psychic and transcendental medium, Barrons lost a lot of her credibility after the Freeling House was made public.
A serious parapsychological examination led by Professor Beatrice Lesh from UCLA at the original Freeling House before it collapsed did record some legitimate phenomenon such as psychokinetic activity. Old coins were found falling from an indiscernible place in the house. Cameras filmed strange balls of light along with translucent, ethereal figures that no one could see, but the experts who have studied every frame of this footage claim it is just too good to be true. The figures are too clear and one can actually count the stripes and ruffles in the period costumes. Rumor has it that Lesh had the film specially created by special effects artists and the super-imposed on footage of the Freeling House.
Giving the Freelings the benefit of the doubt, the Collinsport Ghost Society after years of negotiating managing to get more of the original haunting stories from Steven Freeling. After the death of both of his daughters and the mental breakdown of his wife, he wanted to lay to rest the claims of the house being labeled fraudulent. He contends the warped stories by the media and the less than professional investigation by Professor Lesh resulted in the misinformation leading to his ordeal being called a hoax. He confirms the falling coins did happen and concedes the footage of the ghosts could have been faked, having seen nothing in the house the whole time Marty Gold, Lesh’s photography expert, was filming, but he adds that he saw a piano roll out from the corner by itself. He recalls the family dog responded to unseen persons in the house, even standing on its hind legs to acknowledge something only it saw. Conceding the tornado could have pulled his son through the window and into the tree, he confesses the haunting at first amused him. In the beginning, it was kind of charming; a weird psychokinetic force in the kitchen that dragged chairs into the wall and even his daughter sitting on a mat on the floor. It wasn’t until his daughter vanished that he became hysterical. When asked if his daughter was truly “absorbed into the TV,” Steven Freeling only says: “My daughter vanished from the house, and Tangina was able to find her again.”
The largest amount of disparagement about the Freeling case oddly comes from paranormal experts and known psychics, but the biggest argument critics and skeptics ask in connection to the Freeling House is why didn’t Steven go to the police once his daughter vanished from the house, especially in light of the recent case of Elizabeth Smart.
“I just didn’t want the ghosts made public!”
History: The Freeling House was built in 1986 by the Teague Realty Company, a firm that later went bankrupt after they were sued in court by broken-hearted family members who had discovered they had been moving tombstones and building on top of cemeteries. The company had been making claims to the contrary on relocating bodies, but then the Freeling case came out and over sixty-three lawsuits took the company down, ranging from the Federal Zoning Commission, upset family members and superstitious home-owners.
A sinkhole possibly opened by the digging for the swimming pool meanwhile had claimed the Freeling House and even parts of the surrounding houses. Believers in the phenomenon theorize that the spirits of the dead were either angry enough to lash out at the Freelings or at the same time were trying to warn them of the sinkhole. This sort of divided rationalizing and mixed speculation has given much validity to a hoax believed started by the Freelings and perpetuated later by Barrons and Dr. Lesh.
Identity of Ghosts: The names of individuals in graves still presently interred and the relocated caskets are a matter of public record; however, the relatives of those departed do not want their deceased loved ones connected in any way with the Freeling case, especially in light of the fraud by Teague Realty. However, there is one name that bears mentioning. It concerns the obscure mystery of Reverend Silas Kaine.
In 1847, a self-avowed reverend and witch-hunter named Silas Kaine led his parishioners west to seek religious freedom much as Brigham Young did before him. Senile in his old age and quite possibly addicted to painkillers, he became convinced the world had become evil and led his flock out into the desert where they vanished to be never seen again. That’s where the legend begins. However, when their remains were found in an adjacent cave to the sinkhole, the hand-written journal of one of his followers was found. It described how Kaine led everyone into a cave and then had it sealed from the inside to await the final destruction of the world. Shadowing the Jim Jones Cult of Guyana on several levels, Kaine then launched into a long endless sermon on man’s wickedness and how he had been instructed by God to lead them into salvation. However, as he became even more insane in his sermon, a long condemning tirade of condemning humanity and how they could not be expected to live within it, his parishioners deduced how mad he had become and tried to claw their way out of the underground tomb into which Kaine had led them. They remained trapped as they died in the cavern with food, water or oxygen. One of the women continued writing everything down up until she died. Her journal was finally found in 1989.
The Freeling House had been built roughly twenty feet above the collapsed cave.
Investigations: There has been no paranormal activity from the Freeling House or the surrounding property since 1982. Rather than attacking the accounts, William Collins of the CGS has instead been rationalizing the case to its more logical conclusions; blaming sensationalism on distorting the main extreme accounts of the activity. He does not however take the Lesh footage at face value, noting that even the best photographic footage of ghosts is never as clear as the film implies. In resolving the disappearance of Carol Anne, he recalls several cases of children plucked from homes by tornadoes who survived by being safely deposited on and in objects like haystacks, trees, small ponds and strewn bedding material. He also adds, based on EVP work done byJohnathan Rivers, that unused TV channels can receive signals from all levels of the inaudible spectrum, ranging from short wave, solar, outer space and inner space. Pointing out that EVPs have been found on open TV frequencies, he explores the notion that the Freelings did hear ghostly voices from their TV they believed were from Carol Anne, but that she herself was actually only a few houses away before the collapse of the house.
When asked if this is what actually occurred, Steven can only aggravatedly rub his head and say, “Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.”
Source/Comments: Poltergeist (1982, 1986 and 1988) Hauntings based on the trilogy and very loosely on the above mentioned cases, including the Williams House in Crosby, Texas and the Batzel House in New Brunswick, New Jersey.