Was the Tatum’s home haunted?
Kay says she heard the drill outside her room
Mysteries Unsolved - In a quiet suburb near Atlanta, Georgia, Jim and Kay Tatum built a new home, with plans to retire. But in January of 1986, five months after they moved in, the Tatum’s began to experience a series of incidents that would ultimately force them to put their house up for sale. One night, Kay Tatum couldn’t sleep. She sensed a strange presence in the hall outside her bedroom. When she got up to investigate, Kay caught a glimpse of a man walking past her open door:
They said a ghostly man walked by the doorway
“It was definitely a man, and he was swinging his arms lightly, and his head was slightly bent, and he walked briskly past me. At first I thought it was my husband. And I went into the bedroom and there my husband was in the bed, so I thought we had a burglar.”
Jim searched the house:
“There was no evidence of any entry, or of anyone having been in the house. So I thought perhaps Kay had just been using an overactive imagination.”
Shortly after the incident, Kay began to suspect that it may have not been an actual living person at all:
“I had fear, and I was perplexed about what happened. And while I was tossing and turning, I suddenly remembered that I didn’t hear any sound as he passed me. I still am unable to figure out why it happened.”
She said the drill was off, but it made noise
Two months passed without further incident. Then, one night in March, Jim was working upstairs on the house. He stopped when Kay called him down to dinner, and, as usual, made sure to unplug his drill. As the evening wore on, Jim decided to watch a movie, while Kay went upstairs to read. One hour later, Kay heard the sound of the drill outside her room. She assumed Jim was teasing her about having seen a ghost. But before long, she felt the joke had gone on long enough. But when she got to the hallway, it was empty, and the drill was unplugged. Kay Tatum:
“I was really frightened and I reached down and felt on it and it was ice cold. It had not been turned on.”
Now, Jim too started to believe something strange might be occurring:
“I was very confused, too. I knew very well that something was happening because Kay is very level-headed. And she was truly frightened.”
The strange events continued. One night, Kay heard the sound of coins falling in a bowl. But she was alone in the room. Another time, while cooking, Kay felt two sharp tugs on her blouse:
“After that incident, I decided we had a problem in this house. There was something going on. It wasn’t something that we could understand or explain, but there was something definitely going on.”
Did a small bell ring on its own?
The occurrences all seemed to center around Kay. Terrified by what was happening in their house, Jim and Kay turned to an expert for help, parapsychologist William Roll:
“The question comes up, why is this family having these experiences? Is there some sort of ghost that has come back to haunt them for some unknown reason? What’s taking place? A lot of people have these experiences. It’s part of who we are as humans, to have these so-called psychic experiences.”
Dr. Roll believes that memories can actually be transferred to physical objects. These residual memories can be triggered by ordinary people.
It wasn’t long before Jim finally had his first strange experience. It started with a small bell. An early riser, Jim always got up hours before Kay. When Kay woke up, she would ring the bell if she needed anything upstairs. One day, Jim heard what he assumed was Kay ringing the bell:
“I’d grown used to climbing the stairs after hearing the bell. And so I did so, and it wasn’t Kay. She was asleep. So I went in and looked at the bell, and it was there. I obviously heard something else, other than the bell.”
After the third time this happened, the Tatum’s decided to make up a code in order to outwit the entity. Kay would ring the bell three times if she wanted Jim to come upstairs. One morning Jim heard the call:
“It rang three times. I knew this was Kay, because this was our signal, but Kay was sound asleep. And the bell was in the other bedroom, where it stays. I went in and looked at it. I turned around and walked out the door, and the thing rang again! So, I began to, to see how Kay felt. I was frightened. My hair stood up on my neck. I told Kay then, no more bell. I’m not going to answer that bell anymore. And that bell has not rung since.”
William Roll is no stranger to these types of incidents:
“There are a number of haunting cases that are not very striking, not very strong, but where the phenomenon is, nevertheless, quite disturbing to the family. It might be a bell ringing, a fleeting glimpse of an apparition. The events are trivial, but they’re deeply upsetting to the family because they don’t fit into the picture that most of us have of the world. And that image of the physical world, particularly of our home, is intricately related to who we picture ourselves as being.”In the end, things got so bad that the Tatum’s moved out of their home and put it up for sale.