Haunted Furniture: Tales of Possessed Possessions

Halloween is just around the corner and homes across the country open their arms to ghosts and goblins of all kinds. Pumpkins are carved, webs are woven, and front porches and foyers become a Mecca to the macabre.

But what if your haunted décor is with you year round? Author J. Michael Norman shared some of his gruesome and unexplained tales of haunted furniture with me.

THE CONJURE CHEST: 17 deaths are attributed to this antique piece of furniture. The furniture was hand-carved by an African American slave, Hosea, more than 150 years ago.

Jacob Cooley ordered Hosea to build him a chest that would be used for his first-born child. Hosea was an excellent craftsman and constructed a beautiful chest but for some reason Cooley was so displeased that he beat Hosea so mercilessly that he perished from the abuse.

A group of Cooley’s slaves, led by a “conjure man”, sprinkled dried owl’s blood in the chest and placed a curse upon the item. And bad luck quickly took root in the Cooley family tree with the infant death of Jacob’s beloved firstborn son.

Legend has it that the curse was removed but to be safe the last family owner donated it to the Kentucky History Museum where it sits in storage, the only thing the cursed chest holds is an envelope stuffed with owl feathers.

HEIRLOOM CLOCK: This tale is about a timepiece that noted not only the time of day but eventually would mark the time of death of its owners.

Helen, an editorial assistant at a Denver newspaper, related the story of a clock that had been in her family for five generations. Her great-great grandfather was the original owner and at the exact hour and minute of his death his cherished timepiece ceased ticking.

The clock was then inherited by Helen’s great uncle whose death also was commemorated by this amazing clock’s failure to continue keeping time.

At this point the clock makes its way to Helen’s grandfather. This gentleman’s time ran out at the same exact moment his heirloom clock’s did.

After three such coincidences, Helen’s father inherited the clock and promptly stopped the mechanism and put it in storage. His death went unnoticed by the clock and anxious to end the mysterious connection to her family, Helen decided to sell it.

SOMETHING EVIL ON LARABEE STREET: This next story was so captivating that it drew media attention and was even featured on a segment of Unsolved Mysteries.

The tale begins with an average family moving into a home on South Larabee Street in Horicon, Wisconsin and purchasing a second hand bunk bed for their daughters. The tale that follows is absolutely incredible yet left many people believing the family’s story.

The family began experiencing unexplained illnesses and mood shifts and ended up seeing ghostly figures, fires, and hearing threats. Eventually they fled the home and there is no mention of what happened to the bunk beds.

Collector of Possessed Possessions, John Zaffis also offered to share a few tales of his experiences with haunted furniture.

THE CLOCK: A family contacted John after inheriting some items from a recently deceased relative. They instantly felt as though the clock had a connection with the deceased and reported smelling his pipe smoke and feeling cold spots around the item. The clock and a few other items were removed and immediately the family reported that calm had returned to their home and they no longer felt haunted by their relative.

THE ORGAN: John received the organ from a repairman who specialized in refurbishing old pump organs. He had worked in the field for years and apparently had never felt the way this particular organ made him feel, he practically became physically ill in its presence. He even reported hearing the organ play by itself on occasion.

THE DESK: One of the items in John’s collection put on a performance before being taken from its home. The desk originally found home on a college campus but some students felt uncomfortable around this desk. During the investigation the desk slid across the floor while one of the people present was actually seated in it.