Note: This is the edited and updated revision of this post. The original was written in 2009 and was unedited.
In the summer of 1989 in a quiet neighborhood in San Pedro, California, Jackie Hernandez awoke in the middle of the night to see a ghastly vision in her children’s bedroom. Sitting in one of the beds, looking right at her, was the image of a haggard old man. He wore a lumberjack flannel shirt and denim suspenders.
Jackie was petrified by terror. And in that twilight moment of adrenaline, she caught a glimpse of the bright eyes that were inside her children’s bedroom. The eyes belonging to a cadaverous face that had been staring at her. Motionless, threatening.
What follows is the true story based on multiple eyewitness accounts of the strange events that happened one summer in San Pedro, California.
Jackie Hernandez. The single mother of two was barely making ends meet in 1989. She worked long hours at various menial jobs and would usually drop off her two baby boys with her friend and neighbor, Susan Castenada.
However one summer morning Jackie showed up to Susan’s door. She was in a state of panic and disarray. After calming down, she told Susan about what she had just seen over at her house. She told her the ghoulish figure in her boys’ bedroom and that she had been hearing strange sounds coming from her attic for the last few days. Susan knew that what Jackie had seen was a ghost and knew exactly who to call.
Dr. Barry Taff received the telephone call from Susan in which she explained to him the urgency of this matter. She told him that her neighbor was afraid of going back to her own house. She told him that two small children were also involved. Dr. Taff showed up to the residence as soon as he could. He brought with him his friend and accomplished cameraman, Barry Conrad. There were also a few associates of Dr. Taff involved in the first visit to Jackie’s house.
Upon entering the residence the investigators were hit by the putrid stench that filled the air. The malodorous stench of death and decay. They couldn’t find the source of the smell so they decided to air out the tiny bungalow the best they could and prepared for their investigation. Dr. Taff, a Parapsychologist, was getting down to the preliminary round of questions with Jackie when a loud crash came from the attic. Everyone froze.
Boom! Another one. This time it was louder.
Jackie made her way to her kitchen and pointed towards the ceiling. She told the investigators that it was coming from up in the attic and that she knew exactly what it was. That it was the severed head she had seen floating there before.
Susan, Dr. Taff, and the rest of them stood in disbelief of what Jackie had just said.
The investigators opened the attic door that was in the kitchen and hoisted themselves up along with cords and camera equipment. They found nothing besides junk, dust, and cobwebs.
Back in the living room, Jackie admitted to everyone of having heard what sounded to her like a muffled voice coming from the attic a few months before. One day she decided to investigate when the voice was heard and she popped her head through the attic door. Armed with only a flashlight, Jackie saw nothing or nobody inside the dark and dusty attic. However when she shined the light in a corner, she told the investigator that a floating, disembodied head came at her. Jackie said she had never gone up there since and hasn’t told anyone about it until now. She said that weeks prior, soda cans as well as other random objects were flung at her by unseen hands. She also told them about finding mysterious puddles of a water-like substance around her house.
Jackie was able to show them where and Dr. Taff proceeded to collect samples of the oozing liquid that was coming from within the cupboards. Later analysis resulted in the viscous liquid being human blood plasma. The blood of a male with a heavy iodine and copper content. Jackie was questioned about it but she claimed she knew nothing about the blood. Blood that all of the investigators saw ooze out of the wooden cupboards.
When questioned about the ghostly vision, Jackie confessed to them that she had seen the gnarled old man sitting in her dinning room table before. Sitting in dark, staring at her.
After a few hours of questioning and photographing Jackie’s place, the team decided to call it a night. They were packing up their gear when one of the assistants asked the photographer, Jeff Wheatcraft, to go up in the attic and take a few final shots of it empty. Barry Conrad accompanied Jeff. While they were up there shooting pictures, something grabbed ahold of Jeff’s 35 MM camera and threw it across the attic. Before Jeff could react, Barry saw that he was shoved by the same phantom hands that snatched his camera. When they both came down from the attic, Jeff’s face was pale white. Nothing more happened that night in Jackie’s house.
Not until September 4th when Jackie called Barry Conrad at midnight telling him that there was more activity in the house now and that it was becoming difficult to live there. Barry, Jeff and assistant photographer Gary Boehm quickly reached Jackie’s house. They came with state-of-the-art equipment and were ready to capture what was happening inside the house.
On this second visit, the investigator were able to film several small (sometimes large) corpuscular masses of light. In other words, small globs of light that traveled across and through the rooms. They were able to film the unexplained lights zooming in and out of the place. Jeff and Gary went up into the attic. Jeff wanted to determine what happened to him just a few weeks ago when he was up in the attic with Barry Conrad. As they both snapped away, nothing was happening. Gary mentioned that they should probably go back downstairs. When they were making their way back, Jeff let out a gasp.
As Gary turned around, he snapped a photograph in total darkness. The flash momentarily illuminated his friend’s terror stricken face. Jeff had been hung up on a rafter by a pair of unseen hands.
In that moment Barry, Jackie, and Susan all heard the commotion coming from upstairs. They quickly gathered around the attic entrance to help down a disheveled and confused looking Jeff. His clothes were covered in spiderwebs and dust. His face was completely flushed of color. Around Jeff’s neck as a tight noose that left a red mark across his neck.
When Jeff was able to compose himself, he told them that he was making his way down, right behind Gary, when he felt someone put the noose around his neck and yank hard and hoisted him up on a rafter. Gary had ran back and had to lift Jeff up in order to unhook the noose from the large nail it was hung on.
It would be the last time Jeff Wheatcraft ever set foot inside the San Pedro house.
The activity continue for several months to a lesser extent. There were random lights that appeared throughout Jackie’s house and spectral voices that were still coming from the attic. The overpowering stench also seemed to come and go with time.
Shortly after the San Pedro incident, Jackie had moved to Kern county, which is a small and rural area about 380 miles north of Los Angeles. When she had reported to the team that the activity had followed her, Jeff and Barry had made their way up north. They wanted to capture more activity on film. Jeff felt that as long as he was nowhere near the house on San Pedro he would be fine.
A seance was arranged by one of Jackie’s neighbors and Barry and Jeff sat in to observe. Simple questions like: Are you a ghost? were answered with the planchette moving towards the written “Yes” on the board. When the team pressed on about the spirit’s former life, it told them that he had been murdered in the harbors of San Pedro.
Barry asked: “How many ghosts are there in here?” he was given an unnerving answer: “Phantoms fill the skies around you.”
They had asked why it had targeted Jeff. It replied that he “resembled his killer.”
When they asked it why it targeted Jackie, it replied with: “Energy.” So they asked: “what kind of energy?”
“Dead” was its response.
Whatever it was that was communicating via the Ouija board had signed off, telling them: “I must go now, the sun cometh.”
Shortly after this last message, Jeff Wheatcraft has again shoved by unseen hands, throwing him back against the wall. Although the cameras were rolling at the time, they captured nothing as the equipment began to malfunction as soon as they stepped foot inside Jackie’s house. Jeff recovered physically from this injuries however the San Pedro case left a deep, reminiscent scar in his psyche.
Jackie Hernandez moved several other times and with each, the activity lessen. To the point where it completely stopped. Jackie Hernandez now lives in Los Angeles and has put the terrifying ordeal behind her. To this day, the house on 593 West 11th street has seen many tenants come and go. Some have reported hearing strange bumps and sounds coming from that dusty, dark attic.
Sources: “Aliens Above, Ghosts Below” by Dr. Barry Taff.
Barry Conrad’s own documentary on the events that transpired in San Pedro that Summer in 1987.