In November 1988, Jackie Hernandez left her husband and took their 2-year-old son Jaime to live in San Pedro, California. Hernandez was pregnant, and her marriage had been a disaster. She was hoping this move would be a change for the better.
As soon as she moved in, however, a number of strange things started happening. One of her beds would repeatedly collapse without explanation. She thought she could hear voices mumbling in the attic. Her cat would run around the house, as though it were chasing the strange shadows on the walls. One day, when she and her friend were washing dishes, the kitchen walls seeped a bizarre, blood-like ooze. Another time, she watched some pencils fling out of a pencil holder by themselves.
It all got worse after her daughter Samantha was born in April 1989. She would have vivid dreams in which she was a young man being clubbed to death in San Pedro Harbor. The setting seemed to have been in the 1930s, and she would wake up after her attacker tried drowning her. One particular night, she woke up all of a sudden and had to use the bathroom. As she was getting there, she found an old man in her house. Before she could even react, the old man vanished without a word.
The case soon attracted the attention of paranormal researcher and parapsychologist Dr. Barry Taff. Taff and his team, armed with video cameras and infrared detectors, paid Hernandez’s house a visit in August. The team kept hearing sounds in the attic, “like a 200 foot pound rat running around”, according to Taff. When one of the photographers, Jeff Wheatcraft, went up to the attic to take some pictures, an invisible force violently grabbed at his camera and threw it to the ground.
The team came for a second visit in September. Wheatcraft went to investigate the attic again, but this time took another person, Gary Beihm, with him. While the two were looking around, a clothesline suddenly wrapped itself around Wheatcraft’s neck and tried hanging him from a nail in a rafter. Beihm was able to get Wheatcraft down before he was strangled to death, and he also took some of the few photographs we have of an alleged ghost attack.
By the fall, Hernandez left her San Pedro home and returned to live with her husband in a trailer park about 300 miles away. The paranormal activity that plagued her in San Pedro immediately stopped. After her relationship with her husband fell apart, however, strange things started happening again. When she and some neighbors were putting a TV away into her shed, the image of the old man from San Pedro manifested itself on the screen. Throughout the rest of the night, she heard something pounding from the inside of the shed.
The investigators were called in again. As soon as they got inside Hernandez’s trailer, their equipment kept inexplicably switching off. Once they started using a ouija board, the table began to shake, and everybody present felt cold chills. The board told them that it was the spirit of a young man who died in San Pedro harbor when he was 18-years-old in 1930. His murderer lived in the San Pedro house. They stopped the session when Wheatcraft was lifted up into the air and thrown against the trailer’s wall. He dropped to the floor, unconscious. When he woke up, he said that he felt something squeezing his diaphragm, and then the next thing he knew, he was thrown against the wall and passed out.
After digging through old newspapers, Hernandez identified the ouija board spirit as the ghost of a young seaman named Herman Hendrickson. Hendrickson’s body was found floating in San Pedro Harbor on March 25, 1930. As for the ghost of the old man, Hernandez thought that it was John Damon, the man who built the San Pedro home. She has said that a ball of light appeared to her while she was in San Pedro in the spring of 1990. The ball led her to a cemetery, where it hovered around one of the graves before vanishing. The name on the grave’s stone marker? John Damon.
The ghosts have since stopped harassing Jackie Hernandez. Taff believes, due to the emotional problems that Hernandez was going through during the time of the haunting, that she had become a poltergeist agent. The attacks against Jeff Wheatcraft were the result of Hernandez’s attraction toward another member of the investigation team, Barry Conrad. Wheatcraft was always with Conrad, which Hernandez felt was impeding her efforts to get closer to him. Taff theorizes that this provoked Hernandez to unknowingly release RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis) energy in an attempt to get rid of Wheatcraft.
Because of the alleged attacks and accompanying photographs, I consider this one of the most interesting cases I’ve ever heard. As the harsh skeptic that I am, however, I can’t say that I believe it. Firstly, Herman Hendrickson, one of the accused ghosts, was 28-years-old when he died, not 18-years-old like the ouija board said. Furthermore, Hendrickson wasn’t murdered. Authorities ruled his death an accident, as a result of him slipping off the docks and drowning. And the pictures, as incredible as they are, could still easily be faked. There is video footage of the aftermath, with Wheatcraft calmly emerging from the attic with a cord around his neck, available on Youtube (enhanced with spooky music):
Frankly, seeing how untroubled everybody seems in the video, I’m not convinced.