Sometimes, we here at Abnormal Use feel like we’ve seen it all, as far as crazy lawsuits go. However, every now and then, a lawsuit comes along that makes us do a serious double take. This is one of those cases. A New Jersey couple fled their rental home just one week after moving in and is now suing for the return of their security $2,500 deposit. The reason? They claim the home is haunted.
Apparently, Josue Chinchilla and his fiancé, Michele Callan, thought they rented Jersey’s version of the Amityville Horror house. They claimed to have heard bizarre sounds and seen flickering lights. The couple also alleges that a voice whispered, presumably in an ominous fashion, “Let it burn!” But it gets better (or worse depending on your viewpoint). Chinchilla says that once, a “shapeless dark apparition” tugged at the sheets when he was in bed and grabbed his arm. The couple left the home one week after moving in, though they had paid a full month’s rent along with the security deposit.
In prosecuting the suit, the plaintiffs hired two sets of paranormal investigators. These supernatural detectives say something is amiss at the home but disagree whether Chinchilla and Callan are plagued by a “residual haunting or an active haunting.” Now that’s a battle of the experts. I wonder if Plaintiff’s counsel will be able to get these two qualified under Daubert?
The landlord, orthodontist Richard Lopez, counter-claimed against the couple for breaking the lease. Mr. Lopez’s attorney, David Semanchik, said his client has been renting the house to tenants for more than 10 years and this is the first time anyone has claimed the house is haunted. He thinks Callan and Chinchilla can’t afford the rent and are using the ghost story as cover.
We have to wonder if Mr. Semanchik considered counter claiming for the plaintiffs bringing the ghosts with them to the property?