A Haunting in Rolling Green, 1982
(Above Photograph--This ordinary-looking, two-story frame house on Rockford's east side apparently was haunted by a ghost. The family was frightened by many unexplained experiences in the 11 months it lived there. ----Rockford Register Star, March 22, 1982)
WHAT LURKS IN HOSIER'S HOUSEHOLD?
It was only little things at first. Pots and pans, silverware and cups disappearing--always in sets of three--then mysteriosly reappearing three weeks later.
The sound of footsteps was next--in the basement, in upstairs rooms--footsteps in rooms where no one was.
Finally, late Friday morning Sherri Hosier and a neighbor woman heard footsteps coming up the stairs from the unoccupied basement in the Hosier home at 2335 Eastgate Parkway on Rockford's east side.
"We were just siting here...when we heard the awfullest racket going on down there, like pots and pans being thrown around," 29-year-old Hosier, mother of five, said Saturday.
When the footsteps started up the stairs, Hosier said, she ran to the basement door and found someone--something--on the other side, trying to push it open.
A large-framed, husky woman, she said she managed to hold the door shut long enough to shove a chair under the doorknob.
"But when I touched the doorknob, my whole hand went cold clear up my arm," Hosier aded, voice still shaky a day later. "It was so cold it was burning. There's no other way to put it. I just felt defiled. "
Hosier and her daughter, Eva Kallenback, bolted for Ginny Morris' house, and that neighbor called Rockford police.
"People laugh about it," she said. "They don't believe it. But I've been putting up with this stuff since May."
Hosier said she and her husband, Vaughn, who manages the Rent-A-Center on East State Street, and their five children moved into the modest, two-story house that month.
Odd occurrences began immediately, Hosier said:
*In July, she was walking through the living room when a ceramic statue on the organ split right down the middle.
*One night in October, she got up in the middle of the night and found the television in the basement family room was on. "I walked down the stairs, and it just went off by itself. Then I noticed that the set was unplugged. But I was going until I came down there."
*In late November, she woke up one morning and found that a mirror tile on the dining room wall was broken in a perfect cirlce. "Not one piece of glass fell out of it," she said. "And you couldn't see any impact mark."
*Several weeks later, Hosier and another neighbor were in the house when Hosier went to get the family cat and heard "growling" that sounded much like a large dog, she said, coming from the bottom of the basement stairs.
Hosier said she closed the basement door and took a heavy, oak chair and placed it under the doorknob. Seconds later, she said, the growling was coming from just behind the kitchen door--and then the chair cracked down one side. And the growling, she said, stopped.
Vaughn Hosier and his mother also say they have heard strange noises in the house and have smelled a fould odor that often wafts up from the basement. His mother left after finding her bed shaking and the thermostat in her room repeatedly turned down. "She refused to stay in the house," Sherrie Hosier said.
Ginny Morris said she was in the house three weeks ago one afternoon and heard such a ruckus coming from upstairs that she thought the Hosiers' children were playing up there. But a subsequent search found no one there, Morris said Saturday. "It's enough to make you think we're all screwy."
Morris, who has lived in the neighborhood for several years, said this is the first instance of which she is aware of anything odd happening at the house, built in the early 1940s.
Vaughn Hosier's assistant manager, Jim Oswald, said he heard similar footsteps when he was in the house.
Vaughn, a Texas native who has lived in Rockford with his family the past two years, said he initially tried to find logical explanations for what was happening.
But he said he heard the same growling noise his wife had, this time coming from behind Sherri's chair in the basement while both they and another couple were watching a football game one night.
"I've made a joke of it, though." he said. "That's the only way you can live with it--make a joke of it."
Sherri Hosier said she's reached a point where she's called a minister to perform an exorcism rite. "We can't afford to move, but we don't want to stay," she said. "It just scares the tar out of me."
Some people may laugh, but not Phil Rote and John Dahlberg, the two Rockford police officers called to the Hosier home Friday.
Rote, a 36-year-old officer with nearly 13 years as a city policeman, shrugged in embarrassment during an interview Saturday night. "We were a litlle skeptical at first. We thought it was just another hokey call," he said.
Two strange things happened while the two officers were interviewing Hosier and her neighbor, Rote said. The first happened after they finished writing their report--a report that only repeated what the Hosiers had told them and included that nothing was found in their search of the house--and they called the station to get a case number assigned to their report.
Rote said he almost jumped up from his seat when the number came back over the radio: 370666.
"Six six six," he said. "you couldn't have gotten a better reaction out of me if you'd stuck me with a pin."
For followers of the occult and supernatural, those three numbers have always been a symbol, he said. "In the Bible, the Book of Revelations, it sayd when Armageddon comes the devil will be identified by the number 666."
"That can't be coincidental," he added. "The odds of that number on that call have to be astronmical."
Odder still, the second officer, Dahlberg, said his pen disappeared while he was in the kitchen, according to Rote. He had it behind his ear, and when he reached for it again, it was gone.
Both officers and the Hosiers searched the kitchen at length, even moving the dishwasher, but they couldn't find the pen, Rote said. But after the two left, Rote added, Dahlberg found the pen--stuck under the clipboard in his squad car.
"Afterwards, we stood out in the street talking about this strange, damned house," Rote said, shaking his head in semi-wonderment. "It was one of a king. I think there's something going one there. But I don't know what it is."
--Rockford Register Star, February 21, 1982
'PRESENCE' AND CURIOUS DISPRUPT FAMILY'S HOME
The little girl was skipping down the sidewalk along Eastgate Parkway when a stranger stopped and asked, "Where's the haunted house?"
That stranger was only one of a horde of the curious who slowly drove past the Vaughn and Sherri Hosier home, in east Rockford, the past three days, all because of a story in the Sunday Register Star outlining the family's eerie experiences with waht some might call a ghost.
"There's 150,000 people in Rockford, and I believe they all came by my house Sunday." Sherri Hosier said wearily Tuesday night.
"I can handle the people driving by, but the people that come up to the door..." she added.
Some, she said, have rudely asked for souvenir or demanded to see the basement and upstairs--areas mentioned in the story where both Sherri and her husband said they had heard and felt, but never seen, a presence that has at times growled like a large dog.
"They have no common courtesy," the 29-year-old mother of five added. "This is not a very pleasant ordeal to go through. Where's their compassion?"
Added to the curious passers-by ahve been the prank calls. Vaughn Hosier, 36, manager of the Rent-A-Center on East State Street said Tuesday he had one callers asking if he rented 'ghost projectors.'
His wife called him home Monday afternoon because a group of 10 to 15 teen-agers were parked on the street outside "just staring at the house," he said.
Some smpatheic callers and visitors have been mixed in with the rude one. "one lady caller said she cared--and that she was praying for us." Sherri Hosier said.
On his own, without any request, a minister from Loves Park came to the home to offer any help he could give, Vaughn added.
Two other ministers-one who is planning an exorcism-type ritual to rid the house of whatever unwanted presence is there--visited Monday night, he said.
One received "bad vibes" Vaughn said, from the same part of the basement where he and his wife have heard growling noises.
The family does have an old stuffed chair in the basement left by previous occupants and were told by one minister to get rid of it, he said.
"Not only get rid of it but burn it." he added.
Hosier, a heavy-set burly man who joked about the incidents that began when the family moved in last May, said he is now convinced the footsteps they hear in unoccupied rooms and mysteriously disappearing household items are real, not imaginary.
"You read about this stuff and hear about this stuff happening but you figure it's just books or movies. You don't see it happening to you." he said Tuesday afternoon in his Rent-A_Center office. "But this has made a believer out of me."
After he went to bed last night, he added, "I expected to see two red eyes coming out of the darkness."
--Rockford Register Star, February 24, 1982
THE DEMON WITHIN
FAMILY FLEES TO ESCAPE TERROR OF LIVING IN HAUNTED HOUSE
Afterward, she could remember only the disembodied feeling that came over her 20 minutes into the seance--a feeling of being there, but not being there.
She didn't remember her head slowly turning to one side, her face twisting into an ugly mask, the corner of her mouth opening and the sounds that came out.
Afterward, she found two claw marks, one above each of her breasts. But she doesn't remember...
Sherrie Hosier and her family no longer live the int he ordinary-looking, two-story frame house on Rockford's east side that was their home for the past 11 months.
The Hosiers fled the home early in the morning of March 11th, coming back only long enough to pack up their belongs. They say a demon inhabiting the house drove them out--a demon, they say tried to possess Sherri Hosier, shortly after midnight on March 11.
Now, just settling into their new home in the Rockford area--the family has asked the location not be names--Sherri Hosier says to the skeptical, "People can believe what they want. I KNOW it happened.
"It dosn't make a split pea to me whether they believe me or not," the 30-year-old mother of five added, grimly, "It happened. And it happened to US."
A local minister who performed an exorcism in the home, his assistant and an amateur ghost-huner all back up the Hosiers' story. Neighbors, co-workers and two Rockford police officers have been in the house when incidents still not explained took place.
Incidents like the ceramic statue in the living room that split down the middle as Sherri Hosier was walking through the room. Like finding the television set on in the middle of the night, even though the set was unplugged.
Like the disappearances of pots and pans, silverware and cups--always in sets of threes--and their reappearance three weeks later. Like the sound of footsteps in the basement and other rooms--rooms that were empty.
And like the growling noises coming from the basement that finally one day in mid-February sent Sherri and a friend running to a neighbor, who called the police.
That's a point Sherrie Hosier emphasizes, "WE didn't call the police. We didn't ask for any publicity."
And one of the first things the police asked, she said, was why the family hadn't reported the incidents before, if the odd occurrences had been happening since May.
"You know what I said? I said, 'Why? You can't do anything about it. You can't handcuff it. You can't shoot it.'"
But the police report led to a newspaper story. And that led to a deluge of the curious--people who called, people who slowly drove by their home in a quiet residential neighborhoos just west of Harmon Playfield, south of Broadway.
Some came to their door. One was a group of thrill-seeking teen-agers, wanting to tour the house, Sherri Hosier said.
Some, thoguh, offered to help. One was Phil Speracino, a Rockford factory worker and the son of a city police detective who, as a hobby, explores what some might call haunted houses.
Still another was the Rev. Ron L. York, minister of the United Pentecostal Church of the Firstborn, 720 Harlem Road, Loves Park.
Bother were at the home in the early morning hours of March 11th, a morning that, the Hosiers say, changed their lives forever.
A big-framed, husky woman with traces of her Texas upbringing still in her speech, Sherri Hosier said that March 10th--her 30th birthday--was not a day she was looking forward to.
Strange incidents had been occurring in the home about ever three to four weeks, she said, and the last was Feb. 19th, when she and a friend heard footsteps coming up the stairs from the empy basement and found someone-something-trying to open the basement door.
"Something inside me...I could pretty much tell when it was going to happen," she said. Still, when Speracino, who spent a night in the basement the week before, suggested that she and her husband, Vaugn, hold a seance shortly before midnight, Sherri agreed.
In the darkened basement, with only a lighted candle in the circle they made, the three began.
Speracine, a 26-year-old Rockford native who said he felt a presence in the Hosier home immediately when he walk in the week before, was on her right, holding her right hand, and Vaughn Hosier's left hand.
In a separate interview, Speracino said that at first, nothing happened. But 20 minutes into the seance, he said "I felt it real strong. So I knew it was right in the room."
"I said, 'It's here. I can feel it.'" he continued. To his left Sherri Hosier began shaking, he said. "she was squeezing my hand."
Then, he said, her head and neck tilted to one side. "Then her head went back straight but the neck was still bent. I Don't know hoe else to explain it."
At the same time, he said, her face was distorting. "It was all twisted-like, her skin. Like she had too many G forces"
Head tilted and face twisted, Sherri Hosier then began making noises, he said. Speracino described the noises as growls.
"She started growling," he said "Every growl became stronger and louder."
Terrified, both he a Vaughn Hosier grabbed her and began shaking her, he said.
The two managed to snap her out of whatever was happening, Speracino continued. "Then I knew what it was. This wasn't a ghost. This was a demon."
In a separate interview, Vaugh Hosier confirmed most of Speracion's version, but described the noises and "groans or moans."
A burly, bearded man with thining brown hair, who works as the manager of the Rent-A-Center on East State Street, Hosier admitted some skepticism over the earlier odd occurrences at the Eastgate Parkway home.
"It scared the crap out of me," he said bluntly. "I had been trying to explain away the things that had happened before. But that made a believer out of me."
Sherri Hosier remembers only part of what happened, she said Saturday. Shortly after the seance began, at about the same time Speracino said he felt something in the room, she also felt something, she said.
"It just hit me all of a sudden," she said. "I started shaking. I got real scared. I was trying to get my hands loose. I was shaking so bad, it was like I was in a vibrator."
"The next thing, I felt like I was getting heavy. I got real cold, I mean just freezing. And then real heavy, like I weighed 50 million pounds.
"Then the next thing, it was like I was in the room, but I wasn't. I wasn't there. That's the only way I can explain it.
"I didn't even fight it." Sherri Hosier continued. "I couldn't fight it."
Sherri Hosier said she doesn't remember her head turning or her face distorting or trying to speak. "I knew I was in the room, but it was like I wasn't there. My eyes were open, but I don't remember seeing anything until Vaughn was on top of me, shaking me."
Crying, she pleaded with her husband, "Oh Vaughn. Please get me out of this house." A tape recording made by Speracino that morning indicates that.
Afterward, she felt sick to her stomach, her neck ached and she felt drained, she said. "I couldn't even walk upstairs. I felt like I had put in 15-20 hours of work."
Afterward, both Vaughn Hosier and Speracino were frightened by the encounter, they say.
"I'll tell you one thing--I think Phil is crazy for doing the things he does, but he had no fear up to that point." Vaughn Hoser said. "But I saw fears that night. He certainly wasn't going to spend the night there that night."
Neither was Sherri Hosier or the couple's five children, who has been in upstairs bedrooms sleeping during the seance. At 2 a.m., she and the children left to spend the rest of the night at a neighbor's home.
The Rev. Ron. L. York from United Pentecostal Church in Loves Park was called and arrived about 3 a.m.
In a separate interview, York said he had reached no conclusions after being the in house on a previous occasion. "But I was pretty sold on the fact that something was going on just from their reactions." he said. "They struck me as people who were genuinely frightened."
And, that night, York said he, too, experienced what the Hosiers and Speracino had encountered. "That night I did feet the presnece. You could feel something in the house."
The three of them and York's assistance, Wendell Maynard, went into the basement. The tension was evident, he said.
Everyone could feel something. But even though he led the way down the basement stairs, York said he was not afraid.
"I don't believe in ghosts." he esplained. "What people say are ghosts are demon spirits that are in this world because of the fall."
But because of his baptism in the Holy Ghost, a ritual of the Pentecostal Church, York said he had no fear. "A demon can't hurt me."
In the basement, York said he felt a presence. "It was a cold presence. The temperature would drop. It got close enough to me that it was something like someone walking by me, brushing me."
Holding a bottle of anointing oil in one hand, York said he began exhorting and taunting the presence. "in the name of Jesus Christ, we bind your powers," he called out. "We command you to leave this house. Never return. Leave these people alone.
"We command you to be bound and go to the abyss until Judgement Day," York continued.
The four were in the basement an hour to an hour and a half, York said. They could feel the presence moving. around, he said, because of periodic changes of temperature in various spots of the room.
Finally, he said, he saw it. "I just caught a glimpse, just like out of the corner of my eye. Except I was looking right at it." York said. He described it as a flash of motion.
"It darted from a side of the corner, and it ran under the table," he said. They immediately surrounded the table. York said he put his hand under it.
"It was just freezing cold under there." he said. "It was just like sticking my hand in a deep-freeze."
The oxhortations to leave, using the name of Jesus Christ to bind the power of the presence, continued.
"Once we really confronted it, it only took a matter of a minute or two." York said. The coldness disappeared.
Speracino confirmed York's story. He described the presence as a "cold chill."
"It kept dodging around," he said. "I could feel it going by when I'd try to come at it...like somebody walking past you."
Speracino said he also felt an electric-charged atmosphere whenever he came near it. Once it was under the table, York said, he too, put his hand under the table and felt the cold.
Then, after few minutes of exhortations by York, it vanished, Speracino said. "it was just...phhtt. It was just gone. It didn't leave with a bang or anthing."
The four of them searched the basement and upper two stories of the house, but found or felt nothing, York and Vaughn Hosier said.
Speracino said he felt a cold chill when he put his hand to the ceiling below the attic, but because the attic has no access, nothing more was done that night.
York said he came back later that Thursday, in the early evening, but felt nothing. The minister held a prayer service for the family and, especially, for Sherri Hosier.
"She's got the most fear," he explained. Why whatever happened happened to her may be explained by that, York said.
A Pentecostal minister for 15 years, York said he has encountered what he called "demons" before in his church work, but mostly ones that he said were inhabiting or trying to inhabit a person.
"I'm not a ghost-hunter," he emphasized. But when he read the first account of the Hosier's experience, he decided to offer any help he could.
To people who dismiss out of hand stories of demons, York says simply that if one believes in God, one must believe, too, in Satan.
"Devil's work," he called what happened to the Hosiers. "I don't think God goes around growling at people. And scratching people."
That, adds Sherri Hosier, was one of the most frightening aspects of what happened the morning of March 11th.
In late afternoon of the same say, she took a shower, and when she was drying herself, she found the marks.
A cluster of three scratches was above each breast, she said. "They were deep, bloody-loking things. It's like a cat had clawed you."
Sherri Hosier says she doesn't remember being clawed or scratched during the seance. The marks, she says firmly, were not on her before. And, she adds, during the seance, she was wearing a blouse and a housecoat, both covering the areas where the marks appeared.
A day and a half later, the marks were gone.
Vaughn Hosier also found three, parallel scratch marks along his right arm-the arm he was holding his wife's hand with-after the seance. Like his wife, he said the marks were not there before, and he has no idea when he was clawed or scratched, or what caused the marks.
The Hosiers, who were renting the home, had been looking for another home since the growling incident in mid-February.
But after the morning of March 11th, the looking was over---they were leaving, Sherri Hosier said.
"I had to get out of the house because we didn't know what was going to happen next," she said. "I left that house because I was scared to death.
"I was desperate, I would have moved into a farmhouse that was falling down with holes in it nad paid $800 rent."
The family found a new place to live, and the next day they began moving. Even during daylight hours, Vaughn Hosier said, he made sure he was never at the house by himself.
Last Thursday, the family finished moving. The garage, which opens into the basement, was the last.
"I caught myself keeping looking over at the door window, expecting something--I don't know what." he said with an embarrassed shrug.
Now, in their new home, the Hosiers say their experiences of the last year seem almost unbelievable. "It;s something that you expect to read in a book or see in a movie." Vaughn Hosier said.
"But," he added grimly, "I don't think I'll ever forget what Sherri looked like that night."
The seance, he says now, was a mistake. "We provoked it. We invited it to do what it did."
And, he adds, his own life-style has changed. He has stopped having a sociable drink after work and says he is trying to live a more Christian life.
"It scared me," he said. "I had tried to find a reasonable and logical explanation for what was happening. Back in the corner of my mind, I didn't want to believe it."
"Should that thing try to follow us, I want to be living the right kind of life." he added.
Some peace has come into their life since the move, the Hosiers say. "I still get nervous when I hear noises," Sherri Hosier said. "But I FEEL a whole lot better. I SLEEP over here."
The experience affected the children less, she said. Both she and Vaughn made a point of not talking about the incidents, but neither the 11-year-old twin girls nor the younger children would go into the basement alone.
The couple's 3-year-old, Amy keeps asking, "There's no one in the house but just us, huh, Momma?" Sherri Hosier said. "And there's no one in the basement, either, huh Momma?"
And Sherri Hosier says she is now even more a believer in the power of God. "It's made me a stronger Christian. It's made me aware of how powerful he is. As for other people, they can believe what they want." she continued, "We didn't want any publicity on this in the first place. I just hope it's over."
--Rockford Register Star, March 22, 1982
HOSIERS NEVER SOUGHT PUBLICITY
Since the first story appeared in the Rockford Register Star about the Hosier family's experiences with what some might call a ghost, others a demon, the family has had crackpot phone calls, motorist jamming the street in front of their home and remarks made about their sanity.
Sherri and Vaughn Hosier say they could care leass, now that they've moved to a new location that they do not want made public.
But both want it made clear, they say, that neither sought the publicity that came with the stories about their experience.
Both note that a neighbor, not they, called the police on Feb. 19th when Sherri Hosier heard footsteps coming up the stairs from the basement.
As far as them imagining the incidents, they point out that two neighbors, two co-workers, a minister and his asssistant, an amateur ghost-hunter and two veteran police officers--among others--experienced strange occurrences at the home.
A 36-year-old businessman, Vaughn Hosier says he regards himself as just an average, everyday kind of man. "But I'm human, I've got my bad habits." he says.
"Anybody that would imagine things like that would have to be on drugs," he adds. "And I don't take drugs. If I'm going to get high, I'll do it on a beer."
Before granting an interview Saturday on the events that led up to their finally fleeing the house, both Hosiers requested that any story note the interview was only being given because of a previous agreement that no story would run until after they left the house.
:This is against our wishes," Vaughn Hosier said. But after being told that interviews with others regarding those event already had been given, the Hosiers reluctantly agreed to what they said was a "final" interview.
"Anybody who thinks we wanted any publicity on this is crazy," Vaughn Hosier said.
--Rockford Register Star, March 22, 1982
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