If you happen to be passing through the small sleepy town of West Pittston Pennsylvania, you probably won’t notice the half a double tucked back into the narrow sides streets.
It’s red and white panneled faded; it’s neighbors all too close for comfort in what was once a coal thriving community.
However, if you do, if you happen to travel that way you might find yourself standing in front of what is rumored to be a very haunted house.
The Smurl Family
In the mid-seventies, the Smurl Family moved from Wilkes-barre, PA to West Pittston after the flooding Hurricane Agnes caused. The family moved in the what they thought was a quiet half double on Chase Street.
The community had everything the family of four wanted and needed. However, in 1974 the family began to experience abnormalities in the house. Odd stains on the walls, noises that no one could explain. Mysterious odors that would come and go, and of course an enchanting succubus.
The neighbors reported hearing fights and vulgarity between Jack Smurl and his wife when no one was at home. The women of the house would hear their names being called out by a mysterious voice that mimicked other female voices. In one case, Jack Smurl reported being drug from his bed.
The Warrens Came In
There was no report of paranormal activity before the Smurls took ownership of the house, leading some to believe that it was not the house that was haunted but the family.
Famed Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed the house had one demon that used three other spirits as puppets in the house to taunt, terrorize and tease the family.
However, Professor Kurtz from The State University of New York and other scientists believed there was a less demonic reason for the supposed haunting, which could have included, medical instabilities and health issues.
“It’s a nice quiet street where kids play in their yards, and that’s about it. It’s West Pittston, come on.” — Current Resident
Mr. Smurl, himself had neurosurgery to relieve fluids on the brain during the time frame of the hauntings. Even the Roman Catholic Church sought real-world answers to the Smurl Haunting.
Meanwhile, the media took to the tightly knit community like moths to the flame, camping out on neighboring porches and lawns. News outlets as far away as Germany were reported to set up shop in the area.
The Smurl family’s story went global. With too much media attention the Smurl family packed up and moved back to Wilkes-barre, however not before sitting down with the Warren’s and local newspaper journalist Robert Curran to write “The Haunted.”
The book came out in 1986 to harsh reviews. It currently sells on Amazon for about ten dollars. The story was said to be unfathomable, and Curran’s credibility as a serious journalist was tarnished.
Too Much Media?
I have to stop there and scratch my head; Jack Smurl stated that they left the house due to the overwhelming media coverage. Not because of the succubus he reported molesting him? Not because his daughter was attacked and thrown down the stairs?
The family reportedly put up with the paranormal activity for nearly thirteen years before leaving over too much media exposure.
I spoke with residents who had mixed feelings about the Chase Street address where currently a grandmother lives. Neighbors say the street has been quiet for years with only the random curious journalist — guilty, poking around.
One resent of the local karate school stated she thought it was just a big hoax. The current resident of the property declined an interview, but a close family friend says that nothing has happened there in years.
Almost all the residents of that block have since moved out of the area, so no one could say they had personally experienced the Smurl pandemics in person. The neighbors that share the other side of the duplex spoke with me and said that it’s been quiet for the three years they’ve lived there.
So, I have to ask: Haunted or Hooey?