'Haunted' house Listing scares up interest in Scranton-area home

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 6:49 p.m.

For sale: A 1901 Victorian. Four bedrooms, 2½ baths. Hardwood floors, wet bar, desirable neighborhood.

Oh, and it's haunted. But only a little. If nothing else, Gregory Leeson's listing on the real estate website Zillow.com for his home at 1217 Marion St. in Dunmore, near Scranton, is an attention-grabber.

After a brief description of the home's physical attributes, the listing gets right to the point:

“Slightly haunted. Nothing serious, though. e.g. The sounds of phantom footsteps. A strange knocking sound followed by a very quiet (hardly noticeable, even) scream at 3:13 am, maybe once a week. Twice a week, tops. And the occasional ghastly visage lurking behind you in the bathroom mirror. Even still, this occurs very rarely and only in the second floor bathroom.”

Since he and his wife, Sandi, listed the house for sale for $144,000 last Sunday, there has been little rest, though the home's purported preternatural occupants are not to blame.

“We have gotten a million emails about it,” Leeson, 35, said on Friday. “Just weeding through all the emails trying to find the people who are really interested is kind of a pain.

“But a lot of people, if they are actually interested, are calling, and we are getting a lot of phone calls from people's Realtors, which makes it easier because if they have a Realtor, they are actually looking for a house.”

There have been other calls, of course. National media outlets have reached out to the couple, and there have been the inevitable inquiries from what Leeson called “all those annoying ghost-hunter shows.”

Leeson, who bought the house in 2005, said he initially attributed any odd occurrences to the age of the house. Then he and Sandi got married, and she started pointing out “things that are kind of weird.”

“My wife swears up and down this place is haunted. She barricades the cellar steps because she is convinced there is something down there and I'm like, ‘No, it's just the wind,' ” he said.

But even he agrees there are things that can't be explained by the wind.

His most unnerving episode occurred about a year ago as he put his daughter, now 2, to bed.

“It sounded like people were in the room there talking. It was the creepiest thing I have ever experienced,” he said.

The house has become the talk of Dunmore.

Neighbor Gretchen Wintermantel, who lives in the 1300 block of Marion, said she thought Leeson's listing was fascinating.

“I would love to take a tour,' ” said Wintermantel, who is spokeswoman for the County of Lackawanna Transit System. “It's definitely an intriguing way to get people to come and see a house you are trying to sell.”

Borough Manager Vito Ruggiero said he learned about the listing once employees in his office noticed a posting about the haunted property on Facebook.

While he complimented Leeson on his creativity, he said he doesn't believe in ghosts.

“I think it's a pretty smart move because it has been creating a lot of buzz, but there are no sightings that I know of in Dunmore,” he said.

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