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No. 61: Jan-Feb 1989

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A Truly Fortean House

A host of Fortean forces descended upon a house in Orland Hills, Illinois, in 1988.

"Once, a blue flame an inch in diameter shot out of a wall socket for more than 30 seconds, and the outlet still worked. That incident was witnessed by two police officers. Another time, a similar flame set a mattress afire while investigators were prowling outside.

"In all, there were 26 separate incidents, all of them witnessed by either police or fire investigators...

"'I was there one night when the room was filled with a white haze. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face,' Smith said. 'There was a strong sulfur smell and my eyes were burning. I took a sample (of the vapor) in a vacuum canister. We came up with nothing.'

"Neither did engineers, chemists and geologists."

Understandably, the occupants of this hexed house had moved out long ago with such goings-on. Teams of experts ruled out arson, natural gas, methane leaks, sewer gas, and electrical malfunctions. The house was finally bulldozed in October 1988.

(Elsner, David; "Bulldozers Lay House to Rest," Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1988. Cr. K. Fabian. Also: Anonymous; "Strange Phenomena Force Bulldozing of House," Lorain (Ohio) Journal, October 16, 1988. Cr. J.K. Wagner. Also: Anon-ymous; "Mists, Fires in Dwelling Defy Logic," Oregonian, October 26, 1988. Cr. R. Byrd.)

From Science Frontiers #61, JAN-FEB 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss