Photo by Elisa / Adobe Stock
So you want to sell your house. But what if it’s full of spirits? Exactly that happened to a Nyack house just across the river.
Halloween season wouldn’t seem complete without at least some mention of haunted houses. So here goes: Just over the Tappan Zee (I don’t care what the signs say), a Nyack home made history in 1991 with the famed Ghostbusters ruling, giving way to the country’s first “legally haunted” house. Tethered to the home were allegedly several poltergeists, including one from the American Revolution.
None of this would have transpired as anything more than urban legend had the then-owner, Helen Ackley, not published a piece in Reader’s Digest about her ordeals (and marketed the property as being haunted). When a prospective buyer took Ackley to court, in Stambovsky v. Ackley, claiming that he didn’t know about the specters, the court ruled in his favor because Ackley’s op-ed went on record to describe the hauntings. As otherworldly as it may sound, this precedent is the only one you need to let prospective buyers know about.
“With that exception, there is no duty to identify a ‘stigmatized’ property or a property where someone had died, was murdered, or committed suicide,” says Crystal Hawkins-Syska, immediate past-president of the 2022 Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.
So, if your house tends to go bump in the night and objects seem to inexplicably vanish or appear out of nowhere, that’s fine and dandy — just don’t brag about it on the internet, as that decision may come back to haunt you come selling time.