Domestic violence is a growing concern in our world today. Too often, an attempt on the part of a wife and mother to escape a dangerous situation only exacerbates the danger, frequently resulting in her demise.
In late 1973, at Christmastime, a young mother attempted to escape from her violent husband, with her five children.
Marles Ann and Billy Hood were estranged. Marles and the children had moved in with friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bellanger, on North Watts Street in North Portland, Oregon.
In the very early morning hours of December 23, 1973, Billy showed up at the door. Unfortunately, Marles let him into the house.
Billy proceeded to beat her severely, before shooting her to death. He then killed himself. Thankfully, he didn’t harm the children.
Twelve years later, Carolyn and Michael Brown purchased the home, after the house had set empty for over a year. They moved in with their young daughters, Gennie and Cassie, in November of 1985.
Three-year-old Cassie was the first to experience the ghosts, believed to be Marles and Billy Hood.
She told her parents that a very nice lady with long hair would tuck her in the bed. Carolyn just pulled up the blankets. She didn’t tuck them in…yet when she would check on Cassie in the night, the blankets would many times be tucked under the mattress.
Cassie also said that a man was often standing near the woman. He didn’t smile or do anything. He just watched, but “something about him scared her.”
The woman did not ever speak to Cassie, except sometimes she would say in a whisper, “shhhh” as if to comfort her.
The actions of the ghosts seemed to be benevolent and helpful. Early one winter morning, Carolyn awakened to the house being very chilled. She went into the girls’ room to turn on the electric heater and found it already on, and the room toasty warm. Both of the girls told their mother that they did not touch the heater as they knew they were not allowed.
One evening before heading to work as a police officer, Michael discovered the VCR unplugged. The show he had programmed to record had recorded first. The VCR was the only device to be unplugged, and no one alive in the house had been around it.
The family dogs seemed to be aware of the ghosts also, often acting peculiar, and fearing to leave Carolyn and Michael’s bedroom in the night.
The ghosts appeared to not enjoy company. One night when Carolyn’s nephew, Jonah, was staying overnight, he heard argumentative voices upstairs. The voices moved down to the living room area where Marles had been killed. Jonah looked and saw a man and woman he didn’t recognize arguing. The couple looked over at Jonah, and scared him to death (not literally). He put his head under the blankets and told them to go away. They did.
A cleaning woman had a couple of experiences while she was alone in the house. She heard screaming one time from the floors below while she was up on the third floor. Another time, she heard someone walk in the front door and walk across the floor, but no one was there.
Another time, Carolyn’s brother was visiting with his girlfriend. The girlfriend was in the basement doing laundry when she heard someone yell down the stairs, “Hello down there.” No one was up there.
Christmastime seemed to be a very active time for Marles and Billy. In 1989, Gennie saw a man looking at the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. He “turned around and disappeared.” Gennie ran upstairs and back to her room.
On another Christmas Eve, a tray of nuts flipped backwards off the table, hitting the wall and flying all over the room.
Carolyn’s sister was irritated one day when she knocked on the door and no one would answer, yet she heard voices and the television going inside. She found out later that no one had been in the home.
Many things have happened in the home over the years. Lights going on and off, windows opening and closing, knockings, footsteps, voices and other strange noises, odd marks on the ceiling, and stuff being moved around were paranormal activities often experienced by the Brown family. Usually the activity stopped when the family members requested it.
A psychic told Carolyn that the negative energy emanating from Billy had changed to positive because they had “accepted them as family.”
I don’t know about that, but I do know if I were Marles, the last person I would want to be spending eternity haunting a house with would be the estranged husband who had murdered me and took me away from my children.
Hauck, Dennis William. Haunted Places: The National Directory. NY: Penguin, 2002.
Norman, Michael and Beth Scott. Haunted Heritage. NY: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC,2002.