Some people would love the opportunity to spend a night in a haunted house but, thankfully, due to the "Ghostbusters ruling," no one can be tricked into buying a haunted house. It's one thing to go looking for evidence of the paranormal as a hobby, but unwittingly becoming roommates with a ghost isn't a pleasing prospect for most homebuyers.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened to Jeffrey and Patrice Stambovsky, who purchased a home in Nyack, New York, without being told by the previous owner, Helen Ackley, that it was well-known to be haunted. As a result, the Stambovskys filed the intriguing Stambovsky v. Ackley case, which resulted in the "Ghostbusters ruling," and it had a monumental impact on legal precedent.
Regardless of whether or not the house in Nyack is actually haunted, it has been legally ruled as such and must be represented that way in any future real estate deals. So, what exactly happened in this paranormal legal case? How does one decide if a house is haunted? And who, exactly, is the Ghost of Nyack?
The House Has Changed Hands Many Times, Including A Celebrity
The house has had three owners since 1991. It would be easy to assume that this is due to paranormal activity. However, the house's most recent owners have never reported encountering any ghosts at 1 Nyack Place.
Notably, indie singer Ingrid Michaelson owned the home for a few years. She made several renovations before deciding to sell the property. The most recent owner paid almost $1.8 million, which is a whopping 164.75% higher than the typical price of other homes in the area.
The Home's Ghosts Are Sir George And Lady Margaret
The primary "Ghost of Nyack" is believed to be Sir George, who was reportedly haunting the house along with his wife, Lady Margaret. This was the conclusion of a psychic who visited Helen Ackley's home in an attempt to commune with the spirits. The psychic further stated that the spectral couple had died in England in the 1750's which makes their presence in Nyack, New York, somewhat confusing.
Interestingly, there was a Sir George from England who married a woman named Lady Margaret, but they died almost 200 years later than the psychic's intel suggests. Perhaps she misheard the ghosts when they were describing their death dates.
The House Could Have An Unlucky Death Curse
There were two untimely deaths during the 20 years that the Ackleys claimed to be living with ghosts. The first was her husband, who died at the age of 53 in 1978. Intriguingly, his first name was George, which could indicate that he was actually the Ghost of Nyack. The family also experienced the shocking and sudden death of a young dinner guest who had a brain aneurysm.
That both of these deaths were young people - perhaps with unfinished business - and took place in the house, makes one wonder if the house has some kind of curse.
Family Members Believe Helen Ackley May Be Haunting The House
Helen Ackley passed away in 2003. Her son-in-law, Mark Kavanagh, speculated that she probably went back to Nyack to haunt the house after her death. During the court case in 1991, Ackley did say that when she moved she would take the ghosts of Sir George and Lady Margaret with her. Perhaps the three of them are living together in ghostly harmony. If that's the case, though, they don't appear to have presented themselves to the current owners.