After we wrote about the alleged haunting of the John York House in North Stonington, we were pleasantly surprised when we were contacted by Dan Wilms, one of three young sons of the family who lived there from 1964 to 1987. During that time, the Wilms reported many unusual goings on and even had their home investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Dan, who is now 50 years old, resides in Payson, Arizona "with a wonderful wife" and "is living a Christian life." He graciously took the time to answer some questions for us via e-mail.
Damned Connecticut: We've heard that spirits are sometimes drawn to "believers" -- was your family interested in the paranormal before you moved in? Had you heard any "ghost" stories about the house before you moved in?
Dan Wilms: My family knew absolutely nothing about the paranormal before coming to our new house and we had not heard any "ghost" stories prior to moving in.
Damned Connecticut: How old were you when your family moved in?
Dan Wilms: I was about 4 years old when we moved into the house -- that would have been 1964.
Damned Connecticut: What events did you personally experience?
Dan Wilms: Not long after we moved in we had a barometer that was hanging in an entry way. Well, this barometer kept falling off of the wall -- my Dad kept putting in bigger and bigger screws into the wall to keep it in place until finally one day the barometer jumped off of the wall and broke into a million pieces.
When I was 9 years old things started happening to me. The first thing was that my bed started to move on its own while I was asleep in it -- then other things started to happen .... Footsteps up the back stairs through a locked door and up the stairs to the attic. Lights turning on and off. Things of that nature.
Damned Connecticut: There were stories about one of the Wilms' sons being attacked -- what happened?
Dan Wilms: Yes. My oldest brother felt a hand on his shoulder while he was laying in bed -- it pinned him down and paralyzed him almost to the point of not being able to breathe. After several minutes of this the hand released its grip and when he turned the light on and inspected his shoulder he could plainly see the finger marks on his shoulder where the hand had been.
Damned Connecticut: Did you ever feel that you personally were in danger? How about the rest of your family? Were you in constant fear or more a state of constant annoyance?
Dan Wilms: No. I personally did not feel I was in any danger, I figured if my parents were not afraid why should I be afraid? The overall reaction was neither fear or annoyance but curiosity. We all tried to keep an open mind, especially my parents. You see ... people are afraid of what they don't understand and my parents tried to learn as much as they could about this sort of thing.
Damned Connecticut: What lead your family to call in the Warrens?
Dan Wilms: We became friends with a photographer/reporter from the New London Day and it was he who introduced us to the Warrens.
Damned Connecticut: What was your experience with the Warrens like? What did they experience/do?
Dan Wilms: The Warrens brought two gentleman from the University of Connecticut. One of these men, while in a trance, saw a man who was distraught over killing his best friend. They were arguing over a woman and in a rage he stabbed him to death. This was the earthbound spirit that was inhabiting the house. I know firsthand that there is also a spirit inhabiting the house in the form of a woman and has been seen by several people.
Damned Connecticut: Did you feel as if the events ever actually stopped? Why?
Dan Wilms: No, they continued over the years right up until the day we moved out. A man came over to get some old bed frames and saw the lady in the upstairs hall adjacent to my bedroom. I saw the lady one more time prior to leaving the house.
Damned Connecticut: Looking back now, what is your overall take on the situation?
Dan Wilms: The experience taught me to keep an open mind about everything.
Damned Connecticut: Have you had any sort of paranormal experiences after leaving the John York House?
Dan Wilms: Nothing of a terrestrial nature but I have seen some things in the sky that I cannot explain over the years -- white and green rotating lights stationary in the sky, I just can't explain them!
Thanks again to Dan for taking the time to answer a few of our questions and sharing his experiences!