Keith Linder and his then-girlfriend thought they found their perfect first home. It was in a nice area, although one of their neighbors’ babies cried so loud it sounded like it was right in the room with you. Property taxes were reasonable. And it was roomy. Maybe a little too roomy. The suburban house, right outside Seattle, had enough space to hide a legion of squatters who had no problem letting the owners know they didn’t like what they were watching on Netflix. According to The Bothell Hell House: Poltergeist of Washington State, which comes out on April 15th, the house was anything-but-sweet-home to some of the most malevolent and violent spirits in America.
The house stirred up the underground paranormal community it caught the attention of the Travel Channels’ Ghost Adventures, which dedicated an entire installment to the “Demons in Seattle.” But ghost-hunter Zak Bagans and his crew didn’t find any evidence of foul players. Of course, Bagans didn’t hear the voices, see the “Grey Lady” or have to try calling 911 a dozen times to report a fire. The ghosts Linder encountered since moving into the house in May 2012, were no fans of the Bible. They burned three of Linder’s collection.
The spirits also had their own ideas about hanging plants, eschewing twine or hooks and suspending them in mid-air. Classified as a poltergeist, the entity tossed beer bottles, bar stools and a butcher knife while Linder witnessed. He also caught more than a glimpse of an apparition of an old mischievous lady. Linder called in the Scientific Establishment of Parapsychology, who sent a team who set up motion detectors and recording equipment. They caught evidence. The house was exorcized twice. Once by their reluctant local church, and again by Episcopalian priest Father Roy, who also exorcized Keith, just to be sure.
Keith called in paranormal researcher Don Philips and British parapsychologist Steve Mera, who brought out the best evidence. Most of that evidence is on display in the upcoming documentary Demons in Seattle.
Linder moved out of the haunted house in 2016. He spoke exclusively, though quietly, with Den of Geek about the horrors of homeownership.
DEN OF GEEK: What possessed you to move into the house in the first place?
KEITH LINDER: It was my very first house. I was promoted job wise and the decision made between me and my then girlfriend was let’s move in together. It was a beautiful home. A new home built in 2005.
You had no misgivings, premonitions?
Who felt the first stirrings or otherness, you or your then-girlfriend Tina?
We felt the first stirring together, the “kid cough” the day we got the keys to the house and we saw a plant levitate few weeks later, while watching Netflix.
So you get the keys and you hear this bronchial spasm. What did you think it was? How did you first write it off?
The homeowner had just left, my girlfriend and I are sitting in the living room talking talking about the house, etc. which room for what, what goes where, and etc. Then we hear a kid cough, very distinct. We look at each other and ask “was that a kid cough?” It sounded like it came from one of the rooms upstairs. But we shrugged it off because we were “house high.” I wasn’t even close to thinking paranormal. We disavowed as thinking it came from outside and didn’t give it a second thought.
So, you didn’t think of it until the plant got un-potted?
So, your first reactions to the levitation, what was it and how long did it last before you were able to move forward?
The plant rise straight up, spun 360 degrees fell over. It happened in seconds. We walked over, investigated and were like “did that just happen?” We thought we were being punked or pranked since we were new to the neighborhood.
So you looked for strings?
Yeah. Wires, remote devices, etc.
Were you angry? Amused?
Not angry. Sort of like amused. Sort like what the fuck? Like wow, did this just happen? Who’s behind this?
But not quite scared yet?
Oh no, not scared yet.
Was it kind of a giggle?
More like wow, that’s trippy. Cant believe we might have a ghost here. We thought back to the cough. We’re thinking prankster ghost,a kid ghost that’s lost or something.
So, you did think ghost early, what was the first thing that actually scared you?
Weeks later when the doors began slamming, and loud bangs. We thought, maybe its not friendly as we thought. Each event made us revise our assumption.
But you never had that Eddie Murphy “too bad we gotta move” feeling?
Nope, not at that stage.
But you were scared by that point but figured, what, it was like bad apartment neighbors?
Scared is the wrong word. More like, it got our attention now what? Where is this going? Thats the question we’re asking at this stage, Tina and me. Discerning, concerned, observant, etc. Not scared. That comes way later. We’re still in the getting-to-know phase with the Poltergeist. all preliminary stuff
So, the ghosts ever make you laugh?
Didn’t make us laugh per se. We laughed a few times at the situation we were in, like wow, is this real? Is this really happening? Stuff like that. Are we dreaming? Its surreal to see objects fly, objects float, bangs, wall writings, etc.
So what first made it real?
What bought the point home that the house was haunted was the flying plants and ottery and loud bangs.
And what was it that finally scared you?
For Tina, specifically door slams while watching TV or while taking a shower. For me loud bangs, throwing bar stool and the gray apparition lady, when I saw her turn off my office room light. She hit the switch and took off running. That made it real, super real. Having a face, a body to what we all were experiencing. That happened about month 3 or 4.
How clear was the grey lady? How clear was your sense of her?
Oh clear as day. Non transparent, she was solid, stood few feet from me, full bodied.
Any photos of her ever come out?
Nah, but I got a video reenactment of when I saw her the second time. Now she’s all white though.
About how old was she? Was she at all cute? Did she exert any kind of ghostly charm at all or did she feel malevolent?
We’re talking 2014 now. First time was summer 2012. When she appeared again, it was in 2014. She always looked tired, worn, confused, mischievous, nasty. Petite, hair down to her lower ear or shoulder, 5 foot 5 or 6. I tell people imagine Carmen Diaz. Thats how she looked except more worn and tired. Same body type though and hair length.
Was she scary or how did she feel? What was the otherness like?
She felt lost, confused. The second time was like watching a movie play out, a recording or something. But to see walk by or interact with me, that was surreal. There was no eye strain, no translucent or see through feeling. She was 100% solid. That’s what made it scary, to see something like movie and interact only to be gone in an blink of an eye. You can’t help but think it would suck to get on her bad side. And maybe we already were.
And she never saw you?
I have to assume she saw me, especially the first time. She turned off the lights with me in the room. Room was occupied and BAM, light goes off and she’s standing right there.
So when does it escalate to the point where you had to call an expert?
Oh we called people in 2012 and 2014, churches, paranormal teams, priests after the 1st fire. We tried having the house blessed, Tried getting teams in, once the violence started and activity picked up.
What was the first violent episode?
Poster fire, that was a major event in the spring of 2014. Tina just left for work. We had smudged the house a lot the previous night. I was in the shower when all of a sudden the alarm goes off. I dart out, dripping wet, towel wrapped around me and step into out hallway, a force zooms past me, I see the front door open/close from the landing area where I’m standing. No one’s there. Alarms are wailing, smokes filling up the second floor. My brain thinks intruder so I dart to the front door. I get there and the door won’t open. It won’t budge, like its cemented shut.
I run back upstairs and put the fire out, poster that is, run back, and realize again I’m under attack. The front door won’t open as I’m trying to let the smoke out. I call 911. They can’t understand me, every time I give my name and location, the phone breaks up. It takes about 3 to 4 tries for them to finally get me. The fire trucks arrived minutes later. Tina comes back home caused I called her. Everyone was scratching their heads except me and Tina. No one can figure out how the poster caught fire. They eventually leave.
Tina and I were beaten up emotionally. I’m shaking like a wet puppy left out in the cold all night. Tina finally blurts out we’re going to the Catholic Church and we’re not leaving till they see us. That was my first Super Uber real fear. The force, something huge with density ran passed me on the landing area. The front door opened wide and shut and the fire and door not opening.
So what did the first experts tell you it was?
Poltergeist. The church told us evil spirits. Teams told us Poltergeist. Some said both. Shamans said angry spirits, demons. The Parapsychology community said it was a poltergeist, an intelligent haunting.
What finally made you decide to leave?
Once our claims were finally substantiated and enough evidence compiled. I lost my girlfriend in the process. It was time to go. Four years was enough. The paranormal community knew the house was real, as in haunted and the activity showed signs of returning. Those 3 things made it time to leave. I wanted to leave on my terms. not the spirits terms.
So, there’s just no living with the undead?
Exactly. They ultimately win. They’re undead. The activity would tapper off, but it also comes back and each time worse than before. I wouldn’t survive the third time. I know I wouldn’t.
So no way to make friends, no communication? Did you ever actually think this is evil?
Oh yeah. I knew it was evil. After the fire and after speaking to the tenants before us, what happened to them years prior, plus our experience. It was straight up evil. Evil.
Do you miss anything about her, the spirit?
Oh no! [laughs] I miss nothing about the spirits. I wouldn’t ask the devil to live in that house.
What do you think of other people who claim hauntings? Have you met others?
Living through something like this has given me the ability to know the true sayers from the naysayers. I believe them. Many have found me online, shared their experiences from all over the world. The similarities are shocking. This happens more than people realize, that’s the scary part about it. I was once 50/50 about the paranormal. Now I’m 100% Team Paranormal, 200% actually.
Does this have an religious implications for you? Did it shake your faith? Confirm it? Is it entirely unrelated?
It shakes and confirms your faith for me both at the same time. It shook my faith in the church in regards to the help we didn’t receive and shook my faith about organized religion. At the same time it reaffirmed my faith about a life after death, about God, the Devil, Evil and Good. Hell and heaven exist side by side, and I mean side by side, all around us.
What do you say to people refuse to believe?
I say nothing. They refuse to believe. They just refuse to believe. I almost wish they could experience it themselves so they could believe. But then I think to myself. That’s not fair. Them not believing might be a blessing.
And do you think some people jump into the belief too quickly?
A few, yeah. I’ve learned those who believe me the most usually believe me cause of their own experience or the experience of someone they knew or know.
What’s the most important determining factor?
People based reality on their life experience, what they’ve already seen. what they currently see and what they hope to live to see. That’s how people determine what’s real. With some people, it’s harder to believe, with others it’s easy. It’s all about being receptive. It’s how open we are to new things. i was always 50/50 and boy did I see a lot, experience a lot. I doubt I would have lived through this if I was 100% as far as belief in the supernatural/paranormal.
What I want the reader to get or understand from this book is it was written from the house occupants point of view. The book itself contains video, audio and picture evidence. That’s never been done before in a book like this. So the reader can pause (those that dare) and visit links and URLs to see and hear the evidence themselves. The evidence, majority of it comes from researchers themselves, those that lived in the home. Everything’s in chronological order. No punches were pulled. Nothing softened or made up. Everything happened. The reader will get that within seconds of reading the book.
Are you free now that you’ve gotten out of the house?
Some remnants from the Bothell house followed me to the new house. I call them minions. I did an experiment in my new place, a four-month experiment where I captured some of the pulsating, breathing and heartbeats coming from my mattress and bed pillow. It’s the best scientific video on my YouTube Channel. What the viewer sees and hears is what I’ve heard and felt for the last three years. Pulsating, heartbeats, not mine. Not even human, as explained in the video. It deserves a looks see and is debunk proof. We’re talking state of the art medical device equipment.
There are other documented cases of heart beats, pulsating mattresses being reported in both Geist and Demonic phenomena. This is the 1st 21st century audio and video evidence compiled. Please watch/listen with headsets. It will blow you away.
The Bothell Hell House: Poltergeist of Washington State will be available on April 15th, 2018.