When Grand Rapids attorney Christopher Gibbons and his wife and their four children moved into a historic home in Heritage Hill, they knew it would need lots of renovations.
But they never thought it would be haunted.
The word ghost only came to mind during scary movies or books prior to their experiences. Shortly after moving into the dream home in 2004, Gibbons says things started happening. Strange things.
He remembers the first instance. The house was still under renovation. Christopher was finishing up with his project late one night and carrying some trash down the wooden staircase into the living room when he heard a breathing sound.
"I come down the stairs and I heard a voice, like a surprised sigh and then the plastic we used to seal the room up blew into the room," he recalls.
"There were no doors open, nobody there, there was no explanation."
He dismissed the strange occurrence and got on with regular life, but soon other things started to happen in the house, impacting his wife and kids.
"I would go to bed and just as I was about to fall asleep, you would feel something pushing on my pillow," recalls Kay Gibbons, Christopher's wife.
"We would hear the doorknob to the door move and open all the time, it would freak me out."
The family, who never experienced anything supernatural before, started to get worried. They still didn't believe this could actually be a ghost.
"Our youngest child, who was 4 at the time, came down one morning and said who was the man in my room last night," remembers Christopher.
The guitar in the sitting room strummed on its own while Christopher was making coffee. They say the bed would shake at night and then stop. The family, who is Catholic, began to question everything they thought they knew about the spiritual world.
On a Wednesday evening, Kay remembers being home alone watching television in their second-floor bedroom when a man with a skeleton-like figure appeared before her.
"The lights were even on. I just kept blinking, is this happening and then he was gone," she said.
The family came to the conclusion that the spirit present was the previous owner who died in their home 20 years ago of a heart attack. They purchased the house from his widow who had left it empty.
"It became hostile to where my wife was attacked and I was attacked. It was upsetting our children and our family," Gibbons said.
After five years of unexplained disturbances, the family turned to their priest who suggested they use prayer in this situation.
Christopher said they prayed and made pleas to the ghost to leave the family alone. He says after time it seemed to work.
"In the end, rather than fighting with it, we came at it from more of a positive perspective."
They were ghost-free by 2008. Gibbons decided to right a book about the experience.
The book is titled "Trespass, A Haunting," and is a narrative of their confrontation with the supernatural. For more information, you can click here.
The family's ghost story is also being featured in an episode of the series "A Haunting'. debuting on the Discovery Network on November 9, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.