; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The San Pedro Haunting

One of the more infamous haunting investigations was the San Pedro Haunting or the Jackie Hernandez case. Dr. Barry Taff got involved in the case, along with cameraman Barry Conrad, in 1989 when he was asked to look into a house in San Pedro, California that was allegedly being haunted. The owner of the house was Jackie Hernandez, a young woman who also had some emotional problems in the past.

The investigators were told of strange smells, unexplained sounds, moving objects, apparitions, a glowing cloud that tried to suffocate her (and which had appeared in front of other witnesses) and actually witnessed a peculiar, dripping substance dripping from the kitchen cabinets.

Photographer Jeff Wheatcraft hanging from a cord attached to a nail in the attic. This was the result of an attack by the entity

The team kept hearing sounds in the attic, “like a 200 foot pound rat running around”, according to Taff. When one of the photographers, Jeff Wheatcraft, went up to the attic to take some pictures, an invisible force violently grabbed at his camera and threw it to the ground.

The team came for a second visit in September. Wheatcraft went to investigate the attic again, but this time took another person, Gary Beihm, with him. While the two were looking around, a clothesline suddenly wrapped itself around Wheatcraft’s neck and tried hanging him from a nail in a rafter. Beihm was able to get Wheatcraft down before he was strangled to death, and he also took some of the few photographs of an alleged ghost attack.

The events in the house grew stronger and even followed Jackie from place to place. Taff began to believe that she was creating the phenomena unconsciously because of her emotional problems and what became a strong romantic attachment to Barry Conrad. It seemed that anyone who might be perceived as threat to Jackie’s relationship with Barry ended up on the end of a violent attack by the poltergeist.

However, there are problems with the theory that this was strictly a haunting brought on by living subject. The unexplained lights are certainly odd and so would be the reports of male apparitions from witnesses. Also, as Taff found out later, Jackie’s house continued to be reported as haunted long after she moved out. According to the owners, no subsequent tenants stayed there for longer than 6 months. Could this be merely some residual from Jackie’s presence there or was there really a bonifide malevolent spirit?

Click for video - The Jackie Hernandez Case

'Jackie Hernandez' during the investigation


Here is another brief version of the investigation:

On the night of August 8, 1989, Barry Conrad along with friend and photographer Jeff Wheatcraft, and Dr. Barry Taff, formerly with UCLA’s parapsychology lab and principal investigator of the now famous “Entity” case, would be witness to some of the most compelling and disturbing paranormal activity. Hernandez had told them stories of flying lamps, oozing blood-like gelatin from the walls, an apparition of a decaying old man, an invisible force that would hold her down as though trying to smother her, as well as a floating disembodied head in her attic. So before they left that evening Conrad suggested that Wheatcraft check out the attic. Not long after crawling through the small hole in the ceiling, Jeff’s camera was ripped from his hands into the darkness of the attic. Expectedly, quite shaken he bolted from the attic. Later he would venture back up into the attic in hopes of retrieving the camera. As he searched the empty attic he found an old dusty grape box, which when opened contained his camera, but strangely no lens. Continuing his search he found the surprisingly undamaged lens behind the trap door to the attic. Jeff decided to see if he could get a couple more shots before leaving. But as he began shooting a foul stench began to permeate the attic and without warning he was shoved by an invisible hand into the rafters. And this wasn’t the worst of the activity.

A month later on September 4th, they would be called back by a frantic Jackie Hernandez. The activity was escalating and getting more violent. Arriving around 1am, Jeff and friend Gary decided they should investigate the attic again. Jeff would pay for it, as he was attacked more brutally than the first encounter. Conrad down below with Hernandez heard a loud moan, it was Jeff. Something had grabbed Jeff by the neck and pulled him into the rafters. Somehow able to pull himself free, Jeff and Gary exited the attic. It was then that they all noticed an old cord wrapped around Jeffs neck. It was then that Gary explained that he actually had to pull Jeff off a nail in the rafter and if he hadn’t been there Jeff might have been strangled to death. But there was a plus to the attack, Gary snapped off a photo at the precise moment of the entity yanking Jeff into the rafters.

Jackie Hernandez would eventually move out of the house after the activity became so dangerous that she felt her children were in danger. The following is an update from 2015:

Hernandez left her San Pedro home and returned to live with her husband in a trailer park about 300 miles away. The paranormal activity that plagued her in San Pedro immediately stopped. After her relationship with her husband fell apart, however, strange things started happening again. When she and some neighbors were putting a TV away into her shed, the image of the old man from San Pedro manifested itself on the screen. Throughout the rest of the night, she heard something pounding from the inside of the shed.

The investigators were called in again. As soon as they got inside Hernandez’s trailer, their equipment kept inexplicably switching off. Once they started using a ouija board, the table began to shake, and everybody present felt cold chills. The board told them that it was the spirit of a young man who died in San Pedro harbor when he was 18-years-old in 1930. His murderer lived in the San Pedro house. They stopped the session when Wheatcraft was lifted up into the air and thrown against the trailer’s wall. He dropped to the floor, unconscious. When he woke up, he said that he felt something squeezing his diaphragm, and then the next thing he knew, he was thrown against the wall and passed out.

After digging through old newspapers, Hernandez identified the ouija board spirit as the ghost of a young seaman named Herman Hendrickson. Hendrickson’s body was found floating in San Pedro Harbor on March 25, 1930. As for the ghost of the old man, Hernandez thought that it was John Damon, the man who built the San Pedro home. She has said that a ball of light appeared to her while she was in San Pedro in the spring of 1990. The ball led her to a cemetery, where it hovered around one of the graves before vanishing. The name on the grave’s stone marker? John Damon. - The Jackie Hernandez Haunting

An Unknown Encounter: A True Account of the San Pedro Haunting - this is Barry Conrad's book about the incident

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