Horicon, Wisconsin, is just like any other small, midwestern American town. The people are friendly, hardworking and the town has a family friendly feel to it. The only claim to fame Horicon enjoys is the Horicon Marsh where tourists gather yearly to watch the migration of Canada geese.
Upon visiting this rural farming community, one would be hard pressed to find anything pertaining to the unexplained and inexplicable. And yet, for several months in the late 1980s, a local family and their home were laid siege by what could only be described as an unrelenting sinister force that brought them to the brink of insanity.
The bizarre and frightening activity that occurred to the Tallman family began in late winter of 1987. Debbie Tallman and her husband Allen were in desperate need for another bed to accommodate their growing family. They considered themselves lucky when they found exactly what they were looking for at a local thrift store, a bunk bed. When they brought it home, they assembled it in their basement and left it there until they needed it. It wasn’t until the bed was brought upstairs when the nine months of living nightmares began.
Typically, when a person reads these true tales of terror, the activity starts out innocent and progresses until it’s out of control. This was not the case with what the Tallman’s were forced to endure. According to Debbie and Allen, their children enjoyed a hardy constitution and rarely ever succumbed to illness. But suddenly, out of nowhere, their children came down with a mysterious illness. Even their doctor was puzzled by the sickness that affected the children. And just as suddenly as it began, the children got better, they woke up one morning as healthy as horses. Unfortunately, for the family this was only the beginning.
One night after putting their seven-year-old son to bed, whatever dark entities had taken up residence decided to present themselves in the strangest way possible. As the boy lay in his bed trying to sleep, the clock radio by his bed sprang to life. He watched in child-like astonishment as the radio glowed an unearthly color and the indicator raced back and forth between stations. When it finally stopped, he was able to drift off to sleep.
The next morning at breakfast, the boy regaled his parents of the previous night’s adventure into the unknown. Regrettably, his parents dismissed his claim saying it was nothing more than his imagination or a very scary dream. The boy insisted that it happened, but his parents would not accept his version of the event. It wouldn’t be long until Debbie and Allen Tallman, singing a much different tune.
A few nights later, as the family slept, Debbie and Allen were ripped from their slumber by a shrill scream. Realizing it was their daughter, the couple raced to her room to see what was the matter. When they got to her bedside, they found their daughter cowering under her covers and shaking in fear. She explained to her parents that she had seen a grotesque, red-eyed witch appear in a flame behind her door. They were prepared to explain it away until their son claimed to see the same horrific entity. The Tallman’s came to the conclusion, they needed help and did what many people might do in a situation this strange – they turned to the church for help.
At the request of the family, their church’s pastor arrived at the house to offer prayers and a blessing even if he didn’t quite accept the notion of ghosts. The very moment the man of God entered the house, he could tell that something was wrong. The air felt sick and was charged with a negative energy that permeated the house. The first words out of his mouth were that something evil had wormed its way into the house. He further explained to the Tallmans it would be in their best interest to leave immediately. Crestfallen by this news, the Tallman’s knew they had no choice but to stay. At the time they lacked the means to leave. It was either be homeless or live with whatever evil thing was in their house. Sadly, they chose the latter.
As the days passed, the activity in the house progressed to an unbearable level. Doors and windows slammed at all hours of the day. Guttural growls and hideous shrieks would come out of nowhere. And nightmarish apparitions appeared to the children in their rooms. Seeing that his family was quickly unraveling, Allen snapped and challenged the spirits to attack him and not them. As you might expect, the diabolical entities were all too happy to oblige his request.
Three weeks after challenging the entities to a fight, the ghosts came for Allen. In January 1988, Allen came home late after pulling a double shift at work. When he stepped out of the car, he heard a disquieting howl and an eerie voice came out of the darkness that said, “Come here.” When he went to investigate the voice, the garage was suddenly engulfed in flames. Fearing for his family’s life, Allen ran to grab a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. But when he returned, there was no sign of a fire or damage of any kind. Standing there mystified by what he experienced, Allen reiterated his challenge to whatever dark, evil thing haunted him and his family. He hoped this would be the last. It wasn’t.
The entities were now focusing their rage on Allen and intended on driving him mad with fear. One day, as Allen went to grab his lunchbox, the entity seized it and whipped it against the wall, scattering his lunch across the kitchen floor. Next, Allen took to sleeping on his daughter’s floor to offer the little girl a sense of security. As he lay there looking up at the ceiling, he found himself surrounded by an inky, black darkness. Paralyzed with terror, the fear was turned up a notch when a hideous guttural voice whispered in his ear, “You’re dead.” When Debbie heard her husband scream out, all Debbie could was share in her husband’s despair.
The horror finally came to a head, when a nephew who was a hardened skeptic came to stay with the Tallmans when Allen worked the overnight shift. As the nephew was lying awake in the children’s room, the grotesque witch that had been terrorizing the children appeared before the young man. When he let out a bloodcurdling scream, Debbie had finally had enough. She gathered the children together and fled into the night, her still trembling nephew in tow.
Two weeks later, Debbie and Allen returned to their home and gathered their personal belongings. They also dragged the bunk bed out, which they believed caused the problem, and had it destroyed. When the house finally sold, a new family moved in and didn’t experience the intense spiritual activity that drove the Tallmans into the night. When they moved into a new home, the sinister ghosts thankfully did not follow.
Was the terror experienced by the Tallman family really caused by a haunted bunk bed? Or, as some have suggested, did Debbie and Allen Tallman fake the events for personal gain? Either way, the Tallman family never experienced that kind of horror ever again.
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