Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Don decker1

Real Name: Donald Decker
Case: Unexplained Phenomenon
Location: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Date: February 1983

Don decker2 rain

Recreation of the rain on the wall


Details: Don Decker of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, claims that, for a brief period of time, he was able to materialize rain out of thin air. He suspects that he was the victim of some sort of demonic possession. His bizarre experience began in February 1983, shortly after the death of his grandfather, sixty-three-year-old James Kishaugh.
On February 24, 1983, James’ funeral was held in Stroudsburg. He died of cirrhosis of the liver. Don, then twenty-one, had been granted a furlough from the county jail to attend it. He was serving a four-to-twelve-month sentence for receiving stolen property. It was the capstone of a troubled adolescence that involved drug use. What no one knew was that he was keeping a dark secret.
Don says that James, the man he was obliged to publicly mourn, had abused him physically from the time he was seven years old. No other part of the family knew about this. He says it was like “good fighting evil.” He felt that with James’ death, the evil was gone, and that everything would change.
In fact, things would change, and drastically, but not in the way Don could have ever imagined. After the funeral, he was completely unnerved by the way his parents glorified James’ memory. He decided to spend the night of Friday, February 25, with his friends, Bob and Jeannie Keiffer, whom he had met a few months earlier.
It was at the Keiffers’ Ann Street home that all the uneasy feelings stirred up at James’ funeral came back to haunt Don. He says that while he was in the upstairs bathroom getting ready for dinner, he suddenly felt strange and confused. He says it felt as though the air had gone out of the room and he was standing in a vacuum. He then fell to the floor and had a vision of an old man laughing and wearing a crown in the bathroom window. Deep scratches suddenly appeared on his wrist.
When Don and the Keiffers sat down for dinner, they noticed the scratches and asked Don about them. He told them about the vision and claimed that the wounds were caused by “something upstairs.” Shortly after dinner, he and Bob went into the living room. Suddenly, the air around Don vibrated with a deep chill. The Keiffers heard a loud noise from above. Almost simultaneously, water began to drip down the living room walls. Don fell into an eerie, trance-like state. Bob asked Jeannie if she had water running. She said no.
Bob had Jeannie come into the room and look at the water. He wondered if they had a leak, but he had no idea where it would be coming from. At a total loss, they decide to notify the landlord, Ron Van Why. As Bob called Ron, Jeannie grabbed some pots and pans and put them under the water that was dripping from the ceiling. Don remained in a trance-like state. Bob told Ron that they had a problem and needed him to come down. Ron asked what the problem was, but Bob said he could not say. But he insisted that Ron come there right away.
When Ron arrived, he was just as puzzled as the Keiffers about the cause of the problem. At first, he thought there was something wrong with the plumbing. But then he remembered that there were no pipes in the front end of the house. He and Bob went upstairs and checked the bathroom. No leaks were found. Ron says there was nothing there that the water could have come from.
After watching the water for a while, Ron discovered that it was not only coming down from the ceiling. It was also coming sideways from the wall and up from the floor. There was no basic direction that it was coming from. It was also discovered that when the “water” struck them, it produced an oily smudge.
Ron called his wife, Romayne, and police officer John Baujan. Baujan did not know what to make of the strange scene inside the Keiffer house. He brought in his partner, patrolman Richard Wolbert. Wolbert says that Baujan initially just told him to walk into the house. Wolbert told him that he would not go inside unless he explained to him what he was walking into. Baujan just said, “Trust me. Walk into the house.”
Wolbert walked inside, with Baujan right behind him. Almost immediately, he was pelted by water droplets. As they stood inside the front door, Wolbert witnessed droplets of water traveling horizontally. He says one large ball of water passed right between him and Baujan and traveled out into the next room. Strangely, the water seemed to only be appearing in the living room.
Baujan says he felt a chill go up his spine as he walked through the house. He says that things were happening that he never dreamed could possibly happen. There was no way for them to explain what was going on. He believed that Don was possessed. At this point, Baujan and Wolbert left to report the incident to Stroudsburg’s Chief of Police, Gary Roberts. While the Keiffers and Don, who had gone hours without food, walked across the street to get something to eat, Ron and Romayne remained behind.
Ron says that once everyone else left, the rain stopped and the house returned to normal. He and Romayne began to think that the rain was coming from either Don or one of the Keiffers. They were not sure which one it was coming from at the time. But since the rain left when they left, Ron and Romayne were sure it had to do with one of them.
By that point, it had been twenty-three hours since the mysterious rain began. Pam Scrofano, who owned the restaurant opposite the Keiffers’ house, had visited them earlier that day and seen the rain firsthand. She was convinced that it was the devil’s handiwork, and that the devil was acting through Don. She told the Keiffers that they should call the church and have someone look at Don.
Pam says that when she looked at Don, it looked like he was in a trance. She says he looked at her, but he did not know she was there. She told the Keiffers that she believed he was possessed. While they were sitting in the restaurant, the rain started falling there as well. Pam says she never saw anything like that happen in her life. She went to her cash register and grabbed a crucifix from it.
When Pam put her crucifix on Don and it touched his skin, it began to burn him. He wanted to take it off, but she told him to leave it on. It then turned black. She was convinced that he was possessed. She told the Keiffers that they needed to call the church and have a priest look at him. She says there was no way anyone could have played a joke like that. She was certain that it was real. And she was certain that Don was causing it without even realizing it.
Even Don began to believe that he was somehow responsible. The rain in the restaurant was the final straw. As he and the Keiffers left, the rain stopped. He says that the fact that the rain was following him made him certain that he had something to do with it. He notes that the rain never happened at the Keiffers’ house until he showed up there.
Back at the Keiffers’ house, Romayne confronted Don, accusing him of somehow causing all the trouble on purpose. She and Jeannie yelled at him, telling him that he needed to make it stop. As they did this, the pots, pans, and cabinets in the kitchen started rattling. Then, the lights went out.
Don says he was levitated off the floor and his torso twisted. One witness says a green glow surrounded him. After floating in the air briefly, he screamed as he was pushed five feet across the kitchen and into a corner. He says it felt like someone was pushing him all over his body at once. He says it scared him so much, he felt “like a newborn.”
After Don landed in the corner, more scratches appeared, this time in the shape of a cross near his inner elbow. Romayne says she believes that some sort of evil spirit, possibly a demon, caused this. After that incident, Jeannie read from the Bible and tried to exorcize Don. The rain then started hitting her, and only her.
A few hours after the strange incident in the kitchen, Officers Baujan and Wolbert arrived with Chief Roberts, a hardened skeptic, in tow. When Roberts came inside, he was also pelted with rain. Baujan believes that Roberts felt embarrassed and put on the spot, possibly thinking that they expected him to give them an answer about what was happening. Baujan says there was no way to explain what was happening. He thinks that Roberts was put in a position where he might have felt uncomfortable.
Roberts would be one of the only eyewitnesses from that bizarre night who would deny that anything out of the ordinary had happened. He told Baujan and Wolbert that what was happening was not a police problem but a plumbing problem. They maintained that it was a police problem, but he said that Don and the Keiffers were probably playing a joke. Roberts ordered Baujan and Wolbert to leave the house. He instructed them not to file a report. In fact, he directed them not to speak of the incident at all.
Wolbert thinks that Roberts just wanted out. Roberts could not give them an explanation for it, could not help them, and could not provide them with anything more than what they had experienced and what they had come up with. Baujan says Roberts just flatly denied that anything happened. He even tried to convince Baujan of that. Baujan, however, maintains that something unexplainable happened there that night.
The next day, acting against the specific orders of Roberts, three of his veteran officers went to the Keiffer home to try and figure out what was going on. They placed a paper bag over Don’s head to make sure he was not creating the rain by spitting. One of the officers, Bill Davies, says that he gave Don a gold cross to hold. Almost immediately, Don told him that it was burning his hands, and he threw it on the ground. When Davies picked it up, he noticed that it was hot. He has no explanation for that.
Moments later, the rain started up again. Another officer, John Rundle, says that all of a sudden, Don was lifted off the ground and thrown across the room. He says the force was as if a bus had hit Don. When they removed the bag from his head, they discovered three claw marks on the side of his neck, which drew blood.
Rundle says he has no answer for what happened whatsoever. Davies says he has been a cop for over forty years, and he has never run into anything like this ever. He says that there is always an explanation for something that happens. But in Don’s case, he has no explanation.
Finally, on the third night, Sunday, February 27, Ron was able to convince an evangelical preacher, “Reverend Johnson,” to come to the house and attempt an exorcism. Every Protestant minister and Catholic priest in Stroudsburg had turned Ron down. The Van Whys and the Keiffers kept vigil while Reverend Johnson prayed for Don. As she started to pray, Don appeared to go into a convulsion. He started to shake, and then he pulled himself up into a ball.
Ron says that the longer Reverend Johnson prayed, the more Don began to relax. Romayne says that Don’s body seemed to completely “quiet down.” As she stood there watching this, she felt the house itself seem to take on a totally different, more peaceful feeling. By the time Reverend Johnson finished praying, the rain was gone. About an hour had passed since she arrived. Ron says that was the last time they saw the rain at the house.
Amazingly, the rain had stopped. Don appeared to return to his old self. Some witnesses believe that Reverend Johnson performed a miracle or an exorcism. But whatever it was, the results would prove to be only fleeting.
After his furlough, Don returned to the Monroe County Jail. He was placed in a maximum-security cell with another inmate. Within a few days, the mysterious rain had once again materialized, this time in his cell. He says he was sitting there when he thought, “I wish I could make it rain in here.” Moments later, rain started coming out of the concrete floor. His cellmate was so panicked that he asked to be moved. Don says that at that point, he realized that he could “do stuff” with the rain.
Don’s demeanor frightened the other inmates. Some of the guards witnessed the rain defying gravity as it traveled up the cell walls and flew sideways through the air. A guard questioned Don about the rain. He told the guard that he could control it. This time, it was different. This time, he felt powerful. He realized he could manipulate the rain at will. The guard did not believe him. He told him that if he could control the rain, he should make it rain in Warden Dave Keenhold’s office.
Keenhold says that at that same moment, he was sitting at his desk, writing a report, and was by himself in the administration area. At the time, he did not feel anything unusual, but he noticed that his shirt was drooping. At 8pm, the guard came in to talk to him about Don. The guard then noticed a spot on Keenhold’s shirt. Keenhold says that there was a spot of water, about four inches long and two inches wide, near the center of his sternum.
When Keenhold and the guard looked down the hall towards Don’s cell, they noticed a small ball of water heading towards them. The water struck Keenhold in the chest and then “splashed off.” He was startled and scared when he learned about Don’s apparent abilities. The guard was scared as well. They were unable to explain what had happened.
Keenhold called a plumber to look into the rainwater in Don’s cell. But when the plumber went into the cell, he became so upset that he turned around and walked out. He said, “Don't call me for this kind of stuff.” Although he did not tell Keenhold exactly what he saw, Keenhold believes the plumber also witnessed the strange rain and was frightened by it.
Keenhold was convinced that an evil force was involved. He made a frantic call to the jail’s chaplain, Reverend William Blackburn, asking him to come there because they needed his help. Reverend Blackburn agreed to meet with Don. When they first met, he felt that Don was a meek and mild-mannered young man. Don asked Reverend Blackburn for help. He explained all of the things that had been happening to him. Reverend Blackburn believed that he was making it all up and told him to admit that.
Almost immediately, Don’s demeanor changed, and a smell came into the room. Reverend Blackburn says it is the same smell that doctors and nurses report smelling when they go into the room of someone who is dying. He says it was that smell, but “multiplied five times.” It was an “evil, foreboding” smell. Don says he smelled it as well. Don told Reverend Blackburn that he had powers and that he could make it rain. At that point, he raised his hand and rubbed his fingers together. All of a sudden, a misty rain appeared in the room.
Reverend Blackburn felt that he was in the presence of evil. He told Don that he was going to pray for him. Don told him that he did not want him to pray for him. Reverend Blackburn said, “I don’t care whether you want me to or not.” He opened up his Bible and started reading. Somehow, the pages never got wet. He says it was a frightening thing to witness. He thinks that he was praying more for himself than for Don at that point. He says that after praying for a brief period, the rain stopped.
Reverend Blackburn says that at that point, Don “subsided” and they could feel a peace in the room. Don said, “Thank you,” and started crying. He and Reverend Blackburn hugged and prayed together. Reverend Blackburn says there is no doubt in his mind that Don was possessed. He says there is no way a human being could do what Don did in that room. He is certain that what Don did was “spiritual,” but it was not of God.
Don says that the bizarre occurrences are “over” now and have not happened since. He hopes that they will never happen again. He says he just goes day by day. He believes that what happened was James’ doing. He says that James abused him when he was young, and then had a chance to abuse him again after his death.
Paranormal investigator Chip Decker (no relation to Don) says that what makes Don’s case unique is that all of the witnesses are credible. Many of them were well-seasoned police officers who were frightened by what they witnessed. Chip and Peter Jordan are the principal paranormal researchers on this case. They believe that somewhere there is information that is yet undiscovered that may help them unravel this mystery.
Peter says that this case is, by far, the singularly most fascinating and important case that he has ever personally been involved in. He says that does not mean that he believes that it necessarily is proof of demonic infestation. But it is the case, in his own personal experience, that comes the closest to supporting that hypothesis. Through his research, he has discovered that Don had been introduced to black magic as a small child. He believes that that may have had something to do with the occurrences.
What happened to Don? In all, nine eyewitnesses - ten, counting Don himself - are willing to go on the public record, claiming they saw, heard, and felt phenomena apparently not of this world. Is it possible that Don, somehow mesmerized by the pain of a childhood trauma, stumbled into another world that none of us can fathom? Or was he perhaps trapped in some murky region of his own psyche, with his power to do good and his power to do evil locked in combat with his own body as a battlefield?
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the February 10, 1993 episode.
  • It was also featured on Paranormal Witness on the SyFy Channel, and on The Trail Went Cold podcast.
  • “Reverend Johnson” was given an alias to protect her identity.
  • Some sources spell the Keiffer’s last name as “Kieffer”.
  • The Keiffers lived in the house for two years following their experiences, but they never were able to remove the stains on the "rain" splattered walls.
  • Keenhold initially did not come forward with his experiences in fear of losing his credibility and/or his job.

Results: Unsolved - In October 2012, Don surrendered to police after he was charged with setting fire to Dana’s Restaurant and Tavern in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. According to the police, he was hired by the restaurant’s owner to burn it down. He was later released on bail.
A New Zealand medical sociologist and paranormal researcher, Robert Bartholomew, has examined this case. He believes that the “rain” in the house may have been the result of ice damming. This occurs when warm air enters an attic space and melts snow on the roof. When temperatures drop at night, ice can form. Water can become trapped under the ice and eventually leak into the house.
According to Bartholomew’s research, ice dams are common after major snowstorms in areas where temperatures rise above freezing during the day and below it at night. Weather records show that the daytime highs were in the forties and fifties and the nighttime lows were in the twenties and thirties around the time of the incidents. There had also been a major snowstorm in the area thirteen days earlier.
Bartholomew believes that stress may have also had something to do with the events. He suspects that Don went into a trance-like state that was triggered by the stress of being in jail and losing his grandfather. Bartholomew wonders why no one photographed or videotaped any of it. He also wonders why no one contacted the local news stations about it. Although some are convinced that the incident was a hoax or a result of natural phenomena, others, including the witnesses, are certain that an unknown supernatural force was behind it.