Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Tallman House

Case File: Tallman House
Location: Horicon, Wisconsin
Date: May 1987 to January 1988
Description: The Tallman House is depicted as a one-floor suburban home. It is unknown if the house in the clip was was actually the Tallman's former residence.


History: In early February of 1987, Allen and Deborah "Debbie" Tallman brought home a bunk bed that they purchased at a second hand shop. They assembled the bed and stored it in their basement. When the Tallmans moved the bed upstairs in May of 1987, it marked the beginning of nine months of horror for the family. From the moment the bed was first slept in, the house appeared to be haunted by spirits that terrorized first the children and then the entire family.

The bunk bed

The children, who were rarely sick before, suddenly became ill for no apparent reason. The night that the family moved the beds upstairs, their son "Danny" was in the room next to it. After his parents said goodnight to him, his clock radio apparently took on a life of its own. It turned itself on and randomly switched the channels under its own power. He reported that he saw the radio's vindicator moving itself. However, his parents did not believe him.
A few weeks later, Allen was painting the walls in his basement when he went up for lunch. He placed the paint brush on the table. When he returned, the brush was in the bucket with the bristles sticking up. When the youngest daughter was sleeping in the bunk bed, she claimed that she had seen a red-eyed witch behind her door. She also claimed that she saw fire in her room. A month later, Danny saw the same thing.
The family pastor was brought in, and he felt the presence of evil inside the house. The Tallmans continued to be tormented by the entities; doors would bang open and shut, strange voices would call out of nowhere, and ghostly visions persisted. A week before Christmas, Danny again saw something horrifying and told his mother that he wanted to leave. Frustrated, Allen told the spirits to get out of his house. He then said that if they wanted to fight someone, they could fight him.

Fire seen by Allen

Three weeks later, at around 2AM on January 7, 1988, Allen returned home from the late shift. Outside the garage, he heard an eerie, howling sound, and went to investigate. A voice came out of the howling and said "come here". He went around the back to see if anyone was there, but there was no one. He then went back to the garage and saw that it was on fire. He went inside to get a fire extinguisher, but when he came back out, the fire was gone. The garage door was undamaged with no visible signs of recent fire consumation. When Allen got back inside, he went to reach his lunch pail that he had set down, but the entity then threw it across the room.
Allen started sleeping in his daughters' room to provide protection. One night, a fog appeared around him. A voice came out of the fog that said "You're dead". Debbie then called the pastor because of what had happened to Allen. A few days later, Allen was working late and asked a relative to watch the girls. His relative was a complete skeptic, until that night. The same horrible figure seen by the children appeared, and he let out a loud scream. Debbie then told the relative to get the kids together, and that they were leaving the house forever.
Two weeks later, the Tallmans had the bunk beds destroyed. Afterwards, the Tallmans had no further paranormal experiences. In April of 1988, a family moved into the Tallmans' old home and have had no haunting experiences.
Background: The house that the Tallmans lived in had no apparent history of hauntings. Horicon, Wisconsin, is a small farming town of just 3800. It is considered a safe and prosperous place. The Tallmans moved into their house on April 13, 1986.
Investigations: The Tallman family's pastor, Wayne Dobratz, visited them shortly after the hauntings began. He believed that they were victims of the Devil. He was certain that a Demonic presence was in their home. He found no evidence that they were fabricating the incidents.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of a Halloween episode that aired on October 26, 1988. It was excluded from the Amazon Prime and FilmRise episodes.
The Tallmans were beset by unwanted attention as a result of earlier ghost hysteria, which they did not seek. They had turned down a lucrative tabloid offer about their experience as they did not think it right to make any money off their children's misfortune. The Tallmans agreed to share their story with Unsolved Mysteries under three conditions: they were censored during the interview, their children's names were to be protected by alias and that all reenactments of their experiences be done by actors playing the Tallman family.
The Tallman House activity was described in greater extent in the book, "Haunted America" by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, but at no time in their research do they link the hauntings to a bunk bed. The activity is instead linked to the property as being located on or near former Native American burial grounds.
This is considered one of the most frightening and well-known paranormal cases of the series.
Results: Unsolved