Case File: The Tatum House
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Description: The Tatum House is a non-specified residence in an Atlanta suburb. There are no known details about it.
Date: January 1986
History: Jim and Kay Tatum built a new home in a quiet suburb near Atlanta, Georgia with plans to retire. The two were stable, reliable people: Jim was a career army officer while Kay was an accountant. However, five months after they moved in, they started experiencing a series of incidents that defied explanation.
One night in January of 1986, Kay woke up from a restless sleep. Not wanting to disturb Jim, she left their bedroom. While in the bathroom, she sensed a strange presence. She caught a glimpse of a man walking past the open door. "It was definitely a man, and he was swinging his arms lightly," she recalls. "His head was slightly bent, and he walked briskly past me. At first I thought it was my husband, and I went into the bedroom and there he was in the bed, so I thought it was a burglar." Jim searched the house, but there was no evidence of any entry or of anyone having been in there. He assumed it was her overactive imagination. Shortly after the incident, Kay began to suspect that it may have not been an actual living person at all. She recalled she hadn't heard a single noise from it.
Two months passed without further incident. Then, one night in March, Jim was working upstairs on a ladder that led to the attic. He stopped when Kay called him down to dinner. As usual, he made sure to unplug his drill because it was very old. As the evening wore on, he decided to watch a movie while she went upstairs to read. One hour later, she heard the sound of the drill outside the bedroom. She assumed he was teasing her about having seen a ghost. When she checked on the noise, she realized the hallway was empty and the drill was unplugged. "I was really frightened and I reached down and felt it and it was ice cold. It had not been turned on," she adds.
Jim was confused by Kay's experiences, as he felt that she was very level-headed and would not make them up. Gradually, she experienced other phenomenon. One night, she heard the sound of coins falling in a bowl, but she was alone in the room. Another time, while cooking, she felt two sharp tugs on her blouse when no one was near her. After that incident, she decided that there was a problem in their house. The incidents seemed to center around her.
In February, Jim finally had his first strange experience. An early riser, he always got up hours before Kay. When she woke up, she would ring her bell if she needed anything upstairs. One morning, he heard what he assumed was her ringing it. However, when he got up there, he discovered that she was asleep. He went into the guest room and looked at the bell. He figured that he had heard something else.
However, after the third time this happened, they decided to make up a code in order to outwit the entity. She would ring it three times if she wanted him to come upstairs. One morning he heard the three rings. However, when he got to the master bedroom, she was sound asleep, and the bell was in the other bedroom. When he turned around and walked out the door, it rang again! "I was frightened," he confesses. "My hair stood up on my neck. I told Kay then, no more bell. I'm not going to answer that bell anymore, and that bell has not rung since."
The Tatums felt that their home was no longer their own. They decided to move, leaving the "entity" to live in the house alone.
Investigations: Parapsychologist Dr. William Roll has investigated this case. He visited the house to try to interpret the supernatural events. He has looked into the possibility that the hauntings were caused by spirits, and also the possibility that they were the result of psychic phenomenon. He believes that memories can actually be transferred to physical objects, and these residual memories can be triggered by ordinary people.
There is some speculation that the hauntings were not caused by ghosts, but rather by psychokinesis - a hidden psychic power in the mind of an individual which unconsciously moves objects through space.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 26, 1988 Halloween episode along with the The Queen Mary, Tallman House, and General Wayne Inn.
Due to the fact that the Tatums were trying to sell their home, they asked Unsolved Mysteries to not show its exterior.
- Tatum House on Unsolved.com
- Seeks Ghosts: The Tatum Haunting
- Kolb Ridge Court – HauntedHouses.com
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Jim and Kay Tatum