The Knocking Ghost of Boise

Peggy Zimmerman was scared. They 53-year-old woman kept hearing mysterious knocks coming from the floor of her Boise, Idaho home.

Disturbingly, whatever was doing the knocking seemed to be intelligent. It could rap out answers to questions. For instance, when Mrs. Zimmerman asked it how old she was, it rapped out the correct number. And whenever she tested it with other questions about her past, it always knew the answer.

Mrs. Zimmerman didn't believe in ghosts, but the mystery was making her question her beliefs. She and her 12-year-old daughter Shelley started to call the floor-rapper "It".

Strangely, "It" would only make noises when Shelley was around, as if it needed her presence to communicate. But since Shelley was merely standing quietly in the room, she couldn't be the source of the noises.

Beneath the floor was an empty crawlspace. For years nailed boards had prevented access to this space, but recently they had been ripped away. Fearing that someone might be crawling beneath the house and knocking on the floor, Mrs. Zimmerman eventually called the police for help.

The Police Investigate
A team of four policemen, headed by Lt. Richard Maus, came to the house to investigate.

The first thing they did was to set up traps outside to make sure that no one was entering the crawlspace. And then they began asking "It" some questions.

How many people were in the room? — Six raps. Correct.

How many females? — Two raps. Correct.

How many policemen? — Four raps. Correct.

The policemen noted that the knocking was hard enough to be felt as well as heard. The sounds vibrated through the soles of their shoes.

After the interrogation of "It," the police checked the traps outside. All of them were undisturbed, which meant that no one could have been in the crawlspace. So the policemen left without any answers.

But still perplexed, they returned the next day to ask "It" more questions.

How many guns were they carrying, the officers asked. Five loud raps came from the floor. Shelley looked puzzled, noting the officers only had two weapons. But the officers revealed that they also had three concealed weapons. So the answer was correct!

Unable to solve the mystery, Lt. Maus submitted a report that said, "Anyone reading this report may think the undersigned... are 10-96 (mental cases), have been hitting the sauce, taking pot, or whatever. All of us were skeptical about this call. I have no logical explanation for the phenomenon."

The Mystery Explained
The mystery of the rapping ghost did not last for very long. It was solved when a news team came to the Zimmerman home to investigate.

The newsman noticed that the raps only occurred when Shelley was standing in a certain, rather peculiar way. He guessed that she was somehow making the noises with her leg.

The newsman passed this information on to the police, and when they confronted Shelley, she admitted that she was "It".

It turned out that Shelley had an abnormal condition in her ankle that allowed her to make a loud knocking sound whenever she flexed her leg muscles.

Shelley's case was referred to juvenile authorities.
Links and References
  • "Ghost Raps Out Messages to Puzzled Police," (Sep 25, 1973). Idaho State Journal.
  • "Ghost Hoax Uncovered," (Sep 26, 1973). Idaho State Journal.


Here's how you can tell whether or not a ghost story is a has the word GHOST in it!
Posted by Rocket J. Squirrel  on  Wed Oct 01, 2014  at  06:26 PM
Great story I am using it for a science report on worlds greatest hoaxes. Poor girl she probably just wanted attention. But hey this is coming from a twelve year old!
Posted by Grace  on  Sat Mar 07, 2015  at  05:51 AM