When Phil and Kim Kirchhoff purchased an old home on Northeast First Street in Mineral Wells three years ago, they had intentions of restoring the more than 100-year-old white house as a fun family project.
But today, Kim "won't even go up there," Phil says. He won't mow the lawn, not even in the middle of the day. The ghosts — some adults, some children — come out at all hours, Phil says.
"That house is as wacky in the middle of the day as it is at night," he says. The two have never lived at the home and say they never will.
The Haunted Hill House, as it's now called, was known as a site for paranormal activity before the Kirchhoffs purchased it for an undisclosed price. That would have been good information to have in advance, Phil says: "We started having this estate sale" to sell stuff inside the home, Phil explains, "and all the neighbors started telling us ghost stories."
The Kirchhoffs soon realized they wouldn't be fixing up 501 NE First St. Not with the female ghost who, allegedly, hums happily in the kitchen, and the ghost-child named Joshua who, allegedly, talks to houseguests.
While Phil had never been interested in paranormal activity before, he has become an impromptu ghost host on the weekends. (He works as a senior quality analyst at a computer company full time during the week.) Phil meets paranormal investigators and others interested in experiencing ghost activity a few evenings a month, and for $200 or $250 a night, Phil and others summon the spirits at Haunted Hill House.
He tells stories of a few dozen people who have been scratched, which Phil says he learned is a "classic" experience during ghost hunting. He even tells the story of one man who was pushed to the ground by some force, left with "bruises" that Phil describes as "a thumbprint and four fingerprints."
The "children spirits," he explains, "like to get on your back. They'll sit beside you."
Still, Phil only "halfway" believes in ghosts now, he says. "I think people are afraid to say they believe in ghosts because that throws you into a category of Big Foot and demons." An anthropologist with a degree from the University of Texas, Phil is a fossil hunter who decided that the haunted house that "just fell into my lap" was interesting for a time. But it should be somebody else's project now.
He's selling the Mineral Wells home for an asking price of $125,000. He says he won't sell it to someone who wants to demolish the home. He hopes to hand it off as a "paranormal research center" to someone who wants to continue the Haunted Hill House business.
Haunted Hill House is a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Or is it three baths? A third bathroom was sealed up for unknown reasons before the Kirchhoffs bought it. ("We didn't find it for a year," Phil says.) The home is 2,800 square feet and is located in a primo spot for ghost hunters, near the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells that has been featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.
So far, Phil has gotten some interest in the home — but no offers yet.