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The story behind the ‘NOT HAUNTED’ for-sale signs in Hampden

So, you’re buying a house. You’ll probably want to know how old the roof is, what the neighborhood schools are like and whether any spirits have unfinished business in the general vicinity — you know, the important stuff.

Recently, Baltimore-based real estate agent Joy Sushinsky did her prospective clients a solid and answered that last question before they even asked it. In bold white lettering over a black background, signs outside of two Hampden homes for sale promised the properties were “NOT HAUNTED.” But when the signs went viral on Reddit and TikTok, many weren’t reassured.

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“It’s definitely haunted,” one Reddit user affirmed.

But Sushinsky says the homes are ghost-free — she verified that with each property’s seller before posting the signs. And even though sellers aren’t required to disclose a site’s paranormal activity to buyers under Maryland law, Sushinsky says she’s confident they were telling the truth.

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“Yeah, people know if they’re living in a haunted house,” she says. “And they’ll tell you.”

As the former roommate of at least one spirit, Sushinky would know. She moved into a new house in Hampden this summer, where she’d lie awake at night, listening to doors opening and shutting without explanation. Her cat — the Instagram famous Killer — would make a weird yowling noise any time he walked to the corner of a room near the front of the house. Her dog, she says, looked like he knew what was going on, too.

It was freaky, she said. She lives alone, and used to lock her bedroom door at night. But after Killer died in May, she says the bumps in the night suddenly stopped.

“That kind of made me feel like, maybe my house was haunted, and the ghost left with my cat,” she said, laughing as she added, “I sound completely crazy, I understand that.”

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Sushinsky first posted the signs outside of homes on the market three or four years before her ghostly encounter, after returning from a trip to the French Quarter neighborhood in New Orleans. There, she’d noticed signs in front of houses for sale that identified the properties as haunted. “Oh, I think I can do something funny for this for Halloween,” she remembers thinking.

Though she didn’t set up the signs last year, Sushinsky decided to put the signs back into rotation for 2020. People need a laugh now more than ever, she figured.

“You get one person to smile and it makes it all worth any effort you put into it,” she said.

But at least one of the signs have since been taken down: Jess Mayhugh and her husband, Danny, closed on the sale of one of the Hampden properties on Friday. The couple said they got a good laugh out of the sign when they first viewed the house in early November.

“The sign definitely represents sort of, like, the quirk and character of Hampden, which is the neighborhood we were looking to move to” Jess Mayhugh said. “It’s kind of a good omen, I guess you could say.”

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