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  • The Guest is a Ghost

    Corning Court residents discover the spirits are will and able
  • Raymond has a bit of a shoe fetish, loves to leave a putrid stench in the house, and enjoys turning lights on and off.
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  • Raymond has a bit of a shoe fetish, loves to leave a putrid stench in the house, and enjoys turning lights on and off.
    The rambunctious ghost has been haunting state Rep. Sal Esquivel and his wife, Jan, for the past six years at their home on Corning Court, a small east Medford neighborhood that boasts not one, but three haunted houses.
    Esquivel, better known for his conservative political leanings, never gave the spirit world much thought until he moved into this historical house, built in 1906 and moved to its current location in 1924.
    "I've been a disbeliever all my life," Sal says.
    "I've always been kind of a believer, but this has been my first encounter," Jan says.
    When they bought the house with the distinctive "Romeo" balconies, Sal knew that the father of one of his hunting buddies had committed suicide there in 1964 after suffering from a terminal illness.
    "I first noticed the smell when we first moved in," Sal says. "Other than putrid, it was hard for me to describe."
    They investigated the heating system, and their cat was an excellent mouser, so they were flummoxed by what was causing it. The smell seemed to come and go, but it always came from the den area, which is now Sal's office, decorated with stuffed animal heads from his hunting trips.
    "I inappropriately called that Sal's dead room," Jan says.
    Sal says he didn't know which room Raymond had committed suicide in until after he moved into the house. To this day, Raymond's son refuses to set foot in the house, Sal says.
    After they moved in, they noticed that a light kept going on in the den.
    Jan thought Sal turned it on, and he thought she turned it on.
    "He finally got a little cross with me," she says. "He says, 'That's not funny.' "
    They've checked the wiring, they've jumped on the floor and they've even thrown the paper on the front porch to see whether they could get the light to go on.
    Once, when Jan was sitting on the couch with her son, the sound on the TV went really low, then got loud. Then the fan switched on and spun faster and faster.
    "I said, 'I think we've got a ghost,' " Jan recalls.
    One summer, when the temperature climbed into the high 80s, the Esquivels were sanding the floors next to the den where Raymond died when suddenly they felt a creeping cold blow over them — even though their house doesn't have air conditioning.
    "That's when Sal said, 'I get it,' " Jan says.
    What really puzzled Sal is the time he searched for a jar of peanut butter, but couldn't find it.
    He went upstairs for something. When he returned, the peanut butter and a knife were sitting on the counter.
    The Esquivels say they've had house sitters who felt Raymond's presence. One interrupted the couple's vacation with a phone call when two of her shoes disappeared — one black, the other silver. The shoes have never been recovered.
    The Esquivels say they have noticed the ghost only in the den, the living room and the kitchen. He seems to avoid the dining room and the upstairs.
    Over the years, their encounters with the spirit have diminished.
    Jan says she was home alone one night working in the kitchen when the door to the basement flew open but stopped before hitting the opposing wall. Raymond has a penchant for opening this particular door, she says.
    She very firmly told her ghost, "It's OK, Raymond, that you do that, but don't do it when I'm here by myself. Don't do spooky stuff."
    "I don't think the door thing happened again after that," she says.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.
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