You’ve most likely already heard of Donny Decker by now. His story has been posted on BIN, TV shows and a wide range of internet articles. You remember the story of how he made it rain on command. The story that you just can’t seem to get out of your head.
The story never ceases to amaze me, so won’t you please join me in a thorough analysis of the case.
Lets first looks at the highlights of the story;
- February 24, 1983, 21-year-old Don Decker of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was granted a furlough from the county jail to attend the funeral of his grandfather, James Kishaugh.
- Don was serving a 4- to 12-month sentence for receiving stolen property.
- Don’s grandfather, had physically abused him from the time he was just 7-years-old.
- As he watched his family make loving statements about his childhood tormentor, Don grew angrier and angrier.
- He left the funeral and stayed with some friends of his (due to his mother not allowing him to come home) named Bob and Jeannie Kieffer.
- Mysterious events begin to happen after his grandfather’s funeral.
It was at the Keiffer’s home that all the uneasy feelings stirred up at the funeral came back to haunt Don.
Suddenly he felt a deep chill. At almost the same time, water began to drip from the living room walls as Don says he fell into a strange, trance-like state.
The Keiffers notified the landlord, Ron Van Why. When Ron arrived, he was just as puzzled by the problem as the Keiffers:
Bob Kieffer recalls the night Don Decker was possessed by an evil spirit in his home.
“I think the problem comes from the plumbing. But there is no pipeline in place of the leak.
After watching for a while, I found that the water is not merely come from the ceiling.
But it can also come from the walls and floors. There is no clear direction where it came from the water.
it can come from anywhere. “
So Mr.Van Why, the landloard, called the police because he thought there was something else going on in the house.
He also called his wife, Romayne, to come into the house.
Not long after, two police officers named Richard Wolbert and John Baujan arrived.
Officer Wolbert said:
“At that time, he (Mr.Van Rev) told me ‘I want you to walk into the house’. Then I told him ‘I’m not going to get into unless you tell me what happened. “
He said ‘trust me, walking alone into the.’ So I started walking and he was behind me. When I walk two steps into the door of the house, I was hit by water mists. “
Officer Richard Wolbert;
Wolbert said that the oddity that occurred not only rain that occurred in the house, but that water mists can also be seen against the laws of physics!
“We were standing near the front door and then watch the water mists move horizontally in the air. He is past us and into another room. “
John Baujan Officers also witnessed the oddity.
“Suddenly I felt frightened and began to shiver. That’s what I feel.
When it is a situation where something happened that had never even dreamed could happen.
No one can explain what is happening. “
As the officers tried to make sense of what was happening they noticed Don, who still appeared to be in a trance. The officers asked the Keiffers to take Don out of the home and sit him down at the pizzeria located a short distance from the residence. As soon as the Keiffers and Don left, the house returned to normal. This correlation did not go unnoticed, and Ron found himself wondering if one of the Keiffers or Don was responsible for this incident.
Pam Scrofano, who owned the pizzeria, saw Don enter the restaurant in that zombie-like state. Moments after the Keiffers and Don sat down, they noticed the same thing began to occur at the pizzeria. Water began to fall on their heads and spread across the floor. Pam immediately suspected Don was possessed. She ran to her register and pulled out her crucifix and placed it on Don’s skin. Don reacted immediately and it was apparent that the crucifix had burned his flesh.
At this point, it was no longer possible to stay at the pizzeria.
Bob and Jeannie Keiffer decided to take Don back to their home.
As soon as they left the pizzeria, the rain stopped falling.
Don later returned to Jennie and Bob’s house with his restaurant friends where he was met with anger from his friends. They were blaming Don for the strange happenings when Don’s body started levitating off the floor and then thrown across the kitchen were he lay unconscious.
Officers were called again. The officers arrived at the house with another officer John Rundle. It was Rundle that wanted to see if Decker was demonized.
Rundle placed a bag over Don’s head and put things in Don’s hands while they were behind his back.
He did this to see if there would be any reaction to each item, which included a crucifix.
His hands suffered burns when the crucifix was placed in his hands. Don again levitated and was thrown across the room were he lay unconscious with what appeared to be claw marks about his neck.
When Don’s furlough was over, he left the the Kieffer’s house and went back to jail. After being in his cell for a few minutes, warden David Keenhold heard some commotion coming from the area where Don was housed. One of his officers came in, stared at him in disbelief, and exclaimed “Your shirt!”.
When Keenhold looked down, he saw that the area around his sternum was saturated with water. It turned out that when the guards had heard of the recent events at the Kieffer household, one of them had dared Don to make it rain in the Keenhold’s office.
Just for good measure, it also started raining inside Don’s jail cell. At this point, Keenhold decided to call in Reverend William Blackburn to perform an exorcism. When the reverend entered the cell, Don began begging for his help. Blackburn instead tried to accuse Don of making up everything that had happened (once again going with the “poke the evil entity with a stick” method).
At that point, Don’s demeanor completely changed from the trance-like states he had entered during the prior events. He claimed to have great power, rubbed his fingers together, and rain began to pour inside the cell. At this point, Blackburn realized it was time to do his best Father Karrass impression and start fighting this demon with the word of God. He pulled out his Bible and began reading from it…which was surprisingly easy, since unlike everything else around him, the pages did not get wet.
Unlike in the movies, however, it only took a few minutes and very little struggling for Don to suddenly seem at peace as the rain stopped.
To this day, Don Decker has never experienced the terrible feelings or occurrences that he did during that weekend almost 30 years ago. He firmly believes that it was the spirit of his grandfather coming back to harm him from the grave.
While nothing can prove that it was the spirit of his dead grandfather or some other sort of demonic possession, there were multiple eye witnesses (many of whom are high ranking police officials) that saw the same impossibly strange occurrences at different points in time. They also managed to all keep their stories very consistent in interviews that were done almost 20 years apart.
There also wasn’t much for the police witnesses to gain from all of this except for ridicule, possible loss of their jobs, and a coveted, unpaid interview on a SyFy or Lifetime channel program.
Embedded below is an episode of Paranormal Witness (2011) about the Don Decker incident. Unfortunately, the Unsolved Mysteries episode (1993) about it has been removed from Youtube (but you can still find the show’s wiki page here) While the melodrama gets kicked up to an almost sickening degree at times, you do get to see the subjects go on camera to get interviewed (and age fairly well).
I guess there’s a chance this could all be one of the most elaborate hoaxes of all time, but even the most skeptical atheist would have to admit that just maybe, an evil presence was somehow involved.
Sound too bizarre to be true?
New Zealand researcher Robert Bartholomew says residents should be skeptical of the case, which gained Stroudsburg paranormal notoriety.
His research, trying to crack the case of Stroudsburg’s “Rain Boy,” was fittingly published in the most recent issue of Skeptic magazine.
Witnesses believed Decker was possessed by the devil and even recounted the events for two popular TV shows — “Unsolved Mysteries” in 1993 and most recently “Paranormal Witness,” which aired in November 2011 on the Syfy Channel.
Bartholomew, who is originally from Whitehall, N.Y., and is now a teacher at the Botany Downs Secondary College in New Zealand, frequently writes about the paranormal for medical and sociology journals.
“Why didn’t anyone videotape or photograph these events, despite cameras and videotape being widely available?” Bartholomew writes. “It is beyond belief that if these events were as dramatic as they claimed, no one snapped pictures.”
Cracking the case
Bartholomew repeatedly questions why the events weren’t recorded if they were as dramatic as portrayed in witness accounts.
“Why not phone the local TV station to record this event? All we are left with are eyewitness accounts from excited observers with a world view that includes the reality of the devil,” Bartholomew writes in his article.
He believes stress, and even the weather, could have played a role in the bizarre events.
“Human perception is notoriously unreliable even under ideal conditions. Stress can alter perceptions, and it is difficult to imagine few events more stressful than believing you are in the presence of a man who is possessed by demonic forces,” Bartholomew writes.
At the time of the events, Decker was under extreme stress, serving time in jail and experiencing the death of a relative.
“While so-called trance states may be triggered by stress and do not necessarily denote mental illness or disorder, they are also easily faked. It is remarkable Decker did not receive medical attention; instead, attempts were made to exorcise him,” the article says.
As for the rain, a report by the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance says Pennsylvania is at moderate to high risk for winter moisture problems, with one of the most severe events being ice damming.
This is caused by warm air entering an attic that melts snow on the outer surface of a roof, resulting in an accumulation of ice under which pools of water form and leak.
Ever the skeptic
Skeptic magazine is published by The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization whose mission, according to its website, is to engage leading experts in investigating the paranormal and “extraordinary claims of all kinds and to promote critical thinking.”
The society’s executive director and magazine publisher, Michael Shermer, is also a monthly columnist for Scientific American.
“Why be a skeptic?” Bartholomew said. “I want to believe in the paranormal. I would describe myself as an open-minded researcher who follows where the facts lead, and in this instance, it’s an indictment of TV docudramas.
“I do not think those involved are lying. I think it is a classic case of social delusion. If these events happened the way people claim they did, over several days, it is beyond belief that no one took photos.”
The Telekinesis theory;
The Don Decker case is for some reason one of the lesser known poltergeist cases. Maybe it could be that people confused Don’s poltergeist with some superpower to produce rain on a whim. More of a science fiction story than a paranormal story.
I’ve always considered Don Decker’s account one of the more poignant poltergeist cases out there. Not only do we have a great number of witnesses, but many of them were trained observers. Officers of the law.
What I find fascinating is the correlation between Don’s initial emotional outburst and the succession of the paranormal phenomenon. Meaning to say that when Don was finally confronted with his tormentor, a man who had been abusing him since childhood, his emotions got the best of him.
Don wasn’t allowed to express his feelings. He did not release the pent up anger he’d been harboring since childhood. The anger and feeling of misunderstanding that pushed him to a life of crime. Don was angry! And the person responsible for his anger was gone.
I’ve studied several cases of poltergeist phenomena and have noticed the trend in pre-adolescent and post-traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D) and the sudden outburst of kinetic energy, or psychokinetic energy. A.K.A the poltergeist phenomena. Most, but not all, cases involve sexual abuse.
What else makes this case an important one is that one must remember that Don had never gone through this again. Only when he faced his aggressor, when the years of repressed anger came to a head, only then did the strangeness begin.
The sudden appearance of water, or the ability to directly influence it was been tied to poltergeist phenomena for years. One such famous case is the Jackie Hernandez case of San Pedro California. A case in where a viscous matter began to seep out from walls and ceilings of a small duplex. The liquid was later analyzed to be human blood plasma. Another Californian case was that of Doris Bither, or They Entity.
Unknown to most, the Doris Bither case also included instances of water permeating through walls, making them appear to “sweat”.
Of course it’s not known why this happens and why it is so rare.
To many, Don Decker’s story is just that, a story. To those who were there his story is one of the most incredible things they have ever witnessed. As far as poltergeist cases, Don Decker’s case give a bit of credence to the possibility of the existence of psychokinetic energy.
Sources: Usolved / Pocono Record
Update on Donny decker
TOBYHANNA — A man accused of setting fire to a restaurant in the Poconos turned himself in at federal court in Wilkes-Barre on Friday.
This is the same man who back in the late 1980s starred in an episode of “Unsolved mysteries,” because of claims he could make it rain, and to this day that case is still a mystery to police in Stroudsburg.
Donald Decker voluntarily turned himself in Friday afternoon in federal court in Wilkes-Barre for setting a restaurant on fire last year in Tobyhanna.
This isn’t the first time Decker has had a run-in with the law.
Back in the 1980s, police in Stroudsburg investigated a bizarre case involving Decker, which remains a mystery to this day.
Donald Decker of Gouldsboro was interviewed on the primetime national show “Unsolved Mysteries” back in the 1980s for being known as “Rainman,” a man who could actually make it rain.
Now, he’s getting attention again, but this time he’s facing federal arson charges for setting Dana`s Restaurant and Tavern in Tobyhanna on fire last year. Investigators said he was hired by the owner to burn down the business.
Back in the early 1980s Donald Decker was known as “Rainman” to Stroud Area Regional Police who said Decker could make it rain.
Detective Richard Wolbert was on the case back then, and said he still can`t explain it.
“Water traveling, flying around the room horizontally,” said Wolbert.
The case grabbed national attention, and Decker`s story appeared on “Unsolved Mysteries” years later.
Wolbert said the call back in the 1980s started off as an investigation into a plumbing problem at a home in Stroudsburg where Decker was staying at the time.
“It definitely wasn’t a plumbing problem. It was just appearing, flying around the room. I was still wearing glasses at the time, and I was getting struck in the face, so it was really strange,” said Wolbert.
Wolbert said it’s a case to this day, he has no explanation for.
“There was something going on in that house. I really don’t know what it was. His explanation is that a relative passed away and that had something to do with it, but that came from him,” said Wolbert.
Decker is free on bail. Officials said it`s because he is not a flight risk.
As for the unsolved mystery involving Decker, Newswatch 16 tried to interview more witnesses, but they turned us down because they said what they saw is too upsetting to talk about.
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