Just call this one, "Bert's Wild Weekend." "The Tennessean," April 3, 1979:
Memphis--The modest four-room house where Bert Gross lived for the past 13 years was never anything special until objects began flying around the home.
The frame house sitting on a small hill just across the city limits in Desoto County, Miss., looks ordinary from the outside, but Gross said strange happenings transformed it over the weekend.
The former construction worker, 54, said he and his five children were sitting in their bedroom-living room watching television Saturday night when a swarm of insects suddenly entered the room and began buzzing around their heads. Then a pillow flew off the couch and landed eight feet away.
That was just the beginning of a weekend of mystery, Gross said.
Over the next two days, a coal-burning heater in the same room collapsed, a portable television set crashed to the floor, and an upright freezer turned itself around in the kitchen, Gross said.
He called neighbors and Desoto County sheriff's deputies over to watch when drawers began opening and closing and items ranging from cans of spaghetti sauce to an alarm clock hurled through the air.
A reporter for the Commercial Appeal said he witnessed the bizarre happenings while spending several hours in the house Saturday.
Gilbert Hines, 58, who lives behind the Gross house, said a pillow made him a believer.
"I'm a hard believer, especially when it comes to what people tell me," Hines said. "But a pillow came from a corner and hit me on the leg. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it."
While no one could explain the phenomenon, friends urged Gross to move his children ranging in age from 13 to 24 out of the mysterious house. Gross convinced his family to stay over the weekend, but said he might change his mind later unless things begin staying where they belong.
A follow-up story appeared the next day in the "Tampa Tribune":
Bert Gross said Tuesday he was going to wait until things "calm down" before doing any more talking about the ghostly events that he says have been happening in his Memphis, Tenn., home.The family returned to their home, but strange events kept up for at least several more weeks. On the 15th, the stove suddenly collapsed, forcing the family to cook meals on an outdoor grill. Dirt mysteriously flew around the house, and the refrigerator and freezer moved during the night. The family finally moved, and, so far as is recorded, the exploits of the Gross Poltergeist came to an end.
"I'm not letting anybody into the house for a couple of days until I have time to think it all over," said Gross, refusing to be interviewed.
Carloads of sightseers have been driving past the modest home since reports circulated last weekend about a freezer moving itself, tennis balls flying through the air and objects --ranging from cans to alarm clocks--tumbling from counters. Unable to cope with the phenomenon, Gross took his five children and went to stay with relatives. "There have been television crews out there filming without my permission and people on my porch trying to get in," Gross said. "I just don't know what to think about it all."
The frame house has been locked and a rusted lawn chair stays propped against a sagging screen door. to keep it shut and the spectators away. Outside sits a portable black-and-white television that Gross said crashed to the floor during the bizarre weekend.
Gross said the strange events started Saturday night. While watching television, Gross and his children were surrounded by a swarm of flying insects. A few moments later, he said, a pillow flew off a couch and landed two yards away. A reporter who was asked to witness the mysterious events said he was talking with Gross when a pillow on a couch flew across the room and hit him on the leg.
"I can't explain any of it," Gross said.