House-hunting is a little bit like dating: You’re nervous, excited, and painfully aware that this house just might be “the one.” After months — maybe even years — of searching for the perfect house, you finally find it and are eager to commit. It’s a fully-furnished love story for the ages. At least, that’s what should happen.

However, If the story of Amanda and Ricky Badger is any indication, house-hunting definitely isn’t a fairy tale. And just because you’ve found your dream home doesn’t mean it won’t turn on you, especially if it’s hiding an explosive secret. 

Couples everywhere dream of one day finding their own perfect forever home. Amanda and Ricky Badger thought they had finally found theirs on Ferry Road in Milo, Maine. The house was on a quiet, rural street — seemingly, the perfect set-up for the hard-working Badgers.

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The evening everything changed was pleasant enough for the new homeowners. They ran some errands together and were excited to see what McKusick Petroleum had installed in their home: a regulator on a propane tank used to fuel their gas stove.

Before relaxing in front of the TV, they turned the new tank in the basement on and checked the stove. There was no note from McKusick Petroleum, no voicemail or beeping on their answering machine. They had no reason to suspect that anything was off…

…Until twenty minutes later, when the house exploded. For Amanda, the terrifying event is burned into her mind. “I remember a really loud bang and a bright light,” she said. The other details she shared are so surreal, they sound like something you would see in a movie. 

“I recall the feeling of flying through the air, seeing a ball of fire but not feeling hot, and waking up outside on the ground with something on top of me.” What was on top of her was the roof — or, rather, what was left of it. 

When Ricky crawled out of the debris, he looked around and saw grass, trees, road — they were on their front lawn, when mere seconds before they were on their couch. He searched for his wife in the rubble.

Finally, Ricky found Amanda and removed the debris that covered her body. Her arms and wrists were covered with cuts and burns. Ricky carried Amanda to the road, and from there, they stared at what was left of their dream home.

“It was just flat like a pancake,” Amanda said of the house. Disturbingly, she said that “the house was not on fire but I could hear smoke alarms going off.” The couple stood, stunned, and tried to make sense of it all. 

Joseph Baldacci

Later, at Maine Medical Center, Amanda was receiving treatment for burns and lacerations when, out of the blue, her cellphone rang. When she checked it, she saw that she had a voicemail…from McKusick Petroleum. 

The voicemail warned the Badgers not to turn on the propane because there was “something going on in the house.” That’s it — no explanations, no theories as to what could be “going on.” Amanda and Ricky knew they needed help. 

With the help of their attorney, Joseph Baldacci, they discovered that the previous homeowners cut a propane line and had not sealed it off. The Badgers were never notified of this, not by the previous owners nor by McKusick Petroleum.

Immediately, Baldacci knew that the couple had a compelling case against McKusick Petroleum. “We are honored to represent this young Maine couple and help them move on from this terrible episode,” Baldacci said, but that was easier said than done.

The couple’s beloved dog, Jade, had passed away a few weeks before they moved into the Ferry Road house, but her ashes were lost in the explosion. Amanda had also just discovered her birth family, and the few mementos she had were swiftly lost.

“I had letters from my birth mother in the house that are gone now,” Amanda said. These letters were some of the only things connecting her to her birth family, but they were lost forever. Thankfully, one of her most precious possessions was spared. 

When Amanda found out that her cat, Ella, had survived the explosion, she started sobbing. “I thought…we’d find her body somewhere in the house. For them to find her and for her to be okay, that’s when I lost it.”

Unfortunately, the Badger’s will deal with another consequence of the explosion for the rest of their lives. “We both still have nightmares and have been diagnosed with PTSD,” Amanda said. Thankfully, Baldacci helped the Badgers recoup some of what they lost. 

The Badger’s received a $550,000 settlement from McKusick Petroleum. Half of the money went to reimburse the couple’s homeowner’s insurance company, and the rest was compensation for their personal injuries and the trauma they suffered. 

Finally, the couple was able to start their lives anew, in a rented home about 1 ½ miles from Ferry Road. Amanda and Ricky say that their “intention is to stay here for the rest of [their] lives.” Still, one thing is missing.

The stove in their new home is electric, not gas, according to Amanda. The couple will likely be scarred by the terrifying event for years to come, but Amanda is hopeful for all McKusick Petroleum’s customers out there.

“Hopefully this will make things safer for future [McKusick Petroleum] customers,” she said. She hopes that she and Ricky’s ordeal, if anything, is a lesson to future homeowners. “I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Former Pennsylvania councilman Bob Cranmer could’ve used the well-wishes of the Badgers. Because after seeing the horrors hiding inside his newly purchased home, a faulty gas pipe would’ve been a positive addition.

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Sitting on the corner of Sceneridge and Brownsville Road just outside of Pittsburgh was a quaint home Bob had been mesmerized by as a kid. After a long career of public service, he bought it for below market value.

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With a well-kept lawn, fresh red paint, and huge front porch, this three-story home seemed like the perfect place to settle down and entertain their family and friends. But it would soon become the worst purchase Bob ever made.

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See, as its new owner would soon learn, the house had a violent history. In the 1700’s, a tribe of Native Americans massacred a group of white settlers on the property, at least according to Bob’s future speculations.

Later, in 1909, a disgruntled builder allegedly cursed the house. Yet these weren’t even the strangest parts of the house’s history.

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Another theory was that an early 20th-century doctor allegedly rented a room in the house and performed over 100 then-illegal abortions. Put simply, some felt this house had a history of bad juju—and Bob and his family would eventually feel the brunt of it.

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From the first moment Bob and his family stepped into their new home, something seemed off. As they did a walk-through of the home, the family lost track of one of their sons. Eventually, they found him crying on the staircase as though something horrific had happened. They should have packed up and moved out right then…

Ultimately, Bob and his family moved in but they could never quite get settled. At first, they were victims of the prototypical haunting: radio dials turned on their own, lights flickered, and the faucet flowed periodically. For 10 years, the activity remained at this level—strange, annoying even, but nothing truly horrifying. But then, in 2003, the intensity of the haunting escalated dramatically.

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In an interview with WJW Fox 8 News, Bob told the reporter: “We’d wake up on a regular basis with scratches and bite marks. This thing was out to hurt us.” What’s more, something ghostly would pound on the walls at night.

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Ryan Ruell, host of A&E’s Paranormal State, verified Bob’s claims. The experienced ghost hunter told People magazine that the house was his number one scariest encounter: metal crucifixes bent right before his eyes and an unknown liquid that was blood-like in composition dripped from the walls. Scientists tested the liquid—seen on the wallpaper below—and results were inconclusive. That wasn’t the worst of it, though…

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Desperate to solve the ghost problem, Bob next consulted an exorcist, who also seemed to feel something was strange about the home. Specifically, he was drawn to a single closet. “It was a gut level, really strong feeling that there was something there,” demonologist and exorcist Adam Blai told Fox 8 News.

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After he zeroed in on the closet, Adam cut through the plaster wall inside—a wall that had gone untouched since the house had been built. Inside, he found possessions from every person who had lived in the house since it was built. Still, the worst was yet to come.

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Included in the closet stash was a sketch of the home’s original owners from 1909, complete with some very cruel and almost evil things written about them on the back of it. This, Adam noted, was likely enough to invite the demon in, giving him power in the home.

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Eventually, when the strange happenings had reached critical mass, Bob claimed the demon revealed itself to his family. That part of the story unfolded in “The Blue Room,” which was so-named due to the wallpaper inside. In Bob’s mind, it was the epicenter of the evil.

According to the book Bob eventually wrote documenting his experience, The Demon Of Brownsville, the demon manifested as a shadowy, foggy black figure that smelled like must. And it drove his family mad.

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“My two sons were in a psychiatric hospital,” Bob told Fox 8 News. “My wife had spent several weeks in a psychiatric ward.” Bob’s son-in-law once saw the demon—Bob named it Mulech—hovering over his son’s bed. He spoke to the shadow, and it fled into the house’s crawlspace where, as Bob wrote, it bumped around loudly at night from then on. Soon, the family decided they needed to fight back—and fast.

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Along with the calling in the exorcist, Bob fought Mulech the only way he knew how: by staying up all night reading Bible verses. For six months straight, he played Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ on loop. Nevertheless, he woke up each day with new scratches and bite marks. The family wore crosses around their necks, but somehow, these would bend or end up on the other side of the room, folded or broken.

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Amazingly, around 2006, with the help of the exorcist—who performed any number of rituals over the course of two years—and Bob’s Bible reading, Mulech supposedly fled the home. Finally, Bob was free.

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“If people don’t want to believe it… okay,” Bob said in his closing remarks to Fox 8 News. “But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It exists.

That’s why I’m telling this story.” True or not, Bob’s experience far exceeds your normal house haunting story.

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