‘The Bothell House : Poltergeist of Washington State’ by Keith Linder

A little about the author…

Keith Linder is not only the author of ‘The Bothell House’, but he lived through the dramatic events that took place at what should have been his dream home. A place he rented from the landlord with his girlfriend Tina and moved into during May 2012. It was back then when the strange events began to unfold starting with what Keith and Tina believed to be the sound of a child coughing.

TBHKL

I have to be honest in the fact that I don’t fully recall the first moment that Keith and I began to discuss the activity at his now former home over social media, which quickly lead to Keith sending me a copy of his book to read and review for this very website. What struck me straight away was the fact that at that point we both had an interest in and worked in the IT industry. We equally had an interest in the paranormal, mine a life long exploration, but Keith’s was one that had evolved from his own experiences in Bothell. This helped me to understand Keith a little from our communications and as I read his book. The reason being is that I often try my best to understand what an individual experiencing paranormal activity may be going through and of course why they reacted the way they did. Much of what Keith done seemed quite normal and logical to me, perhaps even approaches I too would have taken should I have found myself in those horrific situations.

It’s my assumption from a few conversations with Keith and indeed from the contents of his book, that Keith is certainly a man of faith. He certainly makes several comments on his upbringing and current belief in relation to his faith. This is equally highlighted by the fact that one avenue Keith and Tina pursue in order to help with their probable poltergeist infestation, is through the local church. He also proceeded to follow the advice of many others too though, including family members and of course the paranormal community too. At least the part of the paranormal community willing to listen to their plight.

Keith and Tina may be best remembered for the episode of Ghost Adventures they appeared in called; ‘Demons in Seattle’. During the episode the Ghost Adventures team descended upon their home in order to investigate their poltergeist claims which had been highlighted by a local News team from Seattle KOMO CBS, with its reporter Elisa Jaffe. I say best remembered simply because the Ghost Adventures show is likely to have provided the greatest reach for the story. A reach which would be not only national in the US, but international as the show now plays out in numerous other countries including here in the UK. As the show has obtained a huge fan base following, this would mean for both Keith and Tina that their story would be told to a great many people worldwide. However with huge media coverage comes potential issues of negativity and poor assessment of the case at hand.

TV shows such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters and the UK show Most Haunted each work on a shooting schedule in order to capture the footage they require to put together a show. A show which has a running format in order to deliver viewing figures to keep the show renewed. As anyone that investigates the paranormal knows you can have investigations that can be extremely active, which in reality probably means you’ve had a percentage of activity in relation to no activity. This is generally the case. However you also have some very quiet investigations, where literally nothing of note occurs. Absence of activity during one visit certainly doesn’t mean that a location is not active. This is often where I believe the comprehension of ghost hunting is blurred with investigation. Something which remains an ongoing debate within the community.

It was the very same paranormal community though that equally decided to trial Keith and Tina by Social Media once the Ghost Adventures episode had aired, which is very disappointing to hear. Granted I am not talking about the whole community, but a large number decided to fire out negative tweets aimed directly at both Keith and Tina due to the Ghost Adventures findings. A large group concluded that Keith and Tina were making up their ordeal and out to hoax the famous Ghost Adventures team. Something they concluded from an episode based on a what the book describes as a relatively short investigation.

I am no expert in poltergeist cases and would never claim to be one, but from what I have read on the subject in order to truly investigate such cases you must practically commit to living the experience. This was something that Grosse and Lyon Playfair done when they investigated the Enfield Poltergeist for the SPR. However those which spent less time at the Enfield residents took the opinion that the teenage girls were faking incidents for the benefit of the media. Sound familiar. So, in order to comprehend the true events of a poltergeist case, we should be looking to invest our time in order to experience the events within the dwelling. At least in order to comprehend what actually might be occurring to the individuals and in order to separate the paranormal from the normal. Which would include gather a great amount of data on the subject case too.

This brings me firmly back to Keith and how he approach his own poltergeist experience. The community and indeed family members advised him that he would need to capture some evidence. By evidence they meant video, audio and photographic clues to the probable paranormal activity. As readers of my blogs know, I’m not a massive fan of calling video, audio and photographs evidence of the paranormal as I find them to be often unquantifiable. They are excellent clues that begin to point us in the right direction and certainly in many cases very interesting. However I think we should be moving away from calling them ‘evidence’, but that’s a personal preference really. Keith, as I would have, took their comments on board and done what any techy would, he brought some tech! In this case it was numerous CCTV cameras that could be monitored remotely and alert him to various changes even whilst he was at work. It was through this system and later versions that Keith has managed to gather a huge amount of data in order to state that something is going on.

So, Keith is a man of faith, but equally he comprehends the need to gather good data on a subject. Something that he does in his day job, but equally brought to the poltergeist infestation within his home. Just like he would in work, he evolved that approach as the poltergeist continued to not only tear apart his home, but also his relationship with Tina.

On to The Bothell House…

As I have already mentioned the book itself is about Keith and Tina’s poltergeist ordeal within what should have been their dream home in Bothell. Ultimately though the journey becomes Keith’s as the events that continue to occur in their home and the reaction of the paranormal community through social media after the airing of the Ghost Adventures episode becomes too much for Tina. In all honesty I can totally sympathise with Tina’s decision to walk away from it all and surprised they lasted together in the house as long as they did. It’s equally astonishing that Keith decided to remain long after Tina left, through what appears to be a moral decision not to allow the next occupants to experience the same as them.

The books itself takes the reader through the long journey that Keith and Tina experienced over their time in the Bothell House between May 2012 and 2016, but this is mainly delivered through Keith’s viewpoint. Although he does a reasonably good job of articulating the feelings that Tina may have experienced, ultimately we are to understand that this is the opinion of Keith of the matters that took place. The simple reason for this was that once Tina had left the house and indeed Keith, she ‘wants nothing more to do with the memory of that house.’ As Keith puts in the Authors Afterward. So, as far as the book presents the information, it is on large the view-point of the author Keith. If this was a more in-depth examination of the case itself, I would be inclined to consider a deeper dive in order to seek out those mentioned in the book to quantify their experiences too. That way build a fuller picture of the Washington State Poltergeist and whether or not it was a case of true merit and indeed additional investigation.

However, on this occasion I am simply reviewing the book and in its contents, which I actually found quite interesting from several standpoints. The book provides good references to the experiences of Keith during his poltergeist experience, which also includes some excellent information gathering too. Often in these kinds of cases that I have read about, true gathering of information relating to the activity doesn’t occur until there is an investigator on site taking detailed notes. In this case though, it would seem that Keith began taking notes and even moved to setting up CCTV within his home from very early on. The latter actually unfortunately highlights the poor response he received from the paranormal community that from what I can understand practically asked him to provide video evidence of his experiences before they were willing to fully investigate his case. Something that is in all reality a contradiction of terms, for if Keith had successfully captured conclusive video evidence then he would not likely require a paranormal investigation team that to that point had not, as he would then be more successful than them by their own comprehension. That said one or two teams did get back to Keith and take it on, but again you could argue they too were out of their depth with this case.

According to the book the activity in Keith’s home appeared to reduce dramatically at times, but then on others escalate greatly too. These escalation’s would appear to coincide with high emotions and often around arguments between him and Tina. Often those arguments may have appeared to be engineered by the poltergeist too with some very interesting manipulative behaviour.

The book details many of these events as they occurred over the years and also documents the items around the home that were damaged or thrown. Keith even tells us about the number of cameras the Poltergeist either damaged or simply removed never to be seen again. As a matter of fact it’s the removal of or changing of these devices that highlighted the possibility to Keith that these poltergeist were actually aware that the cameras were there to capture their image, changing their functionality, removing them or changing the direction they were pointing to obscure Keith’s view of the, perhaps.

As this particular case was likely made famous through its appearance on Ghost Adventures, as I previous mentioned, it also has some chapters dedicated to that experience and is equally something that comes up in places during the book too. Keith takes the time to explain how the Ghost Adventures Investigation came about and then goes on to detail what happened once they arrived. One thing the book makes clear is the actual length of investigation time he believes the team spent in his home, which in my opinion is totally insufficient to fully investigate such claims or make any assumptions. Granted we can all make assumptions based on the smallest amount of time at a location or investigating a case, but when those assumptions are broadcast across the planet perhaps we should have a certain amount of decorum about us. It was also the lack of communication that Keith had once the production team had left explaining what was happening next and when which is a little off-putting too. Remember this was a situation where Keith had in good faith brought the team into his home hoping their experience would be able to assist him, but alas was left feeling a little left out in the cold to say the least. Working in IT like Keith, this is just poor customer service! Of course I base this on the episode, which I watched and the information within Keith’s book. If the Ghost Adventures would care to comment on this I would be happy to hear their side of the story of course.

When it came to the airing of the Ghost Adventures episode, which gained the title; ‘Demons in Seattle’, Keith, Tina and some friends decided to do it in style in a hotel away from their Bothell home. Knowing little about the episode they were shocked at how the show depicted them and especially Tina. Almost immediately following the show, its fans and supporters began to share their opinions on social media. This labelled Keith and Tina as either hoaxers wasting Zak’s time or in some cases stating that Tina was the one possessed! This ‘trial by social media’ was in my opinion from reading Keith’s account, the beginning of the end for him and Tina. This part of the book truly saddened me. Regardless of whether we believe something to be true or not, in cases such as these we certainly shouldn’t make conclusions from a TV Show and certainly shouldn’t respond to such with personal comments aimed at individuals. Any cases should be peer-reviewed for their true evidence and comments made based on that related information, not directed at the individuals. Without fully comprehending the full story behind why someone may claim to be terrorized by poltergeist activity, we should never draw conclusions without proper evaluation and investigation. In my opinion in order to truly understand such claims you must immerse yourself in the environment and situation in order to experience what the home owner may be going through. It has been this approach, as I mentioned already that delivers more results. An approach lost perhaps these days amongst modern-day ghost hunters popping into a location for a limited time hoping for an experience, which will be hard to quantify with such limited data.

However it was this approach of spending a good quality amount of time that may have become Keith’s savour in the end. As the book explains not all were totally convinced he was a hoaxer by the Ghost Adventures episode. It wasn’t long before UK investigators Steve Mera and Don Philips arranged to visit the Bothell Home in early 2016 and unlike other investigators, spent a week with Keith at the house. The pair proceeded to remain on site for the majority of their stay utilising recording equipment to attempt to quantify Keith’s claims. The book describes how they were not disappointed either, capturing quite a bit of audible phenomena with no explanation. They also witnessed first hand the manipulation of a CCTV camera in their first couple of days too. The UK investigators classified the location as being an intelligent haunting.

The good news didn’t stop there though, directly after the UK team Keith had an US team stay with him too. This was actually made up of a team that had now spent months monitoring various rooms in the house and their stay on site would be around a week too, apart from one member that spent around five weeks I believe. Just like the guys from the UK, the ladies from the US team Karissa Fleck, Nikki Novelle and Mary experienced activity almost immediately and continued to throughout their visit. All of which appeared to back up Keith’s previous claims. The house certainly did appear to active.

Throughout the book Keith mentions Jane Doe and I can’t really write this review without mentioning her either. Jane was a previous tenant and had experienced activity of her own, so much so it had actually effected her and her family. In fact as Keith describes it her experiences within the Bothell house quite possibility lead to her sons illness, the near break up of her marriage and much more. Initially she didn’t want to discuss the issues with Keith, but as a good Christian she decided to do so against her husbands wishes.   There is much more to Jane Doe’s story, but perhaps its one best told by Keith given its upsetting conclusion.

So, Keith’s story is one of a classic poltergeist tale, but with a modern twist perhaps. Often such cases have a relationship to teenage children, of which there are none in Keith’s household. Often these cases fade out only months after they’ve started, rarely exceeding a year, but this one maintained its intense attacks for over three years. Like many cases before it, Keith’s hit the media, but unlike others it also became the focal point for a modern TV show that deals in cases such as his, but they found nothing. As this case included the burning of bibles, writing and symbolism on the walls of his office, assumption were made that this could have a religious connection. A connection which probably linked it to demons and the darker entities. However this equally could have been a red-hearing from a poltergeist cunning enough to try to point the finger towards Keith. It’s also a case that has two sets of investigators spend a week each with Keith in the home to conduct their own investigations and both teams conclude there is activity. To quote Steve Mera when I asked his opinion of the case; ‘100% real from a SEP perspective.’

In my opinion…

Hopefully you have now got a decent overview of the books contents and Keith’s story. This however is where I give my personal opinion of the book in a little more detail for you.

Let’s start with some basics shall we, the book has over four hundred pages of information to read and view, with pictures and tables throughout the book. Keith has certainly done his best to attempt to communicate the details of his case within the book. As a man of tech, Keith has also included various links, such as YouTube throughout the book in order for the reader to hear and evaluate items such as EVP’s for themselves. Which is a great idea and I personally can see where he is coming from with this, giving his readers the very information they had in order to make their own conclusions. Some certainly do generate more questions than answers.

The problem that I found with the book was that it often felt a little heavy to read, tough to keep going and didn’t really present itself as a page turner. This could be in my opinion down to the size and writing style here. The style presents the information in a casual format, with the author almost discussing the ordeal as perhaps he would to a group of friends. Yet often he uses terms; ‘ladies and gentleman’ that seem to define it as if he maybe giving a lecture or similar. I found myself looking for better structure in order to take this work more seriously, if that makes sense. The book certainly appears to have structure and follow a chronological path, but equally along the way it felt that certain things were repeated in full rather than simply referenced as something we had already read.

However once past my own personal struggles with the books delivery, which if I am honest could be just me rather than the author, I found there to be an abundance of information cover to cover regarding Keith’s experiences at the Bothell House. This book doesn’t just detail the paranormal activity that has been experienced though, it tell the life story of how it had an effect on lives too. Whether or not the activity was the catalyst for Keith and Tina’s breakup, I can’t say and don’t think I should. Whether or not it had a detrimental effect on Jane Doe’s life, well that seems apparent, but again we don’t have all the facts here. Often this is the issue too and perhaps why cases may be attributed to demonic activity or negativity of some kind, the focus becomes on that rather than everything at hand.

As far as modern-day poltergeist cases go though, I do think its worth review and may even do so myself. This book, as Keith’s perception of the events is an important starting point, but should not be our only point of information. Still as a starting point Keith Linder has given us an abundance of information to kick off our own reviews of this case. If we are to comment on whether we think it’s a hoax or what indeed we think is going on at the Bothell House, then any of us would do well to review all the data available and commenting on that data too. Not the individuals who through their own experiences believe this to be a true case of poltergeist activity and who are we to argue until we too have better comprehension of the information.

Closing the cover…

For me this was one of those books which was a little difficult to read due to its style and delivery, but one I knew I had to complete. This was not just to bring you this review, but equally as I was curious about the case for a couple of reasons. 1) A more recent poltergeist case interested me, 2) the usual teenagers were missing from this poltergeist case; and 3) a popular TV series that often finds the demonic all over the place, found nothing!

I wanted to hear the story direct from someone who had experienced the activity and had tried to deal with it too. This book certainly delivers that story and more with its links to platforms like YouTube for you to review audio and video footage for yourself.

If you’re interested in poltergeist cases then this is a must for you in my opinion, as it brings with it a modern account of activity combined with the technology of today being used alongside some more classical approaches to combat the activity.

If I was asked if I believed that the activity was true, then I would have to state that I couldn’t answer that currently. As a researcher and an investigator I follow the information within a case to determine proof. Although this book is rammed full of information on the activity at the Bothell house and the ordeal Keith went through, it’s still only his account of the situation. However I would certainly say from what I have read and from whom I have talked to, the case certainly requires greater review. I would not say, I don’t believe Keith’s claims. This may seem like I am ‘sitting on the fence’, but I personally don’t have enough information yet to pass judgement on the case, perhaps an approach some others that are quick to use social media should adopt.

I will say one thing though, if indeed Keith or indeed any other person was to endure such events within his home to the extent he did, then our first position should not be to judge, it should be of empathy. Even if we are unable to prove or indeed disprove his ordeal, then still we should provide a fellow human assistance where we can. Judgement is passed with conclusive evidence, not through opinion based on pop culture TV, hidden behind the guise of a social media account. As I was always taught, if you have nothing kind or constructive to say, simply say nothing at all. This case carries with it a lot of inflicted pain in my opinion, most of which was not caused by the poltergeist dwelling in Keith and Tina’s home.

I know Keith has moved on from the Bothell House now and I wish him well in his new home. Hopefully he is able to continue with his life again now. Thank you for allowing me to read and review your book, it was great pleasure.

If you want to grab a copy of ‘The Bothell House : Poltergeist of Washington State’ by Keith Linder click the link…

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