ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) -- Land, water and sky share equal space and time in Oregon's oldest city, Astoria. It's said old souls still pass through the brick and mortar of the Liberty Theater and the Elliott Hotel.
The Hess House was built in 1914 and fell into disrepair. By 1991, the 9,000-square foot house was home to vagrants and drifters.
"This was the haunted house," Sam Hess told KOIN 6 News, "just because it was so dilapidated and looked scary."
With his father's blessing, Hess offered the house rent-free to the family of Pastor Chris Schauermann, his wife, Sherry and their 10 kids.
However, the deal was the Schauermanns would have to fix it up.
"I didn't give it much of a thought. I didn't really think of it as haunted, but everybody else did," Schauermann said.
But things happened.
In one room, he said, "we had the visitations for years."
"We would just wake up and pray in Jesus name, 'Go back wherever you guys came from,' and then we'd pray for our kids and whatever until we fell asleep," he said. "We believe that there's always something going on, and so when things happen, we pray. It doesn't mean that it's demonic."
Schauermann and Hess laugh now, but they weren't laughing 22 years ago. When their church group started to clean up the house and help with the move in, there was something inside the walls that refused to move out.
"You can't really appreciate it unless you were standing there," Hess said, "but 2x4s don't just go out the door and sail across a parking lot and go through a windshield. That just doesn't happen."
Another time, "[Schauermann] reached for a light bulb. He swears he never touched it and it exploded in his face," Hess said. "It was just a combination of events that all happened, just bang bang bang bang."
At one point, Hess went underneath a stairwell and found an old toilet just sitting there. He picked it up to throw it away and the toilet sheared in half, slicing his wrist.
He still has the scars.
The work party had seen enough, so they stopped and prayed.
"It was something I believe supernatural that was happening," Hess said. "I didn't want good people moving in here."
But the Schauermanns stayed -- after more prayer.
"We got everybody in a circle and held hands and we just said, 'In the name of Jesus, anything that's demonic or anything not of God, we're commanding it to leave and we want people to be safe,'" Schauermann said.
Now, they say, the house is at peace, and Schauermann points to a "room where we've had a lot of deliverances."
The house is even a haven for spiritual healing.
The Schauermanns now give tours of the Hess House on Halloween and they've raised about $2,000 in the last few years to help fight human trafficking, a cause close to many in their church.
"This is a fantastic house right now," Schauermann said. "I mean, we've been here for 22 years."
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