Young Girl Smells A Concerning Aroma Before Quickly Discovering The Dark Reality


There are so many situations in life that you just can’t prepare for. Sure, you can pack a survival kit and keep it in the back of your closet in case of emergencies, and people are always doing different sorts of drills in hopes of preparing themselves for disaster — tornado drills, earthquake drills, fire drills. But you can never really know what’d you do in an intense situation until you’re in the thick of it.

When it came to survival, the Gomez-Muniz family were old pros. They’d faced disaster before and survived, but none of them ever expected disaster to strike again. But it did, and this event came in the form of an unsettling smell that woke up the youngest member of the family.

In the early morning hours of December 19th, the Gomez-Muniz family were peacefully sleeping in their beds. It had been a while since any of them had sweet dreams, and though they didn’t know it then, they were about to wake up to another nightmare.

Lyric Gomez Muniz/Instagram

Bad news had become the norm for Daniel, Frankie, and their two daughters, Lyric and Berlin. In 2017, their home was destroyed by the devastating San Jose flood. They were told to rebuild their lives, and all they could do was try to get by.

Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

Daniel Muniz worked odd jobs and seasonally at UPS, while Frankie was a receptionist. Still, their modest income simply couldn’t cover the rent, and before long they were faced with an unbelievable possibility.


There was a chance they’d end up on the street. Luckily, staying positive and making the most out of a bad situation was the family’s strength. So when Daniel’s mother, Leslie, started to have health problems, they saw it as a blessing in disguise.


The family moved into Leslie’s home. That way, they thought, they had a roof over their heads and could care for Leslie. Best of all, they would still be together as a family. They thought things were finally starting to look up…

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Until Berlin woke up that day in December. That morning had started like any other: An early riser, she had rolled out of bed with the intent of — what else? — searching the home for the family’s Elf on a Shelf. That’s when she smelled it.


She wasn’t sure if she could believe it at first. After all, if you smelled smoke with no discernible source in sight, would you believe it? Berlin figured she was smelling something from outside the house and went back into her room.

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But she wasn’t in her room long when she had another realization: The room was hot…unseasonably hot. With that, she turned around, looked at her closed bedroom door…and saw black smoke quickly seeping in underneath.

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The sight reminded her of one thing: a fire safety lesson she’d seen on the news. In that moment, there were things Berlin couldn’t be sure of — the dependability of the smoke detectors, for example — but there was one fact she did know.

Black smoke meant flames. That’s all Berlin needed to spring to action. She woke up her older sister, Lyric, with a specific set of instructions. “I told her to get out of the house and sprint to the back door,” Berlin said, “and don’t grab anything.”


But there were four other people in the home — her parents, Aunt, and grandmother — who needed to be woken up. The only problem was, Berlin had no idea just how much the blaze had spread. She only had one option.

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She ran back into the hallway where she watched in horror as her living room filled with flames. That’s when she started to desperately bang on the walls. “The house is on fire!” she screamed, hoping to wake up her family.

“My throat was hurting so much after it, but I had to scream out my dad’s name,” Berlin said. “I was just screaming ‘Daddy! Daddy!’” Thankfully, Berlin didn’t have to stay inside the smoke and flame-filled house for long.


“My dad opened the door right away,” Berlin said, and it wasn’t long before he got the rest of the family out of the house. By then, the flames had engulfed almost the entire home…which is when the family realized they were missing someone.


Their cat, Munchkin, was still somewhere in the home. Daniel immediately ran back into the house in search of the cat, but it was too late: The home was fully ablaze, and all Daniel could do was run out empty-handed.

Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Groups

“I was still trying to get a hose with my next-door neighbor,” Daniel explained, “[But] the tiny hose would not do anything. That fire, it was fierce.” It was so fierce that by the time the fire department arrived, the black smoke was billowing up from the roof.


All they could do was watch as the fire department doused the fire, leaving behind the charred remains of what was once their home. For the second time in their lives, the family tried to salvage what little was left behind…

Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Groups

The Christmas presents turned to ash, along with the rest of the home. What they recovered was scant: Daniel’s lucky sneakers, a robe, and the girls’ asthma medications. Still, as the family looked on at the wreckage, they couldn’t help but wonder one thing.


What if Berlin hadn’t woken up so early? With this thought in mind, the family did something that no one expected: They counted their blessings. “I’m very proud of her,” Lyric said of her sister’s quick-thinking. “She saved all of us.”


“I don’t think we would’ve made it out, if Berlin had not woken everybody up,” said Leslie. “She’s our 11-year-old hero.” Their community agreed, and days later, $200 was collected for the family, along with clothes from neighbors and help from the Red Cross.


Even after losing everything, the Gomez Muniz family were just thankful to be together. They had no clue then that over $30,000 would be raised for them through GoFundMe; all they knew was that they once again had to rebuild…

Erica De La Torre/GoFundMe

And that they had come so close to losing even more than their home. “My blessings are all with me right now,” Daniel said of his wife and daughters. “There’s four of us, and that’s the most important.” 

Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Groups

Disaster can strike even on the quietest street, as Amanda and Ricky Badger would soon find out. They thought they had finally found their forever home on Ferry Road in Milo, Maine. The house was on a rural street — seemingly, the perfect set-up for the hard-working Badgers.


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.

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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.

20darkfall / Youtube

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.

Randy Jarosz / South Hills Record

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.

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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…

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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.

Forward Boldly / Youtube

“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.

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

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.

Suzanna Stratford / Youtube

“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.

Suzanne Stratford / Youtube

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