When top psychic investigator John Ballsack crawled out of the front door of 36 Legume Close last Halloween, face spattered with crushed tomatoes, and clothes smeared with vegetable stains, gibbering about terrifying fruit and vegetable related supernatural occurrences, he was immediately sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The only survivor of a team of three psychic experts investigating the Wokingham house, Ballsack also found himself prime suspect in his colleagues’ deaths. “It took me months to convince the police that I had nothing to do with Terry and Edna’s deaths,” he explains. “Eventually they were dismissed as bizarre accidents – but believe me, they were murdered! Murdered by the evil presence in that house!” Ballsack is aiming to set the record straight as to what really happened at the house during his group’s infamous psychic investigation with his new book, , I Walked With a Zucchini. “That film they made about it – Haunted House of Horticulture – was a complete travesty,” he says. ”It was sensationalist nonsense – I can quite categorically state that the disturbances in that house were most definitely not the result of anyone having illicit sex with melons!”
If Ballsack’s account is to be believed, it was actually a case of the melons forcing themselves onto him. “I was asleep in the front bedroom when I felt something climb in beside me,” he recalls. “Obviously, I thought I was dreaming as I felt an apparently female form press its breasts against me. Naturally, I responded, caressing those enormous round breasts, then I opened my eyes and recoiled in horror from the terrible travesty of a human being kneeling astride me in the bed! It’s face was a grinning Halloween pumpkin, topped with cress instead of hair!” Most horrifyingly, as his hands involuntarily clenched with terror, Ballsack felt his fingers bursting through the surface of the thing’s breasts. “It was horrible – I could feel the skin bursting under my fingertips, pushing into the disgusting soft and sticky flesh below,” he shudders. “When I looked down at the breasts, I realised that they were a huge pair of glistening melons! I just screamed at the top of my voice!” At the investigator’s terrified scream, the thing collapse into a pile of inanimate vegetables. “The others came running into the room to what had happened,” he says. “But all they found was my sobbing, vegetable strewn body, my fingers smeared with melon!”
The paranormal phenomena at 36 Legume Close – an unassuming-looking 1980s built residence – had begun earlier that year when the Spuddocks, a family of vegetarians, moved into the property. “Only a few days after we arrived I was woken up by a loud rattling noise from the roof – I assumed it was hailstones,” says Arnold Spuddocks. “But when I got up and looked out of the window, I saw the front lawn and driveway covered with onions!” Upon further investigation, the forty-three year old health food store manager found his back garden in a similar state. “It was most peculiar, not only had they apparently fallen out of a clear sky, but it was only our house which had been affected,” he muses. The strange occurrences continued over the next few weeks, with Spuddocks’ wife, Gwendolyn, reporting that she continually felt that she was being watched whilst in the house. “It was like being stalked by some invisible pervert,” she recalls. “It was horrible, I could feel their eyes on my back all the time – but if I turned around, there was nobody there!” Gwendolyn’s ordeal came to a head when she was cleaning the front bedroom one morning. “I was kneeling down, wiping the skirting boards down, when I felt the presence behind me – I could feel its eyes burning into my back,” she says. “Obviously, I span round – all there was behind me was the wardrobe! But then I noticed these potatoes sat on top of it with their eyes all facing me! I have no idea how they got there!”
The occurrences seemed to become ever more violent as the year wore on. “We were sat watching a cookery show on the TV one evening in June – Jamie Oliver was chopping up some vegetables – when there was this huge crash, and the television exploded!” says Mr Spuddocks. “Something had smashed through the living room window and crashed into the television! When I sifted through the wreckage, I found a Brussels sprout! Obviously, we thought someone had thrown it from outside – but there was no one in the back garden, and no way anyone could have accessed it!” By September, the haunting took a more sinister turn, with the Spuddocks’ ten year old daughter, Abigail, running, shrieking, from the bathroom one evening. “She’d heard the shower running, and when she looked around the door of the steam-filled bathroom, Abigail saw that the shower curtain had been pulled across the bath. When she pulled it back, there was a giant, man-sized, stick of celery standing under the shower,” recalls her mother. “Apparently the thing lunged towards her as she tried to get out the bathroom – when I found her on the landing,s he was a gibbering wreck.”
The Spuddocks’ now felt they had little choice but to call in expert assistance, and turned to Ballsack and his colleagues at the East Berkshire Paranormal Association. “We entered the house on the 30th October – the Spuddocks family went to stay with relatives for the duration,” says Ballsack. “For most of that first day, everything was quiet, it only started kicking off that night – with that melon business in the bedroom.” Things then remained quiet until the following evening, when his colleagues, Edna Sprockler and Terry Clutch, fell victim to the house. “We were eating dinner when I swear that I saw this radish leap off of Edna’s plate, into her mouth and down her throat,” Ballsack recalls tearfully. “She went blue in the face and collapsed! There was absolutely nothing I could do – she choked to death in front of me!” Just as Edna gurgled her last, Ballsack heard a scream from upstairs. “I found Terry in one of the bedrooms, sprawled across the bed, naked from the waist down, with a huge marrow jammed up his backside,” he sobs. “To this day I don’t know what went on in that room – but Terry was stone cold dead!”
This seemed to be a cue for the whole hose to erupt into psychic activity. “Fruit and vegetables started flying everywhere – they seemed to appear out of thin air,” says Ballsack who, despite being pummelled mercilessly by the flying fruit, managed to stumble downstairs. “The kitchen seemed to be the epicentre of the disturbance – I could see this strange red light emanating from under the door.” What Ballsack saw when he pushed open the kitchen door filled him with terror: “It was right in front of me – the Devil himself in the form of a huge horned cucumber! That’s when I made a break for it!” Whilst Ballsack escaped with his life, his investigation still didn’t identify the cause of the disturbances at 36 Legume Close. However, an elderly neighbour of the Spuddocks’ was subsequently able to cast some light on the mystery. “This whole housing estate was built on the site of an old market garden,” opines seventy-seven year old George Hardfast. “The fruit and vegetables grown there were kept in terrible conditions – buried up to their stems all day, left at the mercy of the elements. It was horrible. I reckon the arrival of them vegetarians – forever cruelly chopping up and boiling poor plants – was just too much for the tortured souls of those poor tormented fruit and vegetables!” As for the Spuddocks, they have since abandoned both the house and their vegetarianism, now eating nothing but meat.