The story of Don Decker, who became known to the world as the Rain Man, is arguably one of the most well-documented paranormal events in recent history. Its credibility is based on the accounts of many witnesses who were law enforcement professionals.
This bizarre story began on February 24th, 1983 in Stroudsburg, PA, after Don Decker’s grandfather, James Kishaugh, passed away. While others mourned, Don Decker was finally feeling a sense of peace for the very first time. What the others didn’t know, was that James Kishaugh had physically abused Don since he was a young child.
Don Decker was in jail at the time of Kishaugh’s death, but was granted furlough to attend the funeral and spend a few days with the family. Don’s sense of peace would not last for long.
At the conclusion of James Kishaugh’s funeral, Don Decker was invited to stay the night with Bob and Jeannie Keiffer, who were friends of the family and quite fond of Don. It was later that evening when Don began to sense something was not right. A deep chill began to grip him and Don quickly fell into a trance-like state. The Keiffers, perplexed at what was occurring, suddenly noticed water dripping from the living room ceiling and walls. The Keifers called Ron Van Why, their landlord, and the only one who could possibly understand what was going on with the water pipes. When Ron arrived, he too had no answers. Ron knew there were no water pipes in the area where the leaks were occurring. In fact, the leaks became worse and started coming up through the floors as well as the ceiling and walls.
Unsure of what to do, Ron called his wife and explained the situation at the Keiffer residence. He then called the police. It was Patrolman Richard Wolbert who was the first to arrive at the scene. It only took a few minutes for Patrolman Wolbert to become drenched in water after entering the home. Patrolman Wolbert described what he saw the night he entered the Keiffer residence:
We were standing just inside the front door and met this droplet of water traveling horizontally. It passed between us and just traveled out into the next room.Patrolman Richard Wolbert
Officer John Baujan, who joined Patrolman Wolbert, also witnessed the events at the Keiffer residence. He stated:
I literally had a chill going up my spine, made the hair stand up on your neck. That’s how I felt. This was a situation where things were happening that I never, ever dreamed could possibly happen. And there was no way of explaining what was going on.Officer John Baujan
As the officers tried to make sense of what was happening they noticed Don, who still appeared to be in a trance. The officers asked the Keiffers to take Don out of the home and sit him down at the pizzeria located a short distance from the residence. As soon as the Keiffers and Don left, the house returned to normal. This correlation did not go unnoticed, and Ron found himself wondering if one of the Keiffers or Don was responsible for this incident.
Pam Scrofano, who owned the pizzeria, saw Don enter the restaurant in that zombie-like state. Moments after the Keiffers and Don sat down, they noticed the same thing began to occur at the pizzeria. Water began to fall on their heads and spread across the floor. Pam immediately suspected Don was possessed. She ran to her register and pulled out her crucifix and placed it on Don’s skin. Don reacted immediately and it was apparent that the crucifix had burned his flesh.
At this point, it was no longer possible to stay at the pizzeria. Bob and Jeannie Keiffer decided to take Don back to their home. As soon as they left the pizzeria, the rain stopped falling.
At the Keiffer’s residence, landlord Ron Van Why and his wife Romayne met the Keiffers and Don as they returned home. The rain returned as soon as Don entered the residence. But this time pots and pans could also be heard rattling in the kitchen. Ron and Romayne had had enough and confronted Don. They believed he was playing some kind of practical joke – one that was damaging their property.
Then things took a dramatic and violent turn. Don felt himself levitate off the ground and was forcibly pushed against the wall by some unseen force. Not long after, officers Baujan and Wolbert returned to the Keiffer home with their Police Chief. Unable to identify any foul play, the Chief told the officers it was a plumbing issue and that there was no need to investigate the matter any further. Perhaps due to curiosity, the police officers ignored the Police Chief, and three of them returned the following day to see how things were going. They included Bill Davies and Lt. John Rundle.
When the three officers arrived at the home they were pleased to note that things appeared to have settled down. Then, Bill Davies conducted his own experiment and placed a gold cross in Don Decker’s hands. Davies recalled Don stating it was burning him, so Davies took the cross back. Davies described the cross as “it’s not hot-hot, but it’s hot…” The police officers then saw Don levitate once again and fly against an interior wall.
Lt. John Rundle described what he saw:
All of a sudden, he lifted up off the ground and he flew across the room with the force as though a bus had hit him. There were three claw marks on the side of his neck, which drew blood. I have no answer for it whatsoever. And, I just draw a blank, even today.Lt. John Rundle
Ron Van Why wanted to help Don. He may have sensed Don was not causing this intentionally and Don appeared to be spiritually troubled. Ron called every preacher in Stroudsburg and was declined by most. Eventually one came to the house and she prayed with Don. As they prayed together, Don would enter into sporadic convulsions. But the longer they prayed, the more peaceful Don appeared. By the time it was over, Don seemed to be himself once again. Ron Van Why stated this was the last time it rained in the home.
Don’s furlough was over and it was time to return to jail.
While in his cell, Don Decker had a thought. He wondered if he could control the rain. As soon as he started thinking about it, the cell ceiling and walls began dripping water. His question was answered, Don can control the rain.
The prison guard making his rounds was not happy when he saw all the water flooding the cell. He didn’t believe it when Don told him he willed the rain with his mind. The guard sarcastically challenged Don and stated if he indeed had these powers to control rain, then make it rain in the warden’s office. Don obliged.
The guard made his way to the warden’s office, where the position of warden was temporarily manned by LT. David Keenhold. Keenhold had no idea who Don Decker was or anything regarding what occurred at the Keiffer residence and pizzeria. When the guard entered the office, Keenhold was observed sitting alone at his desk. The guard looked around, inspecting the room until he saw Keenhold. He asked Keenhold to look at his shirt. It was soaking wet. The warden stated:
And right about the center of my sternum, about four inches long, two inches wide, I was just saturated with water. I was startled. I was scared. The officer was frightened at that particular time, and I just didn’t have an explanation why it happened.Warden comment
LT Keenhold, finally understanding what was going on, called his friend Reverend William Blackburn and urgently asked him to see Don Decker. Reverend Blackburn agreed and approached Don Decker’s cell. Upon being briefed on everything that transpired since Don went on furlough, the Reverend accused Don of making everything up. This accusation did not sit well with Don. His demeanor changed and his cell suddenly became filled with a strong odor. Some witnesses described the smell as that of death, but multiplied by five. Then the rain reappeared once again. It was a misty rain described by the reverend as the Devil’s rain.
Reverend Blackburn finally understood that this was not a hoax. He began praying for Don and he sat in that cell praying with Don Decker for hours. And finally, it happened. The rain stopped and Don Decker broke down into tears. Whatever it was that affected Don, it never manifested itself again. Don Decker, stated he is hopeful this will never happen again. He said his grandfather abused him once and he had a chance to abuse him again. All he wants is peace.
The paranormal incident described above was aired on Unsolved Mysteries on February 10, 1993. Incidentally, this wasn’t the last time Don Decker made the headiness. In October, 2012, Decker was charged with arson after setting fire to a restaurant in Tobyhanna, PA. You can view this charge and details of his mysterious rainmaking ability in the video below.
Don Decker Poltergeist
Profiling the Unexplained
WNEP Channel 16