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After their mother's death, Deborah 'Deb' Cihon and her sister Leora moved into their grandfather's two spare bedrooms. It helped them recover from the trauma of their mother's passing and kept them from needing to share their family's small trailer with their father and two other sisters.
Deb and her grandfather, whom she affectionately called 'Poppy,' got along famously. As the oldest grandchild, she tended to be his favorite. For Deb's 16th birthday, he even got her a car. In return, he asked that she get good grades in school, keep up her public speaking work ... and essentially do what he wanted her to do. And while she could go to local square dances, Deb wasn't allowed to date while she was under Poppy's roof.
Two days after she graduated from high school, Deb interviewed at a radio station in Erie, Pennsylvania. She got the job that same day. It was a plum position; the opportunity of a lifetime for an 18-year-old. The commute would be long, so Deb wanted to relocate. Poppy was furious, forbidding her from leaving the house. Deb told him that he was being possessive and this was an opportunity that she just couldn't refuse. Poppy relented but made Deb promise that she would one day come home.
After Deb left, Poppy wasn't the same. He didn't talk to his favorite granddaughter for two months. Meanwhile, Deb was settled in and having a blast; she didn't want to go back home. That all changed when she got a call from Leora saying their grandfather was very sick.
Deb rushed home as soon as she could and went straight to the hospital. The doctor told them that Poppy had Stage 4 stomach cancer that had made its way to his lymph glands. When Deb got to Poppy's room, he was white as a sheet. His last words to her were, "Debbie, kid, you never came home." He slipped into a coma and was on life support for three days. The doctors knew he wouldn't make it if he ever came out of the coma and suggested that the family let Poppy go. As next of kin, in accordance with Poppy's living will, 19-year-old Deb was the only person with the capacity to make the call on pulling the plug.
Poppy left everything to Deb: house, cars, all of it. Deb took a break from the radio show and moved back into the house. When she noticed some photos of her and Poppy by the radio, she just couldn't bear to look at them and turned them around to face the wall.
One night, Deb was in the house by herself when she heard the back door open and close. Thinking it was Leora, she headed toward the sound. The back door was open, but nobody was there. Freaked out, she locked the door and left the porch light on all night.
Deb soon began having recurring nightmares of a man chasing her out of the house and into a nearby cornfield. In them, she falls in the cornfield, and he grabs her ankle.
One morning, Leora noticed the photos of Deb and her grandfather turned toward the wall. When she asked them, Deb told her that she just couldn't deal with those pictures. Leora turned on the radio while Deb went into the kitchen to fix breakfast. As they ate, the radio went from music to static. Leora went to fix it, only to have static again. When that stopped, the radio was suddenly tuned to Poppy's favorite station ... and all of the photos were turned back around.
While she was freaked out by everything happening, Deb was also comforted by the idea that Poppy was still there.
Leora introduced Deb to a friend of hers named Dave. Even though Deb hadn't wanted to be set up with anyone, she and Dave quickly hit it off. One night, they were sitting on the couch watching TV. As they started to get closer, the telephone suddenly rang. When Deborah answered, there was nobody on the other end. This happened repeatedly, until finally Deb heard someone whispering her name on the other end of the line. She wondered if Poppy was using this to show that he didn't like her having Dave in the house?
The more Deb had the nightmare about the cornfield, the more she saw details of the mysterious man who chased her there. She eventually realized that it was her grandfather.
Leora came to visit one day, and wondered why Deb looked so tired. When Deb told her about the nightmares, Leora was floored ... as she'd been having the same nightmare!
When Deb's younger sister Penny came to visit, Deb slept on the couch while Penny took the bed. That night, Deb had a nightmare of the house being on fire. When she woke, she smelled smoke coming from upstairs, where Penny slept. When she ran to the bedroom, Deb saw flames that were only around the bed ... and Penny was sound asleep. Deb screamed for her sister to wake up as the flames began to spread.
Eventually, Deb got Penny downstairs, but couldn't get outside. The main door to the house, which Deb never locked, was shut tight. She saw the shadow of a man and heard a guttural whisper that Deb "never came home." Deb knew that Poppy was trying to take her with him. She begged Poppy to let Penny go and take her, which was enough to unlock the door. The two women escaped as the house was engulfed in flames.
If the house was gone, and Poppy's spirit had been in there, would this nightmare finally be over?
Dave had been working out of town when the fire happened and rushed to Deb's side as soon as he heard the news. Deb finally confided in Dave everything that had happened. They were inseparable after that and were married a year later. A little after that, their daughter Rochelle was born. Dave and Deb bought a trailer and moved it onto Poppy's property, where Deb no longer felt Poppy's presence.
Late one evening, Dave was home alone. Suddenly, the lights went out. As Dave went to the back of the trailer to check the circuit breaker, he knew that Poppy was waiting for him somewhere. When he got to the breaker, the main switch had been thrown, cutting power. He flipped the switch, and the lights returned.
That same evening, after Deb and Rochelle had returned home, Rochelle heard something in her closet. She checked on it and ran screaming to her parents, claiming there was a man in her closet. Dave checked, but saw nothing. Deb knew that Poppy was back.
Deb decided to go to Father Burns, a priest she'd known since childhood, to see what she could do. Father Burns gave her all of the tools he believed would help her in the battle to remove her grandfather's soul from this plane. It was her guilt combined with Poppy's anger that was holding his spirit there, and she had to be the one to fight this battle.
Dave and Deb went through the house, anointing every corner with Holy Water, reciting prayers and demanding that Poppy leave. A wind blew through the house, sending everything flying. At one point, something held Deb, rendering her motionless. Deb told her grandfather that she loved him but he could not be there anymore. He had to let go. He had to let her go.
Eventually, the wind stopped, and Deb could move again. Poppy was finally gone.