Deb considered her grandfather, whom she affectionately called 'Poppy,' to be her best friend. For her 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.
Two days after she graduated from high school, 18-year-old Deb interviewed at a radio station in Erie, Pennsylvania. She got the job that same day. The commute would be long, so Deb wanted to relocate. Poppy was furious and forbade her from leaving the house. Deb told him that he was being possessive, and this was an opportunity that she just couldn't refuse. He made Deb promise him that she would come back.
After Deb left, Poppy wasn't the same. He didn't talk to Deb for two months. Deb was settled in and having a blast; she didn't want to go back home. That all changed when she got a call out of the blue from Leora saying that their grandfather was very sick.
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 to pull 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 with Poppy by the radio, she just couldn't bear to look at them and turned them around to face the wall.
Deb began having recurring nightmares of a man chasing her out of the house and into a nearby cornfield. In the dream, she falls in the cornfield, and he grabs her ankle. The more Deb had the nightmare about the cornfield, the more she saw details of the mysterious man chasing her. She eventually realized that it was her grandfather.
One morning, while Leora was over for breakfast, she turned on the radio while Deb went into the kitchen to cook. As they ate, the radio went from music to static. Leora went to fix it, only to have static again ... until it was suddenly tuned to Poppy's favorite station. They soon after noticed that the photos that had been facing the wall were suddenly all turned back around.
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 Deb answered, there was nobody on the other end. This happened repeatedly, until finally Deb heard whispering her name on the other end of the line. She wondered if Poppy was voicing his disapproval with Dave being in the house.
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, with Penny sound asleep. Deb screamed for her sister to wake up as the flames began to spread.
Eventually, Deb got Penny downstairs, but the 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. Soon thereafter, their daughter Rochelle was born. Dave and Deb had 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 felt a presence. 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. Dave told Deb what had happened.
Deb decided to go to Father Burns, a priest she'd known since childhood. Father Burns gave her all of the tools he believed would help her in the battle to remove her grandfather's soul from this world.
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. 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.