Don Decker: The Rain Man
by Mr. James England, August 2013 – Updated May 2021
Don Decker is known to the paranormal world as the Rain Man. (We should note that while the name is the same, he is not to be confused with Kim Peek the basis of the character in the film Rain Man.) Don Decker’s story is arguably one of the most well-recognized paranormal events in recent history. What makes this case so compelling is the credibility of the witnesses, including those who were law enforcement officers.
This bizarre saga began on February 24th, 1983 in Stroudsburg, PA when Don (Donald) Decker was just 20 years old. After Decker’s grandfather, James Kishaugh, passed away he was feeling a sense of peace. What the others didn’t know is that Kishaugh physically abused Decker as a young child.
Decker’s sense of peace would not last for long.
Unraveling the Mystery
Serving jail time at the Monroe County Correctional Facility, Don Decker was granted compassionate leave to attend the funeral and mourn with family. During his leave, Decker was invited to stay with Bob and Jeannie Keiffer, who were friends of the family in their Stroudsburg rental. (The home has since been demolished.) It was later that evening when Decker began to sense something was not right.
Decker headed upstairs to get ready for dinner. A deep chill gripped him, and he felt unusual and disoriented. Decker quickly fell into a trance-like state and claims he observed an older man wearing a crown in a vision before finding extensive scratches on his arms. The Kieffers were quite concerned with his episode, and Decker explained and attributed the scratches to Satan.
Suddenly the Kieffers noticed water dripping from the living room ceiling and walls. The Kieffers called Ron Van Why, their landlord, and to help investigate what was going on with the leaky water pipes. When Ron arrived, he had no answers. Ron knew there were no water pipes in the area where the leaks were occurring.
The leaks became worse.
It was then that they noticed Donald Decker in a trance. Ron called his wife and explained the situation at the Keiffer residence, while Kieffer called the police.
Patrolman Richard Wolbert was the first to arrive at the scene. It only took a few short minutes for Wolbert to become drenched in water after entering the home. 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.”
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.”
The officers tried to make sense of the situation and left to go file a report with the police chief.
At this point, the Kieffers, Decker, Van Why, and the officers had all witnessed the indoor rain. In addition to that group of witnesses, Pam Scrofano owner of the pizzeria across the street, and Romayne Van Why arrived were shocked at the bizarre incident. Scrofano returned to her restaurant.
Once the officers left, Decker and the Kieffers decided to go to the pizzeria across the street, Ron and Romayne Van Why stayed behind. Ron noted that as soon as the group left, the house returned to normal. Ron found himself wondering if one of the Kieffers or Decker was responsible for this incident.
The Leak Spreads
Scrofano saw Decker and the Kieffers enter the restaurant and moments after they sat down, it started. Rain began to fall inside the restaurant and spread across the floor. Scrofano suspected Decker was possessed. Scrofano claims she pulled out her crucifix and placed it on Decker’s skin. Decker reacted immediately and the crucifix had noticeably burned his flesh. She advised them to contact the church to perform an exorcism.
When they left the pizzeria, the rain stopped falling.
At the Keiffer’s residence, the Van Whys met the group as they returned home. The rain returned as soon as Decker entered the residence. But this time pots and pans could also be heard rattling in the kitchen. Ron and Romayne had enough and confronted Decker. They believed he was playing a practical joke–one that was damaging their property.
Then things took a dramatic and violent turn. Decker felt himself levitate off the ground and 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 that plumbing caused the issue and no further investigation was needed. Perhaps due to curiosity, the police officers ignored the Police Chief, and three of them returned the following day as a follow-up. They included Bill Davies and Lt. John Rundle.
When the three officers arrived at the home, they noted that things appeared to have settled down. Then, Bill Davies experimented and placed a gold cross in Don Decker’s hands. Davies recalled Decker 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 Decker levitate once again and fly against an interior wall.
Lt. John Rundle described what he saw: “All of a sudden, he lifted 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. I just draw a blank, even today.”
A Preacher’s Help
Ron Van Why wanted to help Decker. He may have sensed Decker was not causing this intentionally so Van Why helped called every preacher in Stroudsburg, PA but most declined to help. Eventually one came to the house and she prayed with Decker. As they prayed together, Decker would have sporadic convulsions. But the longer they prayed, the more peaceful Decker appeared. By the time it was over, Decker appeared to be himself again. Ron Van Why stated it never rained in the house again. Decker’s furlough was over, and it was time to return to jail.
Don Decker’s Rain Follows Him
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. He had his answer: It seemed he could 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 Decker told him he willed the rain with his mind. The guard sarcastically challenged Decker and stated if he indeed had these powers to control rain, then make it rain in the warden’s office. Decker obliged.
The guard made his way to the warden’s office, where LT. David Keenhold temporarily manned the warden position. 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, he 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 of why it happened.”
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 Decker’s cell. After being briefed on everything that transpired since Decker went on furlough, he accused Decker of making everything up. This accusation did not sit well with Decker. His demeanor changed and his cell suddenly became filled with a strong odor. Some witnesses described the smell like that of death but multiplied by five. Then the rain reappeared once again. The reverend described the misty rain as the Devil’s rain.
The Rain Stopped
Reverend Blackburn finally understood that this was not a hoax. He began praying for Decker and he sat in that cell with Decker for hours. And finally, it happened. The rain stopped and Decker broke down into tears. Whatever it was that affected Decker, 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.
Donald Decker in the News Again (2012)
The paranormal incident described above aired on Unsolved Mysteries on February 10, 1993. Incidentally, Don Decker made the headiness once again for another reason. In October 2012, police charged Decker 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.
In 2013, New Zealand researcher Robert Bartholomew set out to make the record straight. Bartholomew’s believes the rain was caused by something called “ice damming” which is when water becomes trapped under ice on top of a roof. As for the levitation and rain following Don Decker to other locations? He doesn’t give an explanation.
He tells the Pocono Record, “Why be a skeptic? I want to believe in the paranormal. I would describe myself as an open-minded researcher who follows where the facts lead, and in this instance, it’s an indictment of TV docudramas.
“I do not think those involved are lying. I think it is a classic case of social delusion. If these events happened the way people claim they did, over several days, it is beyond belief that no one took photos.”
While Bartholomew says it was all a hoax, we’ll let you be the judge.