Ghost-busters are being brought in to rid a Pukekohe home of evil spirits after terrified Filipino workers complained it is "haunted" by ghouls.
The scared men report the troubling presence of three female spirits at the old Pukekohe villa and have engaged the services of a good witch to cast them out.
But sceptics say that there are more scientific explanations for the men's experiences.
Glenn Pool told the Herald the five-bedroom villa had been being occupied by workers from the Philippines for three weeks.
Pool, a manager with the scaffolding company employing the men, said the encounters began not long after they moved in.
"The first few days they were there they came back to us and said, 'Boss, boss - the place is haunted, there's ladies in there, three ladies, lady ghosts', and we were like, 'Yeah, OK' but after that the things that have been happening
have been non-stop," he told the Herald.
One man reported feeling a slap to the face in the middle of the night, waking to find he was completely alone.
The men also reported "lights getting turned on and off, footsteps and running in the room".
Pool said the men also claimed to have heard "constant crying, women crying" and one of the men reported experiencing a form of paralysis.
"He couldn't move. It was like something had hold of his legs, was pinning his legs down."
Pool also described the uncanny encounter one of the workers had while on a video call to his wife in the Philippines.
"His wife got sh***y at him because she saw another woman behind him and he swore black and blue that there was no one in there."
The wife initially refused to believe the man's denials and insisted he was lying.
Pool said the workers had leaned on their strong Catholic faith to deal with the issue, relating a conversation with one of the terrified men.
Pool said that while the man said he wasn't fearful, he had told the spirit: "In the name of Jesus, leave us alone."
It didn't work.
Darwin Rivera, one of the Filipino workers living at the home, described feeling his legs being pulled up and down by an invisible force while he lay in bed and experiencing strange smells and sudden drops in temperature.
Rivera said he heard women's voices crying, but had only heard them say one word: his own name.
He was now praying every night to keep himself safe and keeping his bible close but admitted he was too scared to address the spirits directly and tell them to leave.
'We just kept the wardrobe door closed'
The previous owners weren't surprised to learn of the spooky goings-on.
"Been haunted, have they?" asked former owner Kim Tilyard before relaying his some of his family's experience with the property, telling the Herald that visitors had said the house was "not right".
His wife Christine said the family lived there for about 24 years and initially had frequent run ins with spirits.
They had the house blessed several times - which would quell the disturbances for a while - and she had spoken directly to the spirits to tell them to "go away and leave us alone - and they did".
The family also placed "protective angels" on the four corners of the section.
The spirits never returned, she said.
The family hadn't encountered any paranormal activity for two decades before they sold up in February this year.
Christine said her young son woke to find a figure standing over his bed and telling him to leave. She also recounted a chilling experience when one of their children was a baby.
"She was grizzling so I put her in between us and when I woke up there was somebody standing over me. It was something in a really long cloak leaning over me."
She was "petrified" and screamed out.
Despite their experiences, Christine said their family learned to live with their spectral housemates - but they put safeguards in place.
"We just kept the wardrobe door closed. There's a wardrobe in there that we just never opened.
"So I'd say they've opened the wardrobe door - and whatever is in there has come out."
She also queried whether one of the spirits might be that of her mother, who died earlier this year and lay in the house for a time after her death.
"That's the sort of thing my mum would do."
Christine said she was a sceptic before her experiences at the house and had one piece of advice for the new occupants.
"Get it blessed."
The 'nuclear option'
After some of the men's story were shared on Facebook, Pool spoke with Karen Williams from paranormal investigators Haunted NZ, which has agreed to look into the case.
Williams told the Herald that Haunted NZ's work was not for profit and the "investigations" results would be shared publicly online. The group planned to visit the property soon and was treating it as an urgent case.
She said most members of the team had a scientific background and used photo and video to try to capture evidence of what she admitted was a "theoretical" area.
They would also use devices such as a "spirit box" and "geo port".
Williams, a practitioner of Wicca and a British Traditional Witch, said spirits often didn't want to move on.
"A ghost is a person who is no longer a corporeal being, they don't have a body anymore, but they're still the same person that they were before.
"They have free will. If they're in a place, they might not want to move. You have to be persuasive."
Williams said she would be using the "nuclear option" to remove the spirits.
"This is where my Wiccan training comes in. There's a ritual I like to use which is called the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, it's a very powerful banishing ritual."
Williams shared some details of the ritual with the Herald. The ceremony would be conducted using the Hebrew language and would call on the "divine light" to help cleanse the house.
She never tried to convert sceptics, preferring to let fate intervene.
"I think that sceptics fall into two camps.
"There's the camp of sceptics that genuinely doesn't believe it because they've never had an experience of that nature.
"There's another version of the sceptic, which is, 'I actually don't want to believe this, I'm really uncomfortable with it, I find it quite scary, I don't want to think about it'.
"Maybe one day they might have an experience that changes their mind, then they'll be calling me."
'Promotion of magical thinking'
NZ Skeptics Society spokesman Craig Shearer told the Herald if his group were to investigate the reports they would work to eliminate more prosaic explanations for the occurrences.
"The problem with ghost hunting that has been popularised on TV is that they go and use all this high-tech equipment and search for anomalies. Just because there is a temperature differential in the room doesn't mean there's a spiritual presence there."
Shearer said there could be psychological explanations for what the men had seen and heard including hypnagogia, which is the experience of the state between sleep and wakefulness and can include hallucinations and sleep paralysis.
"I don't think it's particularly helpful that this group is going to jump in there and bless the house," said Shearer, who described Haunted NZ's actions as "opportunistic".
Shearer said he was "not wanting to pick on their religious beliefs" but said the workers' Catholic faith may play a part.
"Particularly the Catholics seem to be into their idea of exorcism," he said, adding that their beliefs may "bias the mind".
Shearer said the "mind is a powerful thing" and the men may find comfort in Haunted NZ's action but the general harm came from the "promotion of magical thinking".
"Nobody has ever shown that ghosts actually exist."
Asked whether it was possible there was a portal to another dimension in a wardrobe in Pukekohe, Shearer said it was "pure speculation".
"On the balance of probabilities it would be no."