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Teresita Basa was killed in 1977. A few weeks later, she 'solved' her own murder.

In February 1977, Chicago police were left baffled by the brutal murder of a middle-aged healthcare worker. Teresita Basa, a respiratory therapist at Edgewater Hospital, had been found naked, stabbed in the chest with a butcher's knife, set alight and left under a burning mattress in her 15th floor apartment.

Police interviewed family and friends, but came up with no leads as to who might have wanted to kill Basa, a quiet, well-educated, music-loving woman who'd moved to the US from the Philippines more than a decade earlier. One of the few clues was a note in her diary reading, "Get tickets for A.S."

Six months into the police investigation, it looked like the case might never be solved. And then came a tip – but it was a strange one.

Watch: The Teresita Basa case featured in Unsolved Mysteries. Story continues after video.

Video via Unsolved Mysteries.

The mystery of Teresita Basa's murder.

A surgeon, Dr Jose Chua, claimed that his wife Remy, who also worked as a respiratory therapist at Edgewater Hospital, had been "possessed" on three occasions by Teresita Basa. He said while his wife was possessed, she appeared to be in a trance, and was speaking in Basa's native tongue, Tagalog, a language she was familiar with but rarely spoke.

"Doctor, I would like to ask for your help," were her first words. "The man who murdered me is still at large."

Dr Chua didn't know what to think.


"I was really surprised and scared when I asked her name and she answered, 'Ako'y [I am] Teresita Basa,'" he later told a pretrial hearing. "But she told me I had nothing to be scared of. She was really pleading for me to help solve her murder."

Dr Chua said while Basa possessed his wife, she claimed she had been murdered by a man called Allan Showery, who repaired her TV but then stabbed her and stole her jewellery.

Surprisingly, detectives Joseph Stachula and Lee Epplen took the Chuas seriously. There was the fact that Allan Showery had the initials "A.S.", the same initials they'd seen in Basa's diary. But there was more to it than that. 

"I talk to pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts in the Belmont area," Detective Stachula said in the book Mysterious Chicago: History At Its Coolest by Adam Selzer. "Dr and Mrs Chua are educated, intelligent people who live in a $90,000 house – a distinct change for me. I wanted information on this murder. I listened and acted on what they told me."

Showery was known to Chua – and to Basa. He worked as a respiratory technician at the same hospital where both Chua and Basa were respiratory therapists. Showery had been in a difficult financial situation, and Basa had been helping him out by paying him generously to do small jobs for her.

The detectives went to Showery's apartment, which he shared with his pregnant partner, Yanka Kalmuk. They found Kalmuk to have a pearl ring and a jade pendant that had belonged to Basa. She said Showery had given her the jewellery as a late Christmas present. 

Read: A hospital kidnapping, a mother's suicide, and a $210 million payout. This is Maya Kowalski's story.


Showery initially denied killing Basa, but after being taken to the police station, he signed a confession. He said he had visited Basa at her home, attacked her, stolen the jewellery and lit the fire before leaving.

But later Showery retracted his confession, saying police had threatened to arrest the pregnant Kalmuk if he didn't confess. His lawyer, William Swano, called for the murder charge to be dismissed, saying police had arrested him on nothing more than the Chuas' bizarre story. 

"Never to my knowledge has a man been arrested because of a supernatural vision," Swano said. "Police have never before been informed of a criminal's name by a voice from the grave."

But the judge decided the trial should go ahead.

"It's not like we're going to cross-examine the voice or anything of that nature," a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office told The Washington Post. "We're really not interested in the supernatural aspect of this trial. The voice was an initial tip, but the evidence was developed independently."

Allan Showery's trial: A detailed look.

The trial received huge publicity, with headlines like, "Did voice from grave finger murder suspect?" It ended in a mistrial, with a deadlocked jury.

A month later, while waiting for a new trial to begin, Showery suddenly changed his plea to guilty. They sentenced him to 14 years for murder, robbery and arson. 

So did a voice from beyond the grave really send a man to jail, or could there be a more mundane explanation? Remy Chua and Showery did work together, so Chua may have found out something incriminating about Showery through the hospital. Plus, it's possible that Chua had a grudge against Showery, as it's been reported that he had made complaints about the quality of her work.


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According to Mysterious Chicago, Showery's lawyers tried to suggest in court that Chua was the real killer – that she'd sold Showery the jewellery, which explained why Kalmuk had it, and then come up with the "possession" idea after losing her job at the hospital. However, Selzer adds Chua was "never truly considered a suspect".

The Chuas went on to write a book, A Voice From The Grave, co-authored by their friend Carol Mercado. 

"All of us want to believe in life after death," Dr Chua said.

The case was featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries and then, in 1996, turned into a tele movie, Voice From The Grave.

The movie's executive producer, John Cosgrove, said Chua's life had returned to normal in the years following the murder and trial.

"There are no more psychic or paranormal events in her life," he told the Chicago Tribune. "She's living a quiet life. She hated the media glare of 1978 and '79."

As for Showery, they released him from jail in 1983, just six years after Basa's death. He also went on to live a quiet life.

Feature Image: Unsolved Mysteries/

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