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Disclaimer: This work has been completed as an educational tool for students of history, religious and paranormal studies. The author wishes to discourage any use of this work in conjunction with paranormal field investigations of demons.
Written by Kyle T. Cobb, Jr.
Nos tibi credere.
A Case History
In November 2011, Latoya Ammons moved into 3860 Carolina Street in Gary, Indiana. Initially, life in the rental house with her mother and three children was nothing extraordinary. The single-story home had three bedrooms, a living room, one bathroom, hardwood floors and a small, open-style kitchen. A door in the kitchen led to a basement with broken concrete and dirt floors.
The house was built in 1926 and was first occupied by a newlywed couple that lived there all their lives. After the couple’s deaths, the house was sold and was used as a rental property. In 2004, Charles Reed purchased the property and continued to rent it out.
According to Ammons’s mother, Rosa Campbell, strange events began happening in December 2011 when large horseflies repeatedly swarmed around the Carolina street porch. “This is not normal,” said Campbell, “We killed them and killed them and killed them, but they kept coming back.”
Next came reports of sounds from the basement stairs and the creaking of the basement doors. Ammons and Campbell both heard the sounds and asserted that they believed these sounds to be footsteps on the stairs. It is important to note that these sounds are consistent with an aging home undergoing temperature fluctuation.
Campbell reported awakening to see a “shadowy figure” in her room. She leaped out of bed and discovered “large, wet boot prints.” Campbell reported having this experience multiple times according to the report by Reverend Michael Maginot that accompanied the request for permission to perform the exorcism.
On 10 March 2012, according to claims by Campbell and Ammons, at around 2:00 A.M., Campbell was called into her bedroom by Ammons. Their accounts of the event state that Ammons’s twelve-year-old daughter was levitating above the bed unconscious. Several others in the house gathered around the girl and prayed. Eventually, the girl descended to the bed. She awoke with no memory of the event.
It is important to note that there are several versions of this story. In her interview with the television show Inside Edition, Ammons did not use the word “levitated” in describing the event. Instead Ammons said, “It [a demon] attacked and raised her up off the bed, snatched her up off the bed.” If the action was a quick flight instead of prolonged floating, it is possible that the girl could generate the lurch herself.
Ammons and Campbell allegedly tried to contact multiple churches in the area but most of the churches would not offer guidance. Finally, one unnamed church official listened to Campbell and Ammons. The church official recommended cleaning the “home with bleach and ammonia, then use oil to draw crosses on every door and window” and the pouring of “olive oil on her three children's hands and feet, then smeared oil in the shape of crosses on their foreheads.”
At some unspecified point, two self-proclaimed psychics (or clairvoyants) were contacted. They claimed that there were over two hundred demons living in the house. They suggested that Ammons move. Because she could not afford to move, the psychics recommended the saging/sulfuring of the entire house as well as the construction of an altar in the house basement.
Covering a small table with a white sheet, a white candle and a statue of Mary, Joseph and Jesus were placed on top next to an opened Bible displaying Psalm 91.
For three days after the sage ritual, the house was quiet.
Allegedly, the children and Ammons were possessed. The children’s eyes were said to bulge and their voices became deep. Diabolical smiles were seen on their faces. The seven-year-old sat in a closet talking to an invisible boy and once flew out of the bathroom as if he'd been thrown. The nine-year-old son described being killed. The twelve-year-old daughter would tell mental counselors “that she sometimes felt as if she were being choked and held down so she couldn't speak or move.” The girl claimed that voices told her that “she'd never see her family again and wouldn't live another 20 minutes.”
The twelve-year-old allegedly received a wound to the head requiring stitches when a headboard slammed into her.
For her part, Ammons’ claimed that she “felt weak, lightheaded and warm when she was possessed. Her body shook, and she said she felt out-of-control.”
On 19 April 2012, the Ammons consulted a family physician named Geoffrey Onyeukwu. While Onyeukwu told the Indianapolis Star that in “Twenty years, and I've never heard anything like that in my life… I was scared myself when I walked into the room,” in his medical notes he stated that the family had “delusions of ghost in home" and "hallucinations.” There were additional comments reaffirming the belief that there was a “history of ghost at home” and that the family was “delusional.”
During the examination, according to the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) report, Ammons's sons screamed obscenities at Onyeukwu in demonic voices. It was asserted that the seven-year-old boy was “lifted and thrown into the wall with nobody touching him.” Both boys lost consciousness and 9-1-1 was called. According to Onyeukwu, seven or eight police officers along with multiple ambulances responded. The boys were taken to Methodist Hospital in Gary, Indiana.
While the nine-year-old awoke and acted rationally, the seven-year-old awoke in a screaming rage requiring restraint.
The hospital reported the family to DCS with allegations of possible child abuse or neglect. It was asserted in the complaint that Ammons was possibly suffering from mental illness and that the children were performing for their mother.
DCS family case manager Valerie Washington was the initial investigator assigned. Washington’s report stated that hospital personnel examined Ammons along with her children. Washington found them to be healthy and free of marks or bruises. A hospital psychiatrist evaluated Ammons and determined she was of “sound mind.”
However, during the interview in the hospital with the family, Washington reported that the seven-year-old boy began growling and his eyes rolled back in his head. He grabbed his older brother's throat and choked him until medical staff separated the two.
During a subsequent interview with the children and Campbell, as well as nurse Willie Lee Walker, the seven-year-old again began to growl. He threatened his brother with “It's time to die… I will kill you” in a reportedly unnatural voice.
Washington's original DCS report, which was supported by Walker, stated the nine-year-old had a “weird grin” and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He flipped over Campbell, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother's hand.
According to Walker, “He walked up the wall, flipped over her and stood there… There's no way he could've done that.”
Under police questioning, Washington was asked if it were possible that the boy had run up the wall as though performing an acrobatic trick. Washington replied that the boy “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling.”
While various media reports make it sound as though the child were defying gravity, in interviews with the hospital staff, it was revealed that the:
boy put first one foot, then the other, onto the wall of a small hospital exam room, his grandmother, Rosa Campbell, was holding his hand or both of his hands. Thus the laws of physics were not contravened. The boy was obviously supported, braced by the rigid arms of Campbell who no doubt instinctively steadied him and helped him maintain his balance as he progressed, perhaps to the ceiling, “and he never let go. He flipped over and landed on his feet in front of the grandmother and sat down in the chair. A few minutes later he looked up as if he was back to himself.” In short, this was a stunt of an agile boy, not in the least proof of the supernatural.
Both Washington and Walker ran out of the room according to the police report. Dr. Richardson was summoned but did not believe the events as they were being described. He asked the boy to walk up the wall again but the boy claimed no memory of the event.
Walker thought the boy's behavior was the result of a mental illness but the police report quoted Washington asserting that she believed there was an “evil influence” at work.
The seven-year-old remained at the hospital with Ammons while Campbell took the other children to a relative’s home.
The next day Washington and DCS took emergency custody of the children without a court order citing that “all of the children were expericing (sic) spiritual and emotional distress.”
On 20 April 2012, Reverend Michael Maginot, a priest at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish, in Merrillville, Indiana, received a call from the hospital chaplain David Neville asking him to perform an exorcism on the nine-year-old son.
On 22 April 2012 at 6:30 P.M., Maginot interviewed the family at the Carolina Street house for several hours. During the course of the interview, Campbell pointed out a flickering light bulb. Each time Maginot approached it, the flickering stopped. He attributed the flickering to a demonic presence. Campbell pointed out movement of the Venetian blinds in the kitchen when allegedly there was no air flow. Maginot reported wet footprints throughout the living room. When Ammons complained of a headache, Maginot touched her head with a crucifix and she began convulsing.
Maginot told the family he was convinced that they were being tormented by demons. The priest told Ammons that she was possessed. Maginot believed that the house had become cursed as a result of a hex placed on her.
According to Maginot:
I think there was a curse placed on the mother, that she was the focus, possibly by an ex-boyfriend or his wife, and that combined with some tragedy and perhaps occult practices that had taken place in that house before and that had opened a portal.
Maginot asserted that there were ghosts in the house. He blessed the house with prayers and Holy Water but advised the family to leave.
Surprisingly, Maginot never determined if the children were possessed. In fact, according to an interview with Bill O'Reilly on 29 January 2014, Maginot said:
Actually, I have never met any of the children. The first time I heard about the incident was after the boy walked up the wall backwards... I was in my parish, conducting a Bible study, when I got the call, and they called me in to do an exorcism... when I went to do the interview, at the home, with the mother and the grandmother, it was a four-hour interview, and the first two hours were basically getting information on all the occurrences leading up to the incident... Well, the two boys and the girl, the one boy was put into a lockdown psychological children's ward, and the other two were taken to the Carmelite sisters who take care of foster children. And so they were taken away from the parents, the mother and the grandmother, and so I didn't have access to them. And the mother, I found out at the very end, was also possessed. I put the crucifix on her forehead, and she began to convulse.
Following the meeting with Maginot, Ammons and Campbell moved in with relatives.
Several days later DCS family case manager Washington, accompanied by two police officers, including Captain Charles Austin from the Gary, Indiana police department and an officer from the Hammond, Indiana police department, met with Campbell and Ammons at the home.
Acting as amateur ghost hunters and imitating “investigators” on various ghost hunt television shows, Washington and Campbell accompanied by two police officers entered the home. Campbell told the three that the demons seemed to come from beneath the stairs.
During the “investigation,” one of the officer's digital recorders seemed to suffer a power drain even though the officer had placed fresh batteries in the recorder earlier that day. A second recorder seemed to have an EVP with a voice whispering “hey” as well as “You outta here.” One photo of the basement stairs had “a cloudy white image in the upper right-hand corner” that possibly resembled a face (which can be caused by a rebounding flash). The enlarged photo shows a green figure in a female form. Additional photos taken by Captain Austin’s iPhone seemed to have silhouettes.
Following the “investigation,” Austin reported that his radio in his police vehicle malfunctioned. Once home, his garage door would not open. His car seat in his Infiniti began moving on its own but the dealership ruled this to be mechanical failure.
In spite of the police’s willingness to believe in the possession, mental health professionals had other opinions. In April 2012, the Department of Child Services (DCS) petitioned Lake Juvenile Court for temporary wardship of the three children. The request was granted, in part, because in 2009 Ammons had previously been investigated and found negligent by DCS for her failure to have her children attend school. Then as well as in the current case, Ammons claimed that she could not send the kids to school because “the spirits would make them sick, or they would be up all night without sleep.”
DCS temporarily placed the daughter and older son at St. Joseph's Carmelite Home in East Chicago. Ammons' youngest son was sent to Christian Haven in Wheatfield for a psychiatric evaluation.
At St. Joseph's Carmelite Home, clinical psychologist Joel Schwartz examined Ammons's daughter and older son and wrote that:
there also appears to be a need to assess the extent to which (the daughter) may have been unduly influenced by her mother's concerns that the family was exposed to paranormal experiences.
According to Schwartz, the daughter claimed to see shadowy figures in the home and had twice gone into a trance. The older son claimed that “doors would slam and stuff started moving around.”
At Christian Haven, clinical psychologist Stacy Wright was reaching the same conclusions. Noting that the boy was generally coherent and logical except when he talked about demons. He most often would only act possessed when he was “challenged, redirected or asked questions he didn't want to answer.” At that point, his stories became “bizarre, fragmented and illogical” and his stories altered with each rendition. The boy would attempt to change the subject. Wright did not believe the boy had a psychotic disorder and wrote:
This appears to be an unfortunate and sad case of a child who has been induced into a delusional system perpetuated by his mother and potentially reinforced.
Psychologists examining Ammons said that while she was “guarded,” she did not seem to be “experiencing symptoms of psychosis or thought disorder.” However, Latoya Ammons is a religious believer with a high superstition quotient that believes in invisible entities. She consults “clairvoyants,” one of whom told her “the house was infested by demons” and insists that she knows “for a fact” that the house was “filled with more than 200 demons.” Ammons told the doctors that her home had “various demons and evil spirits due to someone dying in the home,” and that she had “taken the children to various temples and churches to remove the demons.” One psychologist did recommend that Ammons be assessed to “determine whether her religiosity may be masking underlying delusional ideations or perceptual disturbances.”
As part of the DCS action plan, in addition to therapy, one of the requirements was that the children “not discuss demons and being possessed and ... take responsibility for their actions.” It was required that Ammons use “alternate forms of discipline not directly related to religion and demon possession.” Recommended discipline included encouragement, rules and withholding privileges. Ammons was required to find a job and alternate housing “due to the paranormal activity” at the house on Carolina Street.
On 10 May 2012, another group gathered to “investigate” the Carolina Street house. In addition to Campbell, Ammons, Captain Austin and Maginot, 4 other police officers as well as the new DCS family case manager, Samantha Ilic.
While they brought a police dog with them, the dog showed no interest in anything in the house.
DCS family case manager Ilic volunteered to go in Washington's place after Washington refused to return. According to her report while in the house, she “touched some strange liquid she saw dripping in the basement, and said it felt slippery yet sticky between her fingers.” While standing in the living room, her left pinky finger began to tingle, whiten and feel broken. Less than 10 minutes later, Ilic had a panic attack, could not breathe, and went outside the house.
Maginot asked the police to check the dirt under the stairs for a pentagram or personal cursed object which could indicate a “portal to hell” according to a Lake County police report. An officer dug a 4-foot by 3-foot hole. The only items found were a pink press-on fingernail, a white pair of panties, a political shirt pin, a lid for a small cooking pan, socks with the bottoms cut off below the ankles, candy wrappers and a heavy metal object that looked like a weight for a drapery cord. Finding nothing else, the officer replaced the dirt and raked over it.
Maginot blessed some salt and spread it under the stairs and throughout the basement. When Maginot began to question Ammons in the house, she complained of a headache and shoulder pain and left the house.
Austin left the investigation at sunset, the other officers remained. During the course of the night, the officers observed an oil-like substance on the blinds in one of the bedrooms. Unable to determine a source, they cleaned off the oil and sealed the room. Twenty-five minutes later, they returned and the oil was there again. Maginot asserted that the oil was proof of a demonic presence.
Maginot compiled a report and sent a letter to Bishop Dale Melczek requesting permission to perform an exorcism on Ammons. After reviewing the case, Bishop Melczek denied the request to do a church-sanctioned exorcism. Instead, Maginot was directed to contact other priests with experience in exorcisms.
Instead, Maginot decided he would continue and perform the ritual for a minor exorcism from the internet, that does not require church approval. Maginot claimed to do an “intense blessing” on the Carolina Street home to expel bad spirits and then performed a minor exorcism on Ammons. The ritual consisted of prayers, statements, and appeals to cast out demons. Two of the police officers from the second investigation and Ilic attended the ritual.
Ilic claimed that she got chills during the nearly two-hour rite and said that it “felt like someone was in the room with you, someone breathing down your neck." Following the ritual, Ilic said she had a string of medical problems after visiting the home including a third-degree burn from a motorcycle, three broken ribs from Jet Skiing, and a broken hand from when she hit a table and a broken ankle from running in flip-flops. Ilic stated:
I had friends who wouldn't talk to me because they believed that something had attached itself to me… I'm already evil. They try to find something that's not evil and corrupt it. They wouldn't waste their time on me.
After the minor ritual, Maginot claimed he had learned the names of the demons plaguing Ammons. Among the named demons was Beelzebub. A report was again prepared and submitted on 21 May 2012.
Following the minor exorcism, on 30 May 2012, Bishop Melczek granted permission by phone for Maginot to perform a full exorcism.
In June 2012, Maginot and an assistant performed three exorcisms on Ammons in the Merrillville church. The first exorcism occurred on 1 June followed by a second on 8 June and the final major exorcism on 29 June 2012. Two police officers from earlier investigations attended the first two exorcisms to assist the priest if Ammons needed restraining.
On 7 June, just prior to the second Exorcism, Maginot claims to have been attacked by the demons. Spending the afternoon riding his bicycle, Maginot had an unusual number of near accidents which culminated with him being thrown from his bike into the grass. According to Maginot:
I looked and saw that the seat of my bike was completely twisted but it made no sense because it was absolutely tight and I had to really pound it to straighten it out. I was in no doubt I had been attacked. I was being warned.
Before the third exorcism, Ammons and Campbell had moved into a new home in Indianapolis, which Maginot had blessed.
The third exorcism was conducted in Latin. Ammons convulsed when Maginot condemned the demons but she did not react during prayers.
Since the final exorcism, Ammons has reported no demonic issues. In November 2012, DCS allowed Ammons to regain custody of her children. After supervision, the case was formally closed in February 2013. DCS family case manager Christina Olejnik wrote in her notes on 24 January 2013, “No demonic presences or spirits in the home.” In the request for dismissal of the case, Olejnik continued with “the family is no longer fixated solely on religion to explain or cope with the children's behavior issues.”
Since the third exorcism, Ammons has lived demon-free in Indianapolis, Indiana and maintains a full-time job (as required by the court). The children are receiving Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance.
It is important to note that not all members of the Ammons family agreed with the public statements about the events that occurred in the Carolina Street house. Shortly after the story was made public, Latoya Ammons’s step-mother contacted Chicago Post-Tribune reporter Jerry Davich. According to the elder Ammons:
My children — Latoya’s brothers and sisters — are outraged... They know the true story and they’re upset about the family’s name being dragged through the mud… There are a lot of twists and turns that have not been revealed. My family hoped this would all blow over. It has not… We don’t believe it… We believe none of it went on.
The elder Ammons continued with many negative remarks about Latoya’s character.
Prior to the arrival of the Ammons at the Carolina Street home, according to Charles Reed, Ammons’s landlord, there had been no previous reports of paranormal events within the home. Subsequent tenants reported no activity in the home. In fact, according to Reed, the only issues following the departure of Ammons were frequent police squad cars passing by to tour the house as well as frequent trespass reports from curious reporters or tourists.
On 6 February 2014, it was announced that Maginot had signed a movie deal with Evergreen Media Holdings and Executive chairman Tony DeRosa-Grund, the producer of “The Conjuring.” Maginot has announced that he will be working with Ghost Adventures star Zac Bagans. The Carolina Street home was purchased by star Zac Bagans for $35,000 in January 2014 just after the exorcism case was made public.
By 21 February 2014, filming had started at the house.
Throughout 2014, Bagans filmed a “documentary” at the house entitled “The Demon House.” Primary filming ended in January 2015. Bagans claimed in November 2014 that:
We are in the last month of post-production… The Demon House project has given me more knowledge about the dark forces that exist out there than anything I’ve ever investigated before. With ‘Ghost Adventures’ we commonly take four days to do an investigation. With this I’ve been able to take two years. Seeing how many people have been affected by the house… people from all walks of life… it’s really enabled me to study how these demons work. It’s a lot different than most people perceive. The aspect of intelligence that these demons exhibit… they work in ways that we cannot comprehend. There are limits pertaining to how much you can study something that is more advanced than we are. It’s been so hard for me to get to the point of ending this film. It’s a big challenge for me to come to terms with the fact that the final month of production on this project is here. The hardest thing for me is to say, ‘Okay, we have to stop filming now’ because I don’t want to. I really want to keep filming this house for a long time, but it’s dangerous. Like I said, it has affected people who have the highest level of knowledge that you possibly could have of the paranormal. People who are widely recognized worldwide as being at the top of their field, whether it be demonology, parapsychology, or psychophysiology. This makes me recognize that there are limits to how much further I should keep going on this case. The house keeps drawing me back there, but when I am there, I am not me. A lot of people who have been there have told me that they felt the same way.
While the “documentary” was originally announced for 2015, It was later rescheduled until 2016. The film was finally released on 16 March 2018,
Because of the media attention that the alleged event caused, the house became the target of vandals as well as attempted séances.
On 19 January 2016, the house was demolished by Bagans as part of the movie he filmed on the location.
In between being possessed each week on his television shows, Bagans claimed:
Something was inside that house that had the ability to do things that I have never seen before — things that others carrying the highest forms of credibility couldn’t explain either. There was something there that was very dark yet highly intelligent and powerful.
The Michel family with Anneliese at back left.
Methodist Hospital in Gary, Indiana
Reverend Michael Maginot
|Ouija and Zozo
|Christian Demon texts
|Roman Rite 1614
|Roman Rite 1998