Those who know me know that I am the last person to connect demonic activity to a reported haunting without a LOT of supporting evidence. One of my biggest “paranormal pet peeves” is the tendency for individuals to claim evil with no evidence to support the claim. However, a friend of mine brought this story to my attention yesterday and I’ve found some interesting information in regards to the “demon house” in Gary, Indiana.
The Claim: Latoya Ammons, her mother Rosa Campbell, and her 3 children moved into a house on Carolina street in Gary, Indiana in November of 2011, and remained there until April 2012. Upon looking for the house on Google Earth I was unable to find the exact location of the due to overgrown foliage on many of the houses. The children’s mother (Latoya) made claims that she and her children were being attacked by demons and dark shadow entities. The oldest child, her daughter (12), reports of incidences of levitation as well as being tossed across the room and grabbed by an unknown force that would drag her across the room. It was noted by medical staff that there were bruises on her arms to support this claim . The other 2 children, both boys (7 year old) and ( 9 year old) reported seeing several ghosts in the home and were extremely violent with one another.There was also a claim made that they would hear dogs barking when there weren’t any nearby as well there was a banging noise heard in the locked basement. The family also reported that there were dead horseflies in the sun room or front porch area of the house during the winter months that would return when removed. Latoya and her mother made claims of oil dripping in the house as well as shadowy figures that moved throughout the house at night. ( Inquisitor )
The children were first taken to their PCM, Geoffrey Onyenkwu, who concluded originally that the mother was delusional and that members of the home were suffering from hallucinations.The boys became enraged and cursed the doctor in demonic voices.One of the boys was lifted and tossed against a wall by an unseen force before passing out and becoming completely comatose. The family doctor called 911 and the Ammons family were taken by ambulance escorted by several police cars to the Northlake Campus of the Methodist Hospitals of Indiana, which is also located in Gary. While waiting the boys began to be violent against one another again until both went into a nearly comatose state.
Upon emergency room staff intervention the youngest, a 7 year old boy, made claims that ghosts repeatedly attacked both his brother and himself. The 9 year old boy corroborated the claim of ghost attacks. The 12 year old female claimed that she had weird thoughts, and that unnatural events had been taking place in the home, as well as the violence against her as stated above. Many incidents of violent and strange behaviors that occurred while at the hospital were witnessed by the hospital chaplain, nurses who interacted with the family, and a psyche counselor who had been sent to speak with the family due to suspicions of mental or behavioral issues as well as DCS worker FCM Valerie Washington.
In another incident while at the hospital it is reported that when the 2 boys were taken with their mother to a smaller room to gather more information. The younger brother again began to show violence against his older brother claiming that he was “going to kill him” and that it was his “time to die”. It is reported by many individuals in the room at the time that the child had a strange look on his face and began to walk up the wall backwards while his grandmother held his hands in prayer. Jumping from the wall he landed behind her, still holding her hand. Frightened by the incident and in her own words “[watching] the boy slide backward against the wall and ceiling” caused the DCS worker, Valerie Washington, to flee the room. When later questioned about the event by emergency room attending physician,Dr. Richardson,the boy had no recollection of the event and was not able to repeat the feat. Upon looking over the Methodist hospital employee names I was unable to find anyone listed with the last name of Richardson in order to verify information on him,however the name was mentioned in the official CPS documentation of the event.
Although the family had lived in the house from November of 2011, it was stated that the attacks and problems only started one month before the hospital & CPS intake incident on April 19th of 2012. There were some who questioned the unemployed single mother’s mental health status or perhaps alternate motives for claiming paranormal activity and believed that the children were perhaps preforming for her as the incidents occurred more often in her presence than when she was not there. It was the mother’s belief that the incidents were happening as someone had died in the home. Although this pattern of phenomenon is not usual for a disembodied spirit ( i.e. one who was once human) I am unable to confirm or verify any claims of death as doing so would be merely speculation as I do not have an exact location for the house. However, from my personal experience I have to question why 5 months had passed with the family being in the home with no incident. While it is not impossible and to an extent somewhat common I wouldn’t normally expect such violence and invasive behavior to have lain dormant for so long. Also, unless an entity had attached itself to one of the children or the family it is unlikely that events would occur outside the home if the activity was caused by a disembodied human entity. It could be possible that the mother has taught or brainwashed the children into thinking that they were possessed, however the behaviors witnessed by several individuals would be quite difficult if not impossible to do were there not some other force behind it.
The Hammond Police Department accompanied case worker Valerie Washington on an investigation on the home and reported it to be clean and well kept, but noted that there were several bibles throughout the house as well as numerous religious paraphernalia. Police Chief Captain Charles Austin has reported to have recordings of voices that came across his AM/FM radio that stated “You Outta Here” followed by indecipherable mumbling.The police chief also reported that all of the pictures he had taken of many religious alters set up in rooms throughout the house, and strange dirt and salt found in the basement of the house while touring with grandmother Rosa Campbell, who also resided in the house but made no mention of attacks on herself, had apparently disappeared from his phone. An excerpt from the Hammond Police Department report on the house details the strange area in the basement. A recording has surfaced that claims to be another EVP or disembodied voice captured while investigating the large amount of dirt found in the basement. ( In all honesty I have to say that while I hear it I don’t believe that it is saying what it is thought to be)
Following the events at the hospital the children were taken out of their mother’s custody for their well-being and due to the disturbing nature of activity inside the house, as noted with the notation of IC31-34-1 ( child in need of services) in CPS documentation. The oldest was placed Christian Haven, and the two boys were placed at St. Joseph’s Carmelite House. The children remained in temporary care for 6 months. It was found that there was a previous CPS involvement with the family in 2009 (case # 855634145 ) in regards to the children missing a large amount of school.
Due to the strange nature of the incident,the hospital chaplain contacted Reverend Mike Maginot of St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church to discuss the peculiar case with him. The mother ( Latoya ) had stated in a previous interview regarding the case that she had taken the children to a variety of churches, and temples in an attempt to free her children from the supposed demons before the hospital visit. However, nothing seemed to have helped the problem. Rev. Maginot agreed to meet with the women after Sunday mass shortly thereafter. During an interview done in the home Maginot confirmed the suspicions of demonic activity and agreed to do exorcisms on Latoya and her 3 children. Although she witnessed activity, it seems as though through it all the grandmother was not nearly as directly involved with the phenomenon as the other members of the house.
The exorcisms were preformed at the church on September 13, 2013 and although the family no longer resides in the home there have been no mention of activity since then. As far as residency of the home there seem to be conflicting statements. In one statement, landlord Charles Reed states that the tenants following the Ammons had no problems in the house and made no such claims as were made by the family of 5. However, in another statement it is mentioned that Ghost Adventures star Zak Bagans has purchased the house for a whopping $35,000.
Analysis: Honestly, there are a number of things that don’t add up for me but as we all ( or those who actually pay attention know lol ) my focus is not on demonology. All the same, with my limited knowledge there are a few things that lead me to be more likely to discredit this incident if it weren’t for multiple instances of official paperwork on this case.
- In most incidents in my personal knowledge the occurrence of a shadow person is not in any way demonic. This misrepresentation has become somewhat common in movies but through my own investigation into them I feel that they are something entirely different. Perhaps if it was a black mist or other smaller anomaly but the family described “shadow figures” as being in the house.
- There is a hell of a lot of stuff going on in this house, and none of them seem to fit the profile of one haunting or another but rather are a mix/match type of report. ( Only to name a few : levitation, abnormal wall crawling, “demonic” voices, increased child violence, shadow anomalies, and full bodies apparitions.) It was later added that there were multiple EVPs or use of sound manipulation.
- In regards to the full bodied apparition – that is like the holy grail of ghost investigation. It is quite rare to come across an entity that has the power to fully manifest itself in this way. On one hand this may explain the heightened and immense amount of activity, but it could also point to a fallacy in the report.
- Although many believe and are documented as saying that there was something abnormal going on in the house, and something in which an exorcist stated he believed to be demonic, it seemed as though the main victims of this occurrence were the two boys. The mother apparently responded to the placing of a crucifix upon her, and it seemed the grandmother never mentioned anything beyond noticing lights flickering or the occasional odd noise.
- Although some of the phenomenon reported is consistent with a demonic presence, the manner in which they were reported are not. For instance, loud banging and knocking will generally come in a series of 3 in a demonic situation as a mocking of the holy trinity. Often there will be multiple references of the number 3 ( scratches, burns, etc )
- When it comes to the children, however, ( and in particular the boys ) there are numerous signs that point to a demonic presence such as a change to a hostile personality, abusive behavior to all who interact with them, memory blackouts, catatonic states, speaking in tongues or in languages they previously had no knowledge of, changes in the eyes such as rolling eyes or eyes turned completely black, changes in voice, unusual movements – gliding rather than walking, and levitation. When it comes to outward signs of a possession that affect the environment around the possessed individual(s) you will see objects seemingly moving by themselves, loud knocking or banging( again more common in groups of three), dark shadows can be seen but should be carefully distinguished from shadow apparitions. There can be electrical disturbances such as things turning on and off or flickering lights.
- When looking at the potential signs of a demonic possession however, there are a number of things that vary from the reports of this case. It was documented that there were various religious alters and icons throughout the house that had not been touched in any way, when demons are frequently known to desecrate these types of items. Another thing that sticks out as odd to me is the fact that the children seemed to have little to no concern with prayer or talk of religion when a demonic presence can and will frequently become enraged by this.
- Why were the boys the apparent main target of the attack? ( It is believed in some eastern cultures that an entity can attach to a child however both of the boys were past the age that this is more likely to occur)
- Was the basement always like that or had someone been working down there and created the dirt. As well, was someone looking for something there? Has anyone investigated the dirt to see just why it is there and if there is anything in it?
- Was the mother ( LaToya ) already a highly religious person, or has this come about since the occurrences? Were there numerous religious icons already in the house?
- What has led the family to believe a.) there was a demonic possession going on and b.) that someone had died in the home.
As a paranormal historian I see so many times when a simple claim is made and as time goes on the story changes greatly to add to the “spook factor”. I suppose one could say this has made me more of a skeptic although I consider myself quite the ghost enthusiast ( when there is a good amount of supporting evidence lol ) When it comes to this case I feel that there a few different things that could be going on here.
- Explanation One – Due to the fact that there was no activity in the house until several months after the family had moved into the location I have to question if the dirt in the basement is from some type of excavation or even the boys being inquisitive. This could explain the sudden burst of paranormal phenomenon.
- Explanation Two – Both of the boys claimed that they saw several spirits in the home. It is possible that the heightened ( although seemingly benign ) level of activity at the home could have drawn a more powerful entity there. This also could explain the sudden rise in activity.
- Explanation Three - It is possible that the mother’s overly religious behavior ( assuming that it was present before the incident ) could have drawn a darker energy to the house that is now targeting the children.
- Explanation Four - The entire thing could be a complete farce. Either the mother has convinced the children of a possession that was not there, or there were a few instances that occurred and were given more importance and added to later. In all honesty it seems a bit like the Amityville Horror story in which there were plagues of insects and trouble in the basement. A number of modern day horror movies based on demonic incidents also have scenes of levitation.
Regardless of the explanation for this incident the corroboration of multiple reliable resources can’t help but leave one questioning just what occurred in Gary, Indiana this past year.