You may recall how earlier this year the story of a family in Gary, Indiana, attacked by truly dark sinister spirits made news across North America. To be blunt, it was like something out of the “Amityville horror.” You may also recall that at the center of it was a heroic priest, Father Michael Maginot, of St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Merrillville, who exorcised both the house and a woman who, along with her three children, was living there — a dramatic circumstance that involved phenomena witnessed not only by the family and Father Maginot but by a nurse, a social case worker, police, and relatives, among others.
The reason for all the headlines: the phenomena included possession, levitation, and even one instance, widely reported in newspapers (starting with the Indianapolis Star), of a boy gliding backwards up a wall in full view of the nurse, case worker, and his grandmother.
More on that in a moment.
I caught up with Father Maginot recently to see if anything much had transpired since the dramatic events that actually took place two years ago and found out that there is some news. Turns out, a documentary is being made of the haunting by a television producer who purchased and has been living in the house to investigate it — and that Father Maginot was called in recently to perform an exorcism on a teenage girl (unrelated to the original family) who visited the house and suddenly became oppressed with thoughts of suicide.
Seems that spirits linger.
What more has occurred — and what other things happened back during the original eruption, things that were not in the news reports — is the subject of this special report.
A quick recap:
The home in question was built in 1926 on Carolina Street in Gary (a hard-bitten industrial town near Chicago) and the original owners lived there until the 1980s, when it was sold to a new owner who rented it out until 2014. He in turn sold it to Zak Bagans — producer of a “ghost” show for the Travel Channel (“Ghost Adventures”), who apparently plans a documentary.
The woman whose family was at the center of the horrendous disturbance was LaToya Ammons, who has since relocated to Chicago. Latoya moved into the home during November of 2011. She’d had a relationship with a man she had just learned was married, according to Father Maginot, and was trying to distance herself from him.
This was the beginning of strangeness. And this is what I had not heard about.
When the boyfriend’s wife found out about the affair between her husband and LaToya, says the priest, she called LaToya and made a rather ominous remark to the effect that “you will regret ever messing with my husband.”
I have no idea knowing the details of this relationship, and don’t need to know. The question: was that the threat of a curse?
Was the wife involved in anything occultic? Was the boyfriend?
This is asked because of things that occurred even before moving into the house. When LaToya was with him bed sheets had mysteriously slipped off her feet, objects suddenly went missing (including a pair of her Air Jordan sneakers), as did certain family photographs, and he had requested LaToya’s underwear as sort of a souvenir of their relationship (excuse the explicit detail, but it may play into the picture). Soon after LaToya (now knowing he was a married man) fled, renting the home on Carolina Street and not wanting him to enter.
Just about right off, horse flies had appeared inside the screened front porch of the home, though it was winter, and despite constant efforts to kill them, kept returning. There were footsteps lumbering up from the basement. There was a door from the basement that LaToya and her mother, Rosa Campbell, would hear creaking open (though no one was there).
Let’s use the word “alleged” for all this, not just the phenomena but particularly as involves personal relationships. It was said that the boyfriend stalked LaToya. When he dropped by the house and was disallowed from entering, he stood on the porch, according to Father Maginot, and pointedly gave each of her two sons a five-dollar bill (but not the daughter). That was March of 2012. And from then on, says Father Maginot, things in the house (which had included shadows and unexplained wet boot prints in the living room) “revved up.” The children were pulled off the couch, and the daughter, 12 at the time, levitated off her bed in full view of a friend who was sleeping over (as well as Rosa and LaToya, who rushed in to pray).
“I think perhaps there was something linked to the occult in how they got together,” muses Father Maginot now about the boyfriend. “He presented himself as a good Christian but never took her to his church. They never went to church together.”
While the priest is prevented by an agreement with the Travel Channel from detailing many recent happenings at the home, he recounted aspects of this exorcism that, as mentioned, we didn’t read in the newspapers.
At this point a bit of advice: pray to make sure nothing from this report or any demonic situation “rubs off” on you. Pray for discernment. Pray as to how much to read of any such accounts. Pray to take from such accounts what is good (such as the fact that God, in Christ, is so very much more powerful than evil). Plead His Blood. Realize the importance of His sacraments — as demonstrated by the fact that this priest was so protected. Stay away from “ghost-hunter” programs.
It was truly intriguing. And, with a balanced spirit, it is informative. Hopefully, it gives us insights we can use in dissuading evil, on a lesser level, from our own lives.
Anyway, the question here: were the possessions (LaToya and all three of her children ended up demonized) the result of this boyfriend and his wife — their possible occultic links — or was it the house.
A strange case, for the house itself also had its suspicious aspects.
As Father Maginot — who was granted permission from his bishop to exorcise LaToya — detailed to me, there were things about the basement of this home that lends one to believe it had its own occultic baggage — that it was what the priest calls a “portal.”
For in the basement, which was poured concrete, was a portion about four by three feet under the stairs (particularly the third and fourth steps) where the concrete had been broken. When police dug there, they found a white pair of panties, a political shirt pin, a plastic shoe horn that looked as if it had been purposefully broken in half, a lid for a small cooking pan, socks with the bottoms cut off below the ankles, and a heavy metal objects that looked like a weight for a drapery cord, as the Indianapolis Star so ably put it.
Father Maginot told me the objects were found at two different levels, one two feet, the other about two and a half, and seemed like they were from the Great Depression or World War Two era.
Had occutism — perhaps spiritism — been practiced in that home? Was anyone buried there — perhaps a young boy, for later one of the Ammons boys, who was seven, would say he was speaking to another boy, the spirit of a boy, in the closet (and that the “boy” told LaToya’s son what it was like to be killed)?
Was there any link between the underwear discovered under the stairs and the boyfriend’s request for a pair of hers? Was there some kind of supernatural “bridge”? I hadn’t heard of anything quite like this previously.
Anyway, the manifestations were intense. This we read about. Father Maginot witnessed it for himself on his first visit, when the lights in the bathroom mysteriously flickered every time he spoke about the haunting and the window blinds swayed though there was no breeze. There was the shadowy figure who would leave muddy footprints. He saw this himself. Father Maginot said he sprinkled blessed salt under the stairs, which seemed to be a focal point. A black “monster-like” form was seen by the children.
At one point, the three children lapsed into states whereby one would utter satantic-like chants and then pass out, followed by the next child continuing the same chant and passing out, followed by the third, in perfect sequence. The chants were in a strange deep voice and seemed to involve numbers. During a visit to the doctor’s office, the seven-year-old — according to an official report from the Department of Child Services — was lifted by unseen forces and thrown against a wall. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital in Gary. When the caseworker, Valerie Washington, spoke to the family at the hospital, the boy’s eyes rolled back and he bared his teeth, growling.
It was at the hospital, in front of Washington and nurse Willie Lee Walker, that the other son, nine years old, who was holding his grandmother’s hand, suddenly had a strange grin and “walked up the wall, flipped over her, and stood there. There’s no way he could’ve have done that.” He had “glided” backwards up the wall. It wasn’t a running, acrobatic jump.
It was soon after that Father Maginot was called in (by a hospital chaplain). A Baptist church was reluctant to become involved, and an “Evangelist” who visited the home had to leave, feeling “overwhelmed,” according to Father Maginot’s initial report to the bishop.
This brave priest — who immediately had known the demonic was involved — performed first an informal exorcism on LaToya (he was initially denied permission for a formal one by the bishop), during which the woman convulsed when he pressed a Crucifix against her head. When formal diocesan permission was granted, the priest began a series of three official exorcisms. It was the first exorcism, said Father Maginot, that Bishop Dale Melczek had authorized in his twenty-one years at the helm. Two of the rites were in English, the last one in Latin. He felt a fourth one might be necessary, but by then LaToya had up and left the premises, moving away, with relief. The priest never was allowed to visit with the children, who, taken by social services, were no longer in the home). Psychologists labeled it all “delusional.”
And so it went. Police reported eerie exudations of oil in the home and trouble with electronic gear after visiting the home. One veteran homicide reporter refused to stay in the home in the dark. Another government caseworker who entered the house later suffered a series of accidents, including burns from a motorcycle, three broken ribs while Jet Skiing, a fractured hand, and finally a broken ankle while running in sandals.
There is a lesson here: spirits can attach to us. They can transfer. It is why we must keep a distance from “haunted tours” so prevalent in American cities, and also those “ghost” shows.
Not fear, but keep a prudent distant (unless, after much prayer and fasting, we are called to intercede; if so, fasting is crucial; never enter such a situation out of curiosity).
Father Maginot himself seemed well-protected, though he too encountered strange events in his life. His computer had problems when he did a search having to do with demonology. Then there was “the bicycle ride, one of the strangest things in my life.” According to the priest, he went on a bike ride at one point during the exorcisms and to his befuddlement noticed that everyone he passed — perhaps as many as fifteen folks on roads and sidewalks — were stopping to smile and wave at him: uncannily friendly. He’d never had people react to his bike rides like that before. He figured the angels were happy with him helping the Ammons family.
Then things turned negative.
He was nearly hit head-on by a bicycle speeding (on a ten-mile bike route) in the opposite direction. He found himself sprawled on the grass — thrown off the path — and his bicycle seat turned at an odd, 45-degree angle. A branch had hit his head. He barely missed another accident as he skirted around a little boy and his mother. He entered a dark bike tunnel under a street and suddenly there were the voices of about twenty students who were in the tunnel and had to flee to the sides of the tunnel to avoid his hitting them. On the way home, people he passed by were no longer friendly. Now, everyone was staring at him, with looks of puzzlement, about ten people, including a family. “It was freaky,” says the priest. “They were just standing there staring at me, all with the same kind of look.”
Between the second and third exorcisms, the lights went out in the rectory during a storm. Then there was a second outage right after July Fourth. It turned out to be a thirty-hour blackout. It was the first time in the fourteen years there that there was a sustained outage. And it occurred a third time just before Mass, which was then celebrated by candlelight. The Ammons had much electrical phenomena at the house — static on the phone, strange disruptions in the television.
How many such details need we reiterate? Father Maginot’s report to the bishop is linked below, for those interested.
Are we (as we read) pleading His Blood (and praying for all oppressed)?
Did LaToya’s involvement with this fellow lead to her moving into a home with its own darkness?
Were spirits of the deceased as well as demonic forces involved?
Some say earthbound spirits can attract evil spirits, or turn into them.
The police took pictures and saw strange forms in some of them, including a face in a cloud-like form and also what looked like an elderly woman.
All food for thought — and prayer (to release all deceased).
The first exorcism in twenty-one years?
Albeit to a lesser degree, in most instances, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t the need for a formal exorcism in a typical diocese at least once a year, and there is constant need in every diocese for deliverances.
There aren’t the priests, however, to do them — nor is there the awareness of many bishops to the real existence of the demonic.
In many seminaries, they are now taught that when people referred to “demons” during biblical time, they were simply describing what we now know to be psychological ills. They even say Jesus was simply using the language at the time when He called then “unclean spirits” or “demons,” possessing or afflicting people.
But in fact there are spirits and possessions or infestations or oppressions and afflict they do.
The kids in that house suffered nausea and bleeding from their mouths.
This is not stuff to play around with.
It is stuff to keep out of your home. Anoint every window and door with holy oil and blessed salt, if you have it; use Holy Water on a regular basis.
Again: don’t get overly interested in anything dark. Remember that curiosity killed the cat.
(Memo to the Travel Channel: You shouldn’t be fooling with this stuff. God bless you. We’ll pray for you. Let us also pray for the Ammon family and all others afflicted. )
[Father Maginot’s initial report to the bishop and Caseworker’s report]