The demonic possession of the Latoya Ammons family
The demonic haunting and possession of the Latoya Ammons and her family will go down in history as one of the best documented and most widely witnessed demonic possession in history. With over 800 pages of official documentation and dozens of first-person accounts from reliable eyewitnesses including police officers, a police captain, Department of Child Services officials, security guards, ministers, psychologists, and a Catholic priest, many consider the case to one of the best examples of demonic possession to date.
The series of strange events began in December 2011, one month after the Ammons family, mother Latoya Ammons, grandmother Rosa Campbell, and their three young children, moved into their new home on Carolina Street in Gary, Indiana. It was shortly after moving into the home when the family suspected something unusual was afoot. In the dead of winter, their house became infested with flies. Soon after, they began to hear footsteps climbing the basement stairs followed by the loud opening and closing of doors throughout the house. The family’s grandmother, Rosa Campbell, told investigators that she awoke one night to find a ghostly figure of a man pacing in their living room. When she ran into the room to confront the man, she found nothing but an empty area and a set of wet footprints leading across the room. When the Ammons family began to find an odd, gooey substance dripping from windows, doorways, and furniture throughout the house, they began to suspect a demonic presence had invaded their home.
By March 2012, just three months after moving into the new home, the demonic entity became bolder. One evening in March, Latoya Ammons and her mother Rosa heard the children screaming from within the bedroom. When they rushed into the room, they found their 12-year-old daughter, unconscious, and floating in the air above the bed. When the young girl awoke, she had no recollection of the event and appeared bewildered when told that she had levitated.
Terrified and confused, the family sought help from a local minister who suggested they purge the home with bleach and ammonia and cross every door and window with olive oil. Still, the demonic presence continued its escapades banging furniture throughout the house and tormenting the young children. The family next sought help from two clairvoyants who examined the home and told the family that their home was being besieged by at least 200 different demonic entities. At the advice of the clairvoyants, the family built a small alter in the basement on which they placed incense and figures of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus alongside an open Bible.
For three days they attempted to cleanse the home with burning sage and sulphur. Alas, the problem only grew worse. All three of Latoya’s children, ages 7, 9, and 12 (names withheld to protect their identities), began to speak with grainy, deepened voices. Their eyes began to bulge from their heads and from all appearances, the children were not who they appeared to be. According to a news report from the local Indy Star:
“The youngest boy, then 7, sat in a closet talking to a boy that no one else could see. The other boy was describing what it felt like to be killed. Rosa Campbell said the 7-year-old once flew out of the bathroom as if he’d been thrown, and a headboard once smacked into Ammons’ daughter, causing a wound that needed stitches. The 12-year-old would later tell mental health professionals that she sometimes felt as if she were being choked and held down so she couldn’t speak or move. She said she heard a voice say she’d never see her family again and wouldn’t live another 20 minutes. Some nights were so bad the family slept at a hotel.”
The demonic attack worsens – more help arrives
As the pace of torment accelerated, the terrified children were thrown against furniture, dragged around the room, and punched until their gums and noses bled. One child was struck so hard, she was taken to the emergency room where she received stitches in her head.
By April of 2012, the family physician, Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu, was called to assist. Bound by law to protect the privacy of his patients, Dr. Onyeukwu would not reveal details about the case but admitted to police and reporters that he himself felt terrified when he walked through the house.
Meanwhile, after noticing an increase in the number of days the children were absent from school, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) was called to investigate the household. According to their report, the children spoke in demonic voices and medical staff witnessed the youngest boy being “lifted and thrown into the wall with nobody touching him”. When one child lost consciousness, emergency services were called and the children were rushed to a local hospital where, according to DHS reports, the “children were healthy and free of marks or bruises” and Ammons was evaluated and “determined she was of sound mind”. By the time their investigation was completed, at least two case workers would quit and another would refuse to ever reenter the Ammons’ home.
According to the original Department of Child Services report filed by case worker Valerie Washington and hospital nurse Willie Lee Walker, while visiting the family during the investigation,
“The 9-year-old had a ‘weird grin’ and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over the grandmother, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother’s hand.”
Fearing for the safety of the children, DCS immediately took custody of the three children.
With all options exhausted, Catholic priest, Rev. Michael Maginot of the St. Stephen, Martyr Parish, in Merrillville, Indiana, was called to act as a representative of the Catholic Church and evaluate the situation. According to Maginot, as he began his investigation, he was skeptical of the family’s claims.
“I set out to disprove it because to be honest I didn’t want to get the bishop involved. But I had policeman, social workers, doctors and security guards telling me what they had witnessed.”
Maginot visited with Latoya and her mother Rosa at the home. During his first visit, he noticed a light flickering in the bathroom. Each time he stood and walked to investigate the light, it would brighten and burn normally. When he walked away, it would begin flickering again. Maginot also noted seeing the window blinds swing and twist in the air (with no visible air current) and witnessed wet footprints mysteriously appear in the living room. His conclusion was that indeed, the home was infested with demons, and suggested that the family flee the home immediately. They did.
Days later, Latoya was called back to the home in order to allow DCS to enter and examine the house to ensure it was safe for the children to return to. Accompanied by two police officers, they made a walk-through of the home. One of the officers later admitted that prior to that day, he had not believed in demons – his visit to the Ammons home changed his mind.
According to police records, during the DCS walk-through, the police officers’ audio recorders began to malfunction. Lights flickered and a photo taken by the police officers showed a pale, shadowy figure looking through a window. A second photo revealed a ghostly green figure that appeared to be a woman. 36-year-old police veteran Charles Austin noted that when he returned to the car, the radio screeched “You are out of here!” followed by static and then silence. As he drove away, the electric seats of his car began moving forward and backward on their own.
With no explanation for the family’s bizarre claims, the police began to wonder if possibly a previous crime had been committed inside the home and the family was attempting to cover it up. The men dug up the dirt under the stairs (the remainder of the basement floor was concrete) and unearthed a bizarre collection of objects including boys’ socks with the ankle portion cut out, a torn fingernail, and women’s panties.
After the walkthrough of the home, the children were kept in DCS custody and eventually two of the children were moved to homes while the third was held for psychiatric evaluation. Not having witnessed the events at the home in person, hospital Psychiatrists concluded that the boy was perfectly healthy but suggested that the things he reported seeing were manifested in his head. The remainder of the family were examined and psychiatrists determined that they “did not seem to be “experiencing symptoms of psychosis or thought disorder.”
DCS continued their investigation and returned to the home with additional personnel including DCS family case manager Samantha Illic who was called in to replace the previous case worker who adamantly refused to return to the house. DCS records show that during the investigation, Illic discovered a sticky, strange substance dripping in the basement. After an hour in the home, she began to feel sick and the fingers that she had touched the strange substance with began tingling. Photographs taken of her hand show blister-like damage to her fingers. Soon, she felt she was being suffocated and quickly left the home to stand outside until the police officers finished their investigation.
Meanwhile, police officers also found an unidentifiable, sticky liquid dripping from the window frames and blinds inside the home. The cleaned the blinds and sealed the room for 30 minutes. When they reentered – the blinds were once again covered in the strange substance.
The Ammons Family exorcisms
That same day, Reverend Maginot performed an “unofficial” exorcism on Latoya Ammons. The ritual consisted of prayers, statements and appeals to cast out demons. Two police officers and Ilic, the DCS family case manager, witnessed the exorcism ritual. Reverend Maginot recalled that as he completed the exorcism, the Rosary he had used mysteriously shattered into pieces. He later told reporters that after the destruction of the Rosary, he felt fairly certain the ritual had failed and demons were still afoot inside the home.
After the exorcism, DCS caseworker Samantha Illic returned home where within a week, she suffered 3rd degree burns on her arms and hands. Mysterious injuries to her body continued thereafter and within the month after her visit to the Ammons home, she broke three ribs while Jet skiing, broke a hand walking past a table, and broke an ankle while running.
After evidence and testimony were provided to Catholic authorities, a rare grant of permission for an exorcism was granted by Bishop Melczek. Reverend Maginot conducted a second exorcism on Latoya Ammons, this time sanctioned by the Church and performed in Latin while in the presence of two police officers. Pressing a crucifix to her head, he chanted:
“I cast you out, unclean spirit, along with every satanic power of the enemy, every specter from hell, and all your fell companions; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Upon finishing the exorcism, Reverence Maginot blessed the home and “sealed” the basement with salt.
By November 2012, Latoya regained custody of her children and to date, the family has experienced no unusual events. When Police Captain Charles Austin was later asked what he felt about the case, he said:
“Everyone of us who were there that day in the basement and who saw what we saw, went through what we went through… we all think the same, we all call it – the same. That bit of dirt is a portal to hell.”
Paranormal investigator and TV veteran Zak Bagans from the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” series has purchased the Ammons’ house with the intention of living there himself and documenting what he experiences. “If it’s true this home is a portal to hell, then I want to go there and see what happens,” he said.