Elsewhere: demonic possession

In our sophisticated, modern world the concept of demonic possession seems like religious kookiness to many. That is understandable for those who do not believe in God and Satan. For the rest of us, our personal experience with it is typically non-existent so we too often see it as far-fetched. Even the Church is prudently very cautious in reaching such a conclusion. While rare, it does exist and is quite serious. All the psychiatrists, drugs and restraints in the world can not “cure” the truly posessed.

The Ammon family of Gary Indiana found this out first hand. Everyone tried to pin their behavior and physical problems on something else. Child Protective Services suspected the mother of mental illness or abuse, probably both.

New Evangelists Monthly contributing author Patti Armstrong covered the story in an exclusive interview for the National Catholic Register. Father Michael Maginot, the investigator and exorcist, recounts the events:

What had been happening to the Ammon family?

The Ammon family had gone to their physician out of desperation, not knowing what to do about the strange behaviors and occurrences in their family. The children went into trances and spoke with demonic voices, reported being choked, levitated and were thrown into things. The youngest boy claimed to see another little boy who visited with him in a closet. No one else saw the visitor, who would talk about what it was like to be dying or getting killed.

At the doctor’s office, the boys growled and cursed in demonic voices. The medical staff saw the youngest one thrown into a wall. Then the boys passed out. An ambulance and police were called to take the children to the Methodist hospital. Then CPS was also called to investigate LaToya for suspected mental illness or abuse of the children.

The oldest boy woke up at the hospital, but the younger one screamed and acted like [he was] in a trance. He was waiting in the psychiatrist’s office with his grandmother when he walked up the wall backwards, then flipped over his grandmother and landed on his feet. The nurse and CPS worker ran from the room. When the psychiatrist came in, he tried to get the boy to do it again, but it was impossible, and the boy could not even remember doing it.

What was your first meeting with the family like?

LaToya and her mother were staying with a relative, but they agreed to meet me at the house the next day, Sunday, at 6pm to tell me their story. Both women were Baptist and said they never dabbled in anything occult. The mother never missed church on Sundays, and LaToya sometimes went.

They told me their story. It all started when the family moved into the house in November 2011. The first day, something strange happened. There were horseflies everywhere in their screened-in porch, even though it was almost winter. They cleaned them up, but then, for several more days, there were flies again. In the basement, sand appeared all over the floor – around two buckets full.

One time, the grandmother woke up at 3am and saw the shadow of someone in her house. The next morning, she checked to see if anything was taken, but only saw muddy boot prints that seemed to come from the basement. Later, the family would sometimes hear footsteps coming up from basement. Sometimes there was knocking on the door or growling like a dog, but, when it was opened, nothing was there.

The family started getting sick. The kids were waking up with bloody gums, noses and ears. Sometimes they went to school, and there would be blood, but the school nurse would find no reason for it. At one point, the grandmother saw the daughter levitate over her bed then fall back down.

Family and friends were afraid to come to the house. LaToya and her mother could not afford to move. They asked people from their church to help, but they refused. A group from a charismatic church agreed to come to pray. A lady with the group, who said she was clairvoyant, claimed there were 200 demons in the basement. She ran from the house, with the others following close behind.

Around Easter time, everyone was watching TV, and a Febreze bottle lifted in front of them. It was thrown into the mother’s bedroom, smashing her lamp. When they got up to look, a black figure looked out at them from an open closet. The mother yelled for everyone to pack some clothes and get out of the house. They stayed in a hotel that night; then LaToya’s brother agreed to take them in.

Did anything strange happen when you were there?

Yes, around 8:30pm. It was then that LaToya told me that things got much worse, right after her ex-boyfriend came by the house in March. He said he wanted to give something to the boys. He gave them both $5 to remind them to be good and said the girl did not need anything to be good.

I said I wanted to know more about the boyfriend, and that’s when a series of interruptions occurred. The bathroom light flickered. Every time I went to investigate, it stopped, but started again when I walked away. “Well, I guess it’s scared of me,” I said. Then it started flickering again, as if in defiance.

I ignored it and said, “Let’s get back to the boyfriend.” That’s when the Venetian blinds in the kitchen started to sway back and forth. The strings for pulling them up were perfectly still; just the blinds swayed. The swaying kept the same speed, then the swaying went from window to window, room to room.

Find out what happened in the complete interview at the Register: Parish Priest Aids Family in Fight Against Demons. The Indy Star also has coverage of this story, including a video.

New Advent has Catholic Encyclopedia articles on exorcism and exorcists. Catholic Essentials also has a good piece on possession and exorcism. Catholic Doors has a FAQ.

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