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Portal to Hell: The Gary, Indiana Incident, Conclusion

Demons appear to have disturbed the peace of a small house on Carolina Street in the northern Indiana city of Gary.

House with ghostly figure in the window.
House with ghostly figure in the window.
Facebook photo of Latoya Ammons.

Latoya Ammons’ claims of her and her children’s—then ages 7, 9, and 12—experiences of “strange” happenings and consequent possession in 2012 has ignited a media frenzy. Media outlets across the United States and more than a dozen countries have fallen over themselves requesting interviews with not only Ammons, but others mentioned in the Indianapolis Star newspaper Sunday edition that broke on January 26, 2014.

Ammons claims she felt she had been living in a real life horror movie…only there was no director to cry “Cut!”

Gary Police Captain Charles Austin—involved in the investigation from the start—said he expected there would be some notoriety, and figured that eventually a movie deal would come out of it. Quite perceptive! Austin, initially a skeptic but quickly a convert to the supernatural shenanigans of spiritual warfare and dripping clear oil, has himself been contacted by media sources from twenty plus countries, including Australia, France, and the United Kingdom.

Ryan A, internet commenter, offers; “I believe Ammons’ story, they should make a movie on it…maybe it’ll open some eyes….”

Well Ryan…that’s just down the road, my friend. Be patient and wait for the magic!

There is “evidence” that would appear to give a degree of credibility to the Gary claims; at least until it is examined a little more closely. A police report—an Intake Officer’s Report Of Preliminary Inquiry And Investigation—has surfaced and making the rounds across the internet. And it looks official enough from a layman’s point of view…complete with blacked-out names to protect the client’s privacy. Exciting stuff…at least at first glance, but readers have commented on the validity of the document:

Kenny Biddle states: “This is ALLEGEDLY the police report filed for the “200 Demon House. I have no confirmation on this yet, but it’s out there making the rounds. I could only make it through about half….”

H. Kevin Derr comments: “It seems strange to me with current HIPPA regulations that an intake document would be accessible.” And adds: “Anytime you have medical opinions and reports, these are often highly private and protected information. At one point when the HIPPA regulations were first enforced some hospitals wouldn’t even confirm if a person was a patient.”

Finally, Evelyn Rake adds a more professional perspective: “I have been involved as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children in another country and have dealt with CHINS (Children in Need of Services) cases as this [Ammons’ children] was supposedly assigned. First, we would never be able to provide this information-with or without the children’s names blacked out-to anyone outside the court system. The same laws of privacy apply to all involved. Most, specifically, where the children were placed. The mother (or guardian) would have to release it. Second, the paperwork appears to be a cut and paste of several forms and reports. We are governed by the state and I can’t imagine the processes would be so much different between countries. I emailed this to one of our court officers and this was her opinion as well. Seems mighty hokey….”

Then there’s the “Photo”…reportedly from a police officer’s camera that shows a misty figure in the right (facing the house) center window of the screened-in porch; spooky…yes, explainable…also yes.

Mick West offers his opinion: “Obviously, it could be faked, and indeed there’s an Android app for that—Ghost Camera. You’ll notice it looks a lot less human than at first glance. More like ET. This could just be some distortion from compression. Or it might even be a totally different method of faking. But the image is attributed to the police. Would the police fake a photo? It’s possible, however I think a more likely explanation is just normal pareidolia.”

Or matrixing (your brain making something out of nothing).

Mick continues: “I think it’s also very possible that the ‘ghost’ is just a reflection of the tree-or rather the brick wall opposite the house through the gaps in the tree….Faked image, or accidental image? The point is there are very sensible explanations available for this image, and just because we don’t know 100% which it is, we don’t need to jump to ‘ghosts’.

Commenting on the photo, JeffreyNotGeoffrey writes: “It always annoys me and boggles my mind when people wish to jump to the most extraordinary conclusions when more mundane and run-of-the-mill ones will suffice. I think it’s just people really eager to prove the supernatural. Since they have blinders on, they don’t want to take a step back to figure out a less sensationalist explanation.”

Jane says: “When I first read this, I thought—how can you argue with that? But I looked at the photograph on the Daily Mail’s website and it’s unconvincing. The photograph seems to be a reflection in the window (the whole group of front windows is reflecting what’s in front of them-the tree in the front yard and other things off camera that we can’t see).”

A photograph also making the rounds on the internet depicts a line of ghostly specters in each window of the screened porch. It’s a joke folks…someone is making a very valid point of just what a ghost photo app is capable of. Compare this photo to the alleged single ghostly figure. Very similar….

During a tour of policemen through the home, a video camera’s audio caught a purported “Hey.” Doesn’t sound like the gibberish of a demonic entity?

Jane writes: “It’s unconvincing. The recording sounds like the camera (they can be heard operating some device that sounds like a camera) or a human voice, or a combination. The weakness of this evidence makes me skeptical about the reliability of the other evidence.”

John Winkle states: “One unintelligible noise does not mean proof. If that’s all the evidence they have I would still say—most likely hoax for potential profit. I am already anticipating the movie and book deals to start materializing shortly.”

Others claim: “The voice on the video sounded like it was saying ‘Dei’, not ‘Hey.’ Dei is a form of the word God in Latin,” while another says, “It sounded like it said ‘Kane.’

It’s a weak audio at best. Many have commented the “voice” is the equipment itself or other cameras. Others felt it sounded much like the video cameraman’s voice…either inhaling or exhaling. You be the judge.

An interesting aside to the demonic infestation of the house n Gary, Indiana is that Charles Reed, owner of the rental property for some 33 years, claims that no tenant had trouble there prior to the Ammons family or after.

After the Indianapolis Star story came out, all hell broke loose on Carolina Street. There became a constant surge of media and curious onlookers descending like locusts. The new tenant had to enlist the aid of police to keep the mob at bay. They also declined offers of money and interview requests. Everyone wanted a piece of the portal to hell.

Things had to change….They did!

Four days after the Star newspaper story surfaced the home was purchased for $35,000—and none other than by Zak Bagans, host and Executive Director for Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Rumors were hot and heavy on the Facebook site before it became official. Finally, friend and sometimes collaborator with Zak, Bishop James Long, stated; “I have spoken with Zak and I can confirm he has purchased the home and plans to do a documentary on it.”

This would turn out to be the additional chunks of wood that would keep the fire burning hot and steady!

“If it’s true this home is a portal to hell, then I want to go there and see what happens,” Bagans told TMZ.

Bagans claims he will live there (a resident of a lower income neighborhood in Gary, Indiana?) and document his experience; to experience demons first hand. “I really have a passion for this stuff and the research aspect,” he says.

Opinions have been fast and furious:

Chris Howard states bluntly: “ As cynical as this sounds, it’s a money mill. If any future options materialize for a movie, he’s in. He can milk this thing for decades. Book deals, merchandising, charging other investigators to verify his findings. Do they have demon tourism?”

Another internet commentator adds: “Oh, that Zak Bagans! He constantly amazes me with his dumbass life choices.”

While another offers: “Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans has taken on his most terrifying project yet—he just bought a house in Indiana.”

My immediate reaction to Zak now being an Indiana neighbor—other than the motivation to write this series—was to rip large strands of hair from my head. The house, from all current reports, is now quiet, inactive and demon free. Just what are you going to get out of it then, Zak? No exorcisms were performed in the home…rather the St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Merrillville, Indiana. The child walking backwards up a wall did not happen in the home, but rather in a hospital. And…if the stories actually turn out to have been true, are you idiot enough to go in and stir up dormant demonic activity again? They’re going to love you in the neighborhood, Zak!

Well, Bagans after all is the executive producer of a television series geared to fuel an interest in the paranormal. It does make a strange sort of sense. And frankly—through the nuts and bolts of it all—he enjoys the exposure.

Danielle Pitcher-Garrison states: “There are literally hundreds of thousands of homes for sale in Gary. Empty houses, not making any money, claim demons and in 3 days the house is SOLD”

spookyparadigm offers: “There is obviously a market in America for selling fear to a subculture that believes it is under assault by demonic forces, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes literal.”

idoubtit says: “I don’t believe Zak is ‘in it for the money’, as such. I think he likes what he does and sees opportunity in this niche. Yeah, nothing wrong with that except—he is a spokesperson to the public that paranormal activity is ghost or demons or whatever, and the evidence for those conclusions are POOR. VERY VERY VERY POOR. If you are going to attempt to overturn some established natural laws, you had BETTER have something better than stories and fakey pictures. And that is ALL we have—perceptions, interpretations, hoaxes, and far more questions than facts….This story does not deserve the serious attention it is getting.”

Sharon Hill of Doubtful News writes: “Dear Zak…at least a few skeptics have suggested you take them with you on your investigation of the ‘portal to hell’. Are you so confident in your beliefs that you will attempt to convince more critical thinkers of the reality of these claims?”

Angela has her moment: “My rant stems from people who hold positions that by their very nature are supposed to only look at facts—and they’re going along with this. Zak buys a ramshackle house in Indiana and turning it into one of his showcases for BS is par for the course. I find it funny in some ways, but that nagging thing of ‘credible witnesses back this up’ argument that people are using is grinding my gears!”

Finally, the never shy Kenny Biddle reacts upon watching Zak Bagans during an interview about the purchase of the Gary home: “I really can’t describe how silly I find this. Hearing this guy talk about ‘biblical’ and how ‘people could die’ makes me both shake my head in disgust AND laugh at the ignorance and utter BS that vomits from his mouth. I have never seen one shred of decent investigative work from this guy, or anything that would be remotely considered as evidence of paranormal. Critical thinking simply does not exist here either.”

“Here’s an open offer to Zak—If you’re up for actually having some serious-minded, skeptical critical thinkers with knowledge in such area as, oh I don’t know…photography and smart phone apps…as well as those trained in real sciences—I’d be happy to provide a list of qualified individuals. Yes, you can bet your ass I’ll be on the list. No charge…cause I never do.”

As Zak Bagans places his conductors hat over his head we need to settle in for the ride that is coming. A ride it will be! We also have not heard the last of Latoya Ammons. And Father Michael Maginot…rumor is he’s currently involved in negotiations for a movie deal based on the exorcisms and...has signed a contract with Bagans himself to help him with his documentary.

Who would have thunk it?

Sharon Hill of Doubtful News: “If Ammons and her family were suffering from some trauma (real or supernatural), I can’t see how this publicity is helpful, and suspect it can only cause more stress and harm. It doesn’t seem to be helping to get to the bottom of the story. I’d also bet that this [Bagan’s house purchase] gets us no further credible evidence for demons, but does tell us a lot about modern pop culture and personal notoriety.”

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