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Portal to Hell: The Gary, Indiana Incident

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In the January 26, 2014 edition of Indy’s Sunday Star newspaper writer Marisa Kwiatkowski broke a story of demonic infestation and exorcisms in a small house in Gary, Indiana, involving a young single mother, Latoya Ammons, and her three children.

My first reaction on that Sunday morning was to scratch my head that the Star had pursued the story in the first place; it’s not the type of news or subject that would commonly grace the front page of a major newspaper. My second reaction just a few days later was realizing what a smart move the Star had made—the story has gone viral and gained worldwide attention.

And it has only gotten better in the days since….

A fuller, more detailed synopsis of this story can be gathered from either the Indianapolis Star or subsequent internet ramblings. In a nutshell, the highlights are:

  • Latoya Ammons, a 32 year old mother, and her children lived in the rented house from November 2011 to May 2012. The “demonic” infestation began roughly in the early spring of 2012 and extended over a six month period.
  • Ammons’ mother, Rosa Campbell, also lived in the home and took on the mantle of matriarch of Biblical strength and rationality. She also assumed the role as tour guide of the house after the family vacated.
  • There appears to have been a pot-luck of paranormal occurrences during this six month period: a continual parade of dead horseflies on the porch; the consistent sounds of footsteps emitting from the staircase that led from the basement; levitation; the children snatched into mid-air and flung against walls and furniture; dogs barking when there were no pets; adults being choked; forms, shadows, and apparitions; objects thrown; physical pain inflicted; being punched and generally tormented; the presence of a mysterious dripping oil; flickering lights and other electrical disturbances. And…one of the children in the throes of a convulsion and chanting satanic verses.
  • The investigation ultimately resulted in the participation of police departments not only from Gary, but also Lake County and Hammond, Indiana.
  • The case encompassed veteran police officers, physicians, paramedics, nurses, social workers, and in the end—a Roman Catholic priest.
  • Gary, Indiana Police Captain, Charles Austin, stated, “I walked in there thinking this was nothing but a hoax…a concocted story.” After arriving at the house he claimed, “Things just seemed odd.” Now Captain Austin is a believer! And subsequently he has reported experiencing “odd” things happening in his own life—far removed from the house in question.
  • Police, upon their investigation of the home, found ritualistic alters in every room—including the basement, which was the focus for much of the disturbances—with open Bibles, vestige candles, and scattered salt trails.
  • A CPS (Child Protective Services) worker reported seeing Ammon’s nine year old son move backwards up a wall, flip, and then land on the floor, all the while holding Grandmother Rosa’s hand. (This I found particularly chilling…and at the same time a great affect for a future movie!)
  • A clairvoyant visiting the home informed Ammons she saw “hundreds” of demons in the basement. She advised it might be best for them to leave.
  • Latoya Ammons claims her health suffered as a consequence of her experience—three kidney stone infections—and her children now have health issues.

And then there was the involvement of Catholic priest, Father Michael Maginot, who became a major player in the legitimacy of the story.

  • After interviewing Ammons—originally from a skeptical viewpoint—he became convinced that her former lover (not the father of any of her children) could quite possibly be the trigger or source for the occurrences that were happening in the home. He believes that a curse was placed upon her, and is also of the opinion that occult practices have occurred in the house prior to her occupancy…opening some type of portal, most likely in the basement area. Father Maginot feels that the demonic activity had originated from Ammons herself, and was subsequently “jumping” to her children as the occasion arised. “A lot of the time as Catholics, you can have a mass, pray for them, tell them to go into the light, not to be afraid,” Maginot stated regarding spiritual entities. “But, demons are different. You’re inviting guests from other realms, and they don’t necessarily want to leave.” Furthermore, Father Maginot feels he has consequently become a target of demonic attack as a result of his involvement with Ammons.
  • On June 1st, 8th, and 29th of 2012 Father Maginot performed three exorcisms upon Latoya Ammons at the St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Merrillville, Indiana. These exorcisms were not performed in Ammons' rented home in Gary, although what would be termed as a “minor” exorcism (essentially a home blessing) was done at the residence during the onset of Maginot’s initial investigation. After the final exorcism at the church, Father Maginot returned for the last time to that home in Gary, blessing it with incense, salt, and Holy water. The new tenants reported no paranormal activity.

I can’t help but feel—now, the next wave begins! It’s time to strap in for preparation for the ride that is coming. And that ride will be an interesting, if not predictable, one: evil…demons…possession…the devil in the works…and a rise in exorcisms. Paranormal investigation is heading towards a turn in the road.

And what of the paranormal community and their reaction to the forces of evil working in a small house in Gary, Indiana? For the most part it has been negative….

Next: Reactions, and not what you would think…Silly ghost photos…The witness enigma…When the going gets strange, the strange buy haunted houses…Let’s cash in on public craving, there’s big things coming down the pike!

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