Demonic tale sounds like Hollywood, has little else to hold it up (UPDATE: Hoaxed photo)

A new and detailed case of reported demonic possession and exorcism is chronicled in an Indiana newspaper. As with almost all cases, we see typical behaviors related to “possession”. But we also see many eyewitness reports and ZERO solid evidence. Are they photos? Videos? None given. The medical records mostly state that the family suffered from delusions and possible psychological stress. Also, we see an excess of religiosity in their daily lives that could have fed this belief in demons. A credulous priest didn’t help by encouraging the belief and performing an exorcism. Check out the ENTIRE story. It’s a long one and it sounds like typical Hollywood fare.

The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons.

A woman and three children who claimed to be possessed by demons. A 9-year-old boy walking backward up a wall in the presence of a family case manager and hospital nurse.

Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said it was the strangest story he had ever heard.

Austin, a 36-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, said he initially thought Indianapolis resident Latoya Ammons and her family concocted an elaborate tale as a way to make money. But after several visits to their home and interviews with witnesses, Austin said simply, “I am a believer.”

Not everyone involved with the family was inclined to believe its incredible story. And many readers will find Ammons’ supernatural claims impossible to accept.

Ammons’ children had problems in their new rental house. They believed the house had evil spirits. Eventually, the children were taken away from Ammons by social services. The landlord did not have problems before or after these particular tenents so he suspects it may have been relative to them. Involvement of the church and the police added credibilty to the story. But the bottom line is EVERYONE can be scared or fooled by their senses and perception, especially if they believe demons to be real. There are SCADS of holes and loose ends to pull in this story just from reading the account given, but I have no additional information on it. This was the first I’d heard the story.

The family has moved and is fine now. There have been no further problems with the house except gawkers having a look.

What do you think? Other than the police which were assumed to be objective, no actual researchers were brought in to examine the situation. I’m glad to see that there is no mention of paranormal investigators poking around (although there might have been). The house looks terrible. I also found this news report from August 2013 of Latoya Ammons (mother of three in Indianapolis) complaining about the safety of some apartment homes.

Note the "figure" in the window. Photo: Hammond Police Dept.

Note the “figure” in the window. Photo: Hammond Police Dept.

According to the nonscientific poll on the news site, there is about a 50/50 split regarding belief in demons. 27 people noted they did not believe in demons but do after reading this story. This is a problem. The story is generally NOT skeptical although the hint to BE SKEPTICAL and look beyond the claims is self-evident. Most people will not think that much into it and just accept that this is an actual case of a family troubled by the typical Amityville type demons (to which this case bears resemblance).

Do we believe that a family was harassed and possessed by demons for real? Or demons manufactured in their own minds fed by outside sources? Or was this a fully concocted ruse? It’s complicated, I’m sure. We can’t know from just this piece.

The bottom line is, putting out these stories as “REAL” accounts perpetuates a dangerous and backwards belief in the supernatural, distracting from actual problems that can be occurring. I’m not buying it. Show me proof. Your story is NOT enough to make me believe in demons.

I’d appreciate any additional info into the veracity of this story. Remember, hearsay and “it happened to me” stories are worthless. We’ve gotten those for centuries and we haven’t pinned down actual demons yet.

UPDATE (28-Jan-2014)

Oh, I love the Paranormal Bullies group of folks on FB. Thanks for this that shows almost certainly that the “police photo” was made by a hoax app from a cell phone. That is FAR more likely than the original story.

Photo credit: Larry DP (facebook)

Photo credit: Larry DP (facebook)

The circus continues here: Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures buys the house; Ammons and priest are sought by media.

COMMENTING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S SITE IS NOT A RIGHT, IT'S A PRIVILEGE. READ AND UNDERSTAND THE COMMENT POLICY BEFORE SUBMITTING. NONSENSE IS NOT PERMITTED.

  43 comments for “Demonic tale sounds like Hollywood, has little else to hold it up (UPDATE: Hoaxed photo)

  1. January 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Wow. I cannot wait to see the movie based on this story.

  2. Chris Howard
    January 26, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    The two words that make this story completely believable are “Gary” and “Indiana.”

    That place is Hell on earth. Just ask the Jackson family.

  3. TribecaMike
    January 26, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said it was the strangest story he had ever heard. [...] But after several visits to their home and interviews with witnesses, Austin said simply, “I am a believer.”

    He doesn’t mention seeing anything nor any physical evidence, only hearsay from “interviews.” Can you say gullible?

  4. January 27, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    A 9 year old boy walked up a wall – he wasn’t possed by a demon, he was possessed by Spiderman.

  5. Anna
    January 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I’m not sure the scientific proof your looking for can ever be found. I believe in demons, ghosts and angels/good spirits. I never hang out in graveyards after dark. I have two masters degrees and was raised in a home that didn’t entertain or promote ideas of demons. Just through traveling globally and life experiences I ended up “just believing.” I don’t know what else I can say…. And maybe the people in this family can’t either. But…. I’m still trying to be skeptical……

    • Blargh
      January 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      @ Anna
      If a purported phenonemon has any kind of effect on the real world (and effects on the real world include something as simple as “can be seen”), it can be tested; it doesn’t matter how “out there” it is. So if there’s any substance to some phenomenon, scientific “proof”* can be found.

      * The quotes aren’t there for sarcasm, it’s just that it’s better to talk about evidence than proof here. :)
      (As a general rule, science doesn’t concern itself with proof, which is generally unobtainable. Instead, it’s about gathering evidence and trying to disprove hypotheses.)

    • Stephen Reed
      February 3, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      Check out the priest’s testimony in the embedded video in this article: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/27/a-real-life-demon-possession-is-being-reported-in-indiana-the-details-are-almost-too-horrifying-to-believe/

      The natural explanation for the boy walking up the wall is in there. I’m not going to spell it out for you.

  6. Scott
    January 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    The kid walking up the wall and being (allegedly) witnessed by medical professionals is a little troubling. I wonder, though, what their beliefs are. Fervent believers would be more likely to attribute odd behavior to possession, of course, so it could be that they simply misinterpreted wild behavior as something supernatural.

    • January 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      @Scott Most likely mass hysteria/conversion disorder.

  7. Blargh
    January 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    This happened in 2012, and nobody thought to whip out a phone and start filming?
    Time to break out the XKCD again: http://xkcd.com/1235/

  8. Cat
    January 27, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    I’d be inclined to believe this story because of the testimony of objective witnesses like the medical professionals, police and CPS but the lack of evidence, even a video or photo (not just a white silhouette in a window), makes me skeptical. This occurred in 2012, people whip out their cameras over someone tripping.

    • January 27, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Eyewitness testimony is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable.

      Skeptic rule #1.

  9. January 27, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Scott says “The kid walking up the wall and being (allegedly) witnessed by medical professionals is a little troubling”. The keyword is allegedly. You see that kind of claim all the time to lend credibility to things. Other favorites are “clinical studies”, “laboratory analysis”. ” examination by experts” But is’s just a vague claim. What are the names of the nurse and case manager? Where is their testimony recorded? How could someone contact them for verification? Without this information the claim is of no value.

  10. Reasonable not gullible
    January 27, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    So we’re supposed to beleive this lady lives in a haunted house, RENTING… and doesn’t up and move the next month when her rent is due again? not only that, she has company over for visits like everything is normal? LOL lies. who are they fooling.

  11. January 27, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    Skepticism in your sense of the word (now it means close minded) is easy talk, go cast a circle and see for yourself, give it some time to take effect, there’s plenty of sources for it on the web… but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I doubt many of you “Skeptics” will try it.
    http://www.magma.ca/~yeti/!Chaos.html

    • January 28, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Why wouldn’t I? Because it’s silly. But I would certainly give the experiment a try. But how would we judge that we got a demon to come forth? People do such “experiments” all the time and make such claims, we would need to do this in a controlled way to account for other explanations – other than people scaring the hell out of themselves because they believe it.

      And your idea of skepticism is wrong so I can’t say I value your comment very much. http://doubtfulnews.com/media-guide-to-skepticism/

    • Matthew
      April 17, 2014 at 3:12 AM

      I did . Nothing happened. Going on a month now.

      Still nothing. Are the spells on some kind of timer?

  12. January 27, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    The window is a android ghost camera app

  13. Angela
    January 28, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    It was brought up in our discussion group of this article that the picture submitted supposedly by the police department looks like a ‘ghost app’ has been added in the window. I had thought reflection until an example was posted in the group. Another reason I am suspicious of the ‘reliable witnesses’ in this story.

  14. cassandra
    January 28, 2014 at 6:31 AM
  15. January 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Can anyone find evidence that an app produced the picture? Makes sense but I can’t find details of an app that adds an image that resembles this.

    • Chris Howard
      January 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      I looked through a few that I have, but was unable to find that specific image.

      Of course it may not be an app generated image. Something like this is Photoshop 101 stuff.

      • Chris Howard
        January 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        We have a winner!

        Larry says it’s an Android phone app.

  16. Angela
    January 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Sharon, in the group Paranormal Bullies under my share of this story..there is a comment where Larry has a picture comment that shows the app that he added from his own phone on the picture itself to compare. I am not sure how to add pics here, and hope the link to the comment goes through. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201846169331273&set=p.10201846169331273&type=1&theater

  17. Angela
    January 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Also, on this page it has some of the android apps. The one we are looking at is in the second column..it’s the second one down.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=321404464619711&set=pb.169141233179369.-2207520000.1390933657.&type=3&theater

  18. An Unhealthy Amount of Skepticism
    January 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    So is supposed to have faked the photograph? The Hammond Police? Or the news reporter?

  19. Jordana
    January 28, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Gary police Capt. “Charles Austin”…has anyone gone and looked at the Gary police website? There is no captain by this name…nor is there even a captain position. I call bullshit.

  20. Graham
    January 28, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    The story is spreading via the wire services, this article was on the front page of the NineMSN site in Australia.

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/2014/01/29/08/49/demon-whispers-hey-to-investigators-in-us-hell-house

  21. January 28, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Sharon, I think a more likely explanation of the ghost figure is just a reflection. I detail it here:
    https://www.metabunk.org/threads/debunked-latoya-ammons-demon-house-photo.3016/

    • January 29, 2014 at 8:03 AM

      Sure, it also could be reflection. Though I’m not seeing that this is actually a good explanation of that, it’s just a very good possibility. I do notice the pic is slightly different. That could also mean it’s not the exact ghost app.

      It’s a shame that site used Larry’s pic without credit.

      The bottom line is that the photo does not show a ghost and the story remains extremely questionable in many other aspects as well.

      • January 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        That’s my site. I’d copied the pic from another thread that linked to your post. I’ve updated it now with the link to the original on FB.

        I agree it’s not 100% a shadow. But I think it fits well, and is the least involved explanation (no fakery intentions are needed).

        It’s always annoying when there are multiple potential explanations for a phenomena, all of which are sensible and straightforward, but because we can pick exactly which one is for sure the right one, then the creative thinkers out there decide it must be ghosts.

        “Ghosts”, as an explanation, is WAY down the list.

        • January 29, 2014 at 9:11 AM

          Thanks.

          Regardless of what it is, you’re right, demons/ghosts are NOT a viable conclusion. This case reeks of overzealous belief, hype and hoax.

  22. Angela
    January 28, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    There were a couple of links found online about the Captain..one was from February of last year where he was being investigated for..leaving his gun unattended in a restroom. Another link was to a PDF back in ’06 where he was a witness in an appeals case. (at that time he was a Lieutenant.) As far as who took the pic, I for one am still trying to find that out. Will post any updates here. It says submitted by the Hammond Police Department. For some reason, both Hammond and Gary police officers were present the night when “all hell broke loose” as they claim.

  23. January 29, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    Love to see how this story unfolds (falls apart). Did a quick look for Captain Austin on the Gary police website from internet archive and the closest copy of that site stored there is from Sept. 2012 where a C. Austin is listed as Lieutenant working with juveniles (https://web.archive.org/web/20120930013536/http://www.gary.in.us/city-departments/police-department.asp). That’s after the report was filed in April/May 2012 (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1005559-excerpt-from-lake-county-police-report.html), so he wasn’t a captain then. Of course, records, like eye-witness testimony, are always open to error.

  24. Rom
    January 29, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Wow! My friend Nolan & I used to run up walls and do back flips off them as a routine part of our athletic training program. Just think of what we could have accomplished with some one over twice our sizes supplying the spot of their strong, stiff arms. We definitely could have taken at least two steps across the ceiling. Think also of the mutual hallucination phenomena which would explain how some folks become “convinced” that they saw exactly what is being touted as a real event by an individual with a strong personality. Looks like a case of sloppy and inferior reporting/investigating.

    • Aaron Miller
      February 1, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      According to the original article, FCM Washington was asked by the police whether the boy had run up the wall as a part of an acrobatic trick, and she responded that no, he “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling”. So, according to one of the eyewitnesses, it wasn’t anything like what you or your friend Nolan did.

      Aren’t these DFS workers licensed by the state of Indiana? I should hope they’d be reviewing that license after this report.

  25. Chris Howard
    January 29, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Entertainment Tonight (it was on. What?) just did a story on this, tonight. There’s a follow-up tomorrow night, and they did use the word “hoax”.

    My guess is that they’ll finish by saying something along the lines of “It’s a mystery with no clear answer. Bob, back to you.”

    Then some pseudoserious three second discussion that ends in “Well, I guess it all boils down to wether, or not, you believe?” “So true, Biff. So true.”

  26. Angela
    January 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I have been trying to get confirmation from the Hammond Police Department that they are the ones who submitted the picture that has been questioned here. No response. I am seeing more paranormal pages share this, but unfortunately they are sharing the more sensationalist write-ups. Rom, excellent comment because one of the things that is causing people to believe this has to do with the ‘walking on walls’ thing. Also…from the Indy Star archived story, we have this.

    “Maginot said Melczek had never authorized an exorcism in 21 years as bishop of the Diocese of Gary.

    Debbie Bosak, director of communications for the diocese, said she cannot comment on whether Melczek has ever approved an exorcism for confidentiality reasons. In general, she said, such an action would require a bishop’s approval.

    Melczek initially denied Maginot’s request to do a church-sanctioned exorcism, Maginot said. The bishop told Maginot to contact other priests who have performed exorcisms.

    Maginot said he needed other priests to give him the ritual for a minor exorcism, which does not require church approval. The priests he consulted told him to look it up on the Internet.”

    There you go..look it up on the internet. So much for a ‘Catholic Church authorized” exorcism.

    And this just in… the house has now sold for $35,000. http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2014/01/29/alleged-demon-home-sells-for-35000/5040079/

  27. Scoobynshaggy
    February 1, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Am I the only one who thinks that four or five ” credible witnesses” ie. cops and hospital workers could be paid off.? This is probably gonna be a movie and multiple tv shows. The fake ghost app pic proves it’s a hoax . Follow the money always.

    • February 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I really don’t think it even went that far. Belief is a powerful thing that influences perception.

  28. Mike
    February 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    In the original story from the Indystar, it should be noted that Latoya Ammons moved to an apartment in Indianapolis at the end. I’m not going to get into whether that is or is not her in the Fox 59 report, but on the possibility it is, I find it interesting she moves to another city and continues to have housing issues.

  29. February 28, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    Check out the Monster Talk episode on this http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/14/02/26/

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