Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures buys “demon” house in Indiana (UPDATED)

This Indiana exorcism story has been the hot topic all week. It’s been everywhere. The people involved claim they didn’t know it would blow up like this. Oh really? Hmm… I think that was exactly the intent. Otherwise why tell the extraordinary story if you didn’t want people to be impressed by it and ask for more. I’m finding this story more and more yuck if that’s even possible.

Over-enthusiastic believe in archaic superstitions, the Hollywood-like storyline, the lack of any evidence except eyewitness accounts (by people who seem overly credulous) and the fact that nothing was amiss before or after the Ammons’ account. This story is FULL of holes and there is no reason to take it at face value.

Alleged demon home sells for $35,000.

Zak Bagans, host and executive producer of “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel, offered Wednesday to purchase the home on Carolina Street in Gary, part of a media frenzy that enveloped many of those connected to the case.

Media outlets in more than a dozen countries have clamored for interviews with Latoya Ammons, her family and others mentioned in The Star’s report.

Ms. Ammons and the priest who conducted the “exorcism” have been barraged with interview and media requests. The current tenant has refused.

Gary police Capt. Charles Austin, who investigated Ammons’ claims, said he expected notoriety and figured the situation would be made into a movie.

I bet. And I also bet Zak will find something there. Once again we see little attempt by the media to dig into this and find the real story because that’s not nearly as good as DEMONS. And, once again, a complex story will be presented with a supernatural slant that encourages belief in such ideas and discourages any critical thinking at all. Bagans has not said what he will do with it, saying he likely will investigate it because he’s a researcher and all. (Amateur Paranormal Research and Investigation Groups Doing ‘Sciencey’ Things – CSI.)

If Ammons and her family were suffering from some trauma (real or supernatural), I can’t see how this is 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 gets us no further credible evidence for demons but does tell us a lot about modern pop culture and personal notoriety.

Photo credit: Larry DP (facebook)

“Ghosts” abound thanks to technology. Photo credit: Larry DP (facebook)

Tip: Skeptical Inquirer

UPDATE: Here is Zak talking about it on Inside Edition.

If you didn’t laugh out loud at his allegations re: the “Biblical” stuff, the “credible” witnesses, him being a full-time paranormal investigator and all you SURELY LOLed at his concern that “people could DIE!!!” (Why didn’t the subsequent or previous residents have issues if this is a site problem?)

Dear Zak, at least a few skeptics have suggested you take them with you on your investigation on this “portal to hell”* investigation. Are you so confident in your beliefs that you will attempt to convince more critical thinkers of the reality of these claims?

I thought not.

*A reader has provided Doubtful News with information that the portaltohell.com domain was purchased just two months prior to Ammons moving into the house in November 2011, someome using an alias residing approximately 150 miles to the east in Horton, Michigan, registered the domain name portaltohell.com , a phrase which is now prominently associated with this case. The website is currently a parked page at Godaddy.com. The two cities are connected and easily traveled by Interstate I-94. What to make of this? Nothing so far but I would not be surprised if that website was picked up and activated prior to the “investigation” of this case.

Hey, Zak... I'm FREE!

Hey, Zak… I’m FREE!

  28 comments for “Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures buys “demon” house in Indiana (UPDATED)

  1. Angela
    January 30, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I had just seen that and posted in the other article about this. I have a rant in me….OH I have a rant in me..but it’s all jumbled in hair gel. At this point all I can do is numbly say “I agree”. Very well said, especially the last sentence.

  2. Chris Howard
    January 30, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    As cynical as this may sound, 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, merchandizing, charging other investigators to verify his findings.

    Do they have demon tourism?

    • January 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      they do paranormal tours every where, so he can make money for years and years

    • Sindigo
      January 31, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      You’re absolutely right. I (almost) wish I’d thought of it.

  3. spookyparadigm
    January 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    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.

    See also Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, anyone making money off the War on Christmas, etc.. The growing popularity of demons in occulture is a reaction to this.

    • Chris Howard
      January 30, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Does this type of supernatural/demonic belief have a political demographic tied to it, or is it a belief that goes across political ideologies?

      • spookyparadigm
        February 1, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        It does not correlate 1:1 with party affiliation. But it is difficult to put much space between the increasing interest in demons and the increasingly vociferous religious right.

        Race, for example, makes this complicated, given the overwhelming rejection of the GOP by African Americans. Other ethnic aspects can also complicate it, such as the complicated history of religion, ethnicity, class, and politics when it comes to American Catholicism. So I wouldn’t be surprised to find believers in demons in either party.

        However, I would suggest that there is a politically-lean when it comes to the trifecta of antielitism, antiscience, and conspiracy theory. You can find people for whom gold, NWO, Agenda 21, satanic conspiracies, etc. resonate on the fringes of various parts of the political spectrum. But most of them will be somewhere near the populist right that has gotten the name Tea Party. Glenn Beck mainstreamed this community, stealing some of Alex Jones’ thunder. Ron Paul primarily had right-wing followers with some influx from the leftish fringe during the Bush years. His son, Tea Party darling Rand Paul, is not as openly in support of his father’s platform, but he owes much of his success to inheriting his father’s mantel. The discussion of literal demons is also something that has increasingly popped up in the speech of occasional GOP/TP elected officials (see Louie Gohmert for example), and far right religious political activists (see recent claims that Obama is possessed by 70 demons, and other such claims).

        To put it another way, to believe in literal demons one has to be devoutly religious and specifically Christian, anti-science, and such a belief is going to be amenable to conspiracy theory, or more generally to the idea of vast secret forces (and not corporations) out to destroy ordinary people through. Where would you expect such people to fall on the American political spectrum?

        Never mind any issues of masculinity display that might be at play in this particular case.

        • Chris Howard
          February 1, 2014 at 7:15 PM

          Thank you, once again.

          To tell you the truth I suspected a more conservative worldview, but I wasn’t sure if that worldview was synonymous political conservatism?

          My hunch was based on personal experience, so I don’t fully trust my perception.

          It seems to me that paranormal believers, who are also socially liberal, tend to believe in a more benevolent supernatural.

          Whereas politically conservative persons seem to view the supernatural as more malevolent i.e., more sinister or demonic.

          As I say, it was all based on conjecture on my part, so I wanted to ask because you, and others, tend to know more about said topic. :-)

          • spookyparadigm
            February 1, 2014 at 10:54 PM

            I think it is much harder to discuss liberal occulture. There is some data on it, and there are some stereotypes. One obvious one is “New Age,” which is just in the long line that goes back to Blavatsky and beyond (there are some others in earlier decades I can’t recall at the moment that spun esoteric beliefs off of more liberal Christianity). But more than a few people in that world would confound political labels, and some “New Age” beliefs have roots and even more recent ties to distinctly non-liberal ideas of race and other topics. The same goes for paganism. The classic stereotype is of the tree-hugging ecopagan, a Wiccan or something along those lines. Yet significant parts of paganism include neo-nordic faiths which can be all over the map, but there is definite overlap with white supremacists in that Venn. We won’t even get into the libertarian magickians.

            I mention these more coherent belief systems because the big elephant in the room is Christianity. I’m not much for the idea of a “psychology of liberal/conservative” or the idea that we would expect conservatives to be more fearful because of how their brains are wired. Different cultural and historical contexts would make those meanings useless. For example, one could easily discuss a major portion of American liberalism today as “conservative” in that it is trying to preserve government and social policies, programs, and mores from the mid-20th century, in many cases a period before the people in question were born, whereas many so-called conservatives are trying to modify society to something new or at least mostly new (there is nothing in the American experience on a national level like the theocracy-ish ideas held by Dominionists and others).

            Other than a mild allegiance towards science and higher education on the part of some (and only some) demographics better represented on the American left, there is no real organized or coherent belief system that would relate to the supernatural or the paranormal on the American left. There is on the American right, both a general strong allegiance to more literalist Christianity, and in a significant minority, the populist blend of anti-elite conspiracy theories with a literalist Christianity with certain specifically American transformations (the Rapture for example). Even if one is a libertarian atheist and politically conservative, that major bloc is going to have reverberations through that partisan side (again, see Alex Jones and Ron Paul; Glenn Beck is more overtly religious in his message).

  4. Angela
    January 30, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Chris I completely agree. My rant stems from people who hold positions that by their very nature are supposed to look only at facts–and they going along with this. Zak buying 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.

  5. January 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    I agree with Chris and Angela. Zak is only in this for the money making. No further research will be done by him or anyone things will be made up just like in their show, and people will buy into it just because it is Zak Bagans a TV personality. I have always had problems believing anything when they investigate a place because if you notice it’s either Nick or Zak that is ALWAYS taken over by something. Come on people that is NOT going to happen in EVERY investigation or EVERY show. Too bad these guys are dissing their fans and crew members because sooner or later they are going to be just another team that is put to the wayside and lost their credibility.

  6. January 30, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Wow – it comes with a ghost at ever window – now that’s quality haunting.

    • Chris Howard
      January 30, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Well, it’s a quantity haunting. ;-)

  7. Lisa
    January 30, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    I highly doubt the police force, DCS, and hospital staff would be all lying in this. The land lord didn’t even believe it.

    • January 30, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      No one said they were LYING, they are biased by their belief and we can’t confirm the stories with anything but their stories. Eyewitness claims are NOTORIOUSLY unreliable.

  8. January 31, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    “If Ammons and her family were suffering from some trauma (real or supernatural), I can’t see how this is 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.”

    We could say that about thousands of news stories published every year regarding victims of crime, war, accidents, and accidental bureaucratic misfilings. There will always be a human interest factor.

  9. Angela
    January 31, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    @ Chris…I think it is more religious than anything, but I think there are some political ideologies that coincide. It’s not something I had really thought about before, but that would be some interesting data to collect.

    @ Lisa..as Sharon stated, I am not accusing them outright of lying. I do see where there are many inconsistencies in the documents and much of the reporting by the news media. I am looking deeper into the story with an open mind, but I would never rule out the possibility of lying. Too many people have done so throughout time..and for no apparent reason.

  10. karen o
    January 31, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    I know this neighborhood well….It’s Gary…It’s all Scary!

  11. The Frozen One
    January 31, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    You know, if these people want to be taken seriously, they went the wrong way with this. Instead of calling in the media, they should have called in the SCIENTISTS!!! Otherwise, why would a skeptic take this whole freak show seriously?

  12. Joanna Johnson
    February 1, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    There is an awful lot of credible collaboration to this story. And the Catholic Church sent an exorcist. I have to tell you, the burden of “proof” or substantiating information is very high for the Catholic Church to send an exorcist. Really, really high. Also, people whose real life stories are incredible get made into books and movies. If everyone who tells their story is a money grubber, we will soon be deproved of real life stories. ANd if stories like this ARE true, why is it wrong for people to know, or want to know, about them.

    Not a fanatic. Not a Catholic. Just an observer.

    • February 1, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      None of that matters. Demons are a product of human culture, they are not real. “Credible” means nothing in this case, everyone can be fooled or misperceive things.

  13. Chris Howard
    February 1, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    Interesting point.

    What exactly constitutes proof of demonic possession, for the Catholic Church?

    Do they send in, unbiased secular, scientists to evaluate the environment, or is it a team of Catholic scientists?

    Are their findings independently verified by peer review? Are said peers priests, as well?

    How dedicated are they at finding other, possible, and more mundane explanations to said phenomena?

    Are the definitions/criteria of “demon” and “possession” subjective to the church, and therefore easily proved, or are the definitions/criteria objectively agreed upon by an unbiased community of researchers?

    This is actually very important.

    I’ll offer Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning as an example: By defining what moral reasoning is (inventing the criteria, rather than observing behavior) Kohlberg effectively defined women as less moral than men.

    This is not the least bit true in objective reality, but it seems to be valid because Kohlberg predetermined (defined) what it meant to possess high-end moral reasoning, and it just happened to be stereotypically masculine traits. In other words made an arbitrary value judgement.

    So anyone who didn’t meet his, arbitrary, criteria for moral reasoning didn’t make the cut.

    This type of thinking (putting the cart before the horse) is what, I suspect, the church is doing.

    It, like Kohlberg, is defining the criteria, then looking for the evidence that fits their definition, while kind-of exploring other possible explanations.

    • kkranz
      February 2, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      You are one smart cookie Chris Howard!!

  14. ScottyVoorhees
    February 2, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Granted Demons are nothing more than parables, created within the human race to scare children into going to sleep at night, kind of like the boogeyman. But to come right out and say that someone like Zak Bagans is only doing this for the money is pretty cold.
    I am a firm believer in the paranormal. But not all of it. I don’t believe in Bigfoot, the Chupacabra or any other messed up mammal that may be walking this earth. I’m not a big believer in aliens or extra terrestrials or whatever the kids are calling them these days.
    But ghosts are another story. Having lived in a farm house that was haunted for almost a year. I can 100 percent say that the possibility of ghost activity is true. We heard all sorts of things, footsteps in succession, voices when no one else was home, knocks on the walls. To be honest it’s what lead to us moving out in the first place. Turns out the landlords father bequeathed him the house after he died in it. Plus, the original house, before the re-model and addition was close to one hundred years old. 94 to be exact. And most of us know that when someone dies back in the day, their body was shown and their wake was held in their home.
    I’m not saying I believe in demons, because that’s a little far-fetched, even for me.
    Zak believes in the paranormal, just like a lot of the population of this planet. And if he believes that this house is a “portal to hell”, that’s his business. He’s the one who spent $35,000 on the place. So, to someone like him. It’s worth the investment. I watch his show, I have for a long time, and to be honest I like it quite a bit. They do try to “debunk” a lot of the evidence, video and audio, that they capture on their investigations. They work with professional analysts in both the audio and video fields to try and prove what they found was either paranormal, or just someone farting in the wind.
    There are plenty of idiots on the internet who go out and buy themselves the equipment and try to hunt for ghosts, some are successful and some are not.
    The guy makes good money doing what he does. So if he wants to be a full time paranormal investigator, that’s up to him. don’t knock him for not having a nine to five job and actually doing something that he likes. Not his fault he didn’t go to school for four years to end up flippin’ burgers at your local McDonald’s.
    Just saying, to say the place is infested with demons is a little far fetched. But who’s to say there aren’t a few ghosts roaming the halls.

  15. February 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    I don’t believe Zak is “in it for the money”, as such, I think he likes what he does and sees his opportunity in this niche. Yeah, nothing wrong with that except…

    He is a spokesperson to the public that paranormal activity is ghosts or demons or whatever and the evidence for those conclusions are POOR. VERY VERY VERY POOR. Your personal experience matter NOT AT ALL if they can’t be systematically observed and hypothesized and tested. The ideas proposed for hauntings having to do with demons, ghosts (however you wish to define them) strongly diverge from what we have established as reliable knowledge about the world. 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.

    “I can 100 percent say that the possibility of ghost activity is true.” This makes no sense but I think I see what you are getting at and that’s fine, whatever you wish to believe. When this information is presented in the public sphere and outrageous claims are make, you bet your ass skeptics are going to smack it down hard. It’s no better than what we’ve heard for 200 years. Still no solid evidence of ghosts.

    What does that tell us? It tells us that the idea of ghosts and hauntings is strongly cultural, influenced by society, and has multiple explanations, none of which are supernatural in nature. I don’t know does not equal “paranormal”.

    Whose to say there aren’t a few ghosts? Well, we got 200 years of research that has come up with rubbish. Let’s compare that with other fields of research shall we? Oh, nevermind. This story does not deserve the serious attention it is getting.

  16. Chris Howard
    February 3, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”-Upton Sinclair

    He is making money on it by definition. It’s his bread and butter.

    I don’t doubt that he believes every word of it, but that’s not the point.

    The question isn’t “does he believe it?” the question is “Are his observations, and subsequent conclusions, valid, sound, and accurate?”

    And independent of all of that, he IS going to make money on it. He always does. It’s not like he’s doing this as a non-profit, he’s definitely structured his corporation as a for profit entity.

    So profit is definitely a motive. I’m not saying it’s the only motive, but it is undoubtably a motive.

  17. Angela
    February 6, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    So, who wants to place bets that the words “based on a true story” will be the headline for THIS movie? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/06/exorcism-priest-signs-movie-deal-/5247159/

  18. Jason
    February 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    It’s fake, the whole thing is fake. The pictures were created with a phone app, the story has changed several times as the lady keeps telling it, no video or pictures of the supernatual happenings but all the kids had cell phones. If Zak bought this, it’s another money making scam for the former film student, just like his show was. The place is fly paper for frauds, snake oil salesmen, and every other scam artist in the book. I know telling everyone not to waste their time won’t work because the “Scooby Doo and the Gang” paranormal investigators have been hounding the lot for a chance to “investigate”. Well it looks like greed and vanity are about to set the field back..yet again.

    So sad…
    Jason Sullivan
    *Boycott OVERPRICED Paranormal Conventions, Haunted Locations, Paranormal Bootcamps, psychics, Tours & those who support it!

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