The Exorcism in Indiana - What in the Hell Happened?

The Exorcism in Indiana - What in the Hell Happened?

The Ammons family of Gary, Indiana, had a few weeks in hell. Did the devil really make them do it?

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I have mixed opinions when it comes to weird stuff. My basic attitude is that I neither strongly believe or disbelieve, because most odd things can generally be explained. I've seen and heard some weird stuff (but I've also been heavily medicated for most of my life, one way or another, due to brain damage) but nothing that can't otherwise be explained. As a general rule I figure if there is anything supernatural out there kicking around on the mortal plane, it's not generally a big enough deal to worry about, it's not like you see people getting killed or disappearing under weird, supernatural, circumstances left and right. When things like that DO happen it's usually done by some perfectly mortal guy who believes weird stuff, than by some supernatural entity. What's more having read a lot of paranormal stuff, ghost stories, etc.. being in a hotbed of such tales down here in New England, and as an extension of my interest in horror, it's noteworthy that as a general rule even if true the supernatural doesn't actually kill anyone. For the most part stories like this involve "disappearances" at the worst which also happen under ambigious circumstances and the more evidence there is that something truly messed up is going on (the hardest to disprove cases) the less lethal it's supposed to be. The alleged "Bell Witch Haunting" is apparently one of the few cases where an "accepted" (by experts) ghost has actually killed someone as opposed to just generally being annoying. Simply put the real alleged "supernatural activity" tends to be a lot more mellow than horror movies, which tend to ham it up, even when dealing with "true stories".

*THAT* said the supernatural is legally accepted to exist, which is something a lot of people don't realize. It's actually fairly subtle though, and comes up indirectly in things like real estate law where most states require realtors to tell home owners if a house has a history, largely due to reported incidents going back decades, if not centuries, of people being harassed by spirits in a house. As a result the old horror movie clique of "family gets deal on house, and moves in, not knowing it was cheap because of it's history of odd occurences and murders" doesn't generally happen. Of course at the same time when houses with histories are investigated by "professionals" for TV or whatever with the permission of the realtors/owners they generally don't find anything you know the whole "wooo, we found odd cold spots" and the like... so as I said, you can't explain it, but it hardly tends to be exciting. Personally I'd actually think in temperate areas ghostly cold spots would be a selling point to save on air conditioning bills. :)

When it comes to possession, I've never run into anything that sold me on that, even as a Christian. Of course I am not a deeply spiritual Christian when you get down to it. As a general rule, I tend to be fairly open minded on that one when it comes to the bigger churches and Christian religions like the Catholics because they tend to be fairly careful in most cases. The Catholics in particular tend to be highly skeptical of flashy events, and "miracles", flashy or otherwise, and heavily investigate everything and anything they get involved in. They generally do not go running around declaring possessions, miracles, etc... left and right. The way I see things if you can convince someone from a legitimate organization that there is a possession going on, there might be something there, either that or you did such a bloody good job intentionally faking it, that your getting what you see out for. The way I see it is that if some kid starts spouting in dead languages, saying things they couldn't possibly know, and moonwalking backwards up walls in front of witnesses to get action taken, I can't blame action for being taken. As I said if it's not real and you teach your kid ancient launguages, and enough parkour to fake it, or managed to get a conspiracy of fake witnesses, because you really want an exorcism under false pretenses, more power to you. On the other hand I can't see why anyone would go through that much trouble to fake it. Mostly the issues with possession tend to revolve around small churches with no real standards who want the fame, and fanatical followers looking for something to blame for bad fortune or a medical condition. Most "exorcisms" I've heard about though are cases where things go wrong, and someone dies because some local minister tied some guy down and starved/beat a guy to death due to not knowing what they were doing... and really it comes down to the fact that there should be better regulation which is always a touchy subject with religion. As a general rule if there are possessions, it's even rarer than ghosts and other weird stuff, and not something that people should get bent out of shape about.

This is pretty much one of my big problem with the whole "found footage conspiracy" the idea that the government(s) are involved in supporting found footage movies, youtube horror videos, creepypasta, etc.. so that if someone actually did find and record something during this age of easy information nobody would believe it. The idea being that people dismiss the supernatural by saying "well if this existed, someone would record it on their cell phone, or have it on the internet in 15 seconds", when really we've seen an environment created where if someone did something like that it would immediately be dismissed as fake. As things stand, there isn't much need for that because the government already regulates such things to an extent (requiring "histories" of houses to be revealed), and of course it's given a fairly free reign for people to run around doing exorcisms and the like, namely by not banning it outright when a lot of exorcisms can involve things that would be criminal, if not questionable under other circumstances. What's more
anything out there is generally so low-key *IF* it exists, that there wouldn't be much reason. In real life the occasional cold spot, or a few doors moving on their own or whatever isn't exactly going to justify a massive conspiracy.

As far as this story goes, my big question would of course be at which point in this entire process did they decide to go to the media. What's more I'd want to know what kind of investigation the church did, and why they apparently think it's legitimate as opposed to one of the legions of fakes. Of course most specifically I'd want to get some of these witnesses to take a polygraph test (not being criminal, it would have to be voluntary) and probably some deep background checks, especially on the kids. The attention alone is a powerful motivator, and we're apparently looking at books, movies, etc... the first thing I would be looking at is if the kid took dance or gymnastics at some point before the incident, to be honest you don't need to be a "parkour master" to moonwalk backwards (everyone did it in the 1980s)
and kids doing jumps off walls is something kids can do fairly easily (more so than adults) especially with gymnastics training, even some school programs might involve similar things. Combining the two is cool, but it's not an unheard of trick... and of course the big witness here is Grandma who might lie for the benefit of her family and/or enjoy the entertainment, her and anyone else present might not be telling the truth about what they saw. The way how this sounds money and attention are at stake, and people will do crazy things just to get five minutes of fame, even working up a routine in hopes that's someone will eventually notice.

In short, consider me a skeptic. I could probably be convinced, but I would be a hard sell.

Also as a Christian I sort of have to bring up the obvious question. Demons as a general rule are angels who were cast out of heaven and pretty much imprisoned... they rebelled against god. Hell is designed to more or less keep them inside. The problem with the whole horror movie concept of "a gate to hell" is that it wouldn't be a very good prison if there were gateways they could just pass through at will. Even if you acknowledge the ability to occasionally escape, or be sent to earth by The Devil (arguably the second most powerful being in creation), I just can't see 200 of these things forming a conga-line in front of a portal waiting to possess people.

Now to a Satanist they might argue "god is weak" or "the devil already won" but really if that was the case chances are we'd see people getting possessed left and right every day in the middle of the street, or the world turned into a blazing inferno, or whatever else. We wouldn't be sitting here going "well, maybe it's a possession, maybe not" or discussing the merits of exorcism and how it occasionally comes up.

The bottom line here is this doesn't add up. If there are 200 demons sitting around throwing wild keggers while waiting to possess people, I think God would notice, and at least delegate some angels to take care of it (this is sort of what guys like Michael and Gabriel and the hosts of heaven are for after all). Even if one argues it's a war and both sides are in conflict, as opposed to evil being contained, 200 demons means we'd have good and evil going at it in the streets.

I can sort of see a demon getting out or being broken out occasionally and possessing a person here and there, and priests and such having to deal with it because it was fairly low key and not noticed from on high (with the point of the exorcism being to get the attention of the higher powers, so they will intervene, the power is not in the clergy, but works through them). But again... two HUNDRED demons and a gate to hell... Mean really... think about that. If an army like that got out, established a portal, and wasn't noticed, I doubt they sit around comparatively goofing off by possessing kids.

A lot of people probably won't read this far, or like that final point, but think about it. Even if your not a Christian you have to admit there are some problems here given the mythology (or what is mythology to an Atheist or follower of another religion).

im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

Comics & Cosplay? perhaps this would be filed under Science & Tech... Maybe create a new category called "Religion & Supernatural"

Sleekit:
im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

He had crossed over the sea of Galilee (ie: outside of Israel) and the non-Jewish farmers happened to be in the pig business.

I'm stuck on "even Jesus dabbled in the practice." As a master's student of theology I have to say, no. No Jesus didn't 'dabble' in exorcism, he championed it and has become the leading figure in the practice. Any Catholic / Evangelical / Pentecostal / any and all members of the Christian faith who attempt exorcism only do so in the belief that it is Jesus' authority over demons that allows them to even try in the first place. Exorcism was a key part of Jesus' ministry, a miraculous sign to accompany and give authority to his teachings. Even from a purely secular stance of looking at things he 'dabbled' in exorcism the same way that Niccolo Tesla 'dabbled' in inventing stuff or how the NSA 'dabbles' in collecting private information.

Also a real life exorcism has NOTHING to do with what is portrayed in the media. They should be treated as two separate topics.

Page 3, second-to-last paragraph: It's "your", not "you're".

'You're' = 'you are'; "You are guess is as good as mine" - that sentence does not make sense. Aside from my nitpicking, I frankly thought this article sucked. What was it trying to say? When Robert Rath has articles about a subject often covered or frequently used in popular culture he usually then goes on to elaborate about it, either covering the history of the practice or informing the reader why said subject is so omni-present. That usually makes whatever he rambles on about for 2 or 3 pages actually interesting, this article did none of that. It just said "Uh, yeah - exorcisms not only happen in movies, but, uh, they also happen in, uh, real life. Like, a lot. Also, one happened in 2012. Your guess is as good as mine!".

When the article's title is "... - What In The Hell Happened?" most people assume that the article is going to answer or at least attempt to explain the circumstances thereof instead of "Yeah, some weird shit in Indiana happened. I guess it's up to you whether it was real or if it was a hoax by an overly-religious community to make some scratch off of an incredibly gullible demographic!". The article seems like it is trying to remain open-minded and "unbiased", but instead presents a pretentious kind of ambiguity in which it throws little hints at the end implying financial motivations to fabricate the account of the possessions but assumes we're too stupid to connect the dots by going "PreEeEetty spoOoOoky, eh, boys and girls? We may never know what's actually going on, because it's a spooOOooky topic that's beyond our full understanding! How spOoOoOoky!". Otherwise, the article wasn't very informative, which is a shame because the history (real, fictional, and religious) of exorcism and the changing perceptions of the practice would have been a damn-interesting article.

A flamboyant story with little more than eyewitness reports for proof and a Reverend seeking fame and fortune by selling his story.

Doesn't seem there's much mystery here.

Sleekit:
im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

Because he traveled a lot? He was by a town when the possessed man accosted him, and farming tends to take place just outside of town/city walls. Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals, they just didn't eat them.

OT: It ought to make an interesting movie, if nothing else. The "Based On Real Life" possession stories tend to be the freakiest (The Conjuring, anyone?).

Diddy_Mao:
A flamboyant story with little more than eyewitness reports for proof and a Reverend seeking fame and fortune by selling his story.

Doesn't seem there's much mystery here.

...and a bizarre change in behaviour from a police captain...

...and the very real trauma from the main eyewitness that got her in to see psychologists...

...and the kids having to be taken away at a couple points, but now that they've moved, they are apparently fine...

...but why let some actually eyebrow-raising stuff get in the way of being flippant and dismissive, amirite?

lacktheknack:
...but why let some actually eyebrow-raising stuff get in the way of being flippant and dismissive, amirite?

A few people acting weird doesn't raise my eyebrows.

Pyrian:

lacktheknack:
...but why let some actually eyebrow-raising stuff get in the way of being flippant and dismissive, amirite?

A few people acting weird doesn't raise my eyebrows.

Congrats. A police officer suddenly doing an about turn on his beliefs regarding spirituality raises mine.

You ask what any of the people have to gain then go on to say he sold his movie rights... can you not count 2 and 2 together? >.>

Pretty obvious what happened here, they all made up the story on the back of a promise of some of that Hollywood money. Happens every single time, no mistery here.

Absolute nonsense. That captain should be relieved of his position, as he is clearly not fit to enforce the law if he's been taken in by this utter lunacy. Then again, perhaps he's getting a cut of the movie deal. Nothing but another ridiculous profit-driven hoax.

lacktheknack:

Pyrian:

lacktheknack:
...but why let some actually eyebrow-raising stuff get in the way of being flippant and dismissive, amirite?

A few people acting weird doesn't raise my eyebrows.

Congrats. A police officer suddenly doing an about turn on his beliefs regarding spirituality raises mine.

The article actually brings this up. Page 3: "Is this a case of religious hysteria and the power of suggestion, especially on the minds of small children or does this really prove once and for all that spirits and demons exist?"

I'm not saying that stuff like this is impossible, because frankly, I find that assertion absurd. I am, however, inclined to believe that this is a case of hysteria, and not the Forces of Darkness (tm) looking to steal our souls.

...Ok I'm confused.

Is it being "flippant and dismissive" to point out that every single test of "psychic phenomena" done under observable scientific conditions, has resulted in the revealing of those phenomena being due to robust, natural means - optical illusions, odd wind current patterns, or good old-fashioned fakery?

(And yes, I do mean ALL of them. Because trust me, if there was any doubt whatsoever about the realm of the supernatural when judged by science, then every single "alternative medicine" quack, homeopathic practitioner, medium, psychic, spiritualist, fortune-teller, flying-saucer hunter, or religious leader - depending on the nature of the thing in question - would be screaming at the press. And there's enough sections of the press who would eat it up. Evidence? Wikipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prizes_for_evidence_of_the_paranormal )

Anyway, back to the story in hand. I'm not sure who's being exploited here:

- A mentally-ill child from a poor vulnerable family, used for propaganda purposes by religious zealots?
- Honest clergymen trying to do good in the world, gulled by a greedy sociopath and her unscrupulous family?
- All the rest of us, for giving ALL of these nutcases the fame and fortune that they're after?

...Yeah, I have no idea which of those is true, but it seems pretty damn clear that somebody is being exploited in some way, and a small child is involved. I agree with those who've criticised this article for its tone and inconclusivenes, by the way, because this whole story feels incredibly "grubby" and unpleasant to me. I'd say it was borderline child abuse, but honestly calling it "borderline" feels a little too charitable. Whether there's anything mentally wrong with her now or not, that's gonna be one seriously screwed-up kid later on in life.

EDIT: Assuming that any of this is in any way true, and that the child even exists. Which seems to be something of an assumption on its own. Is there actual evidence that any of these people really exist, and aren't just figments of some Internet prankster's imagination?

SECOND EDIT: Yeah, I can't find a single thing on the "New York Times" about this, other than people discussing that article in the New York Times on the 'net; but there's definitely a YouTube video up of Bill O'Reilly interviewing Michael Maginot. So I guess at least some of it happened to real people.

My favorite part of all this is the official request. It's 6 pages of obvious electrical problems. Sick kids, and impossible to prove conjecture.

The best is the last page where they start digging, find a bunch of random garbage and start playing supernatural CSI.

Clearly a child died here...and then um...Satanists came in and started worshiping the dark lord.

Case solved! Good work Sherlock.

lacktheknack:

Sleekit:
im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals.

this just raises the question why didn't they keep goats...

(i'm kidding)

lacktheknack:
Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals, they just didn't eat them.

Weren't those the Flintstones?

Sleekit:

lacktheknack:

Sleekit:
im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals.

this just raises the question why didn't they keep goats...

(i'm kidding)

Well they did, just to throw a wrench in it. However, they ATE the goats, so they probably didn't want to feed them too much garbage.

Why yes, I do enjoy taking jokes seriously! :P

Johnny Novgorod:

lacktheknack:
Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals, they just didn't eat them.

Weren't those the Flintstones?

Wat?

lacktheknack:

Johnny Novgorod:

lacktheknack:
Jews kept pigs as garbage disposals, they just didn't eat them.

Weren't those the Flintstones?

Wat?

I makes joke!

image

This is a cute story right up until you realise these people will, and have, murder their children.

lacktheknack:

Diddy_Mao:
A flamboyant story with little more than eyewitness reports for proof and a Reverend seeking fame and fortune by selling his story.

Doesn't seem there's much mystery here.

...and a bizarre change in behaviour from a police captain...

...and the very real trauma from the main eyewitness that got her in to see psychologists...

...and the kids having to be taken away at a couple points, but now that they've moved, they are apparently fine...

...but why let some actually eyebrow-raising stuff get in the way of being flippant and dismissive, amirite?

An officer changing his mind isn't anything to base your argument on. My brother in law is a deputy and he's a moron, I wouldn't trust him to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich let alone provide decisive testimony on the supernatural. There's no record of this officer, how well he did his job or how he was regarded in the community. Wearing a uniform doesn't automatically make your judgment infallible. More likely he wasn't using his equipment correctly and argued in his defense rather than admit guilt. We've all done it.

A parent seeking medical or psychiatric advice when they or their children show physical or psychological symptoms isn't weird or eyebrow raising. It's what people should do.

Everything in that report points to environmental causes for their illnesses and substandard wiring/duct work for almost all of the "phenomenon" in the house itself, makes perfect sense that all reports of activity should subside once the primary cause of ailment is removed.

If I'm flippant and dismissive it's because the whole affair reeks of mass delusion and scam artistry.

Gregory Wollf:

Sleekit:
im still stuck on wondering why there were pigs near Jesus but i'll catch up in a bit...

He had crossed over the sea of Galilee (ie: outside of Israel) and the non-Jewish farmers happened to be in the pig business.

I'm stuck on "even Jesus dabbled in the practice." As a master's student of theology I have to say, no. No Jesus didn't 'dabble' in exorcism, he championed it and has become the leading figure in the practice. Any Catholic / Evangelical / Pentecostal / any and all members of the Christian faith who attempt exorcism only do so in the belief that it is Jesus' authority over demons that allows them to even try in the first place. Exorcism was a key part of Jesus' ministry, a miraculous sign to accompany and give authority to his teachings. Even from a purely secular stance of looking at things he 'dabbled' in exorcism the same way that Niccolo Tesla 'dabbled' in inventing stuff or how the NSA 'dabbles' in collecting private information.

Also a real life exorcism has NOTHING to do with what is portrayed in the media. They should be treated as two separate topics.

have you seen the Key of Solomon or the Sword of Moses? You might find those interesting if you have the time around your other studies (assuming of course that you haven't already seen them).

orangeapples:
Comics & Cosplay? perhaps this would be filed under Science & Tech... Maybe create a new category called "Religion & Supernatural"

Can I second this motion? Fantastic idea. I like the idea of a category dedicated to this kinda stuff. It would be like a new horror story every day before bed! (spooky dreams!)

Captia: Only way to be sure

orangeapples:
Comics & Cosplay? perhaps this would be filed under Science & Tech

It has nothing to do with science, it's basically just LARPing for the religious. In the absence of a roleplaying section of the site, Cosplay seems to be the closest fit.

"or does this really prove once and for all that spirits and demons exist? You're guess is as good as mine."

The grammar-error was already remarked on, but (slightly) more importantly: Well, no apparently. If your guess is as good as mine, i.e. you declare yourself to be undecided on the truth of this story, it clearly hasn't been proven "once and for all that spirits and demons existed", now has it?

Still, if my guess is as good as yours, I'll just give you mine: Pretty sure this is bullshit. That whole wall-walking bit seems highly similar to that most famous fictional exorcism story you mentioned. And while I agree it made for a nice creepy image to have a demon-possessed child walk across the ceiling, I gotta ask: Why? What are the demons supposed to get out of all these petty tricks? What possible use is it to satan to make a child walk on walls or babble in strange languages. That'd only make sense if we assume god is such jerk he'd send you to hell for actions the demons possessing you performed.

And add in that the people telling this story for no-ulterior-motive-no-really are getting famous and rich by selling movie rights... yeah, I'm gonna need a little more convincing.

Wasn't Amon an ancient deity and/or Judeo-Christian demon king?

Maybe this is all just a wacky misunderstanding of the sitcom variety.

"Luuuucifer, you've got some splainin' to do!"

It's a bullshit story, if this shit was really happening then there would be tons of video, this supposedly happened in 2012, you know what everyone has in 2012, video cameras on their phone. We would see this shit all over youtube.

Not one of these people has a camera phone?

What a shock.

"Rev. Michael Maginot has grown famous since the events occurred in part because of selling his movie rights to one of the producers of Insidious."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaand mystery solved.

So... A situation that conveniently resulted in zero evidence, a sparse few eye witness reports from individuals for whom effort has been made to establish any credibility. And to top it off, in the one instance where any semblance of professionalism was present, where actual therapists were involved, they basically said "Yeah, Mom is just fucking crazy and it's not doing the kids any good" .

So, Right... Big mystery.

I can't attest to the motivations of anyone involved (with the possible exception of anyone standing to gain from film rights), but nothing here reads like more than crazy people and exaggeration.

Chimichanga:
Page 3, second-to-last paragraph: It's "your", not "you're".

'You're' = 'you are'; "You are guess is as good as mine" - that sentence does not make sense.

Thanks for your feedback. We've fixed the typo.

Pictures, or it didn't happen. As they say on the Internet.

"Your mother sews socks that smell!" --Laraine Newman

Curious how such tales never come with authentic photos or film.
Obviously this all the placebo effect, the power of suggestion, and recounting things in a more dramatic way.
The kid might have thrown himself against the war. An athletic child could easily do that (low mass can make it easier for children to do this than for adults). Nobody actually moon walked against the wall, but an athletic child could run against a wall and make a flip. Heck I had a friend who could do that. The power of suggestion could make this look a lot scarier than it really is.

I'm not the only one that found the idea of a kid moonwalking up a wall hilarious, am I?

 

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