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January 28, 2014 1:19 PM   Subscribe

What happened next would rattle the witnesses, and to some it would offer not only evidence but proof of paranormal activity. According to Washington's original DCS report — an account corroborated by Walker, the nurse — the 9-year-old had a "weird grin" and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over Campbell, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother's hand. Grantland demands a movie be made of the IndyStar's 6000 word The Exorcisms of Latoya Ammons.
posted by mannequito (122 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd be more impressed if the kid had allegedly walked backward up a wall while not holding anyone's hand... People can do some pretty freaky acrobatic tricks...even in the absence of demonic possession...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:27 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


For once can't we just enjoy a good demonic possession without feeling compelled to make it into a "based on true events" movie?
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:28 PM on January 28 [12 favorites]


Not to be all smug internet atheist or whatever, but I saw this yesterday and am fairly unimpressed simply because I grew up reading "nonfiction" books like this, mostly revolving around self-appointed "demonologists" Ed and Lorraine Warren. If you haven't read many accounts of hauntings or demon possession/harassment, this is all very lurid, but if you have, there's nothing in this account that stands out at all. Add in the fact that the family now living there doesn't have any problems and the family hasn't had any supernatural encounters since moving, and I think it's pretty clear that Stacy Wright was correct:
"This appears to be an unfortunate and sad case of a child who has been induced into a delusional system perpetuated by his mother and potentially reinforced" by other relatives...
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:29 PM on January 28 [20 favorites]


Exactly. Thank you. I am glad some one finally said it.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 1:34 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I'm disappointed that the police were involved at any point here. Demonic possession is a church issue not a state issue.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:35 PM on January 28 [17 favorites]


GOOGLE LANKESTER MERRIN
posted by Rock Steady at 1:38 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


officials at one church told them the Carolina Street house had spirits in it. They recommended the family clean the home with bleach and ammonia, then use oil to draw crosses on every door and window.

Bleach and ammonia react to produce a number of toxic gases. Demon removal should be left to professionals, who are trained in safe techniques.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:39 PM on January 28 [22 favorites]


The format of this article enrages me.
posted by elizardbits at 1:40 PM on January 28 [11 favorites]


Why is it that these sorts of things only seem to happen to people who by sheer coincidence subscribe to belief systems that include the possibility of demonic possession? I mean, you never hear about Unitarian or atheist kids becoming possessed.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:42 PM on January 28 [32 favorites]


The format of this article enrages me.

Yeah, there's definitely something horrifically unnatural about the Indystar's website.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:42 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Why is this even news? All children are possessed by demons. That's the origin of the word children. CHILD = young. REN = demon.
posted by perhapses at 1:42 PM on January 28 [23 favorites]


Why is it that these sorts of things only seem to happen to people who by sheer coincidence subscribe to belief systems that include the possibility of demonic possession? I mean, you never hear about Unitarian or atheist kids becoming possessed.

I always wonder why people hear, say, footsteps in the attic and go straight to ghosts. Why not fairies? Why not some sort of elemental spirit that coalesces and lives just long enough to take a few steps and then dissipate?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:43 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


When I hear creepy noises in my home I always assume it is the 1%.
posted by elizardbits at 1:44 PM on January 28 [49 favorites]


elizardbits: The format of this article enrages me.

It is a little frustrating.

I'm not sure why every sentence is its own paragraph.

**

I'm sure they have good reasons.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:47 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I mean, you never hear about Unitarian or atheist kids becoming possessed.

I think the idea would be that all Unitarians are already possessed, along with Muslims, Buddhists, Quakers, Lutherans, and... well, pretty much everybody.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:47 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


I read this last night and the scary thing is how un-skeptical the reporter seems.
posted by melissam at 1:48 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


> When I hear creepy noises in my home I always assume it is the 1%.

If you live in Toronto it's always raccoons, although I suppose if you're supernaturally-inclined you might think it's raccoon ghosts.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:49 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Think how many there must be! The raccoon ghosts that lived in the trees that were cut down to make room for the house... And let's not even get into bird ghosts.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:51 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


When I hear creepy noises in my home I always assume it is the 1%.

Cue footage of Sam and Dean busting down elizardbits door only to discover her beating Jeff Bezos to death with a bag of salt.
posted by griphus at 1:51 PM on January 28 [35 favorites]


Demon removal should be left to professionals, who are trained in safe techniques.

all you really need is a few yards of flannel and some daddy issues.
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on January 28 [14 favorites]


I always wonder why people hear, say, footsteps in the attic and go straight to ghosts

Fear?

If you live in Toronto it's always raccoons


worse than ghosts are Toronto raccoons
posted by Hoopo at 1:52 PM on January 28


Well, but why ghosts specifically? Why, specifically, spectral entities with the consciousness of dead people? It's so specific.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:53 PM on January 28


> worse than ghosts are Toronto raccoons

I've never heard anyone complain about ghosts knocking their green bin over, so...yeah.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:53 PM on January 28


After all the gross and bitey things I've encountered in attics I'd be happy to have a ghost. Don't need rabies shots if you have a ghost. Never heard of one carrying the plague.
posted by fshgrl at 1:54 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


That brings the discussion back to ghost raccoons though.
posted by elizardbits at 1:54 PM on January 28 [9 favorites]


have we ever considered the possibility of ghost raccoons?
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on January 28 [8 favorites]


I mean, you never hear about Unitarian or atheist kids becoming possessed.

This is one of my favorite sociological topics - how do different cultures handle serious and intense mental stress. On the Malayan peninsula and in Indonesia, young slighted men used to mengamok (Wiki) in something very much like our modern homicidal-suicidal shooting spree. The cause at the time was accepted to be a "Tiger Demon" whereas the cause at the time now is "psychopathy", "paranoid schizophrenia" and other mental disorders that we have some scientific understanding of but that are still pretty mysterious.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 1:55 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Well, but why ghosts specifically?

Ghosts don't require any sort of mythos or religious belief or dogma of any sort. They don't require gods or creation myth or anything. A ghost is the straightest supernatural line between "natural" and "not-natural."
posted by griphus at 1:55 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Maybe they hallucinated it all after breathing the fumes from the bleach and ammonia?
posted by photoslob at 1:56 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Why is it that these sorts of things only seem to happen to people who by sheer coincidence subscribe to belief systems that include the possibility of demonic possession?

What good does it do a demon to possess a nonbeliever? That's like tackling a spectator.
posted by Etrigan at 1:56 PM on January 28 [31 favorites]


I was just talking to a real po-lice* buddy of mine last night, and he mentioned that especially here in Minnesota when it gets super cold like today, tons of (re:10) people call in and say they have raccoons in the attic.

Apparently, what they really have is a huge air temperature differential which makes the roof or attic floor make noise/rattle. Actual crime goes down, because holy shit, it's -20F, but raccoon in the attic calls go way up.

*old man The Wire joke.
posted by Sphinx at 1:56 PM on January 28 [6 favorites]


What about organic ghosts? I assume those would be natural.
posted by perhapses at 1:56 PM on January 28


What good does it do a demon to possess a nonbeliever? That's like tackling a spectator.

The best defense against demonic possession is clearly to ensure that the Devil has no quarrel with you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:57 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Why is it that these sorts of things only seem to happen to people who by sheer coincidence subscribe to belief systems that include the possibility of demonic possession?

Everyone knows the rest of us don't have souls.
posted by fshgrl at 1:59 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


What about organic ghosts?

Would they pick your recycling bin back up?
posted by yoink at 2:02 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I think the idea would be that all Unitarians are already possessed

Presumably by those Japanese demons that politely offer you tea.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:02 PM on January 28 [15 favorites]


Well, but why ghosts specifically?

I should preface by saying I'm not a big believer in ghosts. But I think part of it is that if you heard footsteps in the attic, looked around and saw no one and nothing there, then your imagination takes you to "OMG I CAN'T EXPLAIN THIS SCARY MYSTERY MAGIC SHIT", and there you have ghosts or whatever.
posted by Hoopo at 2:05 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


If you live in Toronto it's always raccoons, although I suppose if you're supernaturally-inclined you might think it's raccoon ghosts.


In Japan, the raccoon-ghosts live behind the bicycle racks at the train station, and demand that you buy them beer and takoyaki. If you don't, they go to your house at night, and leave persimmons in your genkan.



There is also a crow that lives under a koban in Sendai who will viciously mock the sartorial choices of young strolling couples.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:06 PM on January 28 [22 favorites]


worse than ghosts are Toronto raccoons

worse than Toronto raccoons are Toronto mayors.
posted by stenseng at 2:06 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


What good does it do a demon to possess a nonbeliever? That's like tackling a spectator.
posted by Etrigan


Eponstyrical.
posted by COBRA! at 2:07 PM on January 28 [6 favorites]


and leave persimmons in your genkan

I like persimmons though. Also beer and takoyaki. What to do?
posted by Hoopo at 2:10 PM on January 28


I once woke up in the middle of the night thinking I heard footsteps in our attic. But we didn't have an attic. It was a ghost attic making footstep noises.
posted by perhapses at 2:10 PM on January 28 [26 favorites]


So this happened recently near me.

I don't think giving any kind of "exorcism" good publicity is particularly responsible journalism, in the same way that mass shootings shouldn't glorify the killer. It plants particularly dangerous ideas in sick people's minds.
posted by fontophilic at 2:10 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Eponstyrical.

Gone, gone, the form of man.
Rise, the ...form of man. Again.
posted by griphus at 2:11 PM on January 28 [13 favorites]


worse than Toronto raccoons are Toronto mayors.


I KNOW!!! Fucking Ford tipped over my green bins like three times this summer!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:12 PM on January 28 [15 favorites]


I grew up reading "nonfiction" books like this, mostly revolving around self-appointed "demonologists" Ed and Lorraine Warren.

My biggest problem with the (otherwise decent) 2013 horror movie The Conjuring was its po-faced depiction of Ed and Lorraine Warren. A better film would either have portrayed them with a slightly satirical edge, or played them as earnest, well-intentioned meddlers who were in over their heads in the face of True Evil. Instead, all their quasi-religious, Hollywood Catholic mishegoss was played with a straight face, and we were meant to take them very seriously as the heroes of the story. (Which wasn't helped by the fact that their "authentic" period costumes/haircuts and overacting made them appear frankly ridiculous throughout the movie.)

A nice, not overly-mean piece on the Warrens from Skepticblog: Hunting the Ghost Hunters.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:15 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


I'd need quite a few repetitions before I started leaping to ghosts in the attic.

For what it's worth, I lived in a super creepy old house for a while, with a creepy attic, a dirt floor basement with foot thick stone walls and an old mattress in the back corner that just screamed murder dungeon. The place was full of detritus from other people, and I even got a second hand ghost story about the previous owner's tenure. I was alone, cold, miserable, isolated from my friends and the community. My living quarters were hardly better than a squat, and the old floral wallpaper in my room was generously spattered with glue (from paneling I removed) that bore a striking resemblance to dried blood.

If that place wasn't haunted, then ghosts don't exist. And I never saw one hint of the supernatural.

Although we did remove the creepiest thing in the house - a massive old harvest gold Kelvinator with a lock on the door - we dumped that sucker face down in the scrapyard and got the fuck out of there.
posted by wotsac at 2:18 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: leave persimmons in your genkan.

A friend of mine swears his place is haunted due to a known history, and because shit keeps falling off of his shelves.

In reality his place is just an old dump. I freaked him out for a good 15 minutes by stepping on the warped floori n the spot that made things fall off his shelves and pointing at it just before the action figure in question would dive off the shelf.

I pointed out the uneven floor, and where to step to make this toy fall off the shelf every time.

He still thinks his place is haunted.
posted by loquacious at 2:25 PM on January 28 [24 favorites]


We live in a country where Departments of Child Services are often so incompetent that there seem to be as many horror stories about them online as there are about "demons." I hope the state puts starts an inquest into that report and takes action if they find any of it is fabricated. Otherwise there are delusional people out there charged with helping abusive children.

I grew up in a family where demons were considered real, and possession was considered an actual danger. It was terrifying, not because demons were real, but because of how it was used to control us via terror. Same-sex attraction? Maybe it's demons. Not obeying your parents perfectly? Watch out, that's how you get demons! Questioning the Bible? Demons are coming to possess you!

And I saw this article shared on a parenting blog written authoritarian Evangelical parents. They love this stuff. And it's written from a completely credulous perspective.
posted by melissam at 2:27 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


He still thinks his place is haunted.

Well who's stepping on that floorboard to make things fall off shelves when you aren't there? The ghost, obviously.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:29 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


I'd need quite a few repetitions before I started leaping to ghosts in the attic.

Hey now, it could also be a deranged killer with face blindness sulking around your attic, no supernatural needed!
posted by The Whelk at 2:33 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


aaahh degloving
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


The ghost that WAS safely contained in the old fridge at wotsac's house
posted by Hoopo at 2:34 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


no one google that i'm so sorry
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on January 28 [9 favorites]


Existence of demons posited by people who believe in demons? I'm shocked.

Also, one in four Americans believe President Obama was not born in the U.S., a third don't believe what scientists say about climate change, and 43% believe that humans suddenly appeared on earth in their present form < 10,000 years ago.

What I'm trying to say is, a lot of people in this country are fucking nuts. But let's bring a Catholic priest in here to validate things.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:37 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


When I hear creepy noises in my home I always assume it is the 1%.

This is about possession not repossession.
posted by srboisvert at 2:39 PM on January 28 [11 favorites]


I pointed out the uneven floor, and where to step to make this toy fall off the shelf every time.

He still thinks his place is haunted.


Spoiler Alert: loquacious is a ghost!
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:40 PM on January 28 [12 favorites]


For once can't we just enjoy a good demonic possession without feeling compelled to make it into a "based on true events" movie?

THE POWER OF CASH COMPELS YOU!!! /shakes aspergilium full of mineral water with a twist of lemon.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:43 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]



Once I had a neighbor lady who accused me of cavorting with demons. I apparently showed signs and my garden grew better then hers. She left a couple of crosses at the end of my driveway.

Me and my demons were happy when I finally moved.
posted by Jalliah at 2:43 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Shit if I'm going to cavort with demons I want somet better than larger rutabagas.
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]



In my case it was large juicy demon tomatoes.
posted by Jalliah at 2:49 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


In the demon world, having the largest rutabaga endows one with desirable qualities.
posted by perhapses at 2:51 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


A desperately rude rutabaga
posted by The Whelk at 2:53 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Bleach and ammonia react to produce a number of toxic gases.

Not to mention the contact explosive residue they leave behind when they dry.
posted by scalefree at 2:54 PM on January 28


In my case it was large juicy demon tomatoes.

"Tomatoes are the Devil's Handmaidens," as the old proverb goes. The extra "e" in the plural stands for "evil." Strange but true!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


"Tomatoes are the Devil's Handmaidens," as the old proverb goes. The extra "e" in the plural stands for "evil." Strange but true!

Well that's just a little creepy. Nice detail though. Next time I tell the story I'm going to add this in some how.
posted by Jalliah at 3:03 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I thought carbon monoxide had been shown to be the reason for most hauntings? Did no one check the furnace?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:03 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


What surprises me is how credulous the police officers were. Two of them made special trips to the house to accompany the social worker and priest. They even brought a dog (to sniff out evil, I guess) and dug a hole in the basement! And after it was over, the landlord had to call the police department because frequent police drive-bys were scaring his new tenant.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:06 PM on January 28


I thought carbon monoxide had been shown to be the reason for most hauntings?

Yeah. Fuckin' ghosts can't get enough of that shit.
posted by yoink at 3:17 PM on January 28 [11 favorites]


For years, all during my growing up, my mother and sister talked about "ghost sounds" around the house: The sound of the screen door opening and closing, the sound of cars coming up the driveway, the deadbolt on the back door, and so on, with no one present to make them. Nobody coming in the back door, no car in the driveway, just the sounds of them.
I even heard many of these sounds myself, in the absence of anyone to make them, and couldn't figure it out.
I had those sounds as my just a shred of "evidence" that there was some freaky shit in the world. I couldn't completely discount ghosts, because where did those noises come from, then, huh?
Imagine my relief when an explanation finally appeared, and I could let the "ghost" go: A few years after I had moved out, my mother told me about the family of mockingbirds that nested in the big tree behind the house.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:18 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


In the demon world, having the largest rutabaga endows one with desirable qualities.

This is such a beautiful little sentence.
posted by clockzero at 3:34 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


OK so upthread I said I'm not a "big" believer in ghosts. Cuz I don't, except this one time...


My Dad is emigrated to Canada from England, and so we were the weird family on the block that had a giant bonfire and burned a stuffed man on November 5. Eventually we had to move this event out to a friend's place that had a large property in the country with an old barn and stuff. This barn was built around the frame of an even older house, and as such the inside was weird and there were some inaccessible spaces up at the top.

So anyways, me and the rest of the kids were out at the friends' property one November 5 kicking a ball around before dinner, and the ball gets kicked up through a window at the top of the barn, into the inaccessible space. We went in and tried to get it back, but yeah. Inaccessible, no stairs or ladders. We get called into the house for dinner, sit down and eat, go back outside like 45 minutes to an hour later--while all the adults with us are still inside cleaning up--aaaaand the ball comes shooting out of the top window of the barn, like it was kicked really goddamned hard. Like soccer goalie kick-across-the-whole-damned-field hard.

So the kids are all excited and yelling "George! it's George!" and I'm like "why is there a man named George stuck in the top of your barn?" and it turns out they've had a bunch of weird shit happen in the house, and the father tells us the whole story. It was usually on Sundays. They once had an old man walk in to the house, up to the dining room during Sunday dinner and not say anything, only to turn around and walk back out and when they went to follow they could not see any trace. Another time, the father was cutting the grass on his riding mower, felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice say "STOP", and no one was there. They did a bit of digging through records, and apparently the old house whose frame was being used for the barn was once owned by a priest named George something, and he was a gambler and apparently he was killed in his home over some debts he owed.

So all this sounded a bit too much like bullshit to me even as a kid, but the ball thing was a bit too elaborate of a joke for them to have plausibly pulled off--the adults were inside, we could see them through the window, so it would have required someone being camped out in the barn in November just waiting for one of us to accidentally kick the ball through, all for lulz. Also if it was some kind of vagrant squatting in November in eastern Ontario in a shitty uninsulated barn, he probably wouldn't want to draw attention to himself like that. While I have a hard time buying "ghost", I still struggle to explain that whole thing, it was very weird and would be by far the most elaborate and inexplicable prank ever pulled on me.
posted by Hoopo at 3:40 PM on January 28 [8 favorites]


Okay but come on, the obvious cause was a portal.
posted by elizardbits at 3:44 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


"Ammons and Campbell said the 12-year-old was levitating above the bed, unconscious. According to their account of events, Ammons and several others surrounded the girl, praying. Campbell said she remembers being terrified."

How is thought number 1 not "YANK THAT CHILD DOWN" and thought number 2 "CALL 911"?

--

I know any number of people, atheist and religious both, the religious folks from a wide range of Christian denominations from the Bible-thumping to the so-liberal-they-almost-don't-believe-in-God types, all college-educated adults, who FLATLY REFUSE to go to our charity's 150-year-old headquarters after dark because it is haunted. (We all volunteer with this charity, it is HQ'd in a historic house.) It's an old house, it makes weird noises! But I know all these otherwise sensible adults who just won't be there after dark! And I ask them, You know, the stories about this house being haunted go back 80 years, and NOTHING BAD HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE who saw, heard, or otherwise interacted with the ghost. If there's a ghost, he just lives here periodically making a little noise, he's not going to DO anything, what on earth is there to be afraid of? You've got a ghost with an 80-year history of NOT REALLY BOTHERING ANYONE, he seems like a pretty reliable ghost. But they still just refuse because they don't want to be alone in the house with a ghost after dark.

(It is supposed to be the ghost of a little boy of the house's first owners, who died of a local cholera epidemic when he was 6 or 8 or something. Periodically he knocks things off tables or mantles, and sometimes flickers lights, and makes creaky noises and sometimes people hear a child laughing or crying in another room, or see a flash of a person running into the next room. All the stories about the ghost say he is still a mischievous boy and if you say "STEPHEN YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!" he will stop and not bother you any more that night.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:46 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Not to mention the contact explosive residue they leave behind when they dry.

That's ammonia and iodine.

Bleach and ammonia gets you chlorine gas. And presumably other stuff?
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:48 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Periodically he knocks things off tables or mantles

that's a kittygeist
posted by Hoopo at 3:49 PM on January 28 [14 favorites]


"Ammons and Campbell said the 12-year-old was levitating above the bed, unconscious. According to their account of events, Ammons and several others surrounded the girl, praying. Campbell said she remembers being terrified."

A billion smart phones were sold last year. It is a pity no one there thought to film said possession with one of them.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:50 PM on January 28 [8 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, that reminds me of the ghost in my parents' house. It's a little girl who died of a heart defect in the sixties -- we know the family, so that much is true. Ghosts aren't real, of course, but that doesn't stop me getting the fantods every time I'm lying in bed and hear what have just got to be footsteps on the stair. Or hearing the cabinet door in the room creak open.

As Southerners, my family does believe in ghosts, in the same sense as one believes in the neighbors -- they're just there, no big deal, and if you see or hear them sometimes you ought to say hello. If they're trouble, just say very sternly, "What in the name of the Lord do you want?" and they have to either leave you alone or tell you. (That's what my mom says, anyway.)
posted by Countess Elena at 3:52 PM on January 28 [13 favorites]


and they have to either leave you alone or tell you

Is there a phrase for just leaving alone? I want that phrase. I don't want to offer an option.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:55 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


I live a building that was literally a TB recovery home at one point, I should be up to here *mentns to top of head* with ghosts but nope NOTHING, not even suspicious noises.

I also lived in a cut up old Victorian house with like, a literal secret attic room and a twisting stone stairway to the basement. Still nothing.

If ghosts did haunt the places they died then shouldn't the older buildings in the world just be like, standing room only for spooks?
posted by The Whelk at 3:56 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Hospitals would be the most haunted places on Earth, and battlefields. And old age homes.

"Is there a phrase for just leaving alone? I want that phrase. I don't want to offer an option."

If ghosts were real (which, sadly, they are not) I would love to have a conversation with one! Talk about an unusual experience...
posted by Kevin Street at 3:59 PM on January 28


The FPP is about DEMONS and y'all just keep talking about the ghosts of dead people. Your anthropocentrism is showing, folks.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:00 PM on January 28 [23 favorites]


What's odd is that after reading this article I went to another browser to google the IP I saw at the bottom but my PC became possessed, repeatedly writing 'h' into whatever field I clicked into.

Luckily I exorcised this particular demon by unplugging the usb cable for a moment....

True story.
posted by zeoslap at 4:01 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


If they're trouble, just say very sternly, "What in the name of the Lord do you want?" and they have to either leave you alone or tell you.

it would be great if this worked on the neighbors as well as the ghosts.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:02 PM on January 28 [12 favorites]


Demons? Please fucking devils trap, fucking sigil and gate, bell and candle. Demons have to follow rules, and they're predictably greedy and sleazy.
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


He still thinks his place is haunted.

It's haunted by him.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:03 PM on January 28


Hospitals would be the most haunted places on Earth

certainly, a lot of creepy ghost stories are out there about hospitals. I've even heard some that take into account the building settling and/or renos, where ghosts are seen on 2 floors, legs protruding from the ceiling on the floor below and on the floor above the torso and head. But staff at hospitals work long hours and are often sleep deprived, which could explain some of the weird things they claim to see. A friend of ours does maintenance at a hospital, and often works in the tunnels underneath which are of course suitably dark and dank and creepy and NOPE for me.

If ghosts did haunt the places they died then shouldn't the older buildings in the world just be like, standing room only for spooks?

Surely the books and movies have covered this. Not everyone that dies becomes a ghost, just assholes and pranksters.
posted by Hoopo at 4:08 PM on January 28


But nobody died in the tunnels (I'm assuming), it's the rooms and beds that would be haunted. And maybe the junkyard they send old hospital beds to.

Come to think of it, a lot of spooky things shouldn't be scary at all if the ghost mythology is accurate. Nobody dies in the graveyard.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:13 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Every logical bone in my body tells me ghosts don't exist.
But...There was a ghost in the house I grew-up in. I saw it constantly. And, both my mom and my wife have seen it.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:17 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Nobody dies in the graveyard.

Except the people who were buried alive. Buried alive.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:22 PM on January 28 [14 favorites]


I've even heard some that take into account the building settling and/or renos, where ghosts are seen on 2 floors, legs protruding from the ceiling on the floor below and on the floor above the torso and head.

What is the reference point for ghost elevation? Maybe the reason no one has ever captured a ghost on film is that when a person dies and their ghost leaves the body, the Earth whips out from under it at seventy thousand miles per hour. Millions of ghosts with unfinished business are floating in space.
posted by painquale at 4:23 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


Those poor ghosts! Cursed once by god, then once more by Special Relativity. Clearly, we hear more about demons because they're capable of switching reference frames.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:28 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


ghost butts
posted by elizardbits at 4:35 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Shit if I'm going to cavort with demons I want somet better than larger rutabagas.

You could make millions selling Discount Seeds of Demon Swede to the English.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:36 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


"HAVE THE CHILDREN BEEN REMOVED FROM THE HOME? Yes..."
*reliefsigh*

"A 9-year-old boy walking backward up a wall as if he was walking on the floor" and "performing a 'flip over the grandmother,'


I have a 9 year old can do that, I'm calling Big Ten colleges looking for scouts.

They called local churches, but most refused to listen.
Y'know, even if Joe Minister buys the idea, they're not really set up to be Ghostbusters.

The best thing you can do is move, Ammons remembers the clairvoyants telling her.

As much slack as I cut personal revelation, gnosticism, internal mysticism in general and personal vision specifically, and as much I dislike Damon Wayans' entire body of work, and as aware as I am of my own biases in terms of home defense, I can't help think that this is a much more appropriate response to the supernatural.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:38 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Every logical bone in my body tells me ghosts don't exist.
But...There was a ghost in the house I grew-up in. I saw it constantly. And, both my mom and my wife have seen it.



That's okay. Every logical bone in my body tells me to take this admission into account as a rather large grain of salt whenever you post any comments on Mefi.

But... I also kinda want to hear more about the ghost. :)
posted by stenseng at 4:44 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I stayed at the famed Haunted Hotel in Cassadaga once, with a few friends. It was great. We were right next door to the Seance Room.

The friend whose room I shared woke me about two in the morning, in a blind panic, because she could hear Things coming from the seance room, sobbing and voices. By the time I woke up the show was over.

So being the sort who would become a mischievous poltergeist myself, I waited until all was once again still and calm, then gave the bureau between our beds a fantastic booming open-handed smack. Her reaction was priceless. I wasn't forgiven for a month.

I wound up wandering the closed and quiet hotel, shooting long-exposure photographs of the hallways, alone and barefoot with my camera. Good times.
posted by cmyk at 5:00 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Did the grandmother's wrist break?
posted by biffa at 5:06 PM on January 28


Have you always lived at Hill House Eleanor?
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on January 28


I pointed out the uneven floor, and where to step to make this toy fall off the shelf every time.

He still thinks his place is haunted.

Spoiler Alert: loquacious is a ghost!


Burn him! Burn the ghost!
posted by ennui.bz at 5:15 PM on January 28


Okay, I have now finished the article, and NOTHING in the descriptions of the Catholic priest and his exorcisms is even a little accurate (which I'm sure is why the bishop's office refused comment).

The rite of minor exorcism takes like two minutes, not two hours. He did not need to look it up on the internet; it is literally right there in the sacramentary that he uses LITERALLY EVERY DAY to say Mass and a priest would obviously know that. I have one on my shelf 10 feet from me. It's not a secret. (I mean, this guy just minor-exorcized the entire Illinois Statehouse when they passed gay marriage into law, it took like 15 minutes.

The "major" exorcism (more properly the "solemn" exorcism) is in the Rituale Romanum, like everything else, although it might be in the second volume with the more rarely-used things instead of the common things. Still, every parish would have a copy! They use it on Supernatural, for God's sake. It's not a secret! It's on the freakin' CW!

For "major" exorcisms, dioceses in the U.S. typically have designated exorcists whose identities are not publicized and who have special training (not kidding). They do not give interviews and don't talk about their work, specifically to avoid a) looney priests who want to run around exorcizing things and b) people who are mentally ill or have other problems who seek exorcisms because they're attention-seeking, dramatic, delusional, or need psychiatric treatment. Any priest authorized by the bishop CAN perform a "major" exorcism, but bishops are pretty reluctant to allow it because exorcism is an attraction for credulous and needy people on BOTH sides of the transaction.

Getting approval from the bishop for a "major" exorcism typically takes something like two years and generally you have to go through pretty extensive medical and psychological evaluation first. There are official guidelines, and checklists, and paperwork, and it is a bureaucratic process! (It also did not sound like this woman was Catholic? So that would introduce a whole extra layer of bureaucracy.)

Burning envelopes, salt circles, these are superstitions, and superstitious "white magic" practices are expressly forbidden in the exorcism rites. (Salt is sometimes used in blessing buildings as a symbol of purification and preservation, but it's not like MAGIC salt, it's just salt. It's possible some forms of exorcism use it in that manner but I'm not familiar with them if there are. Priests don't have to stick to the written forms, they can improvise, use older forms, etc., within various guidelines.) Demon portals are right out. That is not how Catholic demons work. (Traditionally, Catholic demons have three modes of bothering people, in ascending order: temptation, obsession, and possession. Temptation is just tempting you into sin; obsession makes you think about the demon/sin/whatever all the time in the hopes of you sinning a lot and ideally having a nervous breakdown of some sort which allows the demon to move forward to possession where it actually moves in your body. No portals. But that's not really official doctrine, just a traditional understanding.)

Way, way before starting exorcisms -- minor or major -- the priest would have offered this family the Anointing of the Sick (formerly sometimes known as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, but in fact a healing sacrament for those who are ill, in physical or mental distress, or in danger of death). In fact one of the signs an exorcism might be warranted would be possessed people gettin' all crazy during the Anointing of the Sick or when taking the Eucharist.

Priests who discuss exorcisms in the media are subject to discipline both from their local bishop and from Rome; it is forbidden in the instructions for the rite (at least for the 1998 rite).

There's a 1998 revision of the solemn exorcism rite floating around that's only in Latin so far (Catholics are super slow at approving translations of liturgies), but here's the 1964 text (about 2/3 of the way down the page) and it's not that different from the revision. I cannot believe I just wasted that much time typing a comment this long on a ridiculous article, but apparently I was eager to trot out my rarely-relevant Catholic exorcism trivia.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:27 PM on January 28 [68 favorites]


Why is it that these sorts of things only seem to happen to people who by sheer coincidence subscribe to belief systems that include the possibility of demonic possession? I mean, you never hear about Unitarian or atheist kids becoming possessed.

Sort of like how ever culture has their own mythology surrounding sleep paralysis. I imagine the secular version of the demon possession phenomenon has to do with UFOs or government mind control.

Also, this Kids in the Hall Sketch shows the benefits of having a demon in the house.

Also, also, I wonder if Glenn Danzig is now interested in this property.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:31 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Joe In Australia: officials at one church told them the Carolina Street house had spirits in it. They recommended the family clean the home with bleach and ammonia, then use oil to draw crosses on every door and window.


You're a mean drunk, Darwin.
posted by dr_dank at 5:33 PM on January 28 [16 favorites]


What surprises me is how credulous the police officers were. Two of them made special trips to the house to accompany the social worker and priest. They even brought a dog (to sniff out evil, I guess) and dug a hole in the basement! And after it was over, the landlord had to call the police department because frequent police drive-bys were scaring his new tenant.

Pfft, it's Gary, it's not like the police have a lot else to do.

aaahh degloving
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on January 28

no one google that i'm so sorry
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on January 28


Blast you. I did (I admit it), but only because I thought it was some hip New York sex thing I didn't know about.

Note: It is not a sex thing -- hip, NY, or other.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:23 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I pointed out the uneven floor, and where to step to make this toy fall off the shelf every time.

He still thinks his place is haunted.

Spoiler Alert: loquacious is a ghost!


Get off my Shyamalan!
posted by dirigibleman at 6:39 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


I know a lot of pagan witchy types who would attribute things like these to faeries.
posted by divabat at 8:44 PM on January 28


The FPP is about DEMONS and y'all just keep talking about the ghosts of dead people. Your anthropocentrism is showing, folks.

The devil's finest trick is to derail online discussions about his employees into free-for-all ghost story threads.
posted by No-sword at 8:58 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


You have to wonder what possesses people to ma.. Uh oh. Oh my. Can't believe I just typed that.
posted by notreally at 9:20 PM on January 28


Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a helluva drug.
posted by basicchannel at 9:40 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


The FPP is about DEMONS and y'all just keep talking about the ghosts of dead people.

I read that and realized that I don't even know what demons are for. How would I even know that I have one? Ghosts haunt things, everyone knows that. Fucking demons, though, how do they work?
posted by fshgrl at 9:59 PM on January 28


Sounds like someone needs to read the Lesser Key Of Solomon
posted by Hoopo at 11:13 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


if you really want to piss them off you have to eat their tailor
posted by elizardbits at 11:13 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I read that and realized that I don't even know what demons are for. How would I even know that I have one? Ghosts haunt things, everyone knows that. Fucking demons, though, how do they work?

Really hope it doesn't take one to know one.

The devil's finest trick is to derail online discussions about his employees into free-for-all ghost story threads.

WAIT are we doing ghost stories now? Because I really, really want us to.
posted by rue72 at 12:11 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


ooh, can we be? i have one... kinda.

okay, so in my first apartment, the bedroom wall was half shared with the living room and half an exterior wall, with the front door being a few inches of sheet rock or whatever they build cheap apartment buildings out of in texas away from my head on my pillow. since it was my first time living alone and i have anxiety issues, i was always really careful to lock every single lock when i came home, and i always checked them before i went to bed: there was the lock that was controlled by the door key, and a second deadbolt that could only be accessed from inside, and a chain, and i'd test each of them to be sure they were locked before i turned off the lights at the switch next to the door.

one night i was in bed and i woke up because i'd heard a noise. i rolled over and tried to just fall back to sleep. hearing noises wasn't unusual - the apartment was in a pretty big city, and i grew up in a very rural area. the normal city sounds of traffic and such weren't normal to my ears yet, so i'd get woken up easily. no big deal.

then i heard someone messing with my door: the slide and thunk of a deadbolt being turned. very loud, very clear, inches from my head. and then the th-dunk, th-dunk of someone trying to push open a still-locked door.

at that point i leaped up. i had a metal baseball bat, and i got it out of the closet, and then i chickened out and just sat in my bedroom being terrified rather than investigating. there was no more noise after that, and eventually i managed to fall asleep. the next morning i woke up and went into the living room, where i found that, indeed, one of my deadbolts had been unlocked.

the one you could only access from inside the apartment.

(what i figure happened is i was only HALF-asleep for the first part, when i heard the noises, and the whole thing was influenced by anxiety - part of me remembered that i hadn't locked the second deadbolt, and so i freaked out in a dream state.)
posted by titus n. owl at 12:52 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The FPP is about DEMONS and y'all just keep talking about the ghosts of dead people.

>I read that and realized that I don't even know what demons are for. How would I even know that I have one? Ghosts haunt things, everyone knows that. Fucking demons, though, how do they work?


Alexander Campbell, a historic figure of some significance in the churches I grew up in, delivered an address to the Popular Lecture Club in Nashville, Tennessee in March 1841 in which he made the case that demons, properly understood, are ghosts, and while the term could be used generally--for the spirits of good or evil people--over time "demon" had become exclusively applied to troublesome evil spirits. As you read the New Testament, you'll notice that "demon" and "unclean spirit" are used interchangeably, and there is at least one early Christian martyr who is said to have prayed "Lord, into your hands I commit my demon" as he died. Similarly, in his Epistle to the Smyrneans, St. Ingnatius quotes Jesus as having said to Peter "Handle me and see, for I am not a disembodied demon" (a spirit without a body). Further, in Revelation 18:2, when Babylon falls it is said to have become "the home of demons," which Campbell took to mean that it was a city filled with the spirits of the dead--in his terms, "the ghosts of its sepulchred inhabitants." In addition to these and other philological arguments, Campbell notes that New Testament demons are often found near graves and desire to enter a body--as though they once had one of their own, and are eager to gain another. As he put it:

Demons also evince a peculiar fondness for their old mortal tenements: hence we so often read of them carrying the possessed into the grave-yards, the tombs, and sepulchres, where, perchance, their old mortalities lay in ruins. From which facts we argue, as well as from the fact that the Pagans had neither Devil, nor angel nor Satan, in their heads before the Christian times, that when they, or the Christians, or the Jews spoke of demons, they could not mean any intermediate rank of spirits, other than the spirits of dead men.

He continues on at some length, and makes what I consider a very persuasive case that this is how the ancient writers, including Biblical writers, would have thought of demons. I would love to go further, but have to dash to work now.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:35 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


down those same lines, the greek etymological source of the word, daimon, just meant a spirit (i think more in the "nature spirit" sense? but i am not a greek scholar myself and am only repeating what i have read elsewhere) and a daimon could be benevolent or malevolent on a case by case basis. socrates used the term to refer to (what sounds to me like - when i read about it third-hand) basically his conscience. that's why the, like, externalized soul-critters in the dark materials books are called daemons, too
posted by titus n. owl at 6:21 AM on January 29


How To Tell Whether Your Demon Baby Needs to Go to the Doctor.
Full disclosure: I went to grad school with this guy & we share a publisher.

Regarding TFA, I thought it was quite telling that the two boys would fall back on "demonic" behavior when they were asked questions they didn't want to answer and the like. Mighty convenient, that.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:59 AM on January 29


Pope Guilty: "I always wonder why people hear, say, footsteps in the attic and go straight to ghosts. Why not fairies? Why not some sort of elemental spirit that coalesces and lives just long enough to take a few steps and then dissipate?"

Guests in my 105yo Princess Ann house once asked me if I'd ever heard ghosts, and I replied, "No, because after spending as much time as I have in the attic, basement, and walls repairing this place, I know where every sound comes from. They never sound "mysterious"; they only sound expensive and time-consuming."

And it was at that point that I realized where 99% of "metaphysical manifestations" come from: people who hire contractors to fix shit, and never get close enough to realize their heaving, breathing, settling behometh of a stickpile has a language of its own.

Regular creaking from the second floor? Slow failure of the westward wall during wet seasons. Should last another few decades, though. Need to plaster the crack in the 2nd-floor wall.

Pitter-pattering? Squirrels who got in through the hole that last season's raccoon widened. I closed it up too far for him, but those little bastards are like furry octopi: they can get in.

Whispers? Wind over the open chimney. Gotta cap that next Spring.

Etc.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:15 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


scalefree: " Bleach and ammonia react to produce a number of toxic gases.

Not to mention the contact explosive residue they leave behind when they dry.
"

I believe you might be thinking of iodine + ammonia = nitrogen triiodide.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:37 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


The library where I work allegedly has a ghost. It opens doors, turns lights on and off, stuff like that. (I say allegedly, because while I've had odd things happen there -- my desk lamp turning off, the library's back door opening and closing with no one near it, ceiling fans that are turned off lazily spinning a few times, then reversing direction -- I haven't seen anything that makes me firmly believe it's a ghost and not, like, glitchy wiring or something. It's an old building. I like the idea of a friendly library ghost though.)
posted by sarcasticah at 5:30 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


while I've had odd things happen there -- my desk lamp turning off, the library's back door opening and closing with no one near it, ceiling fans that are turned off lazily spinning a few times, then reversing direction -- I haven't seen anything that makes me firmly believe it's a ghost and not, like, glitchy wiring

Glitchy wiring is your explanation for doors opening and closing of their own volition? When are you going to admit that there's supernatural activity going on in that library?

Never mind, doesn't matter -- just get out of Sunnydale before anything really bad happens, k?
posted by rue72 at 11:30 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


That particular door has a disabled-access door-opener button, so maybe something glitchy with that? (Although it is stubborn and hard to open at the best of times...)

One of our former custodians used to see non-electically-openable doors open and close on their own frequently, and on at least one occasion, a door that had been propped open was somehow closed and locked when he walked past it a minute later, when he was alone in the building. Plus lights and copy machines and whatnot that he had turned off would be on in the morning.

I've only had one really weird thing happen to me: during a knitting-group meeting that I was attending while not on librarian-duty, the lights in the room we were in turned off for a few seconds, then turned back on. Everyone was freaked out, because that particular room gets absolutely pitch dark with the lights off, and it's right off a stairway -- I thought someone has decided to flick the lights off because the group was being a little louder than usual. I wasn't thrilled by that prospect, because, what with the stairs right there, someone could have fallen and been badly hurt. I asked the two people working at the main desk (who I'm close with, and trust) if they knew who had turned the lights off, and they said no... and that the only light switch for those lights is inside our locked local-history room, which no one was using. I know it was empty because the only way to get into that room is by walking through the room the knitting group was in, and since the door is always kept locked, anyone who wants to go in there has to get the key from the Reference desk. No one had.

Again, probably glitchy lights in an old building... but I like to think the ghost was irritated because the knitters were being too noisy.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:06 PM on January 30


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