A Tale From MY Hood
What’s up to my Faithful Few and a big welcome to any newcomers to Sinister Silhouettes! I’m your host, Tasha, and do I have an awesome story to share. This is the latest installment of the Tales From My Hood segment. Today I’m going to tell you about the weirdest story that Gary, IN has to offer. This situation made international news and even had a documentary to cover the case. To make things even more interesting, I knew the family this shocking story revolved around. Grab your wine, light a fat one, and pull up a chair because this week we discuss “The Exorcisms of LaToya Ammons”!
First, let me explain how I know the players. It was Gary, IN circa 1986 and I had recently lost my mother to cancer. My dad was a steelworker and his job required him to work varying shifts. That meant that he would need help ensuring that us kids had proper supervision as he did shift work. He placed an ad in the classified section of the Post Tribune, our local paper. After interviewing dozens of people and even testing a few out on a trial basis with us (some of them were some real characters- I should probably write a book) he came upon Rose Campbell. She was a thirty-something mother of 3 back then. Out of all the women that my dad hired to be our caretaker, she was the one I was most fond of.
At the time, I was about 13-years-old, my sister was 8, and my only brother who was still at home was 16. Rose had a daughter, Latoya, who was roughly the same age as my sister. You guys kind of informally met my sister when she pod bombed us in a previous episode. She was an odd little girl, and I say that with nothing but love. My sister and almost all of her friends were absolutely OBSESSED with horror movies! She loved Children of the Corn, all the Freddy Krueger movies, People Under the Stairs, Amityville and the Exorcist- at 8 years old! So, while Rose’s daughter hung out with my sister, she was introduced to the absolute worst horror movies of the time.
Before anyone comes for my family about how irresponsible it was for us to be exposed to that level of horror at such a young age- DON’T. The worst horror in the world was losing our mom. We survived that. The second worst thing we survived was coming of age in Gary, IN! Trust me, you don’t want that for yourselves. But anywho-
Time went on, and my dad met a lady that he fell in love with. She was a single mother of one daughter and after dating for a while they moved in with our family. Suddenly, she was doing all the things that Rose was being paid to do, so we didn’t need a nanny anymore. Over the years, we would still stay in touch with Rose and my sister stayed in contact with LaToya at school.
Now, we’ll fast-forward many years. In January, 2014, I was reading the Post Tribune while having my morning coffee. We were sitting under about 10” of snow and it was bitterly cold. You know- a regular winter day in Gary. However, what I read in that morning’s paper made my blood run colder than the wind chill factor on the lakefront. The story went like this:
In 2011, LaToya Ammons and her three young children- along with her mother, Rose- rented a home on 38th and Carolina. After living there for a while, strange things began to happen.
It began with huge black horse flies swarming around the home in the dead of winter. Rose stated that they would kill them and kill them- but they kept coming back. Shortly after, the children began to display troubling and violent behavior. Their eyes would roll back in their heads, and they would speak in growling voices. The family would hear thudding footsteps throughout the home and even would find muddy footprints on the floors where no one had been. Then shit really got real. The children were being hurled across rooms by invisible forces. The violence intensified, with one son threatening to kill the other and choking him until he was pried off. LaToya’s daughter was found levitating her bed before descending back on it. This was apparently witnessed by a house full of guests- people who never returned to visit the Ammons family at the home.
At this point, Rose realized that they may be dealing with supernatural forces and she implored her daughter to reach out to people who could deal with this type of situation. LaToya reached out to churches in the area, but no one took her seriously. In the meantime, the attacks on the children became more frequent and more bizarre. The spirits in the home would torment them all day and night. LaToya’s 12-year-old daughter had to get stitches after a headboard flew across the room, striking her in the head.
LaToya finally found a pastor who visited the home. He told her there were spirits there. Latoya was told to anoint her children’s head and feet with oil, as well as all the doors and windows. He also recommended cleaning the house with ammonia and bleach, burning sage, and reciting the 91st Psalm. She and a friend performed the ritual and for three days all was quiet. This must have pissed those evil spirits off because they came back with a vengeance! Rose would find her 6-year-old grandson sitting in the closet talking to someone only he could see.
After the ritual failed to have lasting results, the family turned to two clairvoyants. The witches told them to get the fuck out of that house because it was inhabited by 200 demons. I guess they took a headcount or some shit, but one fucking demon is too many for me. But Ammons couldn’t afford to break the lease to leave. She had to find a way to protect her family until they were able to get out of there.
The demonic activity was a huge disruption in the lives of the family. Now, Rose said that she was immune from attack because she was born with a “protector” that prevented her from being possessed- although she did claim to have seen a shadowy figure pacing in the living room. The rest of the family was constantly being harassed- so much so that the children were missing a lot of school.
LaToya then reached out to Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu. He was a primary care physician- in fact he was my doctor for many years. She explained what was going on with the children and insisted that they were possessed. Dr. Onyeukwu is a man of science, though. He believed that there had to be a reasonable explanation for the children’s behavior. He visited the family’s home to observe them and was shocked by their behavior. He deemed it necessary to call law enforcement when they cursed him, began to thrash about, and finally passed out. The children were transported by ambulance to Northlake Methodist Hospital. One of the boys came to and acted regularly. The other was still violent and had to be restrained.
When the police responded to the situation, they listened to the doctor’s complaint and gave Rose and LaToya an opportunity to explain their situation. A representative from DCS and a psychologist also were present to get to the bottom of things. In the tiny exam room, Rose held her grandson by the hand as she answered the DCS worker’s questions. It was then that the 7-year-old began growling and showing his teeth. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and then- in front of the caseworker and psychologist- the child walked backward up a wall to the ceiling and flipped off the ceiling onto the floor. At that point, the caseworker and doctor got the fuck up out of there.
It’s time to throw the whole kid away. I mean, he can’t come back home with me after I see some shit like that. Hell, forget trying to break the lease. I’m burning the whole house down if I see some shit like that- but I digress.
The children ended up being temporarily removed from the home. Rose and LaToya returned and still were haunted by the unseen forces at work in the house.
Enter Father Michael Maginot. He was called to the home to investigate whether they were dealing with an actual demonic possession. While in the tiny 3 bedroom home, Maginot was greeted by a flickering light. Each time he approached the light, the flickering stopped. The blinds in the home began to move as if being blown by a breeze. There was no wind entering the windows- no air current to explain the phenomena. Maginot also noted the manifestation of wet footprints on the hardwood floors. Neither he nor the women had walked through any water upon entering the house. He had seen enough. He told Rose and LaToya to leave the home because it was not safe. There was at least 1 demonic presence in the house. The two ladies packed a few belongings and stayed with a relative.
They weren’t gone long. One week later three police officers, the DCS worker, and Rose went to the house so that the caseworker could inspect the home. Rose escorted the group throughout the home including the basement. In her professional opinion, this was the epicenter of the demonic activity. There was an altar set up on a small table. A ring of salt was placed around it to dissuade the evil spirits. Directly under the stairs was an area that was dug up to expose dirt. The police were using digital recorders and their phones to record the visit. Suddenly, the voice recorder’s batteries drained completely. The officer who held it mentioned that he had just put fresh batteries in that morning. When he later listened to the audio he captured, he heard an other-worldly voice whisper “Hey”. In photos captured, another officer claims that ghostly figures appeared that were certainly not visible to the naked eye. These officers were now convinced that some top tier bullshit was happening at that house.
LaToya’s children remained in state custody until she could find suitable housing since her place was crowded with her family and the 200 damn demons. In the meantime, she was visited by the three officers who had initially accompanied the DCS caseworker, Father Maginot, two new Lake County police officers and a canine, and a new caseworker. The original case manager refused to go back to the home. If they were looking for supernatural activity, the demons didn’t disappoint. After going into the basement, the caseworker noted an odd liquid dripping on a wall. She touched the fluid. It was slippery and sticky at the same damn time. The group went back upstairs and looked at each bedroom. In one bedroom there was a film on the blinds. Father Maginot didn’t notice it there earlier, so the officers cleaned it off the blinds then sealed the door to the room.
At about this time, the caseworker began to have a strange sensation on the fingers that she used to touch the unknown fluid. When she looked at her hand, it was ghostly white. Then it began to feel as if it were broken. Ten minutes later, she was in a full-blown panic attack and was removed from the house. Father Maginot thought that there may be something under the stairs that could explain the unusual activity. The officers went downstairs with a shovel to uncover anything that might be used in satanic rituals- particularly a pentagram or human remains. After digging a 4-foot by 3-foot hole beneath the stairs, unearthing a pink press-on fingernail, a white pair of panties, a political shirt pin, a lid for a small cooking pan, socks with the bottoms cut off below the ankles, candy wrappers and a heavy metal object that looked like a weight for a drapery cord, police raked the dirt back over the hole.
Where are my Creole chicks at? Y’all know what they say about burying personal effects- specifically underwear. Could someone have put roots on LaToya? There were rumors that she had been in an abusive relationship. Would a jilted ex be sinister enough to put a curse on her and her family?
Well, there were now a large number of witnesses to unnatural events in the home. But wait- there’s more! Remember that room the police sealed off? Before leaving, they opened it up. To their absolute horror, the film had returned on the blinds! Maginot told the officers that the oil was a manifestation of evil energies or a demonic presence. He knew what he had to do. He would petition the bishop to perform the rites of exorcism on LaToya Ammons and conduct an intense blessing of the home. That same day, Maginot performed a minor exorcism on Ammons. The ritual consisted of prayers, statements, and appeals to cast out demons.
Two police officers and Ilic, the DCS family case manager, attended the ritual. lic said she left believing that something was going on, although she wouldn’t go as far as saying it was demonic. She said she got chills during the nearly two-hour rite.”We felt like someone was in the room with you, someone breathing down your neck.”
Ilic said she had a string of medical problems after visiting the home. A week after she visited the house for the last time, Ilic said she got third-degree burns from a motorcycle. Within 30 days, she also broke three ribs Jet Skiing, broke a hand when she hit a table, then broke an ankle running in flip-flops.” After breaking three ribs, I’m pretty sure I would have wrapped myself in bubble wrap and sat the fuck down somewhere. Less than 30 days later, she was RUNNING? In flip-flops? Unless someone was chasing her ,that’s next level crazy. She later said, “I had friends who wouldn’t talk to me because they believed that something had attached itself to me. I’m already evil. They try to find something that’s not evil and corrupt it. They wouldn’t waste their time on me.” Nice to know a woman who has the power to remove your kids from your home and turn your life on its head considers herself “evil”. I know- that’s low-hanging fruit, but I digress.
After the ritual, Father Maginot told LaToya to look up the names of the demons who were tormenting her. He told her that there was power in those names. Now, this seems like it would be a job for a priest, but LaToya and a friend pored the internet looking for names of demons that matched the type of harassment she was experiencing. The internet kept shutting down, the computer turned off several times, and LaToya was sick as hell, but they found some names. They also discovered (I’m not sure how) that LaToya had several high-ranking sergeant and lieutenant demons assigned to her.
After the minor rite, Maginot said Bishop Melczek gave him permission to exorcise Ammons. The ritual is the same as the minor exorcism but more powerful because it has the backing of the Catholic Church, Maginot said.
Father Maginot ultimately performed three major exorcisms on LaToya – two in English, and the last one in Latin – in June 2012 at his Merrillville, IN church. Maginot said his voice continued to get louder and more forceful until the demon weakened. He said he could tell how strong the demon was by how much LaToya convulsed.
Two police officers, who had kept in touch with Maginot since the home investigation, stood nearby in case LaToya needed to be restrained.
She said she prayed with Maginot until it became too painful.
She said she felt as if something inside her was trying to hold on and inflict pain at the same time. She said it was different from a natural pain but felt as intense as giving birth.
Before her third exorcism, LaToya and Rose moved to Indianapolis. They put a whole lot of miles between themselves and the demons. They still had to go back to Gary because the kids were still in DCS custody. Father Maginot performed the final exorcism of LaToya Ammons in Latin. She convulsed as the priest condemned the demon and compelled it to leave her. She was still and responsive while Father Maginot prayed over her. Then she fell asleep. The rites lasted two hours. When they were done, Father Maginot’s assistant wrote the very long name of a demon on a sheet of paper. They sealed it and put a barrier of salt around it. If LaToya had any more issues with old what’s his name, they would burn the paper. Rose and LaToya headed back to Indianapolis. That night, LaToya experienced horrendous nightmares. She called Father Maginot. The paper was burned. And with that, the entire ordeal was over. She eventually got her children back and things went back to normal.
Nahh- no the fuck it didn’t. The story got out. The local, then national, then international media started sniffing around 3866 Carolina Street in Gary, IN. Of course, by this time the homeowner had rented the home out. The tenants were not very happy to have all this activity around their home all day and all freakin night. But media gonna media- shit was an absolute clusterfuck for months. People the world over were talking about the “Demon House” and this caught the attention of paranormal investigators everywhere.
Enter Zak Bagans. Zachary Bagans is an American paranormal investigator, actor, television personality, museum operator, and author. He is the principal host of the Travel Channel series, Ghost Adventures. Zak had heard the stories. He. Wanted. That. House.
You know- money talks, bullshit walks. Zak rode into Gary with $35K and left with the deed to the crown jewel of the paranormal universe. He was seeing nothing but opportunity. He wanted to film the shenanigans that he could get into with 200 motherfucking demons! Big fun, right? Well, it’s all fun and games til somebody gets hurt. Y’all know what that means, right? I came to bring the pain hardcore to the brain.
Now, I’m gonna laugh an awful lot at the shitshow that was the “Demon House” documentary. I think I felt some kind of way because old Zakky boy jumped the whole thing off with a whole lie. See, he said that he had to wait to begin filming because there were “squatters” in the house. In reality, those are the people who were getting tired of the press camping out in front of their rental. If a director would lie about something so fucking insignificant, I can’t believe shit that comes after that. I took that shit personally. Cause in Gary, IN you don’t call motherfuckers paying rent “squatters”. You call them tenants. So, now I have to pick Zak’s shitty documentary apart on principle.
First of all, fuck yo bitch and the clique you claim… Nah- I don’t have to go that hard on Zak. But, I will point out that he couldn’t score an interview with LaToya and her mom. Seems they had sold the rights to their story to a big production company. He was able to talk to Gary Police Captain Charles Austin, who was one of the officers present for some of the paranormal activity. This guy would be believable if he didn’t sound like a complete lunatic as he described his experiences. He provided the photos and audio that was recorded in the house during his visits. Present in the photos, were sinister silhouettes (get it?) but they could have been from anything. Have you ever heard of pareidolia? Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music. Pareidolia can be considered a subcategory of apophenia. Apophenia (/æpoʊˈfiːniə/) is the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things. And these motherfuckers were perceiving connections from bursts of light and shadows because they expected to see an apparition. I guess I‘ve shown my hand. I don’t believe any of this nonsense. Now, I know that my audience will likely be split about this- I welcome your correspondence on this and any matter, but for now, I’ll continue to hate on the whole damn story.
Zak tries to convince us that on his first night in the home with his crew, he was overcome with an aggressive energy that made him attempt to assault his cameraman. Unfortunately, this encounter was only captured by the home surveillance system so there was no audio. We have to take his word that this little spat wasn’t about something else entirely. And right now, Zak’s word ain’t worth much to me. That tends to happen when you start a relationship off with a lie- but anywho.
We later see an apparition in the bathroom of the house that looks remarkably like the shadow of someone’s hand around the lens. Don’t worry, though- Zak turns the footage over to an expert who assures us that this is definitely not a hand. I don’t believe you. You need more people.
Then, a lady named Meka caught up with Zak, telling him that she used to live at 3866 Carolina Street. She visited the home with her three children out of curiosity. In fairness, Zak warned her about bringing her kids to a home said to have 200 demons that consistently preyed on children. But hey, there’s only 15 minutes of fame so the whole family had to get in front of the camera. At least one of them would be a star.
Predictably, one of the children takes an evil spirit home with her. The mother frantically called Zak three weeks after their visit. She tells him that her daughter had become uncharacteristically combative with her and also attempted suicide. Yep- shit escalated QUICKLY. The biggest question I had was why the FUCK did the mother call Zak before the police arrived to her house? I’m not sure he should have been at the top of her mind. Meka- this has the smell of HOAX all over it. Now, I’m not positive that this child fabricated this story at the urging of her mother to play a bigger part in this documentary but- if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck- QUACK, QUACK- it’s a duck, man. It’s a duck.
I’m also not saying that I didn’t ponder showing up at the Demon House in full makeup and dressed like I was going to the damn Soul Train Awards. I may have considered it. But I wouldn’t involve my son in my deception. Supported by nothing but gut instinct, I feel Meka’s story is a bit contrived.
Zak met back up with the family to discuss what had happened. The “possessed” child claimed to have no recollection of even meeting him. Meka was all smiles when she talked about the horror of her daughter’s suicide attempt. Her whole affect was off- it seemed like she was talking about a birthday party instead of a near death experience. She also stated that this same daughter also inexplicably had the number 6 carved in her back because why not?
Then there was the exorcism of this child. I swear when Father Maginot (still on the clock for his 15 minutes), prayed over her she was literally holding back laughter. If you’ve seen the documentary tell me if you agree. After the demon was successfully cast out, we don’t see Meka and family again.
After one of Zak’s camera crew, apparently besieged by evil entities, goes berserk in their hotel, he is forced to fire him. At this time another crew member had already quit. The demon house had already made Zak behave antagonistically. For some reason, after seeing all this crap go on, Zak decides to have himself boarded into the house overnight and alone.
We see snippets of Zak yelling for the spirits to leave him alone. He hears a woman’s voice clearly but there is no one else in the house. Of course, we shouldn’t just assume that this is a neighbor’s voice, we are led to believe that this voice was coming from within the room that Zak was sleeping in. Zak, baby, Gary is the city that never sleeps. I’m not sure where he is from, but we kinda expected to hear things at night. I’d rather it be voices than gunshots.
At some point before morning, Zak’s eyes had begun to cross and he had double vision. After seeing his doctor, he learned that this would forever be a part of his life. He has an eye condition that causes him to have horizontal double vision. He was told that the surgery required to reverse this ran a risk of leaving him blind. He opted, instead, to wear prism glasses to correct his vision. The condition could be caused by neurological damage or disease, but Zak is 100% positive that it had something to do with being in that house.
By the end of the show, Zak decided to just tear the house down. Who cares if the 200 demons attach themselves anywhere else, right? I guess Gary has so many demons, these new ones would have to get in line. Still, after all he had been through, Zak Bagans couldn’t let the house go entirely. He kept several “mementos”, including the stairs that led to the basement.
There are just a couple more pieces of evidence that may give a little insight into the case of LaToya Ammons. First of all, in 2009 she had a DCS warning given to her. Why? Her children were missing too much school. This was 2 years BEFORE moving to the so-called “Demon House” at 3866 Carolina. Second, her landlord said all the demon talk started when she fell behind on the rent. No tenants before or after ever spoke of unusual happenings in the house. Third, her step-mother has gone on record stating that she doesn’t believe her. She thinks that there may be mental health issues. The stories were making life difficult for LaToya’s siblings. They all wanted to distance themselves from the entire ordeal. Lastly, LaToya has been in the local news since her experience with the house. Why? She claims her apartment in Indianapolis is covered in mold and affecting her family. What is it with this family and houses?
No matter what, I appreciate everything Rose did for my family in the 80’s, but there is one more thing that is truly baffling to me about this story. If the paranormal activity centered mostly around the children, why did LaToya have three exorcisms? That is one of the dumbest parts of this whole thing. In fact, this is just one of many things that make it a conspiracy and a true-crime. It’s so dumb to me that it’s criminal.
At the end of it all, there is one person to blame for this whole fucking spectacle- my sister, Felicia. But how could she know LaToya would take those movies so seriously?
That’s it, that’s all for The Exorcisms of LaToya Ammons- this week’s Tale From MY Hood. Tell me what you think about this. Make a believer out of me- if you have had paranormal experiences that you’d like to share shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My social media handles are tcbytb on all the things. The website is where you’ll find a shitload of sources- tcbytb.com. Beginning April 29, Audioburst will be featuring Sinister Silhouettes as a featured podcast on its app- I hope my Faithful Few will download the app and listen. Do me favor and tell a friend. Last but certainly not least, please rate and review Sinister Silhouettes on your platform of choice. The name change is going to make every review super important so the show can be discovered! Thanks so much for all your support, guys! I can’t wait to get together here again next week. Until then, stay outta the shadows!