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Reported case of demon possession in Gary, Indiana parallels Biblical accounts

Phoenician woman pleads for Jesus to deliver her daughter from and evil spirit (Mark 7:24-30)

Phoenician woman pleads for Jesus to deliver her daughter from an evil spirit (Mark 7:24-30): Wikipedia

The case of demonic possession reported in Gary, Indiana seems like it was a long, lost script from the Exorcist, except in this case the demonic actions were witnessed by secular members of society — police officers, medical staff (including a doctor) and welfare officials.

Some of the strange happenings included a child walking up the wall backwards which was seen by a Registered Nurse and a manager for Indiana’s Department of Child Services (DCS).

The case involves Latoya Ammons and her three children, a girl 12, and two boys aged 9 and 7 all of whom were reportedly possessed by evil spirits. 

The Indy Star became aware of the dramatic encounter and received over 800 pages of documentation from the DCS including statements from dozens of interviews with police, DCS staff, family members, friends, psychologists and a catholic priest.

The Star received permission from Ammons to report on the case provided the names of her children were not included in the story.

How it started

It all started when Ammons, her three children and Ammons’ mother moved into a home in Gary, Indiana. Almost immediately, they were besieged by weird manifestations. In the middle of the night, they heard sounds of people walking and doors opening  and even saw apparitions.

The children were also affected. The boys in particular became erratic and violent.

I don’t want to detail everything that happened, but will focus on a couple of incidents that secular professionals saw happen.

Thrown around

Because of the increasing bizarre behaviour of her children, on April 19, 2012  Ammons took them to a physician — Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu. While in the doctor’s office, Ammons’ sons began to curse the doctor in what the Star reported as deep, “demonic voices.”

In the doctor’s presence, the 7-year-old was “lifted and thrown into the wall with nobody touching him.”  After that happened both boys passed out.

At that point, the doctor’s office called 911 and a number of police officers and emergency medical staff showed up. The doctor explained what had happened and the emergency team rushed the two boys to a nearby hospital.

In an interview with the Star, the doctor called it “bizarre” and said in his 20 years of experience, “I have never heard anything like that in my life. I was scared myself when I walked into the room.”

Jesus delivers the mute boy

In some ways, this is similar to a case of possession Jesus encountered recorded in Mark 9. A man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit asked Jesus for help:

And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” (verses 17 – 18 NASV)

The man says the evil spirit threw his son to the ground. This was not falling down. Similar to Ammons’ son, the boy was being thrown around.  In response to the man’s plea, Jesus delivered the boy:

He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” (v 25 NASV)

More bizarre behaviour  at the hospital

After arriving at the Methodist Hospital, the two boys came too. While the 9-year-old seemed fine, the younger one started screaming and thrashing. The report stated it took 5 men to hold him down. The mother told the hospital staff what had happened to the family.

At this point, someone called  the Department of Child Services (DCS) thinking Ammons was mentally unbalanced and she was abusing her children.

By the time DCS manager Valerie Washington arrived, the children had calmed down.

She then decided to interview the family. This is when the 7-year-old began acting up. He growled, showed his teeth and then attacked his older brother trying to strangle him. The adults were forced to intervene and pull him off.

A few hours later, Washington and Willie Walker, a registered nurse, were with the boys. Their grandmother had also joined them. The 7-year-old turned to his brother saying it was time for him to die and started strangling his brother a second time, forcing the adults to pull his hands off the brother’s neck.

Then it got strange. The report said the 9-year-old grinned and suddenly charged at his grandmother. The grandmother grabbed him by both hands and started to pray for him.

The Star writes, “the 9-year-old had a ‘weird grin’ and walked backwards up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over Campbell (the grandmother), landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother’s hand.”

Terrified, Washington and Walker ran out of the room.

When the police asked Washington if perhaps it was a trick or acrobatics, Washington (DCS) said he “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling.”

RN Walker said “the kid was not himself when he did that.”

The Gerasenes’ deliverance

In Mark 5, we read account of the demon-possessed man of the Gerasenes. Jesus and the disciples had crossed the Sea of Galilee and as soon as they landed a possessed man living in nearby tombs confronted Jesus.  The villagers had driven him out of the town because of his violent and erratic behaviour.

We notice the man’s incredible strength:

And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. (v. 4 NASV)

The report said it took five men to control the 7-year-old boy. Can you imagine what it would have been like if he was older?

We also see in the Gospel account that the evil spirit controlled the man’s vocal cords and actually spoke to Jesus.

and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” (Mark 5:7 NASV)

According to the Star, it seems the demonic was speaking through the 7-year-old as well.  Just before the second attack at the hospital, he said to his brother, “it’s time to die. I will kill you.” As noted earlier, the report said when the boys spoke while under this influence, their voices changed and got much deeper.

The Ammons’ deliverance

In both instances reported in the gospels, Jesus delivered the people from the evil spirits.

The same thing happened for the Ammons’ family, but things got worse before they got better. The Department of Child Services decided to remove the children from their mother. This lasted for a few months.

However, the family was eventually reunited. That took place after Rev. Michael Maginot, a Catholic priest, became involved and performed three separate exorcisms on the family.

In attendance at the first exorcism was an official from Indiana’s Department of Child Services, Samantha Ilic, and two police officers. During the two hour session the priest prayed and commanded the evil spirits to leave.

Ilic who apparently didn’t believe in the demonic stated she felt something was going on. She said:

“We felt like someone was in the room, someone breathing down your neck.”

The presence of the demonic was also obvious when Jesus delivered the man from the Gerasenes. The Bible says the demons in the man were allowed to move into a nearby group of pigs, which immediately stampeded over a cliff into the ocean (Mark 5:13).

The second and third exorcisms were more intense and specifically focussed on the mother. The last exorcism took place in June 2012 and the children were returned to the family in November 2012.

By this time, the Ammons had also moved out of the house in Gary and into a home in Indianapolis.

The skeptics

There were of course skeptics in the whole process. But those involved people who had not witnessed any of the events in the home or hospital. One psychologist who interviewed the seven-year-old believed they had been affected by their mother’s beliefs and fears.

But she did note at times during the interviews he “acted possessed.”

The psychologists who interviewed the children and the mother concluded that they were not suffering from a “psychotic disorder.”


There were a number of incidents I left out. For example, at the Ammons’ home they reported seeing their daughter levitate in bed. The Ammons’ family and visiting friends witnessed this. I didn’t include this as it was not verified by people unconnected to the Ammons’ family. It was noted the friends refused to return to the Ammons’ home.

The police also visited the Ammons’ Gary home. They took photos in and outside the house and as well used a tape recorder to record their investigation. When they looked at the photos later, they saw in one room a smoky area at the ceiling. When they blew up the smoke area, the image of a person’s face appeared.

The enlargement also revealed a second green image that looked like a female.  As they played back the recording, they clearly heard someone whispering “hey” throughout the recording. All this and much more was included in their police reports.

A note on the Catholic church

There is a lot of non-Biblical rituals in the Catholic church including in their rites of exorcism. Why do they work?

They will work if underneath all the ritual, the Priest believes he has authority over the demonic because of Jesus. It is this faith, not the rituals, that deliver people.

We see a similar thing happening in the book of Acts. Paul was praying over handkerchiefs and aprons which were then taken to people needing help. The Bible records that people were not only being healed, but delivered from evil spirits. It was not the handkerchiefs that were driving the evil spirits out, but the faith behind them.

11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Mark 19:11-13 NASV)

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  1. Ed Rieker says

    Your final comment “There is a lot of non-Biblical rituals in the Catholic church including in their rites of exorcism.” is so unfortunate. It is obvious you really have very little understanding of the Catholic Church’s “rituals” as you call them and their ancient ties to the ancient Church and even to judasim itself. I find it interesting that the person called to exorcise these people was a Catholic priest who was trained in exorcism and not clergy from some other religion or Christian sect. Jesus prayed to the Father that we be “one”. Comments like these really must cause our Blessed Lord immense sorrow.


    • Thank you for your comment. The story revealed the reality of the demonic realm and equally the power of God to confront it. In my mind, there is no doubt the Catholic Priest’s exorcism worked. What I was saying it is faith in the authority and power of Jesus that brings deliverance. Do rituals work without faith in God? Did the handkerchiefs Paul handed out work without faith? Evangelicals and Charismatics have successfully done deliverances for years without rituals. The Catholic church is obviously successful with them. The common denominator for both groups is faith in the authority of Christ. That is the key.


  2. Pingback: Paralyzed woman reportedly healed during a church service in Pompeii, Italy «

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