The butterflies of Lost Creek have led us to SyFy’s newest ghost-hunting ‘reality’ show, “Ghost Mine”.  Premiering in January, the Season 1 finale episode is set to air tonight.  I happened to catch up on the show on one of my days off work, when SyFy aired all the episodes as a marathon leading up to the new episode.  I’d seen commercials for the show, and was skeptical before I watched it.  Little did I know….

“Ghost Mine” is set at the once-abandoned Crescent Mine in Oregon.  The story goes that the old gold mine had been abandoned, not because the gold ran out, but because of paranormal activity that drove workers away.  New owner Larry Overman had already had one entire crew walk out on him, so this go round he’s brought in Patrick Doyle and Kristen Lumen, supposed paranormal investigators, to assure the men they are safe working in the mine.
Better than anything the 'investigators' have captured
More like a mini-series than a reality show, Season 1 follows the miners and the investigators as they search for gold and ghosts.  There are no revolving locations; we stay at the Crescent Mine, with side trips to a local bed and breakfast and other sites that tie in to the Crescent mystery.  The investigators seem to have happened upon an extremely haunted location as they immediately begin capturing evidence that causes even the most skeptical miner to wonder.  Capturing good evidence is rare, and Patrick and Kristen appear to capture it over and over, presenting their findings to the miners. 
I tried to watch objectively, but I couldn’t help but notice that while staying on site in their own primitive cabin, the investigators always appeared ready for camera.  Kristen’s hair always looks professionally done.  Then I noticed that even the miners seemed too good to be true.  Everything, from their clothes down to their beards, seemed a little too stereotypical.  I began to wonder if they weren’t all hired actors.  Or actual miners coached and rehearsed at the very least. 
The action picks up when Kristen and Patrick are watching the miners work on monitors set up in their cabin.  Duck and Jay are working when they hear a strange banging sound.  After the second time it’s heard, Duck says its ‘Tommyknockers’ and decides to get out of there.  Kristen and Patrick meet them when they come out to ask them about what happened.  Soon after, Duck packs up his things and ‘tramps’ out, leaving his job and telling foreman Stan it’s due to the Tommyknockers.  When Kristen and Patrick go inside the mine to investigate, they find a cave in not far from where Duck and Jay heard the strange sounds. 

When mine owner Larry showed up upset that Patrick and Kristen were sharing evidence with the miners and insisting that they only do so with him or the foreman, and reminds them that their job is to convince the miners of their safety, I became convinced that what was being presented as a reality series was scripted fiction.  Sure this guy could have stormed onto the site and gave them a piece of his mind, but it was the reactions of the investigators that convinced me that wasn’t so.  Patrick does all the talking, assuring Larry they will do as they are told, while Kristen just sits there with an obnoxious look on her face. 

Later when the miners invite them to join them at the campfire, Kristen assures them that they will continue to share any evidence they find with the miners, leaving out that owner Larry said not to, going on to tell them that if the investigators ever feel like the miners are in danger they will let them know they think they need to get out of there.  Ignoring Larry’s warnings, she goes on to tell them she believes something malevolent is in the mine.

Much ado occurs when miners Graybeard and Jamal are working and notice the smoke from Graybeard’s pipe blowing sideways.  This spooks them, as they say there shouldn’t be any breeze in the tunnel and they make haste getting out of the mine.  Watching them on the monitors, Patrick and Kristen meet them at the mouth of the mine to ask them about what happened.  In all his years in the mine, Graybeard says he’s never seen anything like it.  Jamal, who is married to a Native American and professes a belief in spirits, is spooked as well.  The investigators enter with enough high tech equipment to make any ghost hunter drool.  They find strange air flow measurements, but that’s about it.

Up until this point it could be that SyFy just happened upon a really good location to shoot their show.  Being the daughter of a retired mine inspector, seeing someone smoking a pipe underground set off alarms in my head.  Unless gold mines are unlike coal mines in that there are no hazardous gasses like methane that could be combustible, the pipe was just a prop to illustrate phantom breezes.  If smoking’s a no-no, then why is this guy constantly got a pipe in his mouth? And on camera? Seems reminiscent of Amish Mafia and Moonshiners on the Discovery Channel blatantly breaking the law with next to no concern of repercussions. 

But then the investigators are contacted by a local who wants to secretly meet with them.  Taking their truck to what looks like a very obscure location (but could actually be along the same road that leads to the Crescent Mine) they wait until another pickup pulls in, driven by an older man.  He tells them his son was part of the first crew Larry had at the mine that walked off.  He tells them a couple spook tales related to the mine, then asks if they’ve noticed any Masonic imagery.  We were told a few episodes back that the Masons were involved with the mine, and once used the bed and breakfast in town as a meeting hall.

The man draws a map for Patrick and Kristen, telling them to look for large rocks.  These rocks are supposed to mark the entrance to a hidden mining tunnel.  When they return to the site and start looking for the rocks, they are immediately joined by, who else, Foreman Stan, who quickly finds a piece of granite with 3 holes drilled in it to form a triangle.  Nearby they find the other two similar rocks, and Stan gets one of the guys to jump in a dozer and move the dirt.  After a few scoops, they see mining timbers, and soon have the hidden entrance uncovered.  They send in Patrick’s RIPA robot, which finds a bulkhead blocking the path.  When they go in on foot to inspect it, they find Masonic markings on it. 

When asked why someone would block a tunnel off like this, the miners tell them it could be because there’s something behind there somebody doesn’t want found…like a large deposit of gold. About as un-superstitious as you can get, miner Eddie takes an axe and makes short work of the blockage.  Always keeping safety first, they send RIPA ahead, but when she becomes unresponsive to the controls, they go to see what the problem is.  While Patrick and Kristen try to fix RIPA, Stan and Eddie, anxious to see what the bulkhead was hiding, continue on to discover a rich vein of gold. 

The 'investigators'
If it weren’t for those pesky kids….Larry wouldn’t have uncovered the tunnel with the mother load, or have gotten a crew to stay onsite, or been any closer to solving the puzzle of the Crescent that involves the Freemasons, a ghost named Joe, and the haunting that seems to blanket the entire town of Sumpter.  I’ve done a lot of digging, and couldn’t find any previous stories about the mine being haunted.  Of course the only people on site were most likely miners, possibly with a handful of others, so I can’t rule out a real haunting based solely on that.  So I decided to investigate the investigators.

Considering all the bells and whistles on RIPA; IR cameras, real time audio, floodlights, and about 20 other features, I wondered what Patrick and Kristen did for day jobs.  You’re not going to build a toy like RIPA on minimum wage.  It turns out that Patrick does have a history in the paranormal world.  Since the ‘Ghost Mine’ premiere, Patrick’s old website, “Haunted Hoax” has been taken down.  Quotes he made in the past showed that he sided with the skeptics, and likened ghost hunting to an addiction: “These sensational encounters and the person's undying commitment to prove the existence of ghosts and the afterlife have created a dependency -- A need for the chemical rush they receive during intense situations, amplified by anxiety, desire and anticipation.”

He goes on to explain how he knows these ‘paranormal reality’ shows aren’t real: “These TV shows are entertainment. It's all entertainment value. It's 100% entertainment. It’s not real in the paranormal field. It's not. It's all just put out there. It's shot, it’s edited, it’s put together and tied with advertising to get you to watch. And then the networks make the money off the advertising dollars.” He adds, “TV shows are staged because they are getting something every episode. It just doesn't work that way. You gotta remember they are on a network called SyFy, Science fiction. It's not true.”

Then there’s his investigating partner, Kristen Luman.  It didn’t take much digging to expose Kristen’s past, which unlike Patrick’s, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the paranormal.  If you go to and look at Ghost Mine’s page, it lists Patrick Doyle and Kristen P. Luman as being on the show.  Where’d her middle initial come from?  A little digging exposed her other imdb page, listing Kristen Luman as appearing in 3 films, including “Harvest of Fear.” She’s even in the trailer for that one, shown below (appears at 1:19).  Adding that initial would keep anyone checking her out from realizing she had a prior acting career, unless they kept digging.  More research unearthed the fact that Kristen once appeared in a Girls Gone Wild video as well. 

Entertaining. Great story. But don’t insult me by thinking I’ll believe all these coincidences were stumbled upon.  Either SyFy sent out a dozen crews to a dozen different locations, and chose the one with the most compelling evidence, or they totally scripted the entire show.  Look at it this way, professional wrestling is fake, does that stop people from watching?  Hell no, it’s a multi-million dollar industry. 

Presenting this stuff as a reality show is an insult to true paranormal investigators who are out there searching for the truth.  It taints the ghost hunting community, and could cause people to question actual evidence.  Don’t present something as reality when it so obviously isn’t. 

Actors, wardrobe, props, writing, they all did exceptional jobs.  Too good to be true actually.  Just admit the obvious, and I’ll happily watch.  Don’t insult actual investigators who are not faking evidence and making up the story as they go.  I hope the creators and participants are haunted by relentless poltergeists as penance for their deceptions.

Goofing around behind the scenes?
Gone are the days when networks like the Discovery Channel and TLC featured programming that allowed viewers to get their dork on.  The channels that used to be a nerd’s favorites are now filled with programs that focus on finding obscure places to hunt for gold and building custom guns and motorcycles.  While the Discovery Channel’s newest venture may be entertaining, it in no way fosters the pursuit of knowledge, Discovery’s original goal.  It’s actually opposite, airing what seems to be a dramatization as a reality show and exploiting a minority population.  The most disappointing aspect of the new show, “Amish Mafia” is that it’s actually quite entertaining, but would fit in better on HBO than the Discovery Channel.  The network should not present a show as a true reality series when it’s obvious that it is scripted.

 On December 12, 2012 Discovery aired the first episode of Amish Mafia.  It opened with a disclaimer telling viewers that the Amish Church denies the existence of the Amish Mafia and to protect participants and their family members some identifying information has been changed.  There aren’t any scenes that have that little ‘Dramatization” disclaimer in the corner, so I’m led to believe that the entire thing is a re-enactment.  In fact, as the show goes off there’s another disclaimer that reads, “Recreations are based on eye witness accounts, testimonials, and the legend of the Amish Mafia.” So in other words, what you have just seen is totally fabricated based on stories the producers were told. 

Jolin on Amish Mafia business
It seems as if the fiasco that followed TLC’s, Discovery’s sister channel, “Breaking Amish” taught them something.  After “Breaking Amish” aired it came out that much of the show was scripted and faked, but there was no disclaimer saying so.  After catching a lot of flak over the fakery, Discovery jumped on the sudden fascination with the Amish (there was also “Amish at the Alter” on the National Geographic Channel and Neve Campbell starred in the Lifetime Movie “An Amish Murder”) but included the disclaimer.

Even with the disclaimer, Amish Mafia has been catching heat for not being a reality show.  So much so that last week another new episode aired that gave cast members the opportunity to ensure viewers that what they were watching was real.  As evidence they produced a local geneology book that records all Amish births in the area.  Sure enough, their names were in there.  And that proves, what? That they were born Amish?  The show explains that the Mafia members haven’t been baptized into the Amish Church so they can operate outside it’s laws.  I’ve never heard of a show that had to air a special to validate itself.  But as much as I hate to admit it, I’m entertained by these guys.  Just as with some of the haunted house stories we’ve written about, we have to ask if the quality of the story is worth foregoing  a basis in reality.

When you start digging around the internet you can quickly find a mountain of evidence that Amish Mafia is fake.  The first red flag pops up with Alan Beiler, the show’s black Amish guy and Godfather Levi’s event planner.  Up until December 14, Beiler operated several websites that were taken down after the show’s premiere.  Before it was scrapped his website stated what the show told about him, that he was born in Brooklyn and was adopted by the Beilers when he was 9.  It also listed various jobs Belier had held in the entertainment industry and led some to wonder if he was a paid actor.  Beiler worked on National Geographic’s “Amish at the Alter” and was a production assistant on a movie.  The website, featured ideas for several shows, which included Amish reality shows, buggy races, and pimp-my-buggy contests…sound familiar to any viewers?  Sure sounds like Beiler is the mastermind behind many of the shows storylines. 
The "real" Alan Beiler on right
Surely if these guys were all paid actors, the casting directors responsible for their hiring have since been fired.  Watch the show for a few minutes and you’re bound to get frustrated by John, the lowest guy on Levi’s totem pole.  He seems to stammer through what he’s supposed to say.  There’s just a goofy quality about him that makes it hard to believe he’s part of any organized thought. 

In case you haven’t caught the phenomena that is “Amish Mafia,” the show is set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where a large Amish population lives.  The show revolves around Lebanon Levi and his gang of thugs.  Levi is described as the protector, judge, and jury for the Amish community.  He describes his role as “keeping the peace and making sure everyone’s following the rules.”  I suppose he and his gang are exempt from following those rules?  The Discovery Channel website says that Levi exists above the law.

Nevermind the fact that the show seems to depict Levi and his gang breaking numerous laws on camera without any concern.  Either they really are above the law, or the stunts were staged.  More on that later.  Similarly, the Discovery Channel’s show “Moonshiners” depicts a handful of rednecks making illegal liquer.  I find Moonshiners entertaining as well, especially when it comes to Tickle, but I wonder how the cast can continue to make moonshine after they’ve been on TV doing so.  Wouldn’t local law enforcement just stake them out until they busted them?  I’m starting to see a pattern here.

“Lebanon Levi,” the Amish Mafia’s leader, puts you in mind of a young Tony Soprano.  According to the show he came to power after John’s father stepped down as the protector of the community, and for a price, offers protection to local businesses and keeps the peace within the community.  A little digging turned up an old Myspace page belonging to Levi King Stoltzfus of Richland, PA. 
In one episode Levi is found doing construction work, which is supposed to be a cover, a way to make legitimate money.  In reality, Levi is co-owner of C&L Siding, Decking, and Roofing.  It seems as if before television cameras came around Levi made a living roofing houses.  Some more digging revealed that Levi is a member of Richland's Neptune Fire Co.  At a Richland Borough Council meeting last year Levi was given permission to set a trailer on fire and put it out for a Discovery Channel documentary.  Then we watch the  final episode this season and see the trailer, Levi’s new office, go up in flames, but they said it was Merlin’s, Levi’s Amish Mafia boss rival, doing?

During the first episode rap sheets for Levi and the others were shown and started a big controversy.  The arresting agency appears as the Lancaster County Police Department.  Locals were quick to point out that there is no such agency.  There is the Lancaster County Sheriffs Department and the Lancaster City Police Department, but the Lancaster County Police Department does not exist.  The criminal records are real, to an extent.  Records have been found for four of the show’s cast members.  Levi was arrested in Shelby, OH for DUI, and has also been arrested for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and two other DUIs. 

Esther rides a mechanical bull
The show plays up the relationship between Levi and Esther, John’s sister.  Levi has always been interested in Esther, and she uses this to her advantage.  In one episode she gets Levi out of town and the  two take a vacation in Florida.  There Esther reveals to Levi that she has two children.  It seems there’s a lot more she could have revealed.  Esther’s full name is Esther Freeman Schmucker.  Before Amish Mafia Esther was shopping around for modeling gigs.  She has a profile on the dating website where she says she drinks socially, has children and wants more, does not do drugs, and lists her job as “insurance policies.”  She also has accounts on Formspring, MySpace, eBay, and Twitter.

Esther’s Twitter account was active after the show’s premiere, touting her new relationship with Twitter user @TheRealMirkat, a rapper who took to the site to brag about the sexual exploits that went on between the two.  Esther, posting as @ecstasy686, and Mirkat tweeted back and forth about how in love they were.  Mirkat wasn't shy about posting pictures that seemed to show him using drugs. Since then both the accounts have been deleted.

Esther's profile pic
Esther’s actual criminal history includes arrests for disorderly conduct twice, and a DUI.  John, who may or may not be Esther’s real brother (they share the name  Freeman Schmucker and Esther is 2 years older) has his own real disorderly conduct charge.  He’s also been arrested for marijuana possession and a hit-and-run. 

Depicted on the show as Levi’s right-hand man is Alvin.  He’s the quiet, might-be-crazy one.  “Nobody gets to Levi without going through Alvin.”  Alvin Stoltzfus Lantz has a criminal record for a DUI and for fleeing from police.  On his arrest records his occupation is listed as ‘construction’ so he may actually work for Levi.

The motivation for the forming of a group such as the Amish Mafia is cited on the Discovery Channel’s website as the real-life 2006 school shooting in Nickel Mines, PN.  A truck driver shot and killed five children at an Amish school. Critics are quick say the show is disrespectful to the victims and families involved in the actual tragedy. 

Several articles quote people who live in the Lancaster area and know the cast members.  They say they are nothing like the characters depicted on the show.  Levi seems to have been a party guy for a while, but had settled down somewhat, until he became the leader of a religious organized crime syndicate.  The residents deny the existence of an Amish Mafia.

Others say the Amish make an easy target to exploit because of their beliefs.  Most do not watch television or even have their picture taken, so they’re not likely to come out with a public argument against the show.  The racketeering that is depicted on the show would be of interest to FBI’s Violent Criminal Organizations unit and subject to RICO charges.  Local law enforcement officers have went on record saying that if there was any such organization in the area they would know of it. 

So what do I think of Amish Mafia?  I wish they had done what the History Channel did with the Haftield’s and McCoys; made a mini-series.  Instead of exploiting an actual tragedy, make one up, cast a gang of Amish thugs to fight back, and let me watch it.  Just don’t claim that it’s real.  Give the viewers some credit.  It’s like professional wrestling.  It doesn’t take the fun out of it just because it’s fake.  With a little polishing Amish Mafia would have some great characters and potential storylines.  Don’t put a pothead on screen bumbling around trying to act out tall tales.  The Amish Mafia has become a legend, but legends aren’t reality.  They do make great TV movies though.  Amish Mafia belongs on Showtime or HBO, not the Discovery Channel, but we’ll support another season.

Tales of large hairy creatures that walk around on two legs and stand seven to ten feet tall exist in the folklore of cultures on every continent except Antarctica.  The possibility of an unknown ape-like creature wondering the woods has captured the imagination of believers and skeptics alike, and has became so commonplace that Bigfoot has found his way into popular advertising today.  We’re going to look at the history of the phenomena, theories on the creature, and how it is viewed around the world.

The term “Bigfoot” was coined in 1958 by a California newspaper.  Sightings in the logging community of Bluff Creek propelled the creature onto a national platform.  Hundreds of footprints, roughly 16 inches long and 8 inches wide, were found near the logging site.  Upon arriving for work, loggers repeatedly found their equipment disturbed and large tracks everywhere.  Foreman Jerry Crew made a plaster cast of the tracks and took it to a local newspaper.  The editor called it “Bigfoot” and the article was picked up by the Associated Press, going nationwide. 

Newspaper clipping of 'Bigfoot' tracks
Nine years later, what is either the most famous Bigfoot evidence ever captured or the most elaborate and widely believed hoax ever perpetrated was captured on 16 mm video camera by Roger Patterson  and Bob Gimlin.  The footage became known as the ‘Patterson Film.’  On October 20, 1967 the two men were riding horses when they came across the creature crouching behind a large stump.  Patterson’s horse was startled.  He dismounted and grabbed his video camera.  While critics have insisted the film is a hoax, Patterson believed he caught a female Bigfoot on camera.
Stories of hairy wild men go back as far as recorded history.  In fact, The Epic of Gilgamesh, said to be the first book ever written, contains such a beast as a character.  The Sumerian poem was found recorded on stone tablets, said to be 4000 years old.  The first written account of an encounter comes from Norwegian explorer Leif Erikson, who discovered America about 500 years before Columbus.  Erikson told of encountering huge hairy creatures with black eyes.

Tales of Bigfoot creatures have long existed in Canada among natives.  The Shalish tribe called the creature Sasquatch, meaning 'wild man of the woods.' Native Americans across the continent have stories about the hairy wild man.  President Teddy Roosevelt recounted a tell about an encounter with the creature by a trapper in his book The Wilderness Hunter.  Frontiersman Daniel Boone was said to have shot and killed a ten-foot creature he called a Yahoo. 

The 20th century saw tales of Bigfoot encounters, some violent.  In 1924 prospector Albert Ostman claimed to have been abducted by a Sasquatch and held captive in British Columbia.  The same year Fred Beck and four other miners in Ape Canyon, Washington claimed to have seen the creature, who threw rocks at their camp.  Most modern reports lead one to believe that the creature is an herbivore, eating plants only, or an omnivore, living off vegetation and hunting small game. 

Juvenile Bigfoot or bear?
Bigfoot critics argue that there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that the creature exists.  They point out that large numbers of them would have to exist in order to maintain a breeding population, and couldn’t go unnoticed. 

Theories about Bigfoot range from a previously unknown species to interdimensional aliens.  Bigfoot critics believe reports of sightings are usually misidentified animals or hoaxes.  More scientific theories hold that the creature is a descendant of the extinct Gigantopithecus, a cousin of the orangutan.  Others believe it is the missing link connecting man to his ape-like predecessors. 

Some of the more out-there theories say Bigfoot is an alien, citing the influx of UFO sightings before and after Bigfoot sightings.  Others believe the beast is a demon.  Some believe it is an interdimensional being, sometimes able to become invisible or disappear to avoid being seen. It has been published that in the 1970s UC Berkley came into possession of two of the creatures, but they escaped through the 4th dimension and wandered the lab invisible for weeks.  Stephen Hawking was there, and could prove it all if he would come forward. 

Sasquatch hitching a ride on Nessie
The Illusion Theory of Bigfoot  says that sightings of the creature are the result of electromagnetic exposure or hallucinations brought on by oxygen deprivation.  The archetype theory speaks more to the function of such sightings.  People are fascinated with the idea of a wild man, and an unconscious attraction to returning to the wild.  The tales are told much like urban legends, used to teach lessons within a society.
While Americans have been captivated with Sasquatch for centuries, reports of similar creatures exist all over the world.  Most prominent is the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal and Tibet.  Native followers of the Bön religion used to believe the blood of the creature had mystical properties and could be used in ceremonies.  The 20th century saw a huge increase in the frequency of sightings due to Westerners climbing Everest and other mountains in the region in search of adventure.  Large footprints were found by climbers, who were told by Sherpas, belonged to the Wild Man of the Snow they called 'metoh-kangmi.’  A journalist reporting on the phenomena mistranslated the word metoh as filthy, and substituted ‘abominable.’ Thus, we have the Abominable Snowman. 

Khumjung Yeti scalp
Adventurers came across the Khumjung monastery that had what they claimed to be a Yeti scalp.  Largely regarded as a hoax, testing on samples have came back inconclusive.  In 1959 actor James Stewart helped to smuggle a ‘Yeti hand’ out of the country.  Bones from the hand were replaced with human bones and taken from a monastery.  Testing revealed the bones were closely related to a Neanderthal. 
Alleged Skunk Ape
Alaskans tell of the Urayuli, a Bigfoot-like creature found in the tundras of Southwest Alaska near Lake Llaima.  Sightings have been reported since 1956.  The Urayuli is said to have luminescent eyes and according to folklore were once children who got lost in the woods and became the hairy beasts.  The Urayuli’s arms are said to reach it’s ankles and it is said to emit a high pitched scream like that of a loon.  Florida has its own Bigfoot-like creature known as the Skunk Ape that calls the Everglades home.  Its name comes from the smell its reported to give off, similar to rotten eggs or methane. 

Sarah Palin bags an Urayuli
In Austraila the Yowie is a part of aboriginal folklore and sightings continue today.  The Mapinguary is Brazil’s Bigfoot counterpart.  Its said to be nocturnal with red hair and a frightful scream.  It is sometimes depicted with its mouth in its stomach, an interestingly common variance.  African folklore tells about the Chimiset, an ape-like creature with reddish or yellow hair that’s as comfortable in the treetops as on the ground. 

The Chuchunaa is Siberia’s Bigfoot, speculated by some to be the last surviving paleo-asiatic aborigines.  Locals claim it is a man-eater and has withdrawn to more remote areas to retreat from encroaching civilization.  The Nguoi Rung is another name for the Vietnamese Wild Man.  It has gray, black, or brown hair and has been seen alone and in packs.  Orang Pendek lives in Sumatra and is smaller, standing three to five feet tall. Locals say that they have backward pointing feet to confuse anyone who tries to follow them. 

In the 1970s a rash of sightings were reported near Fouke, Arkansas.  The deaths of livestock was blamed on the creature, which inspired the film The Legend of Boggy Creek. Associated with sightings were foul smells, described as a combination of a skunk and a wet dog.  It was said to have bright red eyes the size of silver dollars.  In 1972 sightings in Missouri led to reports of the Missouri Monster, or Momo.  The Mogollon Monster dwells in eastern Arizona and is sometimes reported with red eyes.  It’s described as smelling like a combination of dead fish, decaying peat moss, a skunk, and the musk of a snapping turtle.  In Ohio reports are still being made of the Grassman, and date back to 1869.  It is said to live off grass and other vegetation and travel in groups
Ever since the Patterson film came to public attention rumors have flew that it was an intentional hoax.  Whether hoax or actual evidence, it has inspired generations of both Bigfoot hunters and hoax perpetrators. Recent years have seen numerous hoaxes and YouTube is filled with so many hoax videos its impossible to separate them from possible genuine sightings. 
In August of last year a Montana man made history with an attempted Bigfoot hoax, though certainly not in the way he had intended.  44 year-old Randy Lee Tenley donned a ghillie suit, used by the military to camouflage snipers, and ran out onto the highway in hopes of inciting Bigfoot sightings.  Unfortunately, he was struck by the car of a 15 year-old girl who was unable to avoid him.  He was then struck a second time by the car of a 17 year-old girl.  Tenley died as a result of the impacts.
Why have reports of ape-like creatures been reported all over the world for hundreds of years? It seems that nearly every culture has their own variation of the creature and their own name for it.  Maybe it functions as a cultural archetype, warning children to not wander off while allowing adults to daydream about a simpler life.  Or maybe there actually are a population of elusive animals not yet known to the scientific world, occasionally posing for a tourist’s camera.  Until definitive proof is captured, stories of Bigfoot and his cousins will continue to circulate and fill tabloid papers.
Angus Jones, the half man from “Two and a Half Men” made waves recently when he made a video with controversial preacher Christopher Hudson denouncing the show he works on. Jones urged viewers to not watch the show, calling it “filth.” Said Charlie Sheen of Jones’ actions, “With Angus’ Hale-Bopp-like meltdown it is radically clear that the show is cursed.” Sheen was fired from the show in 2011 after he infamously made anti semetic rants toward studio exec Chuck Lorre while most likely on a bath salt binge.

Angus’ blowup isn’t the only controversy surrounding the video.  In it, he is accompanied by controversial pastor Christopher Hudson.  Hudson’s YouTube channel, Forerunner Chronicles, has a long backlog of videos of Hudson’s sermons, on topics including Jay-Z’s illuminati membership, comparing President Obama to Hitler, and most lately stating that the gas crisis in New York City will lead to cannibalism, including the famous line, “Your baby might start looking like chicken wing.”

Here's a clip from the infamous video:
19 year old Jones found religion while attending a Seventh-Day Adventist church with his father and brother.  When he last renewed his contract he became the highest paid child actor in history, earning $300,000 an episode.  The studio has some time to figure out what to do about the Jones situation.  He didn’t appear in the last few episodes of the past season, as his character went off to join the army, and isn’t due back to begin shooting on the next season until later this year.

Jones and Hudson hadn’t met before the day the now infamous video was shot in Jones’ trailer on the Warner Brothers lot.  The video was supposed to be of Jones giving his Testimony, declaring the good things God has done for him.  The focus, instead, went straight to the denouncement of the televisions show. In the video he told Jones, “Your videos have been a blessing to me,” before going on to say that he couldn’t work on a show like Two and a Half Men and be a true god-fearing person.  Jones’ parents recently split up and in the video he talks about his feelings of ‘inauthenticity’ and feeling empty inside.  His mother has been quoted as saying she fears her son is being exploited by the church.

According to insiders when the video was released co-star Ashton Kutcher stormed into the studio executives’ offices and demanded Jones be fired.  Jones soon released another statement apologizing for his comments. “I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.”  He did not clear up whether he still feels like the show that’s made him the highest paid child actor ever is filth or not. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church released a statement saying that Hudson and ‘Forerunner Chronicles ministry is in no way associated with their church. Hudson’s work has been associated with The Voice of Prophecy Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Los Angeles where Angus Jones worships.  His “Forerunner” tag comes from John the Baptist who was the forerunner to Jesus Christ.  Hudson has no formal ministry, his work consists of the videos he puts online.
Christopher Hudson of Forerunner Chronicles
Among Hudson’s Forerunner videos are sermons on Jay-Z’s illuminati membership as we mentioned, saying his “Blueprint” albums are evidence of his climbing of the Masonic ranks and reveal a Satanic plot.  He also compares Obama’s healthcare plan to Hitler’s policies.  One video announces Beyonce, like her evil husband, is using her music to move people away from God and toward accepting homosexual practices.  He has a whole series of sermons online dealing with the NOW (New World Order conspiracy).  He accuses Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor of devil worship, speaks on a conspiracy involving Japan and HAARP, and insists that Rick Ross’s music production is all about spreading Satanism.  He says Oprah is a disciple of Satan and that Hurricane Sandy was a harbringer of a food shortage that will lead to cannibalism and famously “Your baby might start looking like a chicken wing.” 

Hudson has a criminal history he hasn’t commented on in regard to his online ministry.  In 2005 he was stopped by police in New York and cited for driving an uninspected car with a suspended license and registration.  Months later he was charged with driving without a licecnse again when he was involved in an accident.  This past April Hudson was arrested in Columbus, GA for driving on a suspended license and failure to obey a traffic device.  He managed to post bail and was given probation for the offenses, but New York caught wind of it and he found himself back in the Nassau County Correctional Facility on Long Island due to his outstanding cases there.  His lawyers were able to reach an agreement and after his fines were paid Hudson was released.  I get the feeling that Hudson is less religious guru and more paranoid conspiracist, but we’ll let you decide for yourself.  His YouTube channel, Forerunner777 contains hours of videos expressing his views.  A self-proclaimed charismatic prophet working for the lord…makes you wonder how things would have turned out if Charlie Manson had internet access back in the day….
Trailblazing paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren have a case log that rivals that of Fox Mulder and surpasses any ghost hunting group operating today.  Before TAPS and Zak Bagins turned spirit seeking into a mainstream hobby, the Warrens were involved in what are arguably the most important instances of paranormal activity in history.  They brought media attention to the paranormal without appearing beside Anton LaVey dressed in devil suits and supporting Satanism.  They brought a scientific point of view to claims of the supernatural at a time when the subject of ghosts were nothing but laughable among scholars and the public at large.

Ed and Lorraine Warren
Sometimes I think of my research as likened to string theory.  All these Medicine Show attractions are connected, possibly even vibrating on the same spooky frequency (my theory is if audible it would be close to the chord of E minor.).  Along the Lost Creek String, a butterfly effect has led us from one subject to the next for some time now.  Our journey has led us to delve into the Warren’s case files. 

There are plenty of skeptics quick to dismiss the Warrens as charlatans, frauds who exploit families and the public to make a buck.  When asked about such claims the Warrens say they have never charged for their services.  When they had to travel for investigations, they did ask that their accommodations be paid for.  Other than that, their income is only from book sales and movie deals.  While not charging for their services, this is another case where the stories are so sensational we are entertained.  Whether some details were fudged a tad, or every claim of paranormal activity the Warrens ever made were complete fabrications, I have no problem paying $8 for one of their books I’m waiting to arrive from Amazon.  I’ll pay that admission price to hear about the Smurl haunting from their perspective.

Ed and Lorraine Warren were high school sweethearts.  Ed lived in a haunted house as a child and wouldn’t go inside until one of his parents arrived home.  Lorraine saw auras around people from the age of nine and later developed her psychic abilities into something more.  The two met on a blind date. Lorraine wrote in her diary that night, “This is the man I’m going to spend my life with.”  She says as she thought of him she wasn’t seeing the lanky teenager she had went to the movies with, she saw him as an older man, the portly fellow she indeed spent her life with. 

While Lorraine cultivated her psychic abilities, Ed studied demonology and became well versed in the occult.  The Warrens were called in on some of the most famous paranormal cases of the late 20th century.  The Smurl haunting and the Amityville Horror have already been discussed at the Medicine Show, you can read about them in our archive.  Ed sadly passed away in 2006.  Lorraine continues to carry on their legacy.  She has appeared on several episodes of A&E’s Paranormal State, gives speaking engagements, operates the Warren’s Occult Museum, and heads up the New England Society for Psychic Research. Here’s a look at a few more of the cases the Warrens worked on.

The Real Haunting in Connecticut

Here’s that “based on true events” meme again.  “The Haunting in Connecticut” was released to theaters in 2009.  Not a bad movie in our opinion.  While a lot of artistic license was taken to make a scary movie, Loraine Warren says what really happened in Southington, Connecticut was much scarier than any movie could be.  In the 1980s Allen and Carmen Snedeker moved their family into a rental house on 208 Meridian Avenue in Southington.  She had been traveling 100 miles each way taking her son, Phillip, to the University hospital to receive treatments for his Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  There is some controversy as to whether the Snedekers were aware of it before they moved in or not, but the house they rented had formerly been the Hallahan Funeral Home.  Carmen says they found out after discovering mortuary equipment in the basement and inquiring to neighbors. 

Spooky phenomena that would continue for two years began soon after they moved in.  Phillip and his brother made the basement their bedroom and soon reported seeing apparitions.  His parents at first attributed this to the treatments he was receiving for his cancer.  Then Phillip began to change.  His personality became dark.  He wrote dark poetry and began wearing leather.  Things came to a head when Phillip attacked his cousin who was staying with the family.  With no other choice his parents had him committed to a mental hospital.  Before he left, he warned them that when he was taken away the evil would attack everyone else. 

Sure enough with Phillip gone the activity continued, and increased. Unseen hands touched them, more apparitions were seen, and strange noises were heard. One apparition was described as having high cheekbones, long black hair and pitch black eyes while another frequently seen had white hair and eyes and wore a pinstriped tuxedo.  Its feet seemed to constantly be in motion. While cleaning the kitchen, Carmen claimed the mop water turned blood red. While taking a shower the shower curtain mysteriously wrapped itself around Carmen and nearly suffocated her. The table would be set for dinner and when the family entered the room they would find that the dishes had put themselves away. Both Carmen and her niece claimed to have been fondled by the unseen hands.

The Snedeker home
In desperation the Snedekers contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren.  The Warrens came to the house and stayed for nine weeks.  Research suggested that one or more former employees of the Funeral home had been involved in necrophilia (getting freaky with dead bodies) and possible necromancy (practicing dark magic involving dead bodies).  There was a trap door in the master bedroom that held a hoist that had been used to bring coffins up from the basement.  The family reported hearing the chains moving in the night.  Upon investigating Ed says he saw two women dancing in circles.  When he approached them they disappeared.  Ed gave a great piece of investigating advice about this incident, saying you shouldn’t approach an apparition because you could disrupt the molecular and magnetic fields being used to manifest.  Just let the apparition come to you.

Soon both Al and Carmen were claiming to be raped and sodomized by the entity on a regular basis.  They went on the Sally Jessy Raphael show to talk about their story.  The Warrens experienced the smells of decaying flesh, witnessing people being slapped by the demon, and hearing what sounded like hundreds of birds taking flight.  The Warrens decided it was necessary for a full-scale exorcism to be performed.  Once this was done, the family seemed to be freed of their oppression from the evil entity.

To see an interview with Carmen and learn more about the case watch the following video:
The Haunting of West Point

While attending a scheduled lecture on the paranormal and their findings, the Warrens were met with an unexpected request when they arrived at West Point in 1972.  Upon arrival they were escorted to the office of Major Donald Bolling who briefed them on occurrences happening in the home of West Point’s Superintendent.  After the scheduled lecture and dinner, the Warrens went to the Superintendent’s home.

The Superintendent’s quarters was officially known as the Sylvanus Thayer Mansion.  The Warrens met with the General and his wife who told them nothing macabre or tragic had ever happened in the house’s history.  Nevertheless they were experiencing strange occurrences.  Most notably a bed downstairs would constantly un-make itself and a mischievous pickpocket spirit would take wallets and other belongings from guests, later to be found upstairs in the master bedroom. Although they themselves had not seen any, apparitions had been reported  by staff over the years.

In the kitchen they were shown a cutting board with a wet spot.  The General told them that no matter how many times or how hard they tried to dry the spot, it would reappear wet.  Continuing through the house Lorraine felt a presence in one of the back bedrooms.  She saw John F. Kennedy standing next to her. The General confirmed that this was the room Kennedy used when he visited West Point. 

Lorraine Warren
In one upstairs bedroom Lorraine picked up the spirit of an elderly woman.  She described her as a very wise woman who shared a burden with a man in her life, but the man wasn’t her husband.  They were then told this was the room where Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s mother had stayed while her son was the West Point Superintendent.

The room in which the bunk that un-made itself was stayed locked.  The General unlocked it for the Warrens and they found the bed, of course, unmade.  In a trance state Lorraine was contacted by the spirit a black man who seemed attached to the room.  Through communicating with him she ascertained that he had served as a soldier and had been accused, though later acquitted, of murder.  He told her his name was Greer.  She believed the room was where he was held during the murder investigation and couldn’t cross over because of his guilt and feelings of having lost his honor.   Lorraine says she assisted the man in successfully crossing over.

The Warrens admitted they couldn’t locate the presence responsible for the mischief, although it could be deliberately hiding from them.  The missing wallets and belongings were especially troubling as it was the job of the Superintendent to entertain top military brass in the home.  Apparently they weren’t too disappointed with the answers the Warrens provided.  Just over a week later they received a phone call asking if they could please do something about the ghost of a civil war soldier who was refusing to leave one of the dormitories and they were in need of the space.

The Brookfield Demon Murder Case

This case not only involves the expected paranormal activity and demonic possession, but also an actual murder.  It began in July of 1980.  David Glatzel accompanied his parents to visit friends.  He fell asleep there.  Awakening from his nap, he saw what he described as an old man who appeared charred and had hooves.  He was wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. 

His mother thought it was only a nightmare he’d had, but he saw the man again at their home.  This time David claimed the old man turned into a beast and flew, and was inside the house.  He said the old man muttered, chanting, and said he was coming for his soul.  Later that night David appeared to be beaten by an unseen entity.  This began happening on a regular basis.  The family had a Catholic priest come bless the house but it didn’t have any effect on David. 

12 days after the first incident the family contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren.  David’s mother witnessed unseen hands choke her son.  Lorraine, being a clairvoyant, sensed a black, misty form next to David which she said suggested a malevolent presence.  David’s condition worsened.  He began to growl and hiss, spoke in unknown languages, and recited biblical scriptures and passages from Paradise Lost by John Milton.  Around this time Arne Johnson, the boyfriend of David’s older sister Debbie, came to stay with the family during their troubling time.  The Warrens arranged for three exorcisms to be performed on David.  Arne would assist the clergy in restraining David when he would thrash about with what was described as supernatural strength and even levitate off the bed.

The Glatzel home
During one of these sessions David was asked to name the demon inside him.  He recited 43 names.  Ed later went into the study to attempt to confront what the family had come to call “the Beast.”  Ed says the 43 demons came at him “like a kaleidoscope” and called it the most frightening moment of his life. 

During the final exorcism Arne became so frustrated with sympathy for David he taunted the demons, demanding they enter him and leave the boy alone. It seems they did.  A few days later Arne went out to run some errands and says he was attacked by the demon.  He saw a demon he described as looking exactly like the devil, pointing at a tree.  The car mysteriously went out of control and hit the tree.  Another encounter with the Beast at his own home is when Arne believes he truly became possessed after looking directly into its black eyes.

David’s condition got better, but the activity never completely subsided.  He still asked to sleep with the light on years later.  Meanwhile Debbie and Arne moved back to their place and Debbie was hired by Alan Bono as a dog groomer at his dog kennel.  Arne’s behavior changed and Debbie feared that he too was possessed.  Debbie said Arne would go into a trance and growl, and then later have no memory of it.

The Warrens arranged for a series of exorcisms on Arne, one that involved three priests directly from the Vatican.  When multiple rites proved unsuccessful the priests knew the story would end in tragedy.  The Warrens even contacted the Brookfield police department to warn them that the situation was becoming dangerous.

A scene from the film "The Demon Murder Case"
On Feb. 16, 1981 Arne called in sick to work.  He went to the kennel where Debbie worked.  Bono took the group out to lunch.  Everyone had some wine, Bono more than the others.  When they returned Arne fixed Bono’s stereo.  According to an account given by Debbie Glatzel, Bono then invited them upstairs to his apartment.  The television was turned on and the volume was very loud.  Bono became agitated and began punching his fist into the palm of his hand.  Debbie decided it was time to leave.  Bono grabbed Debbie’s niece Mary, also a kennel employee, by the arm and wouldn’t let go.

Arne demanded Bono release her.  Mary broke free and ran for the car.  The two men stood squared off.  A growling sound came from Arne, there was a flash through the air, and then Arne walked off into the woods.  Bono continued to punch his palm.  Then he fell.  He had suffered several stab wounds on his chest and stomach.  Bono died hours later.  Arne was found two miles from the scene and taken to jail.  It should be mentioned that this was the first murder that ever occurred in the town of Brookfield.

The day after the murder Loraine Warren called the Brookfield police telling them Arne was possessed.  A media frenzy ensued.  Arne Johnson’s trial began on Oct. 28, 1981 in Danbury, Connecticut Superior Court.  His lawyer entered an unprecedented plea of not guilty by reason of demonic possession but the judge quickly ruled that no such defense existed and instead accepted a plea that Johnson had acted in self-defense.  The Warrens and others involved in the case tried to offer testimony on Johnson's behalf but was not allowed to speak in court.  After three days of deliberation the jury returned a guilty verdict and Johnson served 5 years of his 20 year sentence.

A Demonic Werewolf in London

The story of Bill Ramsey first came to the attention of the Warrens when they caught a news story about him on television.  When they watched the segment of the man who had attacked people and claimed to be a werewolf, Ed became interested.  Lorraine, perhaps because of her clairvoyant abilities, felt a desire and need to help this man.

So Ed and Lorraine traveled to London where they met Bill Ramsey and learned his story.  Bill Ramsey told them how his trouble began when he was nine years old. While playing outside Bill felt a strange coldness come over him.  There was a very foul odor.  Bill said he felt a change within himself.  He no longer felt like a child.  There was a coldness inside him that would remain for years.  His parents called him inside. Images of himself as a wolf flashed through his mind.  He tripped on a fence post and fell.  He heard an animalistic growl then realized it was coming from him.  Bill seized the fence post which had been moored deep into the ground, and the nine year old tore it out of the earth.  By the time his father rushed to him he was tearing the metal fencing attached to the post apart with his bare hands.  Bill knew something had happened that couldn’t be undone.

Bill Ramsey grew to be a man and married.  He worked as a carpenter and started raising a family, and then the incidents began again.  One evening while driving home he suddenly felt a searing pain in his chest.  His breathing became irregular and a cold sweat covered his body.  The pain in his chest got worse and Ramsey headed for nearby Southend Hospital.  He made it into the emergency room, praying this wasn’t one of his wolf episodes.  A nurse on duty saw him arrive and rushed to his side.  Another, seeing the poor condition he was in, followed with a gurney.  They swiftly moved Ramsey into one of the emergency room examination stalls.  Ramsey felt a rumbling, like gas at first, start in his stomach.  The rumbling traveled up his chest and an awful roar erupted from his mouth.  Bill felt his hands curl into claws.

Ramsey said before he knew what he was doing he grabbed one of the nurse’s arms and sank teeth his into her. It just so happened that a rookie police officer was making his usual rounds and entered the hospital to hear the roaring coming from the exam room.   When the cop arrived Bill was crouched in a corner of the room with a wild look in his eyes and growling like a wild animal.  As the officer came near him he picked up a chair and threw it across the room.  With the help of an intern who also came running, they subdued Ramsey and a powerful sedative was administered to him. 

The next thing Bill knew he woke up in an ambulance, heavily restrained to a gurney.  He had no idea where he was or what had happened.  He was on his way to a mental hospital.  The incident earned him a short stay there.

Bill’s case gained wide attention when he drove himself to the Southend Police Station on July 22, 1987 and asked officers to lock him up because he was a danger to himself and others.  During the conversation with the police officer Bill became enraged a hurled the police officer, who was much larger than Ramsey, across the parking lot.  It took six other police officers to restrain Ramsey and get him into a cell inside.

John Zaffis, Lorraine, Bill Ramsey, and Ed in Connecticut
From there Bill’s wolf-like behavior continued.  He growled and was somehow able to wedge his head and arm through a small hatch in the door.  He snarled and snapped at anyone who came near.  Another sedative was administered and members of the local fire department were able to free him from the hatch. 

Ed and Lorraine Warren surmised that Ramsey was possessed by a “werewolf demon” and insisted he needed an exorcism immediately.  Ramsey traveled back to Connecticut with the Warrens.  They took him to Bishop Robert McKenna at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Monroe.  In attendance were Ramsey, the Warrens, McKenna, and four off-duty police officers who had agreed to assist should McKenna become out of control during the rite.  Bill says he didn’t expect any results from the exorcism but McKenna said he recognized the demon in Ramsey immediately and knew the exorcism would be successful.

Half an hour into the rite McKenna touched a cross to Ramsey’s head.  Ramsey began to thrash about.  His lips pulled back from his teeth and his hands formed into claws.  The urge to attack the bishop overtook him.  As he lunged for McKenna two of the off-duty cops grabbed him.  Ramsey continued to snarl and growl.  As the bishop spoke in Latin Bill felt something happening inside him.  He suddenly felt weak.  The coldness in his body subsided.  Bill felt the wolf leaving his body as he lost consciousness.  Ramsey finally found peace and has since been free of any further possession.

Those are the headlines not from the USA Today, or CNBC, but conspiracists will definitely consider it, if not adhere to it. I’ve mentioned before how lately with the Medicine Show one blog has mysteriously led to another, and this is another of those cases.  The evening after I posted on the top conspiracy theories of 2012, which included David Petraeus’ extramarital affair as a maneuver to get out of giving congressional testimony, I walked through the door from work to see Hillary Clinton on the news.  According to the story just days before she was to give her testimony as acting Secretary of State when the attacks on the Benghazi consulate occurred, she fell critically ill with a blood clot in her brain.

If you’ve read any of the other medicine show articles, you’ll see that we try to be as bipartisan as we can and offer a fair, skewed from both sides, point of view.   We trust no one.  While not quite convincing myself, my first thought was of how conspiracists could be convinced that this latest development was a part of the Benghazi cover-up.  They would see it as a backup plan.  The Big Government machine had tried distraction tactics with an affair involving the head of the CIA, but Petraeus had been made to give his testimony despite his resignation.  Now here we have a woman, who’s popularity rating while serving as First Lady was once of the highest in recent history, and people tend to be more sympathetic toward women.  And Clinton wasn’t out sleeping around as her husband Bill or Director Petraeus had done.  She had a serious medical issue.  Would that garner enough sympathy to excuse her?  To conspiracists, this could spell cover-up more plainly than what had been one of the biggest conspiracies of the year with Petraeus. It is evolving.

If master strategist Petraeus could plan announcing an affair a year in advance, the Clinton conspiracy’s groundwork could’ve been laid when she took a fall and her staff attributed it to dehydration due to the flu.  She suffered a concussion from her fall and testing revealed a blood clot in her brain…at least that’s what the government is telling us, and the government wouldn’t lie would they?

Is it possible that Clinton’s health scare was a tactic to at least stall the congressional hearing into the “sloppy work” with the Benghazi attacks?  As you’ll recall from a previous blog and news coverage for the last three months, four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens were killed in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and Secretary of State Clinton caught her share of the heat over the controversy. 

Whether the outrage of an anti-Muslim video that got its 15 minutes was the catalyst for the attacks or if they stemmed from an all together different matter, the Obama administration was quick to become the target for the tragedy.  Opponents said better handling of intelligence could have prevented the loss of four American lives. 

Former Presidential candidate and senior United States senator from Massachusetts John Kerry is poised to take Clinton’s seat as Secretary of State.  From the view at Lost Creek, we don’t necessarily think Hillary’s health scare was part of an Obama administration cover up of, what, an alien base or the President’s illegitimate child? But as the forensic tech that died after blogger Andrew Breitbart was pulled into that conspiracy, we’re sure it won’t be long until Hillary’s aneurysm will be drawn into the Benghazi conspiracy.

For the record Hillary’s actual diagnosis is cerebral venous thrombosis, a rare and serious condition but one from which Clinton is expected to recover from.  Had she not been the Secretary of State instead of your average Joe worrying about healthcare struggles, the rigorous tests preformed on Clinton wouldn’t have been done and her condition would likely have progressed to cause a stroke or actual hemorrhage.

"They have no idea about my Illuminati confirmation at Bohemian Grove!"
Besides all the apocalyptic hype over the Mayan doomsday prophecy this past year has seen it's share of additions to paranormal-related history.  The conspiracy world  has had no shortage of fodder to fuel their paranoid fires this year.  Some of their claims have us looking over our shoulders.  Others make us happy knowing that conspiracy for entertainment purposes is continuing to grow and evolve.  Here’s a few of this year’s best conspiracies from a Lost Creek point of view.

Whitney Houston Illuminati Sacrifice for Blue Ivy Carter

The first conspiracy is by far my favorite.  It shows how the pop culture machine, mass media, and paranoids the world over all combine to produce us some quality entertainment.  As I mentioned in the Smurl article, whether ghost stories or conspiracy theories are true or not they reflect the views and concerns of society at large and provide some seriously interesting entertainment.  The perfect storm of conspiracy came when Whitney Houston died, shortly after the birth of Blue Ivy Carter to parents Beyonce and Jay-Z.

On Jan. 7 we welcomed Blue Ivy Carter into the world to parents Beyonce and Jay-Z.  Conspiracy forums and videos abounded with claims of both of Blue Ivy's parents' allegiance to the Illuminati- a secret order that controls the world.  Many of them are reaching way too far, like when Beyonce’s latest video is freeze-framed and dissected to point out possible Illuminati symbolism.  With so many of the devoted working to prove the music duo were part of the secret order it was no wonder that within hours of the baby’s birth the internet was abuzz with theories on Blue Ivy.

Beyonce with Blue Ivy
The theories were popularized on Twitter with users making "Illuminati’s Very Youngest" one of its trending topics.  The leading retweet stated that Blue Ivy was an anagram for Eulb Yvi, the supposed name of one of the daughters of Satan.  The name was also said to be an anagram for “Born Living Under Evil” and “Illuminati’s Very Youngest.”  Conspiracy forums filled with theories using numerology.  4 was said to be a powerful number representing the Illuminati.  Ivy was likened to the Roman numeral IV, or 4.  Pointed out was that 4 seemed to be a very significant number for Blue Ivy’s parents.  Beyonce’s 2011 album was titled “4,” her birthday was on the 4th of the month, Jay-Z’s birthday is the 4th of the month, and their anniversary is on the 4th of the month.

Jay-Z throwing up an Illuminati sign?
Skeptics tried to reason that if they existed the Illuminati were an uber-secretive group whose members were the elitist of the elite.  They wouldn’t think of inducting a newborn into their ranks.  However, if her parents are in fact Illuminatus as has been speculated, couldn’t it be possible that Blue Ivy was planned and her position within the order was secured by birthright?  The conspiracists were quick enough to claim once that Barak Obama had been the result of an Illuminati-planed birth.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston died on February 11.  Early rumors spread that she had been killed by drug dealers to whom she owed a large amount of money.  The facts were that she was found in the bathtub of the Beverly Hilton hotel room she was staying.  The cause of death was ruled accidental drowning with heart disease and chronic cocaine abuse as contributing factors. A large amount, even for Whitney, of cocaine was found in her toxicology report, along with marijuana and several prescription drugs.

Conspiracy theories went a step further by including Whitney Houston’s death as a sacrifice in a fertility ritual by the Illuminati so they could bring forth Blue Ivy who would either take over the world or have a notable music career.  "For a queen to grow, another queen has to fall,” touted the headlines of these articles.

In detailed conspiracies it was noted that location is very important to the rituals of secret orders.  Hollywood lies at 35 degrees north.  When such a sacrifice is made, it has to be within 3 degrees north or south of a 33rd degree coordinate, which relates to the 33 degree’s of Freemasonry. Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson and JFK are all said to have been targets who were sacrificed within 3 degrees of a 33rd degree north point.

David Petraeus Planned Affair to Cover Up Benghazi Attacks

Gen. David Petraeus
The conspiracy theory that uncovering of the head of the CIA’s extramarital affair was of his own orchestration to avoid giving congressional testimony on the attacks at Benghazi made it all the way to the pages of the New Yorker and on respected news channels such as CNN. 

Petraeus was said to be a master strategist, several chess moves ahead of events.  On Sept. 11 an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulted in the deaths of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  The Obama administration was blamed, and in turn said that sloppy work had caused the tragedy. Days before he was scheduled to give testimony at a congressional hearing on the Benghazi attacks Petraeus went public with an affair he had had with his biographer and the president accepted his resignation.  The affair had been with Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate who accompanied Petraeus to the Middle East while writing the book.

Petraeus with Broadwell
The affair came to light when the FBI performed an audit searching for a leak in an unrelated matter.  Emails between Petraeus and Broadwell were found.  It was also discovered that Broadwell had access to Petraeus' email account, which undoubtedly contained top secret information.

If going to the media with the affair to get out of testifying was his intention, it worked.  Conspiracy theorists already after the Obama administration over the Benghazi attack claim that Petraeus’ testimony would have answered many questions and he had been a patsy, taking the fall for the cover up.  White House officials have been busy with other conspiracies this year as well, such as fudging employment numbers just before the election to make the economy appear more favorable and secure a reelection.  Wonder if they’ve put on their administrative parachutes to jump off the fiscal cliff yet?

Andrew Breitbart was Murdered by Obama

Andrew Breitbart
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart died unexpectedly on March 1 in L.A. He collapsed while walking near his home late that night and was pronounced dead at the hospital.  His lawyer immediately released a statement citing the cause of death as being a cardiac event.  Conspiracists jumped on this, as no autopsy had yet been performed. 

Breitbart was widely read and gained notoriety for his coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal in 2011.  He had created several websites and had a large conservative following.  Weeks before his death Breitbart appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. and announced he had damning video evidence of Pres. Barak Obama.  "We are going to vet Obama from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008." He planned to release the video in early March.

From what was released after his death it seems that the damning evidence Breitbart referred to was from Harvard and showed a young Barry Obama hugging controversial Professor Derrick Bell at a Harvard protest.  Bell was the first tenured African-American Professor of at Harvard Law School and is largely credited as one of the originators of critical race theory.  CRT is a whole other subject, but to see why it’s so controversial, jump here.

Obama hugging Derrick Bell. Was Breitbart killed for having this?
That’s what they tell us he was talking about anyway….

Another twist in this story came when LA County forensic technician Michael Cormier died on April 20.  He had been complaining of stomach pains and throwing up.  He was taken to the hospital and died. It was suspected that Cormier had been poisoned with arsenic.  Officials were quick to say that they weren’t sure if it had been intentional or if he could have accidentally ingested the poison. The same day the coroner’s office released Breitbart’s autopsy findings, ruling heart failure from natural causes as being responsible for his death.  It was later stated that Cormier had never worked on the Breitbart case.

Sometimes my research projects seek me out.  This is one of those instances.  A trail of butterfly effects led me to the fascinating story of the Smurl Haunting.  I first heard the name when reading a book that was a Christmas gift.  Curiosity led to serendipity, which led to West Pittston, PN during the 1970s and early 80s.  Jack and Janet Smurl were flooded out of their home in Wilkes-Barr after Hurricane Agnes in 1972.  They moved into a duplex owned by Jack’s parents who lived in the other side of the house.  They began experiencing paranormal phenomena and their story became more bizarre than the Amityville Horror which had become popular in the early 70s and involved some of the same players.

When I read about these cases I try to keep a level of skepticism.  Like I said, I wasn’t there and even if I were I can’t be sure that I wouldn’t still be wondering. The country had dug the Amityville Horror.  A few years had passed since then and an opportunity was there for the next big ghost story.  Something with that “based on actual events” tagline would be especially popular.  Enter "The Haunted," a book and subsequent film about the Smurl family’s ordeal following the media coverage of their situation.  Other than a few neighbors claiming two women had lived in the house and had practiced Satanism, the Smurl case lacked the sensational background story, but more than made up for it with it’s more bizarre claims and paranormal activity in higher frequency and intensity. I wasn’t there so I have no idea if their claims are true or not.  For my purpose that is beside the point.  It’s a really good story whether it actually happened or they made it all up.  If they did, they deserve the money they made off books and movies.  We make authors and screenwriters rich don’t we? I’m going to tell their story as if it really happened only because it’s easier and more entertaining to not insert “supposedly” and “alleged” into every sentence.

The Smurl family
The Smurl’s ordeal began with a stain on their new carpet a year and a half after they moved in.  Despite several attempts, the stain couldn’t be removed.  Following that, an array of paranormal activity began, including but not limited to: toilets flushing on their own, footsteps heard, scratches appearing on a newly installed bathtub, drawers opening and closing on their own, radios that were unplugged suddenly blaring, rocking chairs creaking and rocking as if someone were sitting in them and Jack feeling the caress of an unseen hand.  These occurrences plagued the family for what seemed like an eternity.  One of their daughters told them about waking up and seeing many people floating around her room.  Neighbors even noticed strange things, like hearing screams and scratching noises and later learning no one was home at the time. 

The Smurl House
The activity eventually moved to Jack’s parents’ side of the house too.  They would feel icy cold spots and hear Jack and Janet arguing loudly, to discover they hadn’t been home at the time.  One day in 1985 Janet was doing laundry in the basement and heard her name called.  She went to see who her unexpected caller was, but she was alone in the house.  Two days later in the kitchen she saw a black shadow figure with no facial features appear and go through the wall, appearing to Jack’s mom, Mary, on the other side.  It seemed that after the apparition was seen, activity intensified.

The night of their daughter Heather’s catholic confirmation a heavy chandelier mysteriously fell, just missing their daughter Shannon.  One night while making love the Smurl’s reported Janet being pulled off the bed while clutching onto the sheets, and Jack laying paralyzed and overtaken by a vile odor.  The Smurl’s german shepherd, Simon, wasn’t spared form the oppression, being picked up and thrown several times.

Loraine and Ed Warren
In 1985 Janet Smurl had heard about Ed and Loraine Warren who had been involved in the Amityville investigation and other high profile paranormal cases.  In desperation she contacted them.  The Warrens came to the Smurl’s home, accompanied by Rosemary Frueh who was a registered nurse and psychic.  After collecting background information the Warrens concluded the culprit for the violent activity was a demon.  They posited that it had lain dormant for years and when the family moved in with two girls hitting puberty, it was fueled back to life.  Rosemary agreed that there were up to four spirits in the house, but one was a major demon. 

The Warrens’ first tactic was to try and provoke the demon.  They played religious music which resulted in a mirror violently shaking and a voice growling.  Ed invoked the name of Jesus Christ and was hit by a noxious smell and fell ill for days.  He saw a black wispy smoke appear and spell out, “You filthy bastard, get out of this house.”  For the time being the Warrens had Rev. Robert McKenna perform two exorcisms and the sprinkling of holy water and prayer seemed to abate the demon.  But it was only to be for a short while.

Loraine Warren at work on the Smurl case
The occurrences returned and their intensity was magnified.  In the book The Haunted Jack tells how he was raped by a succubus who appeared as a woman with a young body but the head of an old woman with red eyes and green gums.  Janet was also sexually assaulted by a shadow figure.  Pig noises were heard throughout the house.  Demonologists insist pig noises are often associated with demonic activity, probably relating to the story in the book of Matthew wherein Jesus casts demons into a herd of swine and drown them. 

Medium Mary Alice Rinkman came to the house.  Her reading corroborated that of Frueh, saying she felt there were 4 spirits in the house; a woman named Abigail, a man named Patrick who had killed his wife and her lover and then been hanged by a mob, another earthbound spirit, and a powerful demon. 

The intensity of the activity continued to increase.  The demon followed Jack to work and followed the family on a camping trip.  After being turned down by the Catholic Church for a sanctioned exorcism they sought media attention in hopes of finding help.  They went on a local talk show and told their story, although their faces weren’t shown.  It seemed the demon didn’t like this.  Immediately upon returning home Janet was picked up and thrown into the wall.  Later that night Jack says saw a figure that resembled a pig standing up on two legs and was raped again.  Now I’ve been subjective in telling this story up to this point.  However, I must pause here.  Would the small possibility of making some money off the story entice a man to claim he had been repeatedly raped by a ghost?  Or was the activity in this house THAT severe.  Are these claims so outrageous that one couldn’t make them up?  As I said before, since I wasn’t there I will never know.  Now on with the tale.

The shadow figure appeared to Jack, beckoning him to join it.  Ed Warren feared the family had been in the second stage of possession, oppression, and the figure was trying to lure Jack into the third stage, actual possession.  The final stage is death.

The media attention seemed to help and eventually the Catholic Church sanctioned the participation of clergy.  Father McKenna returned and performed a third exorcism.    The activity would die down then pick back up.  Frustrated, the family moved to another town.  After they left a fourth exorcism was performed and no further activity has been reported by subsequent owners.  A film version of The Haunted was released in 1991.

While the scientific world is hesitant and often scoffs at claims of the paranormal, the entertainment industry loves them.  “The Conjuring,” a film about Ed and Loraine Warren comes out this July.  For any readers who are Walking Dead fans, the film version of the Smurl story stars, Jeffrey DeMunn as Jack Smurl.  DeMunn was also Dale Horvath for two seasons on A&E’s The Walking Dead.  Janet Smurl is played by Sally Kirkland who appeared on television as Dr. House's mom and as Senator Ruth Martin in The Silence of the Lambs.

DeMunn and Kirkland in 1991's "The Haunted"
The best evidence a paranormal investigator can hope for is capturing a full bodied apparition.  This is a rare occurrence during an actual investigation.  Some of the best photos of ghosts ever captured were done by accident.  With the average five year old today being able to photoshop a picture that can fool experts, let’s take a look at some of the best ghost photos history has to offer us.

The Brown Lady

In 1936 Hubert C. Provand was a photographer working for Country Life magazine.  He and his assistant traveled to Norfolk, England to take photos of Raynham Hall for an upcoming issue when he inadvertently captured this shot:

The apparition is believed to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of the first Prime Minister.  She was the second wife of Charles Townshend.  When Charles discovered she had been having an affair he locked her in her room where she remained until she died of smallpox.

Freddy Jackson

This pic shows a squadron of the Royal Air Force. Upon closer examination an extra face was discovered partially hidden behind the fourth man from the left in the top row.  The face bore an uncanny resemblance to Freddy Jackson, a squadron member who had died two days before the photo was taken.  He had been killed in a freak accident by an airplane propeller and his funeral was being held that day.  Perhaps unaware that he was dead, he decided to show up for the scheduled photograph.

Bachelor’s Grove

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetary in Illinois is considered by many to be one of the most haunted sites in the country.  Mari Huff, a member of the Ghost Research Society, snapped this photo in 1991.  According to Mari and others present there was no woman visible at the time the picture was taken. 

The Backseat Ghost

In 1959 Mabel Chinnery spent a day at the cemetery visiting the graves of her relatives.  To finish off a roll of film she snapped a picture of her husband who was waiting in the car.  When she had the film developed it appeared her husband hadn’t been waiting alone.  Mabel said the apparition in the backseat looked just like her deceased mother.

Tulip Staircase Ghost

Retired clergyman Rev. Ralph Hardy visited the National Museum in Greenwich, England in 1966.  In the Queen’s House section of the museum he snapped a shot of the Tulip Staircase.  Prior to the picture being taken footsteps, doors slamming, and disembodied children’s voices chanting could be heard.  Allegedly 300 years ago a maid was thrown from the top of the stairs, falling 50 feet to her death.

Moundsville Shadow Man

On May 7, 2004 Polly Gear was with a group of paranormal investigators at the abandoned West Virginia State Penitentiary
in Moundsville.  While walking down a hallway toward the cafeteria she heard a noise.  She turned on her flashlight and saw the form of a shadow person at the end of the hall.  The beam of the flashlight went through the apparition, which noticed the light and dashed through a nearby door.  Hoping to capture a photo of what she had seen Polly started walking backward and readied her camera.  As soon as the flash was ready she snapped this shot.

Polly goes on to describe being about 10 feet away when she first saw the shadow person.  It was very tall, and the black form appeared to be moving like static on a television, only black.  It seemed to be intelligent, recognizing the light on it and Polly’s presence.  After taking the photo she went to make sure that no one was in the area.  Experts who have analyzed the photo say there is no way it could be Polly’s own shadow casting against the end of the hall. 

Toys ‘R’ Us Ghost

The toy store chain is notorious for its locations being haunted.  Such seems to be the case with the Sunnyvale, CA Toys ‘R’ Us.  This photo was taken during the filming of a television show called “That’s Incredible.” 

No one was standing where the figure is on the left
Several psychics, including Sylvia Brown, have visited the store and ascertained that the spirit's name is John.  The story goes that John was a preacher and ranch hand in the 1880s on the property where the store now sits.  Most believe he bled to death in an accident while chopping wood.  Store employees tell of John following people into the ladies’ room and turning the water faucets on, throwing dolls off the shelf, and whispering worker’s names in their ears. 

Grandpa’s Ghost

Denise Russell took this picture of her grandmother in 1997.  They had just moved her grandmother into an assisted living facility for the elderly.  One weekend the resident’s families were invited for a picnic.  Denise attended and took this picture.  No one noticed anything for three years.  On Christmas Day, 2000 Denise and her sister were looking through family photos at their parents’ home.  Their grandmother had since passed away, and while looking at the picture they noticed the man who appeared to be standing behind her.  They believe the man in the picture is their grandfather, who had passed away in 1984.

Ghost Baby

Mrs. Andrews was visiting the grave of her daughter, who had died at 17, in Queensland, Australia and took this picture.  At the time she didn’t notice anything unusual.  When she developed the film she was shocked to see the infant looking directly into the camera. 

There were no children in the cemetery that day.  Some thought the photo could be the result of a double exposure but Mrs. Andrews stated that she didn’t know anyone with a baby and hadn’t taken any pictures like that. She also said it didn’t look like her daughter had at that age.  When a paranormal researcher later visited the site he found the graves of two infant girls near that of Mrs. Andrews’ daughter’s.

Amityville Boy

As you can read about in the previous blog, the house at 112 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, New York has quite a history.  When Ed and Loraine Warren were investigating the house, photographer Gene Campbell took a series of infrared time-lapse photographs.  The camera was set up on the second floor and took photos at regular intervals throughout the night. 

No children were at the house at the time.  The boy in the picture has been described as demonic, with glowing eyes.  When George Lutz asked his children if they knew who the boy was one of his daughters said it was the little boy she used to play with.

San Antonio Railroad Crossing

Legend has it that this railroad crossing in south San Antonio was the site of an accident that involved a school bus and several children were killed.  Although the road goes uphill, the story goes that if you park on the tracks the ghosts of the children will sometimes push the car uphill, leaving tiny hand prints on the back of it.  This picture was taken by the daughter of Andy and Debi Chesney and shows a mysterious transparent figure.

Yorkshire Moors Apparition

Colin Foster, 34, took a backpacking trip through England and took along his new digital camera.  At the Yorkshire Moors he snapped this photo.  He didn’t notice it until he returned home and reviewed his pictures with his girlfriend.  She saw it and had him zoom in (shown below) on the transparent figure.  Foster recalled having a feeling of being watched when he took the picture, but just chalked it up to the remoteness of the location.

Here’s a few more modern ‘ghost photos’ that are circulating on the internet.  Couldn’t find a background story to them, but they were interesting enough to deserve inclusion here:

My dad always told me to never let the truth stand in the way of telling a good story.  Apparently Hollywood has the same storytelling philosophy that my dad does.  Every couple years a new horror movie is released with the “based on true events” tagline.  These days few moviegoers actually fall for it, but there’s still some who will swear on their family Bible that the events depicted in the film really happened.  Let’s not forget how many people fell for the Blair Witch Project in 1999. Even though the film's stars accepted an MTV movie award live on stage, many still believed they were missing somewhere in the Maryland.

Every good paranormal enthusiast has seen the 1979 horror flick “The Amityville Horror,” or the uncalled for
2005 Ryan Reynolds remake.  Based on a book by Jay Anson, the films tell the story of the Lutz family who moved into a demonic hell house. 

In reality, there was an actual Amityville Horror, but it had nothing to do with bleeding walls or swarms of flies.  Prior to the Lutz’s, the house was owned by the DeFeo family. Ronald Defeo, Jr., known as “Butch,” was reported to be a heavy drug user who had financial problems as a result.  He had a turbulent relationship with his father, who he often argued with over money.  On Nov. 13, 1974 Butch ran into a local bar yelling that his parents had been shot.  A carload of bar patrons and friends went with him and entering the house they found the bodies of his parents in their bed, as well as the bodies of his two sisters and two brothers.  They called 911.

Butch was taken to the police station for his own protection after suggesting to the cops the crime was the result of a mob hit.  However, inconsistencies soon began appearing in his story, and the following day he confessed to the murders, saying “Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.  It went so fast.”

Butch Defeo
In court Butch testified that he was possessed by Satan.  His lawyer tried for an insanity plea, but the jury didn’t buy it.  He was sentenced to six consecutive 25 year sentences.  DeFeo is serving his sentence at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, New York.

The story of Amityville murders is filled with holes and numerous conspiracy theories have been attached to it.  Probably related mostly to Butch’s ever changing story, no one will probably ever know exactly what happened that night.  Butch once said his sister Dawn had come up with the idea of killing their parents, and went on to kill the other children to eliminate witnesses on her own.  Upon discovering what she had done, Butch killed her in a rage.  Others point out that there likely had to be at least one accomplice because there was no silencer used on the gun and the shots would have woken others in the house, but everyone was found in their own bed.

Enter George and Kathy Lutz.  They bought the house the following year, and stayed for only a month, which they referred to as “a 28 days hellish siege.”  Anson’s book details their account of staying in the house which included green slime oozing from the ceiling, insect swarms of biblical proportions, doors ripped from their hinges, cabinets banged open and shut, and a demonic face with red eyes that would peer in at night and left cloven hoof prints in the snow.  A priest called in left with blisters on his hands after a demonic voice told him to “Get Out!”

'ghost boy' photo taken while the Warrens were investigating
One day Kathy Lutz decided to move around some shelves in the basement, and claims she found a door that led to a red room that was not part of the house’s blueprints. Several psychics were called in, including groundbreaking ghost/demon hunters Ed and Loraine Warren. Some believed the red room was an actual portal to hell.  All agreed that there was a demonic entity in the house and a proper exorcism was needed.   

A long list of factual errors and inconsistencies rivaling those of Butch DeFeo make the case that Anson and the Lutz’s were just trying (and succeeding) in cashing in on the story of the home’s previous owners.  For example, weather records show no snowfall for the time when hoof prints were supposed to be found outside.  It is possible exact dates and other details could have gotten blurred in the terror, but the principle of Occam’s Razor would have it that they were simply trying to make a buck off the tragedy. 

112 Ocean Ave Amityville, New York
Butch DeFeo’s lawyer has since stated that the story of possession was created over several bottles of wine in hopes of getting his client a new trial.  George Lutz still claims that all the events actually happened, although there is no evidence to back this up. 

The Amityville house has become a macabre pilgrimage for horror fans and paranormal enthusiasts.  Unfortunate for all owners since the Lutz’s, gawkers continue to show up, snapping photos and hoping to capture something that will make them a part of the story that is an admitted fake.

For crime scene photos of the DeFeo murders and a more detailed analysis, follow this link.  *probably not for the kiddies*

The Real Exorcism of Emily Rose

The Americanized Exorcism of Emily Rose was actually based on the case of a young German woman named Anneliese Michel.  Michel was born Sept. 21, 1952 in Leibfing, Germany to a devout Catholic family.  At age 16 Anneliese had a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.  She began having trouble speaking and walking, having to hold on to nearby object for balance.  Soon after she began hallucinating while she prayed.  Doctors prescribed her anticonvulsants. 

Anneliese Michel
Anneliese went on a trip to Italy with a friend.  While there she refused to drink holy water or walk past religious iconography.  Her family became convinced that her condition was not a medical one, but a spiritual one.  They appealed to the church to perform an exorcism, but were told that permission would have to be granted by a bishop and to continue with medical treatment.

By 1973 Anneliese was suffering from regular auditory hallucinations, hearing voices telling her that she was “damned” and would “rot in hell.” She was sent to a psychiatric hospital and received treatment which she didn’t think was helping her.  She fell into a deep depression.

In September of 1975 the local bishop granted Rev. Arnold Renz permission to begin an exorcism on Anneliese.  Once spiritual treatment began, Anneliese and her family stopped all medical treatment.  She went through 67 sessions with priests over the next two years.  Although her condition only worsened, the family insisted they be continued.  She refused to eat or drink.  She would, however, eat insects and growled at religious symbols.  Once she sat under the dining room table barking for two days.

The following video contains actual audio taken from the exorcism sessions:

Anneliese herself proclaimed that Judas, Nero, Hitler, Cain, Lucifer and others were possessing her body.  Finally on July 1, 1976 Anneliese died.  The autopsy ruled dehydration and malnutrition as the cause of death.  She weighed only 68 pounds.  She was 23 years old.

Anneliese during her exorcism
But the story was far from over.  The state prosecutor opened an investigation and concluded that her death could have been prevented up to a week before she died if medical treatment had not been withheld.  Her parents were charged with negligent homicide.  The priests who had attended to her were found guilty of manslaughter and received suspended sentences of six months and three years probation.

It has been speculated that the only thing that possessed Anneliese were mental disorders, ranging from depression to dissociative personality disorder and schizophrenia.  These problems, combined with her religious upbringing could account for her problems, but there’s no way of every finding the truth.

The Exorcist

In 1971 William Peter Blatty wrote a book called the Exorcist. In 1973 a movie of the same name was released starring Linda Blair as a child possessed by demons.  Both the book and the film claimed to have been based on a true story.  But it wasn’t a little girl who had become possessed.  The story was taken from the diary of a priest who had performed an exorcism on a 13 year old boy, who was referred to as “Robbie Doe.”

According to the diary in Cottage City, Maryland in 1949 Robbie’s family began to notice strange things happening with their son.  Initially scratching noises were heard that seemed to be coming from inside the walls of the house.  Phantom footsteps were heard in the hallway and objects would move without any explanation.  Later furniture would move across the floor and the boy’s bed would shake violently when he was in it.  Claw-like scratches appeared on his body.

The possessed Regan in "The Exorcist"
Robbie’s Aunt Tillie was an important player in his story.  Although she had passed away by the time the episodes began, the two had played with a Ouija board and Tillie was said to have been well versed in the occult and adhered to the Spiritualism movement.  The family consulted a Catholic priest who suggested sprinkling holy water throughout the house.  The boy’s mother claimed the bottles of holy water would fly off the shelf and candles would extinguish themselves.  Robbie had to be taken out of school because his desk would move around on its own.

The family petitioned the church and the archdiocese granted permission for an exorcism to be performed.  Robbie was taken to Georgetown Hospital where priests witnessed him speaking in dead languages. During one session the boy ripped a bedspring from his mattress and slashed a priest from his shoulder to his wrist. Witnesses claim the priest’s hair turned white over night.

Eventually Robbie was taken to St. Louis to live with his aunt and uncle.  Here Jesuit priests led by Father William Bowdern resumed his exorcism.  During the rite, the boy would violently spit and urinated on the priests.  Once he punched a priest in the groin and growled “That’s a nutcracker for you isn’t it.”

The climax of the possession came when Robbie claimed to have a vision of St. Michael holding a flaming sword and exclaimed, “I am St. Michael! I command you, Satan, and the other evil spirits to leave this body, in the name of Dominus, immediately! Now!”  That seemed to do the trick and the strange occurences abruptly stopped.  The boy eventually returned to Maryland where he lived in anonymity.  The local fire department burned down the house where the phenomena began as part of a training exercise.

Some believe there was no possession to speak of and that the boy had been the victim of poltergeist activity.  Poltergeists usually attach themselves to teenagers, commonly those who are troubled.  Robbie’s family is said to have been dysfunctional.  Some assert that the occurrences could be explained by psychokenesis, wherein people can unknowingly manifest psychic energy that causes physical objects to move seemingly of their own accord in their presence.

Ed Gein – Inspiration for Horror

Real life killer Ed Gein, the “Butcher of Plainfield” has been the inspiration for at least three classic horror movies.  Norman Bates in the Hitchcock classic “Psycho,” Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and Buffalo Bill in “The Silence of the Lambs” were all based on Gein.

Ed Gein was born in Wisconsin in 1906.  His father was an alcoholic who worked as a carpenter and his mother, Augusta, was a very religious woman who dominated the family and ran a grocery store in La Crosse.  Augusta instilled in her boys the sinfulness of sex. 

Ed Gein
In 1940 Gein’s father died.  Then in 1944 his brother Henry died suspiciously.  He and Ed had been fighting a brush fire on their property.  Henry was found dead in an unburned area and had bruising on his head.  The official cause of death was ruled as smoke inhalation.  That left Ed alone with his mother.  Just a year after Augusta died of a stroke, following an argument with a neighbor.  Alone on the family farm now, Ed went of the rails. 

He became obsessively fascinated with the human anatomy and took up grave-robbing.  He would search local obituaries for recently buried female corpses, and dig them up, taking body parts as trophies.  Gein started making macabre decorations with his trophies. He soon grew frustrated with the corpses and decided he needed fresher bodies to work with.

In 1954 a 51 year old woman named Mary Hogan, who vaguely resembled Augusta Gein, disappeared from the bar she ran in a neighboring town.  Gein was among the suspects but there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to the disappearance.  In November of 1957 another woman resembling Ed’s mother, Bernice Worden, went missing from the hardware store she ran in Plainfield.  This time Ed could be connected.  Locals told police Ed had told them he intended on asking Bernice on a date.  On the day she went missing he had told people he needed to go to the hardware store to buy antifreeze.  At the hardware store crime scene police found a receipt for antifreeze. 

When police arrived at the Gein house they were met with a house of horrors.  Deputy Frank Worden, Bernice’s son, found her body hanging from the rafters, her head cut off, her genitalia removed, and her torso slit open and gutted.  Several more bodies were found in this fashion.  Besides the bodies, Gein’s decorations horrified the officers and made him famous.  As they searched the home they found Ed’s handiwork, which included bowls made of human skulls, lampshades, an armchair, and a wastebasket made from human skin, shoeboxes containing female genitalia, a belt made of nipples, a human head, four noses, a heart in a saucepan on the stove, and an entire bodysuit made of human skin.

Gein immediately confessed to the murders of Worden and Hogan as well as his grave-robbing activities.  A judge found him mentally incompetent to stand trial and he was committed to a secure mental hospital.  The house was demolished to keep curiosity seekers from coming to gawk.  Gein died of respiratory failure at Mendota Mental Health Institute on July 26, 1984, at age 77.

Mask made by Ed Gein
Head found in a box