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The footage is shaky as the camera pans to and fro moving from room to room – each in a state of disarray, left in haste - before descending into the basement.
The cellar is lit by naked bulbs. With bare walls and concrete floor it looks cold even on film and is all but abandoned, except for a small table covered in a cloth.
An open Bible and burned out vestige candle sit on it. Salt is scattered on the concrete floor – a desperate ritualistic attempt to rid this place of evil.
Portal to Hell: Rose Campbell, Latoya's mother, gives police a tour of the basement that was said to be the base of the demons that possessed the family
Be gone! The family, under instruction of a priest and clairvoyants, set up an altar in the basement and surrounded it in salt in a bid to banish the evil spirits
Evil: Rose Simmons claimed 'something down there was choking me to death, I don’t know what it is' because she went into the basement praying
Seen here for the first time, this is video footage from the Gary, Indiana police investigation into a case that is, without question, the most bizarre and disturbing in their history: the possession and exorcism of Latoya Ammons.
Throughout the hour-long film officers hear testimony of children picked up and flung against walls and furniture; of adults being ‘choked to death’ by some supernatural force; of a demonic form appearing in different shapes – the shadow of a man, a black looming monster; an apparition of a withered old lady with red eyes and hood; of a house that bled clear, odorless oil and of the household’s three children convulsing and chanting Satanic verses.
In a chilling aside, in a separate audio recording made by one of the officers as he took pictures while his colleague filmed – audible here exclusively at MailOnline – the two officers’ speech is cut across by a whispered, but clear, ‘Hey.’ Neither said or heard it at the time.
Both are now convinced it is a demonic rasp, issuing a welcome or a challenge as they stood unwittingly on the lip of a ‘portal to hell.’
At one point, Latoya Ammons’s mother, Rose Campbell, who acted as ‘paranormal tour guide’ to the officers drawn from Gary, Lake County and Hammond Police Departments, admitted saying to her daughter: ‘Nobody’s going to believe this, Toya.’
Certainly few involved in the case wanted to when it began in early spring 2012. But today, the veteran police officers, experienced physicians, paramedics, nurses, social workers and clergy linked to the case speak of being ‘attacked’ by demons, profoundly shaken and left with little choice but to believe that ‘something’ possessed the 32-year-old mother-of-three and the rented home in which she, her children and her mother, lived from November 2011 until May 2012.
Fears: Ammons, pictured, said she saw her daughter levitating in a bedroom. A nurse and a CPS worker later reported seeing her nine-year-old son run backwards up a wall before flipping over to the ground
As she showed the investigating officers, accompanied by social worker Valerie Washington, around the home in May 2012, Rose repeatedly stopped to recall the events which had, by that time, driven the family from the residence.
Standing in the kitchen she claimed: ‘I heard dogs barking, it sounded like there were dogs barking in here.’ The family had no pets. And when she investigated she saw, ‘A shadow of somebody moving.’
Downstairs in the basement, a focus for much of the disturbances, Rose recalled an occasion on which she was down there alone doing some cleaning: ‘I started coughing and joking so bad…I was praying the whole time and they don’t like for us to pray. They don’t like that at all.
‘Something down there was choking me to death, I don’t know what it is.’
On another occasion she said that her daughter, Latoya and godson were in the basement when, according to Rose: ‘He felt like something was stabbing him in the stomach. The more he was was reading the Bible, the more it was stabbing, punching... they saw something flying across the room and land “blam” like that.’
Rose reached for the object she claimed had been flung by some demonic force – a small Holy Family ornament.
She also said that her daughter had told her that, as the force had grown in power she had seen it’s full manifestation in her bedroom one night. ‘She said it was like a scary, ugly, black monster… she couldn’t say anything else.’
Two of them most disturbing physical manifestations were witnessed by several medics and law enforcement officials.
The first, Rose recalled, was during a visit to family physician Dr Geoffrey Onyekum on 19 April 2012. Both focused on the youngest child, then 7. She recalled: ‘I saw “it” trying to come out [of him]. It was trying to break loose in front of the doctor.
Father Michael Maginot explains how he performed three exorcisms - two in English and one in Latin - on Latoya Ammons in his church, St. Stephen Martyr in Merriville, Indiana
‘His head was turning, his eyes rolled back, his mouth went crazy, he started talking in tongues then it threw my grandson completely across the room.’
The nurse who witnessed this would not go back into the room while the doctor, realizing this was well beyond his capabilities, called police and paramedics to take the child and his brother, both of whom fell unconscious, to Gary ER.
When there, and in the grips of demonic possession, his grandmother maintained, her youngest grandson – growling and gurning – walked backwards towards a wall then glided up it, walking backwards to above her head height, holding her hands all the way as she tried to coax him down and ‘it’ out, before flipping over her head and landing on the floor.
The child had no recollection of the event that was witnessed by nurses, social workers and paramedics all of whom recorded it in official reports.
Cary Indiana Police Captain Charles Austin, 62, was there the day the footage seen here was recorded. He entered a skeptic and left convinced that he had just witnessed a ‘portal to hell.’
Speaking to MailOnline he said: ‘Everyone of us who was there that day in the basement and who saw what we saw, went through what we went through after…we all think the same, we all call it the same. That bit of dirt is a portal to hell.
When Capt Austin heard of a bizarre initial report on a Monday afternoon his sergeant told him that Child Protection Services were involved.
Capt Austin, 62, said: ‘The sergeant told me that the children had been missing school and there was talk of satanic goings on. He was very leery of it. I contacted some people, high-ranking officers; we decided to take a look.
Eerie: Cops and child protection workers were also spooked during visits to the home in Gary, Indiana (pictured). In this image, a figure appears in a window, right, although no one was home
What is it? A close-up of the image shows the cloudy white figure in the window of the home
‘I walked in there thinking this was nothing but a hoax, a concocted story.’
Instead what he experienced that day in the spring of 2012 shook him to his core, threatened his life and became part of the documented history of one of the most disturbing and baffling cases in Indiana’s police history.
Capt Austin’s assertions were echoed by Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Maginot, also interviewed by MailOnline.
Father Maginot may be a more natural candidate to believe in supernatural phenomenon than a cop of 37 years' standing who prides himself in being an ‘aggressive and assertive law enforcer.’
But, like Capt Austin, he set out to disprove the story. Instead he would conduct one minor and three major exorcisms on mother-of-three Latoya and told MailOnline that he himself had been the target of demonic attack for his involvement in the case.
Over a six-month period Latoya claims that she and her children were possessed by demons.
She says that the house in which they lived was ravaged by malevolent spirits, that her daughter, then 12, and sons, 9 and 7 respectively were physically attacked – thrown against furniture, dragged from the sofa, punched and tormented till their gums and noses bled and they struggled to breathe.
As a family she says they fell ill – she to three kidney infections, her children to a variety of ailments and disturbances.
She says the house ‘dripped oil,’ that shadowy figures walked the rooms at night, that footsteps could be heard coming up from the basement only to be followed by a furious pounding on the door leading from it to the main house when, in increasing terror, she and her mother put a lock on it.
There were swarms of dead horseflies on the porch – swept up one day only to return in equal abundance the next. Lights flickered, phones played up, television signals scrambled and reverted to normal on a whim.
Convinced: After three decades on the force, Gary Police Captain was in no doubt: He told MailOnline: 'Everyone of us who was there that day in the basement and who saw what we saw, went through what we went through after…we all think the same, we all call it the same. That bit of dirt is a portal to hell'
Convulsions: During one of her exorcisms Latoya was seen thrashing around, screaming
She claims the family was terrorized beyond all endurance. And the impact in school-time lost and medical treatment sought saw the Department of Child Protection Services step in and call in first he police, and finally after one particularly harrowing event, Father Maginot.
Sitting before the fire in the main room of St Stephen the Martyr’s rectory in Merrillville, Indiana, Father Maginot admitted he only became involved by chance. He happened to be covering for the usual chaplain of Gary ER on the weekend when a medic called in some distress to report a bizarre occurrence.
He said: ‘We were having our bible study after mass when I got the call saying “You’re a Catholic priest. You do exorcisms. We need you to do one.” They went onto tell me that a little boy had just walked, glided, backwards up a wall and flipped over to land on his feet.
‘They said he was growling, they described all sorts of things. I went of course.’
Father Maginot speaks rapidly and earnestly. He is affable, open and welcoming but he is no fool. He set out, he insisted, to disprove any notion of the occult. To do an exorcism, permission is needed from the Bishop. Fr Maginot admitted he was reluctant to go down that path having approached Bishop Dale J Melczek, Bishop of Gary some years earlier on another matter involving possible supernatural events only to receive short shrift.
He said: ‘I set out to disprove it because to be honest I didn’t want to get the bishop involved. But I had policemen, social workers, doctors and security guards telling me what they had witnessed.
‘I couldn’t just dismiss them all. That was a Friday. So I met with the mother and grandmother on the Sunday.’
In an involvement with the case spanning five months, Fr Maginot never met or examined any of the children.
But he became convinced, he said, that Latoya was indeed possessed and that the house in which she and her children lived had become cursed as a result of a hex placed on her.
Shaking his head, aware perhaps of how unbelievable the story, he admitted; ‘I think there was a curse placed on the mother, that she was the focus, possibly by an ex-boyfriend or his wife, and that combined with some tragedy and perhaps occult practices that had taken place in that house before and that had opened a portal.’
It is the conclusion Capt Austin has drawn against every logical thought that told him that just could not be true.
Speaking from Gary Police Department Headquarters, he has run every department from narcotics to homicide, gang intelligence to autodetail. He has taught 500 officers and received the department’s highest reward for his service. He doesn’t believe in the sort of ‘garbage’ he thought he was being fed in by the two women at Caroline Street in Gary two springs ago.
Frozen finger: On one visit to the house a DCS worker Samantha Illic touched a cabinet seeping a clear oil. Her finger turned white (right), like 'a blister after a burn', and she vowed never to return
Ooze: The family and officials reported an oil-type substance running down furniture and the blinds, marks can be seen above. Even when they sealed the room and returned, it would continue to run
Violent: The family claim that on one occasion this Nativity ornament mysteriously flew across the room
He said: ‘I was skeptical. I was leading the pack through the house. We walked in and the first thing we see is in the living room there’s a candle burning and a bible and a little altar with a crucifix – same in every room in the house. There was a drawing on the refrigerator done by one of the boys that was Jesus on the cross but behind him there looked like demonic figures.’
The further into the house he investigated the less comfortable he felt. Things just seemed ‘odd'.
He said: ‘Underneath the stairs was dirt and a candle. I was trying to figure out what was going on there because the rest of the basement was cement.
‘I took pictures of the candles and crucifix under the stairs on the dirt.’
Those pictures, taken on his iPhone, subsequently disappeared he said, and the phone which he used that day never behaved the same again.
But before those images disappeared, he said, he saw that they contained figures he had not seen before; figures he said were not there before, standing around him and beneath the stairs.
According to Capt. Austin: ‘The officer behind me took pictures of me standing in front of him and in his pictures he saw lots of figures too.’
With the practiced narration of an experienced witness, he continued: ‘I said, “Enough of this garbage.” On leaving the property I went to a gas station and made a phone call.
‘I had my police radio, my squad car dash AM/FM radio, my police cell and my iPhone. I was looking at the pictures I had taken on my iPhone when I made this call and all of a sudden this growling voice came from my AM/FM radio.
‘It said, “YOU OUTTA HERE” Then a lot of garbled other stuff and static.’
After that, according to Capt. Austin, every other officer present that day had problems with their radios, phones and house alarms.
Most alarming for Capt. Austin was an incident he had two weeks later when he was, he said bluntly, ‘attacked.’
Disbelief: Father Maginot says he set out to disprove the claims but instead became utterly convinced of them
Exorcism: The priest carried out several exorcisms using these crosses on the family and the house has had no reported issues since
Returning home in his Infiniti SUV he said, ‘the electric door to my garage would not open. It had been fine before. I pressed the keypad it must have been 10 times then gave up.
‘I exited the vehicle and went to flip the main power in the garage but that didn’t work, then the house and finally that worked.
‘But when I went back to my car the driver's seat was just moving backwards and forwards by itself. Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards.
‘When I took the car to the shop to get it looked into they said if I hadn’t brought it in it could have caused an accident and I could have been killed because for some reason the seat was about to collapse.’
The next time Capt. Austin was in the house it was with Father Maginot several weeks later.
They brought a dog, thinking perhaps they would find a crime scene, perhaps human remains, that might account for the disturbances but the dogs found nothing.
The men dug, five foot down into the dirt in the basement and unearthed a bizarre collection of objects: boys’ socks with the ankle portion cut out, a fake fingernail, women’s panties, a heavy, corroded iron weight, a broken plastic shoe horn and a red oval kettle lid.
Household trash? Or objects ritualistically buried in an attempt to summon something up or keep something at bay?
By then even the most level-headed present were open to the latter explanation and several of the people who had visited the house on the first inspection, including the original CPS case worker, had become so shaken by the day and its aftermath that they refused to go back.
Department of Child Services, family case manager Samantha Illic was part of the group that visited the house on 10 May 2012 when officers recorded the scene and Campbell’s accounts of many strange and disturbing events.
During that visit Illic reached to touch a cabinet that appeared to be dripping clear oil. Both Capt. Austin and Father Maginot tell a similar tale.
According to the Capt: ‘She touched it with her pinky and her finger just went flush free of blood, it was white like it was dead. She was holding up her hand saying, her finger was numb and the side of her hand.’
Father Maginot described the seemingly spontaneous ‘wound’ or affect as like ‘a blister after a burn.’
He said: ‘Her whole finger had this grey, white colour – a death colour. She wondered after if maybe there had been a bug that had bitten her but she didn’t see anything or feel anything.’
Father Maginot’s experience of the exorcisms of Latoya is similarly unnerving.
He met with Latoya and her mother at the house and, he said, for two hours they conducted an interview without any incident.
The women told him what they claimed was going on. He said: ‘Only the children saw definite figures but the grandmother saw a shadow of a man and they would find dirty footsteps in the front from in the morning just paced to and fro and going nowhere.
Activity: Most of the problems at the home were around the basement stairs, pictured. Police dug a four foot hole under the stairs to look for graves
Lurking: Rose said one of her granddaughters saw a full manifestation one night. ‘She said it was like a scary, ugly, black monster…she couldn’t say anything else’
History: Both the police officer and priest believe the demons may have something to do with the home's past. During a dig they found, five foot down into the dirt, a bizarre collection of objects: boys’ socks with the ankle portion cut out, a fake fingernail and women’s panties
‘Ghostly things are easier to deal with,’ said Father Maginot, explaining: ‘A lot of the time as Catholics you can have a mass, pray for them, tell them to go into the light, not to be afraid. But demons are different. You're inviting in guests from other realms and they don't necessarily want to leave.'’
During his visit to the Carolina Street house Father Maginot said that among the many strange phenomenon he witnessed were walls dripping with oil, Venetian blind rods tilting from side to side in unison and apparently for no reasons, seemingly set footprints appearing on the floor.
Lights repeatedly flickered then stopped when approached in such a way that the priest became convinced this was ‘an intelligence’ not simply an electric fault.
The final straw, the family told him, was when they were sitting as a family watching television and a bottle of Febreeze floated up, moved in the air before being hurled into Latoya’s room, smashing a lamp. In the aftermath they saw the shadow of a man.
They left the house for a hotel that night and never returned to live there again.
A clairvoyant who had visited the house and told Latoya she saw ‘hundreds of demons’ in the basement had told her to anoint the house with oil and put salt down to seal the gateways to demons.
Father Maginot did the same during his visit, uttering blessings and trying, at every turn, to find a logical explanation for the things he was seeing and the things these women were telling him. But increasingly he struggled.
He said: ‘I was trying to find a focus for it, to understand where it was coming from because that can help solve these things.’
Father Maginot became convinced that Latoya’s former lover was a ‘trigger’ or possible ‘source'.
Every time he asked her about this man – who is not the father of any of the children – Latoya complained of more symptoms of the possession, fever, cold, headaches, nausea and convulsions.
He said: ‘After almost four hours when she was going through one of these moments I took my crucifix and put it to her forehead and she began convulsing.
‘I had thought the demons were with the kids but now I could see they were with her. She was the source. They jumped from her and they jumped from child to child – they would pick up each other’s chants, or convulse in turn, act crazy, or growl in turn. But they were with her.
‘I said, that’s enough. We’re not prepared to do an exorcism here but I’ve got enough there’s no need to torture anyone.’
Fear: Capt Austin even claims he has been 'attacked' outside the house by spirits, including one occasion when his car moved by itself
Instead on June 1, 8th and 29th Latoya came to St Stephen the Martyr, Church in Merrillville and submitted to three major exorcisms.
She had, by then, moved out of the Carolina Street house in Gary and was living in a new apartment in Illinois. At the time the children were in state care but they have since been returned to their mother and grandmother.
Father Maginot recalled: ‘I carried out the first exorcism in English and there was no incident. It was like it had already gone but they do say they play possum.’
Father Maginot gave Latoya a crucifix and a rosary made of Benedictine medals. As she left the church the rosary ripped into five pieces.
Father Maginot said: ‘I said, “I don’t think we’re done here.”’
Later Latoya reported to the priest that the corpus, the figure of Christ on the crucifix he had given her, had similarly been torn off.
‘I had to figure out how to provoke the demons and drive them out,’ Father Maginot said, rocking to and fro in his easy chair.
Latoya had researched names and felt two belonged to her demons. Father Maginot will not repeat either - one is a biblical name, other is not – because he does not want to risk calling them.
He explained: ‘It’s a very personal thing. Once you have their name, it’s as though you have them caught. They like to work in mystery and darkness. Once you shine a light you show their limitations and they don’t like that.’
As if to prove that point Father Maginot recalled how he was ‘attacked by demons’ the day before the second exorcism.
Ritual: Ammons went through 3 exorcisms, as famously depicted by the 1973 movie, The Exorcist, pictured
Out riding his bike a series of near accidents and unsettling moments climaxed with him being seemingly spontaneously thrown from the saddle of his bike into the grass at the side of the bicycle path he was following.
He said: ‘I looked and saw that the seat of my bike was completely twisted but it made no sense because it was absolutely tight and I had to really pound it to straighten it out. I was in no doubt I had been attacked. I was being warned.’
The second exorcism saw a more violent response. The exorcism is, Father Maginot explained, a ritual repeated over and over, with the priest narrowing in on the demon and its triggers.
He said: ‘You try to protect yourself as much as you can. You go to confession because if there are any unconfessed sins it will use that.
‘It will use anything possible to deflect, or distract or scare you.
‘You will think you’re torturing the person but you’re not. You’re torturing the demon.’
The final exorcism was in Latin – praising God and condemning the demon.
‘The parts that were praising God there was no reaction from Latoya,’ Father Maginot recalled. ‘The parts condemning the demon she convulsed which was interesting to me as she doesn’t know Latin.’
Latoya said she felt herself being pulled up as if to levitate, but Father Maginot saw no sign of that.
After a third exorcism Latoya fell asleep he recalled. He gave her the now mended rosary and she took it home with her.
‘I never heard from her again,’ he said. ‘I was anticipating more. I was anticipating another at least but it turned out the game was over.'
After the final exorcism Father Maginot visited the house and blessed it with what he referred to as a 'more serious blessing.' He said: 'This involved incense and salt and Holy Water.'
There were already new tenants in place and they had reported no problems since the priest had 'sealed' the portal with salt and blessings following an earlier investigation.
But, he said, he told landlord Charles Reed, 'If we don't deal with this now, properly, this will not go away. This will close the portal and seal it.'
Creepy: Now that the Ammons family have moved out the new tenants claim they have had no problems, certainly not any of demonic possession
Father Maginot is in no doubt that the possession was real and that everything that happened to Latoya and her children and everything that others witnessed was the work of demons – fallen angels, God’s creatures turned against God and against man.
And for all his reluctance the same seems to be true of Capt. Austin. He said: ‘It shook me, everything to do with this. It shook me. This was a situation that was so out of my normal habitat. Did it shake me? Yes to a certain degree it did.
‘You tell me. What do you think happened?’
Anna Ecklund - 1912-1928 - Earling, Iowa
Anna was just 14 when she was allegedly cursed by her father and aunt - and soon she was unable to be near religious artifacts or churches. She underwent an exorcism in 1912, but her father and aunt then prayed for Satan to visit her again.
In 1928, she asked the church for help and was put in a convent. But when nuns came near her she would hiss at them, speak in foreign languages and levitate. After three more exorcisms, she was declared free of the demons.
Roland Doe - 1940s - Cottage City, Maryland
Doe - known as the inspiration behind the Hollywood film, The Exorcist - was 14 when his aunt encouraged him to use a Ouija board in the 1940s. When she died, he might have tried to contact her this way and it is believed this gave demons the chance to reach him.
When he was possessed, religious artifacts began flying off the walls and people could hear footsteps and dripping inside his home. Scratches also began appearing over his body, which levitated and contorted. His family contacted a Catholic priest and an exorcism was performed more than 30 times, sometimes injuring the priest before they were eventually successful. Doe went on to have a normal life, according to reports.
Anneliese Michel - 1973 - Germany
Anneliese was a 16-year-old Bavarian girl who had suffered with epilepsy and mental illness. In 1973, she began to hear voices, drink her own urine and became intolerant of religious symbols. She begged her family to take her to a priest to rid her of demons. Two local priests secretly agreed and performed nearly 70 exorcisms (each lasting up to four hours) in 10 months - but her parents stopped treating her health issues, and she died from emaciation and starvation. The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her life.
Michael Taylor - 1974 - Yorkshire, England
Taylor was a married Christian who was accused by his wife, Christine, of having an affair with a prayer group leader. He responded with anger and continued to act erratically, leading some people to think he was possessed by evil.
He eventually underwent an exorcism that last for more than 24 hours and priests believed it to be successful. They warned that a demon may still be inside of him. When he went home, he murdered his wife and was later found wandering the streets. He was found not guilty in her murder by reason of insanity.