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Frozen: Latoya Ammons told of the moment she locked eyes with 'something from hell' on the final night of terror and chaos that convinced she and her three children had to flee the demon house
There must have been screaming and terror and chaos that night. But the moment that Latoya Ammons remembers with the most chilling clarity is one of paralyzed silence.
As her family fled, and the house erupted in violence around and against them, Latoya turned back. She had left her bible in her room. And as she reached to retrieve it that’s when she saw 'it' rearing up out of the shadows: dark, fully formed and monstrous.
He was ‘something from hell.’ Their eyes locked. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t move. She knew he was getting ready to come for her. Only when her mother grabbed her and pulled her from the room, did she come to her senses and flee.
Haunted: Latoya and her mother Rosa Campbell (left) tearfully recounted the full horror they endured when they moved into the modest home in Gary, Indiana. They said: 'We fought Satan and we won'
Today speaking exclusively and fully to MailOnline for the first time since her tale of possession and exorcism came to global attention Latoya Ammons, 32, has relived the night when, she said, she came face to face with the demon.
She has told of how her family was driven violently from the modest rental home in Gary, Indiana now infamous as ‘the portal of hell.’
She has recounted the full horror that she, her three children then seven, nine and 12, and her mother, Rosa Campbell endured. She relived the ‘torture’ of the three major exorcisms she underwent.
And she has revealed the moment when she truly lost her soul – the day her children were taken from her and she had to fight, she believes, not simply for their return but for her very life.
Sitting in the neat front room of the home in Indianapolis where the family now lives in calm normality, Latoya said: ‘I knew I was up against something supernatural. I knew it was not of this world. I knew there was only one way to fight it and that was with God.
‘No friends, no family, wanted to come round and we understood because it was scary. But at the same time we felt alone, hurt, lost…we had nobody to depend on but the Lord.
‘I anointed my children with olive oil and called upon the blood of Jesus. I prayed over them until the demons left but they always jumped back on them.
‘We became so strong we decided to fight them. It was do or die. It was either you fight or you die.’
It is hard to square the sweeping evangelism of Latoya’s words with the image of the pretty, tousle-haired mother of three who utters them.
It is over two years since Latoya’s case, which has only now come to wide public attention, took hold in Gary Indiana and became one of the most disturbing and perplexing ever investigated by local law enforcement, Child Protection Services and clergy.
Stairway to hell: An ornament, left, was thrown across the room, while the basement, right, was seen by the family, clairvoyants, a clergyman and the police as the source of the 'infestation' of demons
Ghost boy in the window: Latoya claimed police had told her a boy had been brutally murdered on the block after the mother said her son had been talking to a 'boy' in the house who said he did 'bad things'
Shadows and ooze: Latoya said it all started when she started seeing figures moving in the corner of her eye, but they would then disappear if she turned. Later, a strange oozing oil would start running down the blinds
Case workers, medics and law officers have all given eye-witness testimony of seeing Latoya’s three children being thrown across rooms, flung into furniture and walls. They have witnessed them convulsing and seemingly speaking in Satanic tongues.
Most outlandish and troubling of all is a reported occurrence in Gary ER in spring 2012 when Latoya’s second son, nine at the time, allegedly walked backwards up a wall, high above his grandmother whose hands he was holding, flipped over her and landed on his feet on the floor.
All the time his eyes were rolling, he was growling and a demonic grin rendered his face somehow not his own.
Medics who witnessed the scene fled the room, with one nurse refusing to return.
Sipping water and speaking calmly and persistently her personal testimony is the stuff of horror films.
Some have dismissed it as fantasy, or delusion. Others view it as fakery and search for a reason behind what must surely be an elaborate hoax.
In the time since the events that took place at Carolina Street property, Latoya and her mother have grown used to such allegations.
Latoya said: ‘I know a lot of people won’t believe it but this is my testimony and I know it to be true.
‘I believe I’m a very strong person. I believe I’m in the Lord’s favour. Anyone else would have given up and broken in two.
‘That’s what Satan does. He comes to kill, and steal and destroy and take your joy. My children, my home, my piece of mind…everything was gone.’
‘Anyone else would have given up and broken in two. That’s what Satan does. He comes to kill, and steal and destroy and take your joy'
Latoya and her mother and children only moved into the Gary property in November 2011 because, she said, it seemed ‘convenient.’
It was never a long term option – never her dream home, though she could have had no idea just what a nightmare it would prove.
She said: ‘We rented month to month because we had to leave one place and I planned to move to another but we needed to get money together. It had a big yard, three bedrooms upstairs and two rooms in the basement.’
That basement would become the focus of much of the household disturbance.
Latoya’s mother, Rosa worked locally at a nursing home while her daughter studied Cosmetology and the children attended school locally.
It was never, the women admit, a particularly happy house. There was always ‘something’ not quite right.
Portal to Hell: Rosa 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
Latoya said: ‘It was just little things at first. Streaks of bad luck. Things would go missing then reappear. We blamed each other, we blamed the kids.’
Looking back she now believes that these seemingly minor incidents were the beginning of the demons ‘playing’ with the family and sowing discontent and irritation that would eventually crescendo into violence.
Latoya recalled: ‘The boys would misbehave a lot. At first I thought it was a behavioral issue but in the end it became pretty violent.
‘Then I started seeing shadows, the demons walking past. I would catch it out of the corner of my eye and I would close my eyes and look again and they’d be gone.’
She wondered if there was something wrong with her eyesight. But the shadows became more regular visitors.
Within a matter of weeks of the family living at Carolina Street a rhythm of chaos had descended. Between the hours of 11.30pm and 5am the family were increasingly terrorized.
A dog barked in the kitchen though they had no pet. The blinds and walls dripped clear, odorless oil.
The children became violent, gurned and convulsed. Each was plagued with small illnesses; stomach upsets, bleeding gums, ears and noses. Latoya had a string of kidney infections and all suffered searing headaches.
At night footsteps thudded up the stairs from the basement and in morning muddy footsteps started in the middle of floors and went nowhere. When the women put a latch on the basement door the footsteps ended with a pounding on the now locked door.
Horseflies fell dead on the porch in their dozens, were swept away only to have reappeared the following day.
Latoya and Rosa know how crazy all of this sounds. But they are well passed the point of really caring. Besides, they say, too many others have witnessed what they saw for the claims to be dismissed.
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
Holy protection: Latoya said she came face to face with a demon when she returned to the house to retrieve a forgotten Bible, above
Latoya recalled: ‘One night we were having a party at the house, some friends and relatives round. It was 10 March 2012, a birthday party.
‘That’s when it levitated my daughter off the bed and tried to pull her from her bedroom.
‘We started praying over her and anointing her and she was crying. She said it felt like it was choking her.’
While this scene of biblical horror was taking place in one bedroom, Latoya said, the family gathered in the living room were laughing and chatting, completely unaware.
‘I had to tell them what was going on and it started doing the same types of things in front of them. Then they got scared and they started to believe.’
Friends present that night and members of a local Baptist church, told Latoya and her mother that they should take the children to the altar to be blessed. One female friend got in touch with a New York clairvoyant who had, she told Latoya, experience dealing with demons.
Latoya said: ‘He told me that the original owners of the house were in a cult. He said they were Satanists and did rituals there, decades before – human and animal sacrifices.’
The family and several law enforcement officers and the priest who ultimately conducted Latoya’s exorcisms, believe that the site of those rituals – the portal – was an odd patch of dirt beneath the stairs in the otherwise concrete floored basement.
Recalling the clairvoyant’s words, Latoya said: ‘He said the house was infested with demons and that it was so dark he could barely see. He said the demons had formed legions.
‘He said that they would kill us if we didn’t get out.’
Exorcisms: Father Michael Maginot explains tried to cast out the demons from Latoya on three occasions. She remembers clearly the pain they caused and how she feared she would die
Savior: Latoya credits the priest, who used crucifixes to battle the evil, with saving her life
So why didn’t the family just leave? Why stay in a place where, by their own description, the house and whatever lurked within it seemed so intent on destroying them?
‘Money,’ according to both Latoya and her mother. Latoya said: ‘We didn’t have anywhere else to go and we didn’t have the money to stay in a hotel more than a night or two at a time.’
And the family kept going back until that final night in April when the violent attacks became too much.
Latoya said: ‘That night it was just constant. It was throwing my children about. We would grab one child and anoint them and pray over them, singing praises out of the Psalms but it would jump to another child.
‘It was on all three of them and it was on me. It would hurt me like it was stabbing me and I would drop to the floor.
‘We all had to stay in the same room because if I let one of the children go to the restroom it would pick them up, and hold them high then throw them down.’
Lamps and vases were thrown out of empty rooms and smashed, Latoya said.
They watched in horror as a can of Febreeze lifted into the air, went to and fro before being hurled into another room.
When it became too much, Latoya said, ‘We grabbed some close and things and ran from the house.
‘As we were running it picked up my oldest boy and threw him off the porch, it flipped him over. My youngest son said he saw an old woman who he’d seen before, with a bow and arrow aiming at him to shoot him.’
This apparition of an old woman, with red eyes is a particularly chilling one and one seen only by Latoya’s children, never her.
Convinced: After three decades on the force, Gary Police Captain was in no doubt Latoya has told the truth. It is the belief of people like him that has seen her tale of terror make international headlines
‘My youngest son used to talk to a boy he called Trey,’ she said. ‘We don’t know if that was his real name or a name he told him but he would tell him to do bad things, to hurt people.’
The clairvoyant told Latoya that a boy and his mother had been brutally murdered in or near the house.
According to Latoya, Gary’s then Chief of Police confirmed that there had been such a murder on the block.
As the disturbances relating to the family escalated it was inevitable that they would come to some sort of official attention. The children were missing school. Rosa was missing work – afraid, she said, to leave the family alone.
The Department of Child Protection began to take an interest and, that April when Latoya and Rosa took all three children to their family physician Dr Geoffrey Onyeukwu, their private torment took on a very official hue.
Both the boys began convulsing, growling, rolling their eyes and attacking each other and the women.
They exhibited, Latoya said, ‘inhuman strength,’ and started chanting and speaking in tongues.
The disturbance became so extreme that Dr Onyeukwu called for them to be taken to Gary ER which is where, across many hours of examination, Latoya’s second son walked backwards up the wall and the whole tale of possession and demonic infestation was first aired publicly.
Little wonder, perhaps, that the children were swiftly made wards of court and removed from their mother’s care.
Today, amid all the horrors she has recounted, it is the memory of the moment when she lost her children that sees Latoya falter and break down.
She said: ‘That was the worst time. You feel like your soul has died. I’d never been away from my children before. ‘
What had been a spiritual ordeal became a very real and pressing legal battle to convince case workers, psychiatrists, doctors and law enforcement officers that she was of sound mind and capable of finding a home for her children.
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
Evaluation followed evaluation. The children, once out of their mother’s care improved in health and behavior – a source of relief and distress for Latoya who knew all too well that this could feed into a belief that she was causing them harm.
Yet while officials at first asked whether or not Latoya was delusional and inflicting her delusions on her children, bit by bit, they appeared convinced by the extraordinary story that she and her children told.
Gary and Lake County police investigated the claims and the officers who visited the house, including Captain Charles Austin, a veteran of 37 years experience, each left unsettled and convinced that the claims of paranormal activity had some substance.
All suffered degrees of disturbance in their cell phones, home alarm systems and electric equipment following that day.
Capt Austin's car spontaneously malfunctioned in a way that, according to the mechanic who examined it, could have resulted in a fatal accident.
As Latoya and Rosa set about finding a new home – the one in which they now live – she also sought out the help of Father Mike Maginot.
The man whom finally agreed to investigate her claims and ultimately requested his Bishop’s permission to conduct the exorcisms, which, Latoya believes, proved her salvation.
Latoya recalled the exorcisms that took place across four occasions in May and June 2012. The first was a minor blessing in the Carolina Street house and the final three major exorcisms conducted in St Stephen the Martyr Church in Merrillville, Indiana.
Believe me or not: As she describes her experiences, Latoya tells her doubters that her 'testimony is true'
She said of those major rituals: ‘It wasn’t nice – feeling sick, feeling something hurting me from inside me, like something inside of me wanted to rip out of me. My arms and legs felt tight like something wanted to tear me apart.
‘I would black out. It would get worse and worse. I was really scared. Scared for my life. I’d read that some people die, some people don’t make it out. I thought what if they kill me? What if they torture me? What if they torment me and kill me, what will happen to my kids?
‘But I knew I had to do it if I ever wanted to have a chance of getting my life back. Because we had no normal life for all this time.’
Latoya had some sense, she said, following the third exorcism that the demons – she claimed to have been possessed by seven in total – had gone.
'I would black out. It would get worse and worse. I was really scared. Scared for my life. I’d read that some people die'
But, she admitted, even then there could be no normality, no peace, until she had her children back in her care.
The children returned home – to the new home already blessed by Father Maginot – in November 2012.
Latoya said: ‘That’s all I needed. It was awful when they were gone. It still hurts to think of that time. I’m so blessed to have my babies.’
However much the family’s extraordinary story has captivated all who have heard it, prompting debate, disbelief and wonder, it is not something upon which Latoya and her children dwell.
‘We don’t talk about it, ‘ she said. ‘They’re healthy and happy. All they wanted to know and be sure of was, “Are we safe here?” And I believe yes, were are. They don’t remember any of the time they were possessed.'
But Latoya and her mother are unlikely to ever forget.
For Rosa the most painful aspect of the whole experience was watching her daughter and grandchildren’s pain. She said: ‘My daughter was on the edge of losing her mind. It was hard to watch. It was awful to watch.’
Ripped apart: Latoya says the only thing worse than demonic possession was when her children were taken away from her temporarily by child protection workers. 'You feel like your soul has died', she said
Latoya said: ‘Sometimes it bothers me that I know people don’t believe it. But I want to give my testimony. God saved my life. He saved my family’s life.
'I want this message to go out to non-believers because if you have witnessed the demon you have to know there is a Higher Power.'You have to know where it all started.’
Leaning forward, her green eyes wide and steady, Latoya added: ‘We fought Satan head on. And we won.’