I thought I'd seen enough horror films and read enough books to believe I was pretty clued up about the world of child possession. But researching this article taught me it's a world so much more twisted, horrific and devastatingly sad then I could have ever thought.
While there are stories that are impossible to rationalize - and I believe possession can happen - the majority of the time it's the parents and their disillusioned minds that are at fault, not demons.
Some of the stories you'll read will leave you thinking the Exorcist is tame in comparison. I'll share with you true life stories of mentally ill parents, who murdered their small children. I'll tell you the story of a dad who thought his son was going to eat him. I'll tell you the story of a girl who died as a result of almost 70 exorcisms.
I can appreciate how some parents might believe their children are possessed - one day they go from being lovely and sweet and caring, the next they're acting like the literal spawn of Satan - but most of the time, they're just being kids and kids can act 'demonic' sometimes.
Hopefully this article won't scare you to the point you're having a panic attack whenever your child 'acts out of character.' Hopefully it will encourage you to pull them closer, and love them more when things aren't right, something the majority of the parents you're about to encounter weren't capable of doing.
15Boy Walks Backwards Up A Wall
It was 2011 when Latoya Ammons moved into an ordinary family home in Gary, Indiana with her three children and mom. But soon after, strange things started to happen.
The ordeal began when swarms of flies would appear in their porch. Then came unexplained thumps from the basement and muddy footprints on the carpet. Perhaps the most heart-stopping incident to happen was when Ammon's 9 year old son walked backwards up a wall and to the ceiling. It was reportedly witnessed by members of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Ammons contacted a clairvoyant who told her the home was 'besieged by more than 200 demons.' She was advised to build shrines, and daub her children’s foreheads with olive oil crosses. A Catholic priest also performed 'minor' exorcisms. Ammons children were taken into care for six months, and on their return, the family moved house and reported no further incidents.
14Insane Mom Murders Her Two Kids
Meghan Lippiatt was living in England in 2004 with her sons, 2 year old Silas and 4 month old Miles, when she called 999 and explained she was hearing voices telling her to harm her children.
Three days later, Lippiatt tried to fly with her kids to the US, but had an emotional breakdown. After a five hours standoff, Lippiatt was taken to hospital and the kids were put into the care of Lippiatt's parents, who took them to the US.
But Lippiatt followed and moved in with her parents. On the first day alone with the boys, she suffocated Miles with a diaper, and drowned Silas in a tub of water. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Lippiatt said her "children were possessed by a demon" and that "she was possessed and the only way to save all of them was to end their lives."
13Witchcraft Child Abuse
A Nigerian couple who believed their six children were possessed by evil spirits pursued a decade long campaign of abuse. They were beaten with brooms, vacuum cleaners and one of their children was given a morphine overdose a few days after her first birthday.
The children were rescued when the eldest daughter threw an SOS note out of a window that read: "My mum is the worst mum ever because she can't cope with five of us, her broken hand and being pregnant. She always leaves me out so I always starve and I am forced to work....If I don't get enough house work done, I'm beaten without mercy with the wooden end of a broom. I have scars all over me to prove it. I can't stay here. I would like a new mum."
The couple - who denied the allegations and claimed they were victims of a witch-hunt - were sentenced to seven years in jail.
12Parents Tortured Son Believing He Was Possessed
Edward and Krystal D. Everett from Oklahoma, believing their six year old son heard voices and was possessed by a demon, went on to inflict horrendous abuse on the child. The cops were tipped off by an anonymous caller who explained the boy was locked up in a small room.
When deputies went to investigate, they found the boy in a room that was latched from the outside. Wearing only underpants, he had bruises all over his body, including two black eyes.
Authorities went on to learn that the boy ate only one meal a day, was beaten with a belt and shocked and beaten with a cattle-prod. They also found other children in the residence, but they were immediately put into the care of the protective services. My heart goes out to the poor kid. Who knows what psychological trauma he's had to endure on top of the physical abuse.
11The Exorcism Killer
Maryland woman Zakieya Avery met her roommate Monifa Sanford through church and they became close friends. Soon after their meeting, Sanford began experiencing 'demonic shadows and noises' in the house she was living in, and moved in with Avery.
The mental state of both Avery and Stanford began to deteriorate and they developed the belief that evil spirits had moved between the bodies of two of Avery's four children. Avery and Sanford stabbed Avery’s 18-month-old son Norell to death, and her 2-year-old daughter was chocked and stabbed. Her two other children, a 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son, miraculously survived the crazed religious ceremony which was supposed to 'send the children to heaven.' The two claimed they attacked after seeing the children's eyes blacken.
Both Avery and Sanford are in maximum-security psychiatric hospitals. After the murders, Sanford reportedly told police, “I’m glad the children are in heaven, but I miss them."
10Dragged To Church To Be Exorcised
When Seamus Coffer was twelve years old, he was, in his own words, 'a violent little shit.' He'd set fires, beat up other kids and be a bit of a nightmare. His parents, thinking him possessed, dragged him to church.
It was a Sunday night, a night reserved for exorcisms. Knowing he wasn't safe, Coffer made for the exist when the pastor shouted “Just where do you think you’re going Devil!?!” He ran for the door but it was locked. Two burly men dragged Coffer to the front of the church where oil was poured on his forehead and the pastor 'commanded' that the demon leave him.
When the pastor was sure the demon was 'gone,' Coffer was led back to his parents, who tried to rationalize the event by saying he'd had a dark spirit in him, and the Pastor had fought it out with the power of God.
9Death By Exorcism
Anneliese Michel was a German girl with epilepsy and a history of mental illness. In 1973 when she was 20 her symptoms worsened. She grew depressed and would act aggressive. She also spoke of demonic visions, heard voices that damned her to hell and would scream for hours.
Michel's parents, convinced she was possessed by six demonic spirits, brought in Josef Stangl. Stangl was a Catholic Bishop who went onto authorise an exorcism on Michel. Between the years 1975 and 1976 nearly 70 rituals were carried out, ultimately resulting in Michel's death.
Michel starved herself, believing it would rid her of her demons. Just before she succumbed to starvation, she said "Mother...I'm afraid." Her parents and the two priests involved were sentenced to 6 months in jail. The story went on to inspire the 2005 film The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and her grave has become a sight of pilgrimage.
8Speaking In Tongues
I can put my money on it that you've seen the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, but did you know it's based on a true story? The child at the heart of the 'real life' story was called Robbie Mannheim, though at the time he was called 'Roland Doe' to protect his identity.
Mannheim apparently became possessed by a malevolent entity in Cottage City, Maryland in the late 1940s. He'd been trying to contact his late aunt with the help of a Ouija board.
Reportedly, while under the influence of possession, the boy levitated and spoke in tongues. Terrified, his parents summoned priests to come and exorcise the demons from their boy. After more than 30 rituals, the family up and moved to Missouri. It was only then that Mannheim was relieved of his possession. Just like Regan in The Exorcist Mannheim managed to return to a normal life.
Jeanette Michelle Hawes was 22 when she developed the belief that her two children were possessed by demons. The young mom made a visit to a Texaco gas station in Augusta, GA where she proceeded to lock herself, her one year old boy Jordan and her three year old girl Shakayla in a restroom.
Next, the store clerk heard screaming and tried in vain to open the door. The police were called and Hawes was taken away, covered in the blood of her children. She had stabbed both youngsters to death.
A witness claimed "The mother didn’t have any remorse. She wasn’t crying, nothing.” A short time later, Hawes was declared insane. Some days after the murders, Hawes announced she was fearful for her life and someone was out to get her. She was diagnosed with a severe case of schizophrenia and was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Georgia.
6Exorcisms On A 3 And A 6 Year Old
Arkansas State Senator Justin Harris and his wife Marsha adopted two little girls, aged 3 and 6. Before the girls arrived, the 6 year old had been sexually abused and both adults knew that the children were emotionally disturbed. The Harris's had been warned that they weren't a good match for the girls, but they adopted them regardless.
But, a little over a year later, Harris and his wife re-homed the little girls to a family whose father later raped the eldest. While the girls lived with the Harris family, they were kept in separate rooms that were kitted out with locks, alarms and video cameras - as the Harris believed both girls were demon-possessed and could communicate telepathically.
An exorcism was performed on both girls, though this was rigorously denied by the family. We can only hope that both of the girls are in safe hands nowadays.
5My Son Planned To Eat Me
Phoenix father Gary Sherrill led a strange, reclusive life. The windows of his house were backed out with tin foil and there were religious icons decorating his window sills. Whenever he had has young son come to stay, he wasn't allowed to play outside like most other kids his age.
It's not known if the unemployed Sherill had a history of mental illness...but what he did next suggests he did. Convinced that his 13 year old son was a demon who was 'going to eat him,' Sherill murdered the boy with an axe.
After he failed to return his son to the boy's mother, she became concerned and called the cops. Initially Sherill told the authorities that his son wasn't home...but they asked more questions and eventually went inside where they found the boy dead. He was arrested, found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
4Fighting The Demons
Dora Tejada, a native of El Salvador, believed that her 3 year old daughter was possessed by demons. She also claimed that she herself had the ability to see dead people and was capable of speaking directly with the 'Holy Spirit.'
Her paranoia led to the death of her daughter, Nicole Garcia, who was found lying on a table and unresponsive. Tejada had stuffed a rose down her daughter's throat, believing that it would exorcise the devil after 'god told her to do so.' Nicole was taken to hospital where she died of homicidal asphyxia. It later transpired that the rose Tejada claimed to have stuffed into her child's throat was actually her fist.
Tejada was found not guilty because of mental illness that left her unable to understand her actions. She was diagnosed with extreme bipolar disorder and psychosis, and committed to a state mental health institution.
3Mom 'Picked' Because She Was Sad
Honey Brown took to the internet to tell the story of her 4 year old daughter, and, while the other stories we've heard have been terrifying, this one will warm your heart instead of chilling it. Well, it does mine anyway.
Brown's 4 year old daughter was an intelligent chatterbox who, according to Brown, talked about a 'lot of things that don't quite make sense.' Brown and her husband talked with their daughter about maybe bringing another baby into the family. Their daughter went on to say “I would be happy because your other baby will come back."
Not knowing what her daughter meant, Brown asked her to explain and she said. “I picked you because you were sad. Your other baby got sick and you were sad. I picked you to make you happy." Their daughter didn't know they'd lost a little boy just before she was conceived.
2Things A Three Year Old Shouldn't Say
When your child is first getting a real grip on language, and you can actually have a 'real' conversation with them, this is when things get really exciting in the mother-child relationship. You start to write down all the things your kid is saying, but for one poor mom, her 3 year old said things that shook her soul.
When they were visiting a friend’s new baby, her son’s first words were “When will that baby die?” One day she was watching my son play with his trucks and said “I love you.” He responded “I love you too. I actually don’t feel like killing you right now.”
When he was much younger, he'd talk about the woman who lived in their wall and missed her family. She’d find him upstairs with a pile of blankets just laying there. He’d say he was laying down with the lonely woman.
1Calling On The Dead Fairies
I believed in fairies when I was five. I believed they looked over me and kept me safe. But I didn't experience fairies like the 5 year old in this story did.
Thought Catalogue contributor Alice In Idiotland would be asked by her son to say prayers with him before going to bed. "We always pray for the fairies to watch over him while he sleeps. He also has me call the fairies so he feels comforted and safe going to sleep. This is our bedtime ritual."
But then one night, he asked his mom to call the dead fairies. She asked him why, explaining she only calls on beautiful and good fairies to watch over him. Her son went on to say the dead fairies would protect him from dead things that bother him in his sleep, and that it was okay because most of them still had their skins.
Sources: IndyStar.com, DailyMail.com, ThoughtCatalogue.com, Thetelegraph.co.uk
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