The home that was believed to be a site of demonic activity was demolished last month. The story, as reported in the National Catholic Register, centered on an Indiana family attacked by demons and freed by a Catholic priest through a series of exorcisms.
It had attracted international attention after multiple people from various agencies, including a police officer and hospital and social-service employees, gave eyewitness testimonies of unexplained occurrences involving the family who lived there, including levitation of objects and loud footsteps leaving prints. Two hospital personnel reported seeing one of the boys walking backwards up a wall, flipping into the air and landing on his feet while in a hospital room waiting to be examined. In a separate event, the Department of Child Services report stated that the staff at a doctor’s office witnessed one of the boys getting lifted up and thrown into a wall.
Zak Bagans, host and executive producer of the TV show Ghost Adventures, purchased the home in 2014 to film a documentary. Filming wrapped up in late 2015, and the coverage is expected to be released later this year. In an email interview, Bagans, who said he is Catholic, is not revealing much at this time, but he is convinced there was an evil presence in the home.
“I do believe the dark forces in the house were aware of my presence and did interfere with the production in many different ways — some serious,” he said. Bagans added that, immediately after his investigation, he developed an unexplained physical illness from which he continues to suffer.
Priest Adviser to the Film
Father Michael Maginot, pastor of St. Stephen Martyr Church in Merrillville, Ind., and the priest who freed the family through a series of exorcisms in 2013, was present for part of the filming. He is not a designated exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, but since the family originally contacted him, Bishop Dale Melczek allowed Father Maginot to handle the case under supervision of a designated exorcist.
Father Maginot had signed a contract as an adviser to the project and insisted that the promise to be truthful was put into writing.
“The truth makes it fascinating,” he said in an interview with the Register. “The devil looks bad in this. He loses a lot of mystique.” According to him, people will witness evil but will also come away seeing evil vanquished, or at least made ineffective.
Father Maginot explained that the house was boarded up during the winter of 2014, and when it was opened for filming, a hole in the roof had resulted in some damage. “It looked like an animal had scratched through the roof and ceiling, but we could not find it anywhere in the house, and there were no animal droppings around.”
Another mysterious discovery was an odd-looking hand mark made into a dusty table in the living room. “It was a long hand that did not seem human; it had no palm and was around 12-15 inches long,” Father Maginot said.
Since such things can have other explanations, he would give no opinion other than to say he saw those things. Father Maginot pointed out that the way Hollywood typically portrays evil to scare people is not usually the way the devil works.
“Hollywood makes them [demons] like monsters, but, actually, they are very manipulative in how they work,” he said. “For instance, there was a lot of tension between Zak and me in the beginning, until we realized what was going on.”
Father Maginot said he believes that the devil doesn’t want this documentary to get out because it makes him look bad, and, as a result, he suspects that he was behind many of the delays and problems.
“Sometimes, demons cause scary things to happen, but usually only when they are pushed and shoved do they go that way,” Father Maginot said. “The normal way that demons work is through temptation. I think it’s God’s purpose to show evil at times so that we can see what we are truly dealing with.”
Although evil is very real and is something very dangerous to seek out, he said it’s important for people to realize the devil is not God, who is all-powerful. According to him, the devil is very limited in his power because he can never end a life and cannot take away our free will.
After the filming was complete, Father Maginot blessed the house. “I did the biggest blessing I could,” he said. “I used holy water and incense, and I prayed it in Latin.”
Spirits Do Not Occupy Space
Father Vincent Lampert, pastor of St. Malachy Church and the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, consulted with Father Maginot during the exorcisms of the home. He explained that houses can be blessed to drive out evil spirits, since spirits don’t live in a location like people do.
“Evil spirits can choose to act at a location, and evil activities might have brought that about, but spirits don’t occupy time and space like we do,” he explained. “Something happened to bring on the evil.”
Given all the public attention to the house, Father Lampert said that it had been attracting a lot of negative attention before the demolition.
“People were going to the house and doing séances,” he said. “Any continuation of evil could have been caused by people bringing it on by their actions,” he said.
Father Lampert warned that a fascination with evil can create serious danger. “There are a lot of people that watch those ghost-hunter shows that don’t have a connection with God,” he said. “Evil plays on a person’s mind and memories. If a person does not have a faith life to deal with evil, then his life can be destroyed by it.” According to him, without God in one’s life, there is no protection from such evil.
Father Lampert said that he personally does not watch such shows since he’s uninterested in giving evil undue attention.
It’s unfortunate, according to him, that if there is a talk on evil, many more people will show up than one on Jesus. “Instead of being fascinated with evil,” he said, “we should all be fascinated with God.”