Most paranormal investigators will tell you that there are several different types of hauntings. Residual hauntings tend to be benign because the ghosts in question reenact their memories from life without interacting with the world around them. Intelligent hauntings and poltergeist activity are scarier because the entities recognize and interact with the humans around them. Few of these interactions are positive.
But when it comes to hauntings, the most threatening and negative are demonic hauntings. In these cases, houses and people are tormented by nonhuman entities that seek to possess the living. Demonic hauntings tend to be mentally and spiritually draining. They also tend to last a long time because demons, which were never humans, can only be expelled through certain religious rituals.
Of course, if you’re skeptical about all of this, demonic hauntings can sometimes come across as examples of mental illness. Furthermore, for demonic hauntings to even exist, one must believe in the reality of demons. Still, the following 10 cases are disturbing examples of people who believe that they were tormented by purely evil entities.
10 The Demon House
According to his own book, Bob Cranmer, a former Allegheny County Commissioner in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, claims that he and his family lived in a house haunted by a demon for 18 years. An exorcism drove the demon out in 2006.
Mr. Cranmer claims that he watched helplessly over the years as blood dripped from the walls of his home and invisible hands pushed and struck his loved ones. When these attacks reached their boiling point in 2005–2006, Cranmer finally contacted the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, which sent a priest to perform an exorcism on the house.
As the story goes, Cranmer’s home in the Pittsburgh suburb of Brentwood was built upon rotten soil. In the 1700s, Native Americans viciously murdered European settlers in the area. Later, during the house’s construction, one of the workers cursed the land.
However, true evil did not come into existence until Dr. James C. Mahan Sr. arrived. Cranmer believes that Dr. Mahan, a former tenant in the home, was an alcoholic abortionist who performed hundreds of illegal operations. These activities supposedly brought forth a demon into the world—a demon that mostly manifested as a “black, foggy cloud.”
Unlike most demonic hauntings, Cranmer actually knows the name of the demon. Cranmer believes that Moloch, the Canaanite god mentioned in the Old Testament, possessed his house because Mahan and the Malick family, the home’s previous owners, were Moloch worshipers. Given that Moloch supposedly received child sacrifices, the fact that Dr. Mahan was an abortionist seems all the more frightening.
9 Strange Symbols
Featured on an episode of Paranormal Witness, the house at 20317 Fairway Drive in Springfield, Louisiana, is supposedly haunted by a diabolical entity. In the episode, new homeowners Jeanine and A.J. move into a quaint, cheap home in rural Louisiana.
Before long, Jeanine is subjected to physical assaults committed by an unseen presence. The attacks escalate to the point that the couple is forced to flee the home. Right before leaving, A.J. and his father-in-law pull back a rug and discover that one room in the house is covered in satanic symbols.
Much of the episode makes a big deal of the fact that the haunting takes place in Louisiana. Not only is New Orleans one of the primary hubs of voodoo, but rural Louisiana also has its fair share of satanic goings-on. Overall, A.J. and Jeanine believe that their home was once used by a satanic cult, which brought a demon into the world during one of their rituals.
In 2014, Fox43, a local Fox affiliate in central Pennsylvania, traveled to the home of DeAnna Simpson in Hanover. The reporters were there because Simpson claimed that her home had been haunted for years by the presence of a nonhuman entity.
Nick Petrillo, a cameraman for the Fox43 team, apparently felt a burning sensation in his hand while he was filming at the Simpson house. When Petrillo told Simpson about his inexplicable pain, she responded by pouring holy water on the afflicted area.
The subject of an episode of the Travel Channel’s TV show The Dead Files, Simpson claims that a demon has taken possession of her home. In addition to five other ghosts, the demon likes to mentally and physically torture DeAnna and her husband, Tom.
For the most part, the demon only appears as a large black shadow. Simpson may or may not have captured this shadow on film. As for why her house is haunted, Simpson points to an unspecific series of gruesome deaths that occurred on the property.
7 The Smurl Haunting
Between 1974 and 1989, the Smurl family of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, was subjected to endless amounts of paranormal phenomena. Jack and Janet Smurl and their four children claimed that their TV once burst into flames, their toilets flushed by themselves, and various electronics in the house would stop working for no apparent reason. At night, the family would hear footsteps and smell terrible odors, with neither having an identifiable source.
More disturbing, claw marks—or what appeared to be claw marks—began appearing in the family’s bathroom. Before long, full-bodied apparitions appeared above beds, and in 1985, a ghoul that the family named “Old Hag” was seen walking through walls. On other occasions, “Old Hag” or some other demon sexually assaulted both Jack and Janet. In that year, some 50 exorcisms were performed on the house, but the assaults didn’t stop until the Smurl family moved in 1989.
Like a certain haunting in Amityville, New York, skeptics raise an eyebrow at the fact that the demonic activity seemed to cease once the Smurl family moved. The involvement of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in the case was cause for further skepticism. In 1991, the Smurl case became a made-for-TV movie entitled The Haunted.
6 The Bean Family
The Beans were a typical, all-American family. During the 1970s, they lived in Glen Burnie, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. Specifically, the family lived in a ranch-style home in a community called Harundale. According to Bill Bean, author of Dark Force, the family’s home always appeared ominous and contained a negative energy.
As Bean recounts, the family’s home was possessed by a demon. This entity liked to wrap its cold hands around family members and simulate murdering them. In one instance, the demon transformed itself into a human in a black suit. It gave itself away because of its all-black eyes, however. Eventually, the Bean family was forced to flee their home in the 1980s.
As with most demonic hauntings, Bill Bean doesn’t have an answer for why his family’s house was haunted, although Dark Force does mention the possibility of extraterrestrial contact. However, he does claim to have proof in the form of strange pictures that were taken while the family still lived in Harundale. The home’s subsequent owners claimed that their abode was anything but abnormal.
5 A Horde Of Demons
The house of Latoya Ammons and her three children is supposedly so haunted that local police had to get involved. According to Ammons, her family’s small home on Carolina Street in Gary, Indiana, started “acting bad” shortly after they moved there in November 2011.
The first troubling manifestation occurred when large, black flies started swarming around the family’s screened-in porch. These attacks occurred throughout the year, even in December. At night, the family would hear footsteps all around the house, including one night when Ammons saw a shadow figure walking across her living room.
According to paranormal investigators, demons like to manifest as solidly black shadow figures. Less supernaturally inclined researchers argue that seeing shadow people is connected to sleep paralysis.
Whatever the case, Ammons claims that she once witnessed her unconscious 12-year-old daughter levitating above her bed at 2:00 AM. Realizing that they needed help, Ammons and her family contacted clairvoyants. These clairvoyants made the shocking claim that the Ammons family’s home was haunted by 200 demons.
Ammons and her children underwent exorcisms to rid themselves of the unnatural menace, but they ultimately had to flee the house. Today, the house is well-known for a picture that supposedly shows a demon standing by a window. Many have countered this claim by debunking the photo.
4 Halloween Demons
Tracey and Keiron Fry of New Tredegar, South Wales, became overnight celebrities in the British tabloids because they claimed that demons were living in their home. More specifically, the couple claimed that beginning one Halloween night, three demons began assaulting and molesting them. One claim states that an evil entity told the Fry children that it was going to slit the throats of Tracey and Keiron.
As with a lot of stories about demonic hauntings, Tracey and Keiron believe that a Ouija board, which they had previously used to contact spirits, was the vehicle that the demons used to infest their house. Once inside, the demons became ruthlessly violent and left bruises and scratches on family members. Keiron believes that he managed to capture a picture of one of the entities. In the photo, the entity appears to be a small child dressed in white.
Given that the Fry family story first appeared in sensationalist press outlets like the Daily Mail and The Sun, the family’s claims should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the Fry family did manage to convince a team of paranormal investigators and a Church of Wales vicar named Johnathan Widdess to cleanse their house of all evil spirits.
3 The Cage
Currently, one of Great Britain’s most haunted houses is up for sale. Located in the Essex town of St. Osyth, “the Cage” was once a witches’ prison in the 16th century. According to former owner Vanessa Mitchell, the village’s witches left something truly frightening behind.
After moving there in 2004, Mitchell claims that several ghosts began attacking her. One cheeky ghost smacked her rear while another shoved her down while she was pregnant. In other instances, strange, blood-like stains appeared on the floor.
In an ITV interview, Mitchell stated that she saw three ghosts—two men and one woman—during her three years of living in the Cage. More shocking is Mitchell’s claim that the house is also haunted by a goat demon. Mitchell believes that she captured this entity in a photograph.
After leaving the house, Mitchell penned A Modern Day Haunting to recount her experiences. She asserts that one of the Cage’s ghosts is Ursula Kemp, a former inmate of the Cage who was accused, tried, and executed for witchcraft.
2 The Armstrong Street House
In 1970, Ann and Roger Brock moved their family into a four-bedroom home at 2220 N. Armstrong Street in Kokomo, Indiana. The house only cost $5,000—a real steal for a young couple with three daughters. However, once ensconced within the house’s walls, the Brock family began experiencing some truly disturbing events.
For years, daughters Lana and Lisa claimed that they felt uncomfortable in the dark house. But it wasn’t until 1978, when younger brothers Roger Jr. and James were born, that the family began seeing what they believed was a nonhuman entity.
One night, after experiencing inexplicable shaking in and around her bed, Lana saw a wet man standing outside her window. Upon closer inspection, she came to believe that it wasn’t a man at all but a “creature.” Making matters worse for the family, a local rumor posited that a woman had been murdered in the house.
As recounted in an episode of Paranormal Witness, the Brocks were subjected to numerous assaults by what they believed was a demon because Roger Brock was a Baptist minister. At one point, after answering a knock on her bedroom door, Lana had her mouth covered by an invisible hand. As much as she tried to scream, the hand prevented her.
Luckily, the family dog distracted the demon, thereby allowing Lana to scream. As revenge, the demon killed the dog by throwing it through a window. Today, Lana runs a blog dedicated to investigating the paranormal. As for the house, Lana claims a serial arsonist burned it down.
1 The Sallie House
Despite its reputation as one of America’s most haunted houses, the Sallie House of Atchison, Kansas, looks like any other middle-class home. Located at 508 N. Second Street, the Sallie House was built in the 19th century and got its name from a ghost girl named Sallie.
In 1992, the case of the Sallie House made national news thanks to the Sightings television program. While an episode of the show was being filmed, the home’s residents, Tony and Debra Pickman, showed suspicious scratch marks on their bodies. Members of the television crew were similarly bumped, bruised, and scratched.
According to Tony and Debra, these serious supernatural assaults began after the birth of their child. From then on, Tony and Debra suffered cuts and physical pains caused by unseen assailants. Anyone who visited the house was similarly assaulted.
Other stories claim that full-body apparitions, floating objects, and inexplicable noises such as animal sounds were experienced by members of the household and their friends. To investigate these mysterious occurrences, the Pickman family frequently invited paranormal investigators and psychics to their home, some of whom used Ouija boards to try to contact the house’s spirits.
Disturbingly, Tony and Debra came to believe that Sallie, the house’s most active ghost, was somehow a magnet for much darker entities. In particular, Sallie may have been the portal that allowed a demon or several demons to enter the house.
One of these demons has been called a harpy due to its predilection for physical violence and its particular interest in Tony and Debra’s child. Tony and Debra left the house in 1994, but they maintain a website dedicated to their experiences.
Benjamin Welton is a freelance writer based in Boston. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Listverse, Metal Injection, and others. He currently blogs at literarytrebuchet.blogspot.com.