investigation into "Grace's" case and the exorcism it culminated into
really tested the mettle of our investigators. For the first time we were taken
across national borders to investigate a case, and between packing a carload
of equipment and the long ride to our destination, frayed nerves quickly began
came to our attention quite by accident. A coworker and I somehow got onto the
subject of the supernatural, and she mentioned that she had a relative who had
been living in a nightmarish situation for nearly five years, and that no one
had been able to help her.
Over a cup of
coffee, my coworker told me the story of her niece. She would relay a story
that was so bizarre, had we not known what demonic spirits are capable of, we
may not have believed it.
Grace, a fifty-six
year old woman, had moved into a duplex apartment in a large Canadian city in
the fall of 1995. She noticed that the departing couple seemed odd, but she
couldn't quite put her finger on why.
Grace is fortunate
to have a large family with just about every trade represented, and they all
set to work making the new home to Grace's liking. Her brother replaced the
floor with a beautiful wooden pine, and partitioned a section part of the basement
for Grace's twenty-one year old son to entertain. Grace and "Robert"
each took an upstairs bedroom; the third they made into a den. The two would
live in the home while it was being renovated.
During her first
night there, Grace got her first indication that something was amiss. An uneasy
feeling overcame her as she sat at her kitchen table writing out bills,
as if someone were right behind her. Her first instinct was to pull the drapes,
but it didn't help. She finished her work and went to bed.
A devote Roman
Catholic, Grace said her Rosary nightly as she had since she was a child. This
night, she knelt at the bedside, began her prayers, and was suddenly poked hard
in the side.
she regained her composure and finished her Rosary, and went off to bed.
A sharp pain
in her left temple woke Grace out of a sound sleep. She put her hand to her
head, and felt blood - a large chunk of hair had been pulled right out of her
scalp! She flipped on the light, looked around the room, and saw nothing - and
no hair on the pillow. She remembered being poked earlier, and decided the only
logical explanation was that a neighbor was sneaking in. She would discuss this,
along with calling the police with Robert in the morning.
But Robert had
no tale to tell. He had slept like a rock, he said, and casually suggested his
mother had dreamt the events.
look like I dreamt it?", Grace said as she tilted her head toward Robert.
Sure enough, there was a chunk of hair missing - but where was it?
A thorough search
of the bedroom produced no hair, and Grace, fully believing she was dealing
with a human adversary, called her father over to install new locks. He did
so that very day.
Yet they never
worked, for neither Grace or Robert. Again and again each found themselves locked
out, sometimes even in.
her father came out to inspect the locks, and on all occasions they opened immediately
for him. Despite the new locks, the hair-pulling and poking continued.
Grace and Robert
decided it was time for some defensive action. They agreed that Checkers, Robert's
dog, should come to live with them. Surely any intruder would be scared off
by a barking dog.
But it was not
an intruder who would cower in fear that night. Poor Checkers, unable to sleep,
howled and whined all night. Daybreak came to find Checkers hiding under the
kitchen table, more than relieved that Grace and Robert were awake.
complained that her hair had been pulled in the night. As she and Robert bickered
over the impossibility of this, Robert's eyes were draw to the still-cowering
dog under the table. There he made a sobering discovery. A patch of the dog's
hair had been ripped out!
They would both
have to admit now, something unnatural was going on. That was Checker's
first and last night there; come nightfall he was nearly hysterical, and had
to be returned to Robert's father's home.
Both tried to
live a 'normal' life, but this was no ordinary household. Whatever was there
was determined to make itself known to Grace, even in the most subtle ways.
But, in keeping with their usual methods, only Grace suffered the spirit's
attacks. More often than not it will target the one who spends the most
time in the home, sparing the other occupants. The divide and conquer strategy.
Grace was an
immaculate housekeeper, and proud of it. Doors open just ajar, or a shirt sticking
out of a closed drawer would drive her right over to fix it. And she found herself
doing a lot of this lately.
Her closet was
constantly being left open just a bit, as was the door to the bedroom. Assuming
Robert to be behind this, she gently reminded him that if he wanted something
by all means take it, but close the doors behind you. Robert was puzzled by
this, because he swore he hadn't been in there ...
Over time this
became more and more annoying. Now it was the back slider door that was being
left open. This infuriated Grace, as someone could easily come in. Again upon
confronting Robert, he insisted he hadn't done it. The once close relationship
was becoming severely strained.
This is a phenomena
known as diabolical confusion. The spirit sets up scenarios in an effort to
turn people against each other. These spirits are extremely clever: they know
that something as simple as a door left ajar could bring about an altercation.
Divide and conquer.
With Grace and
Robert at odds now, the setting was right for the spirit to intensify its assault.
Things went from bad to worse for Grace.
had sent Grace out to buy a wig to cover her increasing bald spots. Coworkers
noticed them too, and urged her to seek medical attention.
Grace saw a
prominent dermatologist in the area and explained her situation. "No,"
the doctor argued, "this is just not possible - the hair must be on the
pillow, or on the floor." Of course, Grace had looked, but the hair had
simply vanished. Covering all possibilities, the doctor gave Grace a full workup:
biopsies of the scalp sections missing hair, blood work, and skin allergy tests.
Grace passed all with flying colors and was pronounced physically fit.
Grace had been
communicating with her aunt in the 'states, explaining the bizarre details of
her nightly ordeals. "The poking is getting, er, worse when I try to say
my Rosary," she had said. Grace was too embarrassed to say it, but her
aunt knew what she was hinting at.
her aunt instructed, "I want you to go the your church today, and
tell the priest what's happening in your home. Have him come there and see if
he can get it to leave."
The parish priest
came to her house the next day, and to Grace's surprise, had a 'sensitive' with
him. She told Grace that there was a spirit in the hallway closet, and that
simply sprinkling some white sage around would make it leave.
(This is an
example of why lay people should never attempt to discern what may or may not
be in a home. The white sage simply enraged it, as it often does to negative
That night Grace
finally admitted she was being touched in a sexual manner while praying her
Rosary. So bad were these distractions, she often couldn't finish. And by this
point half her hair was gone.
Robert was completely
unaffected by any of the spirit's actions. As much as he hated to admit it,
he began to question his mother's mental faculties.
As did Grace's
coworkers. She began donning some 'protective' gear, even during the daytime
to prevent the hair pulling. Under the wig, she wore a cap and a patch of jeans
she had cut from one of Robert's old pair. She had also completely changed her
overall appearance, possibly in a subconscious effort to shake the unwanted
attention of the being that tormented her.
When her aunt
learned of the 'protective headgear', she had heard enough. It was time to pay
Grace a visit and see exactly what was going on there.
Canada, she stood on the doorstep, mouth agape in shock, and could only stare
when her niece opened the front door. Grace, once an elegant dresser with long
blond tresses, now donned a short-cropped gray wig and had jet-black eyebrows,
penciled in. She dressed in dark, muted tones that covered nearly every bit
of flesh. Her aunt looked to Robert for an explanation. He just made a waving
jester and left - he spent as little time in the house with his mother as possible
demanded an explanation. The wig, Grace said, was the only one 'it' would let
her wear. She had invested in quite a few expensive wigs, only to find them
ripped to pieces on the bathroom floor in the morning. Same with the black eyebrow
pencil: all other makeup items she bought, 'it' destroyed. She covered her neck
and arms, she explained, to hide the bruises she had received from the nightly
pinching and poking.
At her aunt's
insistence, Grace was once again medically evaluated, this time by a psychiatrist
as well. Both doctors felt that whatever was going on, there was no medical
explanation for it. The psychiatrist found her to be sound, just 'under duress.'
At no time during
her visit did the aunt witness any of the supernatural activity that was happening
- doors opening and closing, locks failing to work, and the scratching noises
that seems to emanate from the walls.
(This is very
common. A spirit tormenting one individual is not likely to give itself away
by letting others witness the phenomena.)
She left Grace's
house with a heavy heart. She dearly loved this youngest niece, and also believed
her story - she knew Grace to always be a truthful person. What on earth could
account for this?!
She was deeply
troubled by the change she'd seen in her niece, and prayed to Padre Pio for
Later that week,
we discussed the transformation she had seen in Grace. Could it be the work
of a spirit, she asked?
I told her we'd
have to go up there and see to make that determination, but it sure sounded
suspicious. To this day, the aunt insists that Padre Pio directed her to us.
we ran into getting to Grace hinted to us that there was spiritual involvement.
Phone calls placed by either party didn't go through or were too static-filled
to hear. Not one, but three rental cars that were reserved failed to
show up, and we wound up lagging hours behind schedule. Starting out at
9 am, we were finally on our way by 5 pm.
And, what should
have been a seven hour trip from Connecticut took twelve. Black ice coated nearly
every stretch of roadway from home to Canada, making driving treacherous. It
was 6 am on the following day when investigators Barbara Considine, Dave and
I finally pulled into Grace's driveway.
We found her
to be exactly as her aunt had described. She also seemed a wonderful and caring
mother and a woman deeply devoted to her faith. Which brought her to her first
question to us: "Why is this happening to me?"
a standard interview, and found she had no prior activities that would have
exposed her to the supernatural, i.e.., use of Ouija boards, tarot cards, etc.
She showed us all the documentation from her doctors pronouncing her medically
and psychologically fit. We also learned that up until that time, she had visited
six churches looking for help, and only two had even sent someone to house.
the interview, we set up our cameras and monitors and hoped to catch some of
the activity on tape.
As so often
happens in cases like this, nothing. Just like when Grace's aunt had come to
visit, the spirit hid rather than risking being exposed.
The next morning
Grace anxiously asked how the taping went. We had to tell her that we had gotten
nothing, and poor Grace burst into tears. She had hoped we'd be able to gather
evidence that would help end her torment. Just then, something astonishing happened.
As Grace covered
her face and cried, one by one, the hairs on her wig stood straight up
and began to break off, slowly drifting to the floor! None of us had ever seen
anything like it. We also got extremely high EMF [electromagnetic field] readings
in the area surrounding her, and in the rooms where she'd experienced the most
activity. We have found that abnormally high EMF readings can be an indicator
of a spirit presence.
that further investigation would be fruitless, and decided to present Grace's
case to the proper authorities.
Robert McKenna listened intently as Dave and I relayed Grace's story. He is
a kind and demure man, but a very learned and seasoned exorcist. The Bishop
decided that the best course of action be swift, and a date was set for an
exorcism. But once this was done, he explained, it cannot be interfered with
- it must go off as planned. We immediately called Grace, and instructed her
to be in Connecticut on the appointed day.
As Grace sat
on a train speeding towards Connecticut, her thoughts also raced: What would
happen? Would I be hurt more? Most importantly, will all this finally
at her aunt's home the night before the exorcism, just as a large Northeaster'
storm sat menacingly off the Connecticut coast. Dave, Barbara and I met with
the family over dinner to discuss the next days' events.
the elements of an exorcism, and gave them a brief synopsis of what to expect.
When the night wound to a close, a couple of people went out to warm up
their cars. While we said our goodnights, all heard three loud knocks at the
front door. Assuming someone had been locked out, I went over to open it.
When I did so,
all I was greeted by was a frigid breeze. No one was there, and all could
be accounted for in the house. I actually chastised myself for falling for
the trick; demonic spirits will often announce themselves in that manner.
The number three is symbolic to them - they use it to mock the Holy Trinity.
hurried down the driveway towards the cars, our feet crunching the few inches
of snow deposited a few days earlier. I suddenly felt much colder when I saw
what lay on the ground near Dave's car.
A series of
huge, hoofed footprints ran parallel to the passenger side and into the woods,
but they originated from the front door! It looked as if a giant cow
had walked on two feet, like a human.
We have found
cloven footprints in other cases to be associated with demonic spirits.
On the day of
the exorcism, the storm was battering Connecticut with some of the worse snow
it had seen in years. We were very late picking up Bishop McKenna, and we drove
at a snail's pace towards Grace's aunt's house. Broken down and hopelessly stuck
vehicles were everywhere in our path, like bumper cars. It seemed as if something
was going all out to make sure this exorcism didn't go off.
in Grace's aunt's spacious home, we took a moment to relax, then set to work.
As Bishop McKenna prayed, Barbara, Dave and I removed all breakables from the
large room we had chosen for the exorcism. One large chair was placed in the
center for Grace. The once confident, happy-go-lucky Grace was emotionally and
physically drained; she could only sit and watch.
was time. As Bishop McKenna read the Litany of the Saints, Grace drifted into
a sleep-like trance. We strategically positioned investigators at Grace's sides
and back, with the Bishop in front.
All was quiet
until the expulsatory rite. Grace began to wince and complain of pains in her
arms and chest, and we began to hear strange, muted noises that seemed to emanate
from everywhere around us. Her chin tightened in a grimace, and her eyes took
on a cold, gray color. Out of nowhere, seven ladybugs appeared, zipping around
Grace's chair and daintily landing on our fingertips!
At the last
part of the expulsatory rite, the lady bugs disappeared - but were replaced
by loud, heavy footsteps over our heads, as if someone were walking on the roof.
We all looked up, praying to ourselves that the skylight above would hold.
With the last
of the prayers and the blessing said, the footsteps stopped and all was quite.
And for the first time in nearly five years, a peaceful smile came to Grace's
face. She was exhausted, beaten and tired, but relieved.
had to return to the rectory, but we stayed with Grace's aunt and her family.
Over another generous dinner we discussed the events, and helped them come to
terms with what had happened. All were astonished that Grace had been able to
hold her own against this unseen attacker for nearly five years.
to Canada, and although she is still coping with the trauma she's been through,
is doing well. She decided to sell the duplex that held so many bad memories
One day a bubbly
realtor showed a couple around the house. As Grace stood in the doorway, a memory
flooded over her - and she almost fell to her knees.
when she first toured the home. It finally dawned on her what was so strange
about that couple that she had bought the duplex from: The fairly young woman
was obviously wearing a wig.
is very happy now, having sold the duplex and moved closer to her family. She
is trying her best to put the past five years behind her, but it's been difficult.
And sadly, the dermatologist determined that some of the hair that was so violently
ripped out may not grow back, as the follicles were permanently damaged. She
is also working on repairing her relationship with her son.
was performed on Grace, but it remains a mystery what caused the haunting. Based
on the interviews and the events we witnessed, we believe it was indeed a demonic
spirit, specifically an incubus, one that sexually attacks female victims.
How it got there
we'll never know.
earned her nickname - Amazing Grace: Although emotionally and physically scarred,
she had endured the torment of a demonic spirit - and walked away.
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