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Watseka Wonder: One of the Best Documented Cases of Possession



An old photo of Lurancy Vennum: The Watseka Wonder. Image: Wikipedia

The Watseka Wonder refers to a documented case of possession and exorcism that took place in the town of Watseka, Illinois in the late 19th century. In 1877, a young girl named Lurancy Vennum was said to have been taken over by the spirits of multiple deceased individuals, leading her to display unusual and erratic behavior. The events surrounding the case were documented by witnesses and medical professionals, and eventually resulted in an exorcism being performed to remove the spirits from the girl.

The case of the Watseka Wonder has been the subject of discussion and debate among paranormal researchers and skeptics for many years, with some viewing it as a clear example of supernatural possession, while others believe it may have been a manifestation of a psychological or physiological disorder. Despite the ongoing debate, the Watseka Wonder remains one of the most well-known and documented cases of possession in American history.

Who was Lurancy Vennum

Lurancy Vennum was a young girl from Watseka, Illinois. Lurancy was reportedly around 14 years old when she first began to display signs of possession. After her behavior became erratic and she was said to have been taken over by multiple spirits, Lurancy was placed under the care of a local spiritualist by her parents.

After the exorcism, Lurancy’s behavior was said to have returned to normal, and she lived the rest of her life as a normal individual. Despite her case being one of the most well-documented and discussed cases of possession in American history, little is known about Lurancy’s personal life or her experiences following the events that took place in Watseka.

Lurrancy Vennum and the Voices

Lurancy Vennum was around 13 years old when she started having trouble sleeping. She would hear voices desperately calling out her name at night time which made her too scared to go to sleep. Around the same time she became quite ill and started having epileptic seizures.

According to reports, Lurancy’s behavior became erratic soon after and she began speaking in different voices, leading some to believe that she had been taken over by multiple spirits.

The spirits that spoke through Lurancy made many claims such as:

Predictions about future events: The spirits were said to have made predictions about future events and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

Knowledge of personal details: The spirits were said to have displayed knowledge of personal details about Lurancy and her family, as well as details about people and events that Lurancy could not have known.

Claims about past lives: The spirits were said to have claimed to be deceased individuals, each with a unique personality and set of experiences from past lives.

Insight into the afterlife: The spirits were said to have provided insight into the afterlife, including descriptions of heaven and hell.

The spirits identified themselves in many cases. Some of the spirits who visited often were:

Caroline Eaton: A deceased woman who claimed to have died from a fall.

Sarah Renico: A deceased woman who claimed to have died from a heart attack.

Mary Roff: A deceased woman from Watseka that died from tuberculosis about 12 years previously.

A number of other spirits were also said to have taken over Lurancy’s body, each claiming to be a deceased individual with a unique set of experiences and memories.

An image of Mary Roth before her death. Image: AmericanHauntingsInk

Lurancy allowed the spirit of Mary Roff to possess her body for about fifteen weeks at a time. During this time she visited many of Roff’s friends and relatives who lived in Watseka. Lurancy seemed to be familiar with the Roff home, and was able to recall stories from Mary Roff’s life.

The Roff family was convinced that Lurancy was a reincarnation of their daughter, Mary, and allowed Lurancy to live with them for several weeks.

Lurancy also displayed other strange behaviors that seemed to be supernatural in origin. Some of these were:

Unusual physical movements: Lurancy was reported to have experienced sudden and uncontrolled movements, such as convulsions, twitching, and tremors.

Changes in speech: Lurancy was said to have experienced sudden and dramatic changes in her speech, including speaking in different voices and using languages she was not previously familiar with.

Altered consciousness: Lurancy was reported to have experienced altered states of consciousness, including periods of unconsciousness and catatonia.

Unusual displays of strength: Lurancy was said to have displayed sudden and unnatural displays of strength, such as lifting heavy objects with ease and resisting the attempts of multiple people to hold her down.

This behavior continued for several months and resulted in Lurancy being placed under the care of a local spiritualist, Mary Baker. Baker believed that Lurancy was indeed possessed by multiple spirits and performed an exorcism to remove the supposed spirits from her body.

It is unclear what exactly took place during the exorcism, but it is reported that Lurancy experienced a dramatic change in behavior and that the spirits that were said to have taken over her body were no longer present. Lurancy was said to have regained control of her body and her personality, and was reported to have returned to a more normal state of consciousness and physical behavior.

A video that goes in depth into the story of Lurancy Vennum and the Watseka Wonder.

Theories about the Watseka Wonder

The Watseka Wonder has been the subject of much speculation and theorizing by those interested in paranormal and spiritual phenomena. Some of the spiritual theories about the Watseka Wonder include:

Possession by multiple spirits: Some paranormal researchers and spiritual practitioners believe that Lurancy Vennum was truly possessed by multiple spirits, each of whom claimed to be a deceased individual with a unique set of experiences and memories.

Channeling of spiritual energy: Some believe that Lurancy Vennum was a vessel for spiritual energy and that the spirits that were said to have taken over her body were manifestations of this energy.

Other more down to Earth theories include:

Dissociative identity disorder: Some experts believe that Lurancy Vennum may have suffered from dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition in which a person experiences multiple distinct identities or personalities. This theory suggests that Lurancy’s behavior was the result of a split in her consciousness, rather than supernatural possession.

Conversion disorder: Another theory is that Lurancy may have suffered from conversion disorder, a condition in which psychological stress is expressed through physical symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and changes in speech. This theory suggests that Lurancy’s behavior was a manifestation of psychological distress, rather than supernatural possession.

Hysteria: Some believe that Lurancy’s behavior may have been a result of hysteria, a condition that was commonly diagnosed in women during the 19th century and was characterized by symptoms such as convulsions, changes in speech, and altered consciousness.

Psychological suggestion: Another theory is that Lurancy’s behavior may have been the result of psychological suggestion or the placebo effect. This theory suggests that Lurancy’s behavior was influenced by the beliefs and expectations of those around her, and that her experiences were shaped by the cultural and social context of the time.

The events surrounding the Watseka Wonder remain a source of fascination and mystery, and continue to be studied and debated by paranormal researchers and experts in the fields of psychology and mental health.

William T. Stevens’ Account of the Watseka Wonder

William T. Stevens was an American author and paranormal researcher who wrote about the Watseka Wonder in his book “The Watseka Wonder: A Strange and Mysterious Case of Possession and Exorcism.” Stevens was one of the first to bring the story of the Watseka Wonder to a wider audience, and his book remains one of the primary sources of information about the case.

In his book, Stevens documented the events surrounding the supposed possession and exorcism of Lurancy Vennum, as well as the cultural and historical context of the time. He included accounts from witnesses, newspaper articles, and other sources, and provided his own interpretation of the events.

Stevens was interested in spiritualism and paranormal phenomena, and he believed that the events surrounding the Watseka Wonder were evidence of supernatural possession. However, his book has been criticized by some experts and researchers who believe that the events were the result of a psychological or physiological disorder, rather than supernatural possession.

Regardless of one’s beliefs about the events of the Watseka Wonder, William T. Stevens’s book remains a valuable source of information and a fascinating account of a strange and mysterious case.

If you want to learn more about the case this book is the best source of information. You can purchase it on Amazon(Affiliate link, we may earn a commission):

The Watseka Wonder by William T. Stevens.

What do you think was going on with the Watseka Wonder and the possession of Lurancy Vennum? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the ouija board demon ZOZO or the ghosts of the General Wayne Inn

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Fofao: The Killer Doll




The creepy Fofao dolls did in fact contain a sharp spike within to support the doll’s head. Photo: Latin Folktales

An urban legend spread throughout Latin America in the late 1980s telling of a knife being hidden in Fofao dolls. It turns out it was somewhat based in reality.

Who was Fofão?

The rather spooky looking character of Fofao. Photo: Wikipedia

Orival Pessini was tasked by TV Globo director, José Bonifácio de Oliveira Sobrinho , to create a child character for the upcoming program Balão Mágico. As any character that was created would go on air, Orival was unsure of what to create, having no prior experience with children.

After contemplating various possibilities such as a dog, pig, clown, teddy bear, extraterrestrial, or human, Orival decided to combine all the ideas, resulting in the creation of Fofão.

Orival was also inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T, which he described as being unattractive but possessing a great heart and charisma. Therefore, he aimed to create a similar character in Fofão.

In 1983, the character Fofão made its first appearance on the morning children’s television program, Balão Mágico, as a supporting character to the children’s musical group.

Despite its minor role, the character quickly gained popularity, eventually becoming an iconic figure in Brazilian media during the 1980s. This was largely due to the high sales of a plush toy based on the character.

In 1986, following the end of the original program, Fofão was given its own solo show called TV Fofão, which aired on Rede Bandeirantes until 1989, with a brief return between 1994-1996. The character made its final TV appearance in 1998 on the CNT Gazeta channel.

During the early 1980s, he gained immense popularity among Brazilian children and became a sensation. The character had its own TV show, released albums, dolls, and various other licensed products.

The Legend of the killer Fofao dolls

A video telling the story of the creepy Fofao dolls

After Fofao’s meteoric rise to fame the Fofao dolls sold in huge numbers. Not long afterwards rumors began to spread about the dolls having a knife concealed inside them.

According to the legend, Fofao dolls were cursed and would come to life in the middle of the night. The doll’s head would then separate from its body revealing a large knife. The Fofao doll would then repeatedly stab the child sleeping peacefully next to them.

After the story of the cursed Fofao doll became widely known, many people reportedly burned their own Fofao dolls out of fear. The story has since become a popular urban legend throughout Latin America.

Spookily, the Fofao doll legend wasn’t completely made up. When the head of the doll was removed a large, sharp plastic spike was revealed. This was used as a structural support to help the doll to sit up on its own.

Did you hear the legend of the Fofao dolls when you were growing up? Tell us about it in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article about the creepy Fofao dolls you might also be interested in Okiku: The Doll with Growing Human Hair or the story of Gabriel March Granados and the world longest prison sentence.

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Demon Cat of D.C




A possible Demon Cat peering over a fence in Washington D.C. Photo: Wikipedia

Several people have reported seeing a large cat lurking around the US Government buildings in Washington D.C. Some say the cat appears as a warning before significant events.

The Legend of the Demon Cat of D.C

In the mid-1800s, cats were introduced into the underground tunnels of the United States Capitol Building with the purpose of exterminating rats and mice.

The story of the Demon Cat began during this time, with the belief that it was one of these feline workers whose spirit remained in the basement crypt after its passing.

The crypt, which was meant to be a final resting place for President George Washington, is said to be the Demon Cat’s favourite hangout.

As per a Washington Post article from 1898, the Demon Cat initially appears to be a regular-sized housecat but quickly expands to the size of an elephant, causing fear in the observer’s eyes.

In a 1935 Washington Post article, a witness described the Demon Cat’s eyes as glowing with the same intensity and fierceness as the headlights of a fire engine.

In addition to the Capitol Building, the legend extends to the White House. According to the tale, when the Demon Cat is seen on the Ground Floor of the White House (previously known as the basement), it means that a huge tragedy is about to unfold.

The Demon Cat’s notoriety is largely attributed to a collection of cat paw prints that can be found on the concrete floor of the Small Senate Rotunda, located near the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber.

While the Architect of the Capitol asserts that these paw prints belong to the rat-catching cats that once inhabited the building, proponents of the Demon Cat legend contest this claim.

According to them, the paw prints only materialized after the rotunda was almost obliterated by an explosion in 1898, which they attribute to the vindictive cat, although official records attribute the blast to a gas explosion. (Who is to say the cat didn’t cause the gas explosion).

These believers also allege that the initials “D.C.” etched into the same floor stand for “Demon Cat”.

Sightings of the Demon Cat of D.C

One of the cats that lurked in the basement of the Capitol Building

The first recorded sighting of the Demon Cat was in the United States Capitol in 1862 when it appeared in the basement, which was then used as a bakery to feed soldiers during the Civil War.

The cat was seen multiple times in the basement, and a guard supposedly fired a gun at it, causing it to vanish.

Since then, the Demon Cat has been spotted most frequently in the Capitol Building’s basement. While some describe it as a tabby, others claim it to be black.

A White House guard claimed to have witnessed the Demon Cat before the 1929 stock market crash, while another night watchman spotted it prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

Even though no firsthand source confirms the Demon Cat’s sightings at the White House, the feline ghost is occasionally included among the “most renowned” spirits of the Executive Mansion.

Possible Explanations for the Demon Cat of D.C

A video about the Demon Cat of D.C

The legend of the Demon Cat of D.C is thought to have originated from a guardsman at the United States Capitol who had possibly consumed too much alcohol during a long night shift, as per public historian Steve Livengood from the United States Capitol Historical Society.

Livengood speculates that upon waking up from a nap, the guardsman saw a basement cat that appeared larger than life due to his lying down position, and this experience might have perpetuated the story of the Demon Cat.

Such oral ghost stories are commonplace, particularly among those who worked graveyard shifts in the Capitol and White House, and the Demon Cat legend aligns with the traditional perception of cats as mystical creatures with the power to bring misfortune.

In addition to this, cats are often associated with nefarious activities and witchcraft. As a result, the Demon Cat tale is probably an amalgamation of history, imaginative narration, and widely held beliefs, making it one of the most renowned ghost stories in the nation’s capital.

Have you ever seen the Demon Cat of D.C? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Demon Cat of D.C you might be interested in other supernatural cats like the Bakeneko or the Canterbury Panther.

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