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):
What do you think was going on with the Watseka Wonder and the possession of Lurancy Vennum? Let us know in the comments.
Fleshgait: Predatory Mimic in the Woods
A fleshgait is a creature that imitates the voices and appearances of people in the woods, with the intention of luring them away. People who have seen fleshgaits describe them as tall, thin, grey beings with long claws and no hair.
Description of a Fleshgait
Imagine a mysterious creature lurking in the depths of the woods, capable of mimicking human voices and appearances. Meet the fleshgait—a cunning trickster that entices unsuspecting wanderers. Witnesses who have encountered these eerie beings describe them as towering, slender figures, draped in a shroud of grey, with razor-sharp claws and an absence of hair.
Picture this: as you venture into the wilderness, unaware of the lurking danger, the fleshgait slinks in the shadows, perfecting its masquerade. With a supernatural ability to mimic the voices of both people and animals, it skillfully mimics the ones you hold dear, beckoning you deeper into its treacherous domain.
It is widely believed that fleshgaits are dangerous towards humans and often lure them deeper into the woods in order to harm or eat them. Some people also think that fleshgaits are connected to the Missing 411 disappearances, but there is no evidence to support this claim.
The powers of fleshgaits are not fully understood because nobody has witnessed their full capabilities. Based on reports, here are the commonly agreed-upon traits:
Voice Mimicking: Fleshgaits can imitate the voices of both humans and animals. They can only mimic voices and phrases they have heard before. Their calls can be captivating and difficult to resist, even when people know the voice is not from the person they are concerned about.
Super Speed: Fleshgaits are known for their unnaturally fast movement, often disappearing quickly into the woods.
Excessive Strength: Animals found torn apart in areas where fleshgaits are sighted suggest that these creatures possess tremendous strength.
While some reports suggest that fleshgaits can change their shape, not all reports mention this ability. Reports of shape-shifting fleshgaits occur frequently enough for many people to believe in their shape-shifting abilities.
The Lore Lodge covers the the legend of the Fleshgait
Angeles National Forest, California – Alex Reynolds, Sarah Mitchell, and David Thompson, had a heart-stopping encounter with a fleshgait almost ten years ago. Despite the scary moment, these brave explorers managed to come out of it without any harm.
On a sunny afternoon, specifically on July 21st, 2013, the trio set off on an exciting adventure deep into the breathtaking Angeles National Forest. Towering trees and stunning views provided the backdrop for an experience they would never forget.
As they went further into the wilderness, a strange feeling of unease settled over them. It felt like the forest was holding its breath, and they sensed something they couldn’t see. Curiosity pushed them forward, unaware of the terrifying encounter they were about to face.
In the heart of the forest, they heard a voice calling their names from all directions. Confused, they looked at each other, trying to figure out where the calls were coming from.
With fear gripping them, the hikers cautiously followed the enchanting yet unsettling voices. Suddenly, in a sunny spot, they saw the fleshgait appear. It was tall and slender, with eerie eyes that seemed to shine from another world. Its appearance matched what others had described—a tall and thin creature with pale skin that stood out against the green forest.
Surprisingly, the fleshgait showed no signs of wanting to harm them. Instead, it seemed curious and watched them with an enigmatic gaze. The hikers watched in both awe and fear, their hearts racing with a mix of emotions.
After a few intense moments, the creature vanished into the forest, disappearing quickly as if it were never there. The hikers were left bewildered but relieved that nothing bad had happened. They hurried back to civilization, eager to share their extraordinary story.
How to Know A Fleshgait is Near
Here are some signs that suggest that a Fleshgait may be nearby:
You hear someone calling your name, but it’s not the person you know. For example, a woman heard her “mother” calling for help in the woods, even though she knew her real mother was far away. Despite the strange voice, she felt a strong urge to follow it. Later, she heard chattering noises and realized something was wrong. She barely escaped.
Your group feels like it has more people than before. People often sense an “extra person” around them before a fleshgait attack.
You see claws wrapped around a tree or a very thin figure that doesn’t look human. Many people witness them with their hands wrapped around trees or standing nearby. Some even describe them as resembling the character Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
There are reports of animals being killed in unusual ways or strange disappearances happening nearby. This makes sense because fleshgaits are predators.
The forest suddenly becomes quiet and eerily still. This often means there’s a predator nearby and creates a feeling of panic in the woods.
Your “friend” starts acting strangely and doesn’t sound like themselves.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to trust your instincts and make a quick exit from the area.
How to Avoid a Fleshgait Attack
Fleshgaits are believed to be attracted to bright colors so it may be wise to wear more dull colors when adventuring in the woods.
Have you ever seen a Fleshgait? Tell us about it in the comments.
One of the Belmez Faces.
In 1971, strange stains in the shape of human faces started appearing on the kitchen floor of a house in Bélmez de La Moraleda, a little village in Andalusia, Spain.
The Story of the Bélmez Faces
Another Belmez Face
Back in August 1971, María Gómez Cámara noticed a weird stain forming on her kitchen floor. It soon transformed into a creepy face, and to her surprise, the stain seemed to move around.
María tried to remove it, but nothing worked. Her husband and son even tried destroying it with a pick-axe and re-cementing the floor, but it came back a week later, along with more faces.
News of the “house of faces” spread quickly, attracting many curious visitors who wanted to witness this mysterious phenomenon for themselves. Parapsychology experts arrived and considered it a great mystery. They even claimed to have recorded strange voices in the house.
A local urban legend began to spread claiming that skeletons were found buried under the floor during an investigation.
Eventually, a new floor was made, and people thought the faces were gone for good. However, just two weeks later, a different face started appearing, surprising everyone once again.
By Easter of 1972, a large number of people were visiting the house to witness the faces. The Pereira family continued to claim that new faces kept appearing for the next 30 years. These faces were of both men and women, and they varied in shapes, sizes, and expressions.
Investigations into the Belmez Faces
The main researchers involved in the Bélmez case were Hans Bender and Germán de Argumosa. They worked together in Bélmez and Freiburg in the early 1970s when the alleged phenomena began. Surprisingly, neither Bender nor de Argumosa published an official report on their findings.
Bender only mentioned the case briefly in his journal, Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie. He did make some references to the case in his lectures, particularly mentioning the sealing of certain areas of the floor where faces were forming, using transparent plastic material. He stated that slight changes in the faces’ appearance during this sealed period, as documented by a notary, supported their paranormal origin.
In 2014, a TV show called Cuarto Milenio, hosted by Iker Jiménez, conducted a technical analysis to investigate the possibility of a hoax related to the Bélmez faces. The research was carried out by José Javier Gracenea, a chemical engineering doctor and general manager of Medco, along with Luis Alamancos, a forensic criminalist who served as the chairman of Gabinete Pericial Inpeval and director of the Spanish Institute of Applied Criminalistics. Alamancos was later honored with the European Police Cross of Honor.
With the permission of the house owner, Gracenea collected samples from the faces and analyzed them. His conclusion was that the images “were not created with paint” and that there was no evidence of external manipulation or added elements based on scientific knowledge and analysis techniques.
Alamancos attempted to replicate similar images using various methods that had been considered valid in previous investigations, including concrete solvents, hydrochloric acid, and silver nitrate. However, he failed to reproduce the faces and concluded that he was utterly perplexed by the phenomenon.
Skepticism about the Belmez Faces
Super Horror Bro covers the Belmez Faces
According to skeptical investigator Joe Nickell, the Bélmez Faces were intentionally fabricated, and he believes that the faces had a very unprofessional and amateurish appearance in their design.
Similarly, Brian Dunning from Skeptoid has written that investigations revealed the faces were actually painted onto the concrete floor, initially using paint and later with acid. Dunning also suggests that the woman residing in the house was involved in perpetrating a hoax on the public, potentially for financial gain.
In a journal article published in July 1993, Luis Ruiz-Noguez discussed the presence of three pigments commonly used in paint manufacturing: zinc, lead, and chromium. Based on this, Ruiz-Noguez suggested that the use of paint should be considered when it comes to the Bélmez faces, particularly with the suspicion of lead being involved. Here are the reasons he provided:
Lead was commonly used as a pigment for primary colors for a long time.
The analysis showed that the amount of chromium present was too low to be a likely option.
Lead tends to create dark and hard-to-see colorations, unlike chromium.
The most common and inexpensive primary colors are enamels that contain lead, which are widely used in homes because they are easy to apply.
However, Ruiz-Noguez also mentioned some objections to the hypothesis of paint being used based on the ICV (inorganic chemical values) samples. These objections include the fact that alkydalic-type enamels are not resistant to abrasion, paint leaves a visible film that is easily distinguishable from the surface it is applied on, and alkydalic enamels have low chemical tolerance to acids, alkalis, and detergents.
What do you think caused the faces to appear in Belmez? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Belmez Faces you might also be interested in other ghostly faces such as the SS Watertown Ghost Faces or faces appearing in an airplane oven on Flight 401.
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