Hoaxes & Rumors

Voice of Demon Caught on Tape: Skeptical Response

Does this image show a "shadowy" figure in the window, or a reflection of the tree in front of the house?
Voice of Demon Caught on Tape: Skeptical Response

The Daily Mail reports that the voice of a “demon” has been captured on tape, which has been confirmed by a police captain and a priest. Today we’ll take a look at these claims of a “portal to hell” and offer some skeptical observations.

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Background

Police in Gary, Indiana went to inspect the home of Latoya Ammons in 2012 after reports that her children had been missing from school, and rumors of “satanic goings on.” Police Captain Charles Austin told the Daily Mail that he “walked in there thinking this was nothing but a hoax, a concocted story,” but that he left a believer.

Austin would be joined in his participation in the “goings on” by Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Maginot, who was asked to perform an exorcism at the home. He was told of a boy who had allegedly walked backward up a wall, flipped over, and landed on his feet. “I went of course,” Maginot said. The priest, however, stated he went to disprove the need for an exorcism, but became convinced that there was in fact a need, and eventually performed a total of three exorcisms on the property.

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Maginot reported that new tenants had since moved in after his third exorcism, and reported no further problems. He stated that he had told the property’s landlord, “If we don’t deal with this now, properly, this will not go away. This will close the portal and seal it.”

Other details reported by the Daily Mail include:

  • The owner and her children moved into the home in 2011, and began hearing footsteps in the basement.
  • The occupants became “possessed,” with bulging eyes and violent shaking during these episodes.
  • A clairvoyant claimed the property housed 200 demons.
  • Captain Austin claimed he heard a “growling” voice emit from his radio, stating, “You outta here.”
  • After three exorcisms, the haunting ended

The Recording – “Hey”

The Daily Mail reports that the voice on the recording is a “clear, calm voice – a whisper that cuts across the voices of the Indiana police officers recording proceedings.”

The recording begins with the sound of officers engaged in conversation at the property. One officer is heard saying, “They said they would hear stuff in the basement.”

A camera can be heard focusing and taking pictures several times. On the final snap, it is alleged that the word “hey” can be heard in a clear, whispery tone. No one heard a voice at the time.

The first several snapshots were preceded by the sound of the camera focusing, followed by the sound of the shutter as the photo was taken. On the final shot, which includes the sound in question, the camera does not focus first. The shutter is engaged, and then the alleged “hey” sound is heard almost simultaneously.

It is possible that the camera’s settings had been changed, or that the flash had been engaged for the last shot, which is why it is not heard focusing before that final shot.

Below is the Daily Mail’s exclusive video which contains the audio in question.

Skeptical Response

Skeptics of the story point out the following observations:

  • Camera sounds: Because of the timing of the word “hey” with that of a photograph being taken, the sound may simply be shutter or mirror noise emanating from the camera. It could also be the flash, which may not have been used in prior photos snapped during the recording.
  • They didn’t leave: The family chose to stay in the home after being convinced it was possessed.
  • No further problems: Tenants who later occupied the property reported no problems.
  • Grainy ghost: The “ghost in the window” photo could be an illusion created by a reflection of the leaves on the tree in front of the house.
  • Blurry evidence: Photos offered as evidence are blurry and grainy.
  • Reinforced delusion: Clinical psychologist Stacy Wright, in her observation of one of the children, remarked, “This appears to be an unfortunate and sad case of a child who has been induced into a delusional system perpetuated by his mother and potentially reinforced” by other relatives.
  • Belief by believers: Those who believe in exorcisms or who are superstitious are typically the only ones who request them and believe they work. People of all walks of life report supernatural experiences based on their own beliefs and superstitions, which not shared by others with different sets of beliefs.
  • Other evidence: The most compelling allegations, such as flying objects or the boy walking backward up a wall, are not backed by any proof.

Bottom Line

Is the “portal to hell” demonic recording a hoax? Grainy photos and a single tone caught on tape – which occurred simultaneously with the release of a camera shutter – is not compelling enough evidence to convince us that this is “proof” of a demon.

What do you think is the sound captured by the police in the video above?

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