“Hey I have someone who needs help with a poltergeist. Can you talk to her?”
This was the text. People frequently ask me how to deal with unruly spirits. However I had stepped away from ghost hunting and spirit communication for the last couple years. While hearing the experiences of the afflicted family and preparing to visit them, I felt an anticipation for this return to my past. It was like when a storm brews and you’re waiting for the first lightning strike.
This all started mid August 2015.
At the time I had no idea the experiences would be so dramatic, both physically and psychologically in terms of the harm to the affected family. What was really the cause? I am cynical, but open-minded. I look for scientific explanations first and try and ascertain motives to make certain people aren’t making things up. I am fairly certain these events were not falsified, and there is a mystery here not explained by science or people simply believing what they want to believe. If the events that follow were in fact staged, then … well played tricksters.
But I doubt it.
I’ve been in many haunted homes and heard and seen many strange things – sounds of footsteps in an empty attic, paintings falling down in bizarre ways, electromagnetic field recorders going haywire, a general sense of creepiness and dread, all that stuff. I’d heard a lot of great stories from other people, too. However, this story contained so much more than any thing else I’d heard, and furthermore the phenomenon seemed to escalate day to day.
It felt like I was going in over my head. Because of the violence associated with the entity (I’m not exactly sure what it was, so I will call it that for the duration of the article), I felt inexperienced and ill prepared. I did not turn away because my curiosity overcame my fear. Also, I felt an obligation to at least examine what was happening, because this was foremost a call for help.
At first all I knew was from text messages. I heard that it threw rocks and other small objects, like loose change, but mostly rocks.
They appeared to materialize out of thin air and fly at a velocity close to what would be achieved if the rocks were thrown by a human. Where the rocks originated from was never proven, but it seemed, based on color and composition, that they came from the yard and greenbelt areas outside the apartment.
The household consisted of a couple in their early twenties, whom we will call Irene and Joel, and their newborn child, whom we will call David. Most of the activity centered around Joel. I believe he was obsessed with it, and it was driving him mad. He stated that he could communicate with the spirit in his thoughts.
One of the most insidious and frightening aspects of the case was that the entity would mark Joel’s skin with scratch marks, deep enough to draw blood. These scratches always showed up in three parallel lines1In the literature of western and — of course — Christian demonologists, this is because the entity hates the number three as it represents the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit.. They would mostly appear on his arms or back, and often manifest right as he entered the apartment.
Irene was experiencing strange events, too. “There was a hand full of my hair outside of the front door and I know its my hair color … but now its just gone” [sic]. Irene had concerns that the “demonic spirit” was stealing her hair to put a curse on it.
Then there were the photographs that were not intended to capture supernatural phenomenon, but seemed to reveal something strange. As far as spirit photography goes, I am aware of the mundane explanations for orbs and blobs, so I will not credit the photos as evidence. Nevertheless, they show photos typical of a young family with their newborn baby, except that parts of the photos are obscured by a smoky haze, orbs, and shadowy blobs.
The couple also captured EVP (electronic voice phenomena). The phone’s recording app was set to record while either no one was talking or when a question was asked of the entity. Then on playback could be heard words and phrases that no one had heard when the recorder was on. A guttural and hostile “Fuck off” was common. Interestingly (for reasons that will soon be made clear), there was also an EVP capture that sounded like “Frost.”
The previous tenants had only stayed a few weeks. There was a history of people moving away from their new apartment soon after moving in, and not only with that specific apartment but with the neighboring apartments in the complex. Visitors sensed something unseen in the room with them. The family in question began experiencing strange phenomena right after moving in, and in a few weeks the family was already beset by things being thrown at them by an invisible hand. Besides the disturbing scratches, the weird photographs, and the EVP, they also smelled foul stenches of no explainable origin that would disappear as quickly and mysteriously as they appeared. Joel had the sense that something was trying to invade and possess his mind. The family was terrified.
They wanted a house clearing. That is, they wanted a shaman or priest to bless their home and exorcise the evil spirit.
At this point I had done three house clearings in my life, two with another person, who had requested my aid in clearing houses, and one by myself, in an apartment in the old El Capitan building in Seattle.
After a lot of texting with Irene, I contacted someone who specializes in removing malevolent spirits, Marcus McCoy. He had talked a lot about his dealings with violent poltergeist-like phenomenon, and he was down for the task. He related the following advice for the family, which I passed along in addition to some of my own ideas. Here is the list, along with brief explanations:
- Burn specific plant materials, including dogwood, dragon’s blood, and camphor. Certain plants act as “spirit repellent” and can drive the unwanted visitor out.
- Bathe in waters infused with a strong brew of Yerba matte tea, a spiritual cleansing technique in certain traditions.
- Do not leave standing water in the house house: i.e. drain bathtubs after baths or showers, and don’t leave cups of liquid around. The idea behind this is that entities are drawn to water because it acts as a portal.
- Focus on spiritual and emotional cleanliness, staying positive and calm and keeping the house peaceful, because entities can feed on negative emotions.
- The big one: don’t talk to it! No more EVP. No more pictures. Even not talking about it. The reason is that the entity feeds on such attention2 it has occurred to me that this article may indeed be precisely what the entity craves. . . .
- Keep the house clean and organized. No mess or clutter. This was my advice, and goes back to the need for a harmonious peaceful environment.
- Dispose of anything w blood or sexual fluids (condoms, bandaids, tampons, etcetera) by taking it outside the house. In occult literature there is the strongly held notion that entities use the “prima matter” of a living being to gain power in our world.
Following this advice was difficult for the couple. They kept talking to the spirit. And the house seemed to be full of drama. I don’t think they took the baths or burned any of the recommended herbs. According to Irene, “We try to ignore it but it just distracts us too much.. we really are looking forward to you guys coming.”
Marcus and I were offering magical protection from afar. This is a topic too broad for this essay, so suffice it to say we did something similar to praying for the family and calling for protection from “higher forces.” We set an exorcism date with the family. Marcus would do the ritual, and I would be there to observe and aid as needed.
Around the time we planned the exorcism was when we also learned about the grisly history of the apartment next door.
Over a year prior, on April 12th, 2014, there was a murder involving a young couple around the same age. Joe Navarro called 911 and told a dispatcher he had killed his girlfriend, Allison Leedy, inside their apartment. “Officers found Leedy lying face down on her bed. She had fingernail marks on her neck. The young woman had gasped for air for at least three minutes before she passed away, according to court documents.” He had choked her to death3NY Daily News, April 19, 2014 – Carol Kuruvilla.
As if that wasn’t enough, the story held a bizarre twist related to Joel’s feeling of being “taken over.” According to Renton police, Navarro claimed “Frost” — the name of his alternate personality — was responsible for the death of his girlfriend4Seattle Times April 14, 2014 – Sara Jean Green.
Was it related? Could Joe Navarro really have been possessed, and was this the same spirit that Joel was obsessed with? I found the coincidence of the “Frost” EVP striking, though I also couldn’t help surmise that perhaps they’d simply heard about the murder and let their minds play tricks.
There being some days till the exorcism date, I had time to reflect and converse with a friend about what we were dealing with. I concluded at that time that no assumption could be made about its nature, whether it be ghost, demon, fraud, or whatever, and that it had to be considered in an unbiased manner. I also joked about visiting it armored in a bubble suit, but then figured the entity would teleport a rock or poke a hole in it.
Since I practice divination, I decided to to “read” the situation via tarot and geomancy5 An ancient form of divining a chart similar to doing a horary astrology reading, but using randomly cast figures rather than astronomical points.. My reading said that the entity was an angry ghost. Per my divination it was not a hoax, a mass hallucination, a demon (i.e. a specific entity that had never been corporeal and aspires to some non-human purpose), or a poltergeist (telekinetic movement of objects related to an emotionally disturbed individual, usually a teenager). I also divined that the person responsible was incarcerated at some point and had been indirectly responsible for someone’s death, which may have been the reason for the incarceration.
Regardless of divination, logic, and guessing, the best thing was to simply see for myself! The exorcism date was set. I gave Marcus Irene’s number, and he was also communicating with her. We were both concerned about Joel’s obsession with the entity.
After all the conversations and preparation, a couple of days prior to the exorcism, the family backed out.
The spirit hadn’t manifested for a few days. Perhaps it only needed love and understanding, Irene said. Imagine being this invisible incorporeal creature and everyone thinking bad thoughts about you all the time. There was talk of a prayer circle, and sending it positive loving energy.
“Uh, yeah, that’s classic. It’s a trap,” is what I said. They didn’t believe me, and it wasn’t until a mutual friend also related this possibility that they took this idea seriously. By then, it was too late. The date had been hard enough to coordinate and as a result of this cancellation the exorcism at the apartment never happened. Marcus backed off, coming to the conclusion that Joel’s obsession with the spirit would render an exorcism pointless, when someone was always there to re-open the door, so to speak.
A few days after the cancellation, the paranormal events continued in force. While the baby had apparently been immune to the incidents before, now it, too, was being affected. Things started going very badly for the family. In Irene’s words, “We deal with it everyday. No sleep no peace.” They said that the entity could follow them to other places and even tried to turn the steering wheel of their car while they were driving. The mental and physical attacks on Joel intensified. Joel felt like he was losing his mind, and became suicidally depressed.
I felt frustrated! At this point neither Marcus nor I had had any contact with the family except via text and phone.
And then I received a text that wasn’t another story I had to accept on blind faith. I was invited to check out the Renton apartment that very afternoon.
I told Irene I was coming over. She said, “Thank you so much! We really need all the help we can get … And all we want to do is start fresh but ‘it’ just doesn’t want to see us happy.”
Here is a satellite image of the area: an apartment complex by a greenbelt. Nothing unique. However, as i drove up the steep hill towards the parking lot, the air felt thick. Despite the sunny weather, it felt like something sinister had happened there. Subjective thoughts, I reminded myself, easily imagined from all the stories. There was a balance to be made between skepticism and allowing myself to analyze these impressions.
The area felt electrically charged. I imagined a site that once held ritual sacrifices. Green belts in cities are kind of interesting in that many may have never been developed. There was the sense of being watched.
I parked my car in the visitor parking area and went out to look for the family’s apartment. At the bottom of some stairs, I saw a woman who looked as if she might be expecting someone. Was this Irene?
Before I could speak, a rock whisked past my head from behind. It went over and past the stairs and landed with a clunk to the left of her. It was about as big as a softball and had flown maybe fifty feet.
“Did you see that?” Irene asked.
“Yes,” I replied, looking around. Could someone have thrown it?
There was someone behind me, a man carrying plastic garbage bags to a large metal waste container. Could he have thrown the rock? Doubtful. His hands were full, and he seemed to be going about the mundane task of taking out the trash.
I hurried down the stairs to meet with Irene. “Did you see that?” she asked me again. Shaken, I replied, “yes, that was crazy!” Then she said that before I looked at her apartment, I might want to check the vacant apartment next door. She sensed the entity hiding there.
So while Irene went back to her place I checked out the neighboring apartment, which was unlocked. I clicked on the lights. Kitchen, closet, bathroom, living room, bedroom. It felt like someone was staring at the back of my head from way up high on the ceiling. I had the strangest sensation that there were airy hands closing around my neck. It also felt like being around someone having a violent episode, like the air around me was buzzing.
When I went to Irene and Joel’s apartment, there was a large group of people in the living room: Joel and the baby, Irene’s best friend, Joel’s father and mother, and some of Irene’s family. Later the person whom I had begun to date (and who got me into this situation by sending me that initial text) joined us. For the longest time she was afraid of coming inside!
In the small and thoroughly unassuming apartment, I began to talk to the family and their relatives and friends, most of whom shared stories about the entity. The stories were similar, accounts of rocks or small objects flying at them from out of nowhere. The people came from various walks of life – nurses, exotic dancers, administrators, construction workers. Everyone whom I talked to seemed genuine. Many purported to not believe in the paranormal, but had since changed their mind. Joel’s Father told the most memorable account. He thought the whole affair was ridiculous, and challenged the ghost.
He said, “If you’re there, then show yourself!” And a rock flew out of nowhere and hit him on the head. He became a believer!
I met Joel. He wouldn’t make eye contact. He lifted his shirt, though, and showed me the triple rows of cuts on his arms, chest, and back. Many of them would have been hard to self-inflict because of their location on his body, and anyways it seemed like someone was always around when the cuts happened. For instance he and Irene would come back from a car ride, and he would cry out as he passed through the front door. He would feel the attack, and lift his shirt to show fresh bleeding wounds.
Joel’s demeanor was cagey and uncommunicative. Whenever I broached the subject of getting rid of the spirit, he seemed disturbed. Irene claimed that he continually communicated with it. I told him that if he wanted relief from the attacks, he would need to stop this, but he never directly agreed. He would make a noncommittal grunt or barely nod while looking away.
The second rock throwing incident that day happened while we were all standing in the living room. A small rock zipped about an inch off the floor across the room. I did not see it fly this time, but did see where it landed after peoples heads darted in response and there was an exclamation.
This again brings up the question, where did the rocks come from? It’s a recorded phenomena called an apport. The Wikipedia definition states: “In parapsychology and spiritualism, an apport is the alleged paranormal transference of an article from one place to another, or an appearance of an article from an unknown source that is often associated with poltergeist activity or séances.” But that merely describes it, and does not explain it. As stated before, the rocks looked similar to the ones outside the apartment. Perhaps it took them from there, carried them through another dimension and then popped them back into our dimension inside the house?
After the second manifestation – this one with over five witnesses! – I decided to start doing some of the “Clearing” work that the family expected of me. I took out my censor, lit charcoal tablets within it, and sprinkled, at different times, camphor, dragons blood, agrimony, and frankincense. I made a prayer to a specific underworld goddess to help guide the spirit to leave the family and to return it peacefully to the spirit world. Wrapping camphor crystals in papyrus paper and drawing a symbol of the crossroads over each little packet, I then went outside and buried four of these at each of the outermost corners of the apartment building.
After I had done all these things, the atmosphere did seem to lighten. I no longer sensed something watching me. I told the family that there was much more to do, and I repeated the advice Marcus and I had related about dealing with this entity. Then I said goodbye to everyone, and left the apartment.
Incredibly, when I got back to my car, there was a rock right on its roof!
No one had seen me park. The person I was dating had been around the whole time, and anyways she didn’t seem like someone who would pull a stunt like that.
I drove back home. Someone had taken my parking spot. I had to park down a block by a church. As I walked to my house I remembered the family’s claim that the entity could follow them. I felt scared. I imagined taking a late night shower and coming back to my room and finding a pile of rocks on my bed.
But nothing unusual happened to me that night. The family, however, claimed that only a few hours after I left the entity was back to its old tricks.
Something did happen to me the next morning. I went to my car to re-park it in my space and the passenger side window was smashed.
It was like someone had hit it with a large rock. Usually when someone hits a car window, it’s because they’re trying to shatter it to get into the car and steal something inside. But the window was left partially shattered, still intact. It was damaged enough that merely opening the door made the pieces of glass fall apart.
I did not see any large rocks nearby.
Could it have been the rock throwing entity? Or was it just some person deciding to take out their discontent on my car?
After that, I started having unpredictable electrical problems with my car. Sometimes it would start, sometimes it wouldn’t. It ended up being the alternator. Most likely it was old and needed to be replaced. But hypothetically, couldn’t something that could teleport rocks just as easily tamper with the electronics of a vehicle?
As for the family, a grisly new pattern began. I got a call from Irene, who was at work. There were police and paramedics at her house and she didn’t know what was going on. I called some people but couldn’t reach anyone. Finally I heard back from Irene. Joel was choking to death6Interesting in that Navarro had choked his girlfriend to death.. Guess what they extracted from his throat?
The choking started to become a regular occurrence.
Some times, there would be no rocks. It was as if something were strangling him. “We had to call 911 on [Joel] because it was choking him really badly he stopped breathing and lost his heartbeat. 6 cops came and checked on him too as well as the paramedics [and] they couldn’t explain what happened but I know it wasn’t anything medical related it was strangulation from the entity. It’s a demon. It almost killed him.”
Just as often he would throw up small pebbles.
The only time the family received any solace was when they fled to a church. The church as sanctuary is curious because Irene said that whenever they called upon the Christian God and “ … repeat the Lord’s name it gets angry and starts throwing rocks.”
I figured because of their belief in the power of the church maybe a priest would help, so I got them one. He baptized them and performed an exorcism on Joel, during which the priest said, “he turned five shades of white.” However, in the end, the entity continued to torment them. Maybe they needed a lot of exorcisms.
To make matters far worse, the father, the one who had challenged the ghost, killed himself.
This whole business was tearing the family apart. Irene said, “I don’t want you guys to think he’s crazy because he isn’t, I don’t care what other people think. It was just messing with his head telling him to write a will to me.”
In fact, Joel wrote her a suicide note, but fortunately never went through with it.
There were other stories, many of them too personal to relate here. It felt futile trying to help remotely. They weren’t listening. I kept telling them to move out.
Finally she said, “Kiyan I think we need to call it off, were going to move out of this place we can’t deal with this anymore. Yeah we’re just done here. I don’t want to waste your and Marcus’s time you know! It’s just not worth it, this is going to be the apartment management’s problem now.”
How did it all end? They finally moved out. I haven’t heard a word from them since, despite three attempts to contact them. If I do hear back I may post an update.
I exorcised my car…
This was one of those cases where it seemed everyone who went to the location experienced something. People from many walks of life, different cultures, different job backgrounds, different belief systems. All of them come away from it saying, yes, there is something going on here, I don’t know what it is, and it is not natural.
Have you heard about rock throwing spirits? Apparently it’s a thing. Check out these articles:
- Angry Stone Throwing Demons by John Sanidopoulos
- Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones… (Stone Throwing/Rock Flying Phenomena) by Kevin Malek and Jennifer Malek
The timing of it in my life was interesting. After stepping away from my occult activities, I came across this apparent indication of the supernatural. It is rare, but the mysteries are out there. Something about me is attracted to it, and perhaps something attracts these things to me as well.
There are so many paranormal stories here in the Northwest that surpass the old stories relating to the Moore Theater, Pike Place market, Manresa castle, and so forth. As an enthusiast of paranormal research, I am glad to share this account of the violent stone throwing spirit of Renton.
Footnotes: [ + ]
|1.||↑||In the literature of western and — of course — Christian demonologists, this is because the entity hates the number three as it represents the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit.|
|2.||↑||it has occurred to me that this article may indeed be precisely what the entity craves. . .|
|3.||↑||NY Daily News, April 19, 2014 – Carol Kuruvilla|
|4.||↑||Seattle Times April 14, 2014 – Sara Jean Green|
|5.||↑||An ancient form of divining a chart similar to doing a horary astrology reading, but using randomly cast figures rather than astronomical points.|
|6.||↑||Interesting in that Navarro had choked his girlfriend to death.|