Hope you’re sitting down for this story from Indiana. It starts like this:

A woman and three children who claimed to be possessed by demons. A 9-year-old boy walking backward up a wall in the presence of a family case manager and hospital nurse.

Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said it was the strangest story he had ever heard.

Austin, a 36-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, said he initially thought Indianapolis resident Latoya Ammons and her family concocted an elaborate tale as a way to make money. But after several visits to their home and interviews with witnesses, Austin said simply, “I am a believer.”

Not everyone involved with the family was inclined to believe its incredible story. And many readers will find Ammons’ supernatural claims impossible to accept.

But, whatever the cause of the creepy occurrences that befell the family — whether they were seized by a systematic delusion or demonic possession — it led to one of the most unusual cases ever handled by the Department of Child Services. Many of the eventsare detailed in nearly 800 pages of official records obtained by The Indianapolis Star and recounted in more than a dozen interviews with police, DCS personnel, psychologists, family members and a Catholic priest.

Ammons, who swears by her story, has been unusually open. While she spoke on condition her children not be interviewed or named, she signed releases letting The Star review medical, psychological and official records that are not open to the public — and not always flattering.

Furthermore, the family’s story is made only more bizarre because it involves a DCS intervention, a string of psychological evaluations, a police investigation and, ultimately, a series of exorcisms.

It’s a tale, they say, that started with flies.

You know you’ve got to read the whole thing. 

Here’s a link to the exorcist’s initial report to his bishop. And here’s a link to the intake officer’s report from the state’s Department of Child Services, in which the report’s author says medical personnel observed one of the children lifted up and thrown against a wall by an unseen force — this in the doctor’s office — and also saw one of the children walk up a wall.

One interesting aspect of this account is that the landlord of the house said that no tenant had trouble there before this family moved in, and the subsequent tenant has had no trouble. The possessed family had no trouble prior to being in that house, and they report no trouble after having left it.

The world is a dark wood.

(By the way, readers, we are going to be hit by a winter storm beginning in the morning. It’s expected to be pretty bad by Louisiana standards, and it’s possible that we will lose power from falling ice-covered limbs. If you don’t see any new blog posts here or comments being approved tomorrow, it’s because we’ve gone dark.)