There’s nothing sinister about this East Toledo home. Not anymore, at least.
A two-story house in a nondescript neighborhood, the cozy three-bedroom home is white with a metal fence around the front-yard perimeter. Inside the home are hallmarks of an active and bright toddler who loves to draw, talk, and play.
The “feel” of the home is airy and bright — certainly not the heaviness one would expect to encounter in a place so haunted that its two owners left, their daughter feared for her 2½-year-old son’s safety, was the subject of a recent investigation by the paranormal series The Dead Files, and ultimately required an exorcism from a priest.2
The owners are Leslie Mullins, 45, and her longtime partner, Angie Whitty, 43, who sunk almost everything they had into the purchase of the home nearly a dozen years ago, and settled in with Angie’s daughter, Maggie Whitty, now 20, and Leslie’s son, Josh, now 24.
About a year later the family noticed objects would move around the home and even disappear — the kinds of things that happen to everyone and no one thinks twice about.
Until you see a headless woman in a white dress float through the bedroom and disappear through a window.
“When I was in fourth grade,” Maggie says, “I was half-asleep and then Les just woke up and she was screaming and I went in there to comfort her. And she said she saw someone lying next to her, but she didn’t have a head.”
Leslie offers this: “It wasn’t a dream. I saw her walk through the room and out the window. I was awake ... . Then after I saw that, when I was rolling over, I looked over and there was a face on the pillow next to me.”
Everyone in the family has seen the apparition since, heard doors opening and closing by themselves, and footsteps, voices, and even singing from unseen figures. Ghostly orbs have also appeared in photos taken inside the home.
But the family’s paranormal troubles were only beginning.
The Calvary Arrives
It was nearly four years ago that Mullins reached out online to The Dead Files for help.. The popular Travel Channel docu-series features a retired New York detective named Steve Di Schiavi and a Denver psychic named Amy Allan who separately investigate a haunted location, then meet with the owners to reveal the history of the house and what’s happening to them, and whether they should leave or stay. If it’s the latter, the psychic offers advice on how to “cleanse” the home of the spirit infestation.
As Leslie waits to hear back from the show, things are getting worse — especially after Maggie’s son, Nate, was born almost three years ago, leading not only to a surge in poltergeist activity, but a more sinister tone in the hauntings.
As The Dead File’s later details in the Toledo episode, Nate is having horrific nightmares and is being levitated and pushed, Maggie is experiencing wild mood swings, and Angie is pinned to her bed and molested by an invisible force.
It’s late in 2013 when the show contacts the family to see if they are still interested in being on the show.
“It was really cool,” Maggie says. “They seemed really eager to help us.”
By late January, the calvary arrives in a large black van and two nice cars.
The family remembers the approximately 15-member Dead Files crew as being polite and quite busy, setting up cameras throughout the house and the front yard, removing personal artifacts that might tip off Allan during her walkthrough of the home, and even darkening the windows with black cloth to create an eerie vibe for the interior shots.
They also meet Di Schiavi, who is hanging around the home for a couple of days during the initial filming.
Finally, the family will get answers.
All is Not Lost
It is an exceptionally snowy night for the family’s final shooting sequence. The county is at a level three snow emergency beginning sometime around midnight. And somewhere out there in it is Allan, who is staying at a hotel in Perrysburg.
Allan shows up at the home around 2 a.m., two hours late and after the snow emergency drops to a level two.
Mullins, Whitty, and Maggie are kept upstairs and out of sight from Allan, who — in a rare case of reality in reality TV — prefers not to meet the homeowners until the cameras are rolling.
It’s when they sit down with Allan and Di Schiavi that the three of them first learn the home’s history — including a former owner named Clarence who is deceased but apparently still living in the home and trying to protect the family from something more sinister: demons.
These child-size creatures with bat-like heads and sharp teeth, which Allan sees and has an artist sketch for the family, were apparently invited into the home by one of Clarence’s sons, and have since become rather fond of Maggie and Nate.
During her walkthrough of the house, seen early in the show, Allan tacitly blames the family for what’s going on: “The house isn’t the issue. They are … the living people.”
Maggie, who says she’s an empath medium like Allan, still seethes over this comment.
“She never said anything like that to us,” she says. “She told us the son conjured it up. She made it seem like I’m the devil, I’m involved in black magic. I’m not. I’m a 20-year-old waitress.”
Adds Whitty: “I just think we were misrepresented slightly.”
Allan also tells Maggie off camera that she’s willing to help her understand and cope with her abilities and that she will stay in touch.
“She said I could email and I emailed her and she never replied,” Maggie says. “That was about five months ago.”
Finally, Allan tells the family it’s safe to stay in the home, but that a priest needs to cleanse it and an exorcism might need to be performed on Nate.
The night after the crew left Maggie says was the worst yet. Noises, singing, and moaning kept her and her boyfriend up all night.
Coincidentally or not, a few days later Al Luna, the 55-year-old cofounder of Perrysburg-based PSEI: Paranormal Spirit Encounter Investigations, passes a business card to Maggie at the Taco Bell where she worked.
“I have a habit of handing my card out most everywhere I go,” Luna says. “She looked down at it and looked at me and said, ‘Is this for real?’ I said yes. She said, ‘You’re not going to believe this but they just finished an episode of The Dead Files at our home in East Toledo.’
“She asked me if we could help with the demon situation and I said, ‘Yes, I believe we can.’ ”
A week later Whitty calls Luna about having an exorcism performed on the home. He then contacts a Catholic priest from the Detroit area he knows performs these kinds of rituals, but on the down low.
“His bishop knows that he and other priests do this, but they don’t like to make it public,” Luna says.
Meanwhile, The Dead Files wants to film the priest performing the exorcism for a follow-up episode, The Dead Files: Revisited, which the priest will not allow. After a week of negotiating between Luna and a show producer, he says he doesn’t want to delay the exorcism any longer.
The priest arrives on a late-afternoon Thursday. He is accompanied with Luna and his wife, as well as Mullins, Whitty. Maggie and Nate wait in a car outside.
After changing into a long robe and white sash, the priest pulls out a holy water, a crucifix, and St. Michael prayer book and Psalms, all of which are in Latin. He gives everyone else English copies of the prayers to say along with him.
He then explains what he’s going to do, says a prayer of angelic protection for everyone in the room.
As he recites the prayers, Luna records the ritual.
First Whitty feels ill, and later Luna. Both say silent prayers and the pain quickly dissipates.
“I started getting tingling going up from my neck to my head and down into my back,” Luna says. “I reached into my shirt and grabbed a cross that my priest had blessed and in my my own mind I said, ‘Leave me alone, back off.’ Within five seconds … that [feeling] started to go away.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”
The priest and Luna go to every room in the home, including the attic and basement, sprinkling holy water and saying blessings. Maggie and Nate are then asked to come into the home, where the priest says another prayer of protection for the family and for the angel to watch over them.
“Once we got through with everything … the priest even chimed up, Doesn’t the house feel lighter to you? And everyone agreed. It was just a different air to the place, everyone felt more comfortable and better.”
That night, Nate stays in the home with Maggie for the first time in months.
“He was playing and just having a blast,” Luna says. “He just had nothing bothering him.”
Their ghost story doesn’t end there.
Mullins and Whitty began experiencing hauntings at their North Toledo home. Whitty’s been scratched. They’re seeing apparitions. The fear is returning.
Nearly two months after the exorcism at their East Toledo home, they call Luna, who will use his recording of the priest to perform an exorcism on their home and bless it with holy water.
Luna says the demons, once kicked out of the East Toledo house, followed Mullins and Whitty to their North Toledo home.
Since following the show’s advice about the exorcism, he says, the family hasn’t had any more trouble.
Mullins and Whitty and Maggie all agree and say without the fear and stress and sleepless nights, they are getting along much better.
But the hauntings haven’t completely stopped, Maggie says.
She still hears voices and singing in the East Toledo home, but there’s no longer the sense of dread that accompanies the paranormal activity. She doesn’t rush upstairs to her bedroom at night, or look around to see if anyone’s watching her.
At this point, Maggie says, her biggest problem isn’t from the dead, but from the living: those who think she’s crazy or making up the ordeal, that her son is possessed or the devil’s child, and then harass her about it online and in person.
“I’m hearing stuff, but I’m not scared,” she says. “I’m not worried about anything. I’m more worried about what people are saying.”
Contact Kirk Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6734.