Paranormal researcher John Zaffis regaled a WSU audience with stories of his experiences with haunted objects, demonic infestation, out of body experiences and exorcisms during his speech Thursday.
In a dark room full of more than 100 students, guests and faculty, Zaffis shared his accounts of several types of unexplainable paranormal experiences.
“It all started when I was 16 years old and I saw my dead grandfather,"Zaffis said."I looked up and saw a man sitting in the chair reading a newspaper shaking his head, something my grandfather often did."
He then began studying paranormal activity with his aunt and uncle, who encouraged Zaffis to explore cases of possession and exorcism.
One of Zaffis'accounts of possession centered on the story of a family who lived in a funeral home. After being possessed by a person who died in the building, the son would write in his journal about killing the rest of his family, he said. The son attempted to enact his plan but failed, after which the family institutionalized him.
Freshman interior design major Laura Figgie said she particularly enjoyed that story because it was interesting and spooky.
Zaffis had audience members gasping during Anneliese Michel’s audio-recorded exorcism.
Michel was a young Catholic woman who had six demons possessing her body, Zaffis said. She had 67 exorcisms performed within her lifetime and was diagnosed with severe mental illnesses such as depression and bi-polar disorder. She eventually died during her last exorcism due to malnutrition and dehydration. Her story inspired movies such as"The Exorcism of Emily Rose"and"Requiem."
“Although most of his presentation was typical ghost show material, I liked when he played examples of EVPs (electronic voice phenomenons), because it sounded like mysterious spirits talking,” freshman pre-med major Meron Bayu said.
Zaffis warned his audience to be careful about removing sacred objects or provoking these physical energies. Many spirits are connected to objects and it will do more harm than good to remove or destroy them.
In one example Zaffis gave, he told the story of a doll that belonged to a young girl, which was removed from the house she died in. The woman who purchased the doll began to hear the young girl around her home wherever the doll was. After consulting Zaffis, he told the woman to return the doll to the original owner. Afterward, the noises stopped.
Zaffis’ presentation ended with a question and answer session from the audience where students told personal stories of hauntings at WSU. Six audience members were then chosen to go on a ghost hunting tour around WSU with Zaffis, the stops including Bryan Hall and the Webster Physical Sciences Building.
If you would like to find out more information about John Zaffis and his experiences, visit www.johnzaffis.com or check out his book,"Shadows of the Dark."