Child services officers in the US witnessed a nine-year-old boy walk backwards up a wall after his mother claimed he was possessed by demons, according to official documents.
The strange case of Latoya Ammons has divided authorities, who believe the mother-of-three was either the victim of supernatural torment or suffering from delusions that she forced upon her children, the Indianapolis Star reports.
Ammons's story is documented in more than 800 pages of official records obtained by the Star.
She claims her troubles began in November 2011 when she and her family moved into a rental property in Gary, Indiana, where they were plagued by swarms of black flies and heard footsteps climbing empty staircases.
In March 2012, Ammons's mother Rosa Campbell heard screams coming from a bedroom, where she said she saw her 12-year-old granddaughter "levitating" above the bed.
Ammons and Campbell sought help from local churches and clairvoyants, who advised they set up altars and burn sage in the house to ward off demonic spirits.
But the family's troubles continued and Ammons soon came to believe she and her children were “possessed”.
Around this time, an anonymous tipster called the Department of Children's Services (DCS) to report a suspicion that Ammons suffered a mental illness and was forcing her delusion on her children, who were encouraged to perform for her.
DCS family case manager Valerie Washington and registered nurse Willie Lee Walker later interviewed Ammons' boys at a local hospital, accompanied by Campbell.
According to Washington's official report, the nine-year-old boy flashed a "weird grin" then "glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling", flipping over Campbell and landing on his feet.
"He walked up the wall, flipped over her and stood there," Walker told the Indy Star. "There's no way he could've done that. ... That was crazy. I was like, 'Everybody gotta go’."
The boy claimed he couldn't remember what happened and was unable to repeat the feat.
DCS officers later took custody of the children.
Those who believe Ammons's claims include Rev. Michael Maginot, who says he witnessed strange incidents at her house.
He performed three church-sanctioned exorcisms on Ammons – two in English, and the last one in Latin – at his church in June 2012.
Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said he initially suspected Ammons and her family had faked the possessions to make money, but that he has become "a believer" after visiting her home and interviewing witnesses.
Austin claimed photographs of the house taken by police officers revealed cloudy white images that resembled faces, while an audio recording made in the house included an unknown voice saying "hey".
However, psychiatrists who interviewed Ammons' children determined that she had induced her children into delusional behaviour, though neither Ammons nor the children were deemed to be psychotic.
Ammons regained custody of her children in late 2012 after agreeing to a strict list of conditions, such as not discussing demons and being possessed with them.
The family has now moved back to Indianapolis, where they feel safe and are no longer plagued by their former troubles.