Compiled by Dr. Barry E. Taff
Ever since February 1983, when 20th Century Fox released The Entity, there has been considerable speculation, conjecture, rumor and misinformation regarding what factually transpired during the investigation of the real-life case. As dramatic license was exercised in both the book and motion picture, the result was a moderately fictionalized account of the actual events. Making matters even worse is the fact that the original articles published on The Entity case were in scientific journals or periodicals that were not generally available to the public. Desiring to set matters straight on what actually occurred a quarter of-a-century ago in a Los Angeles suburb, I am reprinting the original article with only minor upgrades and adjustments to compensate for time. The only real omission here is the introduction to the original article which in many ways is redundant of information contained in Chapter 1.
Beginning on August 22, 1974, a ten-week investigation of a reportedly haunted house located in Culver City, California, demonstrated evidence that it was infested with and frequented by occurrences of poltergeist activity in the form of object movements, collectively observed apparitions, as well as cold and stench spots. Investigative visits resulted in six consecutive encounters between the investigators, numerous assistants, and various forms of phenomena reported here. Additionally, this particular case displayed a stereotypic, anxiety-ridden emotional environment generally associated with poltergeist incidents; teeming with pubescent and adolescent children with overt animosities existing between all family members.
The house demonstrated a heretofore unknown, or at least unreported manifestation in the form of dynamic 3-dimensional lights that behaved unpredictably in that they were not consistently photogenic in nature although appearing to the unaided eye as visible light for lengthy periods. With the limited resources, space and time available in this investigation, the subjective conclusions reached was that the observed phenomena were of a multiple and differential source origin, and cannot as yet be explained by any coherent theory involving RSPK or discarnate intelligence. The enigmatic and inconsistent behavior of employed instrumentation further reinforces the fact that the causal element in this situation is an almost total unknown, which cannot even vaguely be operationally or functionally defined, and therefore remains as it always has been: a phenomenon. The investigation of Doris Bither’s house came about as a result of her overhearing Kerry Gaynor’s (my associate at the time) conversation with a friend about haunted houses while at Hunters Books store in Westwood Village. Doris approached Gaynor in a somewhat hesitant manner and informed him that her house was haunted. After a brief discussion with Doris, Gaynor informed her that he would contact his associate and get back to her as soon as possible. On our first visit to Doris’ tiny Culver City house, we spent the evening securing detailed information pertaining to the alleged phenomena that had been occurring over the past few months. The family consisted of Doris, a petite, middle-to-late thirty-year-old woman, a six year-old daughter, three sons, one ten, thirteen and sixteen. We questioned all members of the family with the exception of the six year-old daughter, whom we never saw.
Their accounts were fairly uniform in reference to a particular apparition whom they called “Mr. Whose-it." The alleged apparition would appear in semi-solid form and was a well over six feet in height, according to their testimony. Both Doris and her eldest son claimed to have seen two dark, solid figures with Asian features appear from out of nowhere within their mother’s bedroom, who at times appeared to be struggling with each other. This particular event occurred several times, with one episode where Doris claimed to have physically bumped into the apparition in the hallway. Neither Doris nor her eldest son would accept the possibility that the apparitions might have been imagined or simply prowlers or intruders who forcibly entered the house.
Doris believed most adamantly that these “Asian beings” were evil and indeed was quite emotionally distraught at the prospect of her family’s possible eminent danger. Considering what Doris was about to tell us, this belief on her part was well within the boundaries of rational thinking. Undoubtedly, the most intense occurrence which Doris related to us was that she had been sexually assaulted by three semi-visible beings. Two of the smaller beings or apparitions literally held her down by the wrists and ankles, while the remaining form entered her. According to Doris’ testimony, this event took place on several separate occasions, each time leaving behind large and distinct black and blue wounds, especially around the ankles, wrists, breasts and groin area of the inner thighs. Even more dramatic was Doris’ claim that during one particular attack, her eldest son overheard the scuffle and entered the bedroom. According to Doris, he witnessed her being tossed around like a ragdoll by the entities. She alleges that when her son came to her aid, an invisible force picked him up and threw him backwards into the wall. The son corroborated his mother’s story, speaking of the sheer terror he experienced during that struggle.
Unfortunately, Doris’ claim of “spectral rape” could not be substantiated due to her failing to report the incident to medical or other authorities. The fact that these alleged instances of paranormal rape occurred several weeks prior to our initial arrival, prevented us from observing her already healed bruises. Understandably, the resulting household environment was one of extreme anxiety and Doris’ relationship with her four children was anything but cordial, in fact, it was downright belligerent. I will refrain from going into all the bizarre stories that were related to us for we cannot substantiate them. Needless to say, after hearing Doris’ incredible story, Gaynor and I looked at each other, collectively both rolled our eyes back while shaking our heads. Our initial impression was to totally discount Doris’ claims and simply refer her to one of the psychiatrists at the NPI. However, as we ourselves would have been somewhat embarrassed to even reiterate her totally incredulous account to a medical professional back at UCLA, we decided to think about it for a while rather than act on it. In retrospect, this hesitation turned out to be a wise decision. However, a few days hence, Doris called to inform us that five individuals outside her family had now seen the alleged apparitions. We immediately decided to return to the house armed with cameras and a tape recorder. Preceding this return, an investigation into the background of the house revealed two male deaths from natural causes since its construction, neither of which, in our opinion, was relevant to the study of the phenomena occurring within the residence.
Upon our second visit this house, we became increasingly aware of the broken-down, shabby nature of the wooden dwelling that had been twice condemned by the city. Nevertheless, the second visit to this house marked the beginning of was to become our most extraordinary investigation to date. An intriguing factor, which in our opinion is highly significant, was that from the very first occasion we entered Doris’ bedroom, we both immediately noticed that the temperature was unusually low in comparison to the rest of the house, even though it was a hot August night and all the bedroom’s windows were closed. This peculiar and penetrating cold varied in intensity as we moved throughout the bedroom, again reminiscent of “cold spots” experienced in other investigations.
Also noticed upon first entering Doris’ bedroom was a strong olfactory sensation (smell) of rotting, decomposing flesh, such as might be experienced in a physiology lab or a morgue. Both the stench and cold spots faded in and out irregularly, sometimes completely disappearing. A thorough examination of the house offered no explanation for these anomalistic effects. Another particularly noteworthy physical sensation within the bedroom was a strong sense of overpressure, that is, the feeling within the inner ear of being at the bottom of a very deep pool. Interestingly, this particular effect is perhaps one of the most common subjectively experienced sensations in suspected haunted/poltergeist environments.
The two cameras we arrived with on our second visit were a Polaroid SX-70 and a Honeywell Pentax 35 mm. SLR loaded with high-speed infrared film. The first of many to come, seemingly inexplicable happenings, occurred while Gaynor was taking to the elder son in the kitchen. Gaynor was standing approximately one foot away from the lower cabinets when suddenly the cabinet door swung open. A frying pan flew out of the cabinet, following a curved path to the floor over 2.5 feet away, hitting with quite a thud. Now, of course, the immediate thing to surmise is that the pan was leaning against the cabinet door and finally pushed it open as it fell out. But we cannot accept this explanation for the trajectory of the pan as it came out of the cabinet was elliptical. It literally jumped out! After carefully examining the kitchen cabinet from which the pan was propelled we proceeded to Doris’ bedroom. There were four of us in the bedroom, which appeared to be the focal point of the phenomena according to Doris. Her friend Candy, who had joined us on this evening, and whom we were told was psychic, concurred. We took a preliminary shot of the bedroom with the Polaroid SX-70 that came out perfectly. After about fifteen minutes Candy shouted out that there was something in the corner of the bedroom. After hearing Candy’s shouts I rapidly ran back into the bedroom from the kitchen where I was examining the developed first photograph and immediately aimed and fired the Polaroid camera.
The resulting photograph was completely bleached white, as though exposed to some powerfully ionizing radiation, which if present, might have had strong adverse effects on our bodies, perhaps even to the degree of causing burns and extensively damaging cells. The resulting photograph was completely bleached white, as though exposed to some powerfully ionizing radiation, which if present, might have had strong adverse effects on our bodies, perhaps even to the degree of causing burns and extensively damaging cells.
About fifteen minutes later Candy again screamed out that there was something in the corner (not that she could see, but sense) and accordingly I fired off the Polaroid. Once again, the picture was badly bleached, although not as severely as the first one. Inasmuch as we were both aware of my rather dubious distinction of being a “film fogger,” we decided it best to trade off taking pictures with each camera. However, at no time did either of us see anything in this corner of the bedroom. A few minutes later, I took another picture, but this time it was in another room of the house, and oddly enough, the photograph came out near perfect except for lack of proper focusing adjustments. Following this, Gaynor used the Polaroid, as I did again, both within the bedroom, resulting in two perfectly normal photographs. It’s interesting to note that on both of these last shootings, Candy did not sense the presence within the room, as she did earlier.
The next picture I took facing the door to the bedroom. The motivation for shooting at that particular time and in that direction was the sudden onset of a cold current of air accompanied by a pervasive stench flowing in from the direction of the closed bedroom door. Curiously, this picture turned out to be the most interesting one of the night. On the floor just inches from the door were a small ball of light about one foot in diameter. The baffling thing was, that none of us saw it, but the camera certainly recorded something.
Standing there in amazement for several minutes discussing this phenomenal picture, I happened to glance over toward the bedroom’s eastern window and suddenly observed several rapidly moving, electric-blue balls of light. Immediately raising the Polaroid, aiming and firing in the direction of the curtains over the window, I produced a picture that was once again blurred and badly bleached in nature. It should be stated here that the only light within the bedroom during all the aforementioned shots was a single candle’s illumination and the flash cubes of the camera.
The attempted photographs of the rapidly moving, glowing blue star-bursts did not reveal the actual display that I observed. But within a short period of time, Candy told us that there was something standing directly in front of her. Once again, I fired the Polaroid and the resulting picture was most bizarre. Her face was completely bleached out, yet her dress and the surrounding background of curtains and various objects within the bedroom were quite clear and distinct. The bleaching closely resembled that which is on the majority of pictures taken until that point.
A short while later Candy again informed us that there was something right in front of her. This time Gaynor took the picture with the Polaroid, developing similar to the previous one. Beautiful detail was picked up in the curtains in the background, her dress was clear to the point of recognizing detail on its buttons, yet her face was completely obliterated by the same type of bleaching or fogging which afflicted the earlier photographs. It is important to emphasize, that without moving his position so much as a hair, Gaynor took another picture of Candy with the Polaroid as a control approximately two minutes later. Before Gaynor fired the shot, Candy said the presence was now gone, and the resulting photograph came out perfect; completely absent of any fogging or light diffusion. Another control photograph of the bedroom was taken by Gaynor and it too turned out quite normal, without any aberrations on the emulsion.
It is important to note that when Candy said there was something (whatever it was) in front of her, the picture was severely bleached, while minutes later when she said it was gone, the ensuing picture fired by Gaynor demonstrated high resolution and clarity, that is, no fogging. At this point, Gaynor passed the Polaroid over to me. I was about to place it on the dresser across the room after checking the camera to determine how many pictures remained. After examining the camera’s number window and while walking towards the bureau, the Polaroid suddenly and inexplicably took the last photograph by itself. I was fully aware at all times that my hands were nowhere near the button that activates the camera. My reaction was one of absolute amazement in conjunction with a little fear as I was positive that I did not cause the camera to fire.
The resulting photograph, somehow occurring without the expected flash, showed utter blackness with nothing whatsoever discernible within it. The infrared film in the 35 mm. camera on this evening was inadvertently exposed due to our own carelessness. This marked the end of our second visit to this most unusual house. On the third night we visited the residence, which was approximately one week later, we were accompanied by a young female photographer from a Brentwood camera shop. Almost immediately upon entering Doris’ bedroom, the young woman remarked quite emphatically that the horrible stench was making her sick to her stomach. Our third to Doris’ house was most notable in that it was the first occasion where we both collectively witnessed identical visual phenomena. On more than twenty separate occasions, all of us present in the bedroom, including Doris and the female photographer, simultaneously observed what appeared to be a small, pulsing flashes of light.
It was at this point that we decided to further darken the candle-lit room and hung several heavy quilts and bedspreads over the windows and curtains. Our attempt partially succeeded in that we significantly attenuated the outside light. The change in light intensity within the bedroom did not affect our most unusual luminous “friend” that now appeared even more brilliant against the darkened surround. It should be noted that we both alternately watched the various window areas in the hope of determining if the source of light was originating from outside the house, perhaps from a passing vehicle or neighbor’s flashlight. After several such attempts, we were satisfied that whatever these moving, pulsing lights were, they were not originating from outside the house as the thick quilts draped over the window curtains would have easily told us of such an intrusion of light. The sudden and rapid appearance and disappearance of the lights on this night made it virtually impossible to obtain any photographs, regardless of the fact that it appeared over ten times on the front of the bar area alone.
Overall, the third session at Doris’ house netted us very little in the way of objective photographic evidence similar to that of the second encounter. Not one of the photographs taken by either the Polaroid SX-70 camera or the 35 mm. loaded with infrared film showed anything of interest. Similarly, out attempt to record the light (radiation)? observed with X-ray dental tabs placed on the walls around the room and a sheet of 8” x 10” film sandwiched between radiation intensifying plates proved equally fruitless. Although the lights were photographically elusive, they nevertheless visually appeared both circular and triangular in their displays to all of us. We learned the next day that our attractive female photographer, after being dropped off by us at her apartment, became so overpoweringly ill from the effects of the bedroom’s odor that she regurgitated heavily before retiring.
Our fourth excursion to Doris’ home further heightened our already peaking curiosity, for the light show witnessed on our last visit was in no way comparable to what was about to occur, exactly one week later.
The purpose of this evening was to conduct a seance (not generally advised) with the hope that it would bring forth whatever phenomenon was related to this locale or woman. The seance circle consisted of some eight individuals, including more than ten spectators, many of who came with cameras loaded with high-speed infrared film with IR flashes, and high-speed black and white film with deep-red filtered strobes.
On this night we all observed what appeared to be extremely intense lights, which were not stable either in size or luminosity. The lights were at times three- dimensional in nature, reaching out between various individuals within the circle. Judging from the rapidly changing size, dimensional characteristics and intensity of the lights observed, it is our opinion that these manifestations were not fraudulently created, nor the result of collective hallucinations. In order for such unique lighting effects to have been artificially generated, large, high-powered laser equipment would have had to have been employed, requiring extremely sophisticated and technical skills. The type of three-dimensional lights observed on this occasion are almost exclusively restricted to laser light shows, and from the conversations with Doris and her children, we are thoroughly convinced that not one of these individuals would even understand the functional principle underlying lasers, let alone how to operate one within a light show.
The lights frequently displayed a sort of dimensional netting or grating effect, resembling Fourier convolutions observed in holography, undulating, expanding and contracting to encompass the entire corner of the bedroom at various times. Another factor prohibiting any attempts at fraud with sophisticated laser equipment was the very lack of available power within this residence in that the electrical circuitry was installed shortly after the old house was constructed resulting in it being weak and faulty in nature. It is our estimation that the power of a krypton or argon gas laser with peak power output somewhere between 1-3 watts (remember, this is 1974, not 1998 where tabletop gigawatt lasers are not uncommon) with a coherence length of at least fifteen feet would be required to produce the optical effects observed on this evening. Understanding the lasers (in 1974) operated at about 5% maximum efficiency, means that the input power must exceed approximately 55-60 watts at over 10 kilovolts. Where this amount of power could have been drawn from if fraud was attempted, if certainly beyond our knowledge, Such demands would have required a separate generator and transformer (power supply). All of this cumbersome apparatus would have certainly necessitated a relatively large space to erect and operate, and considering the small size of the bedroom that was literally packed with people, such available space was an impossibility. And of course, let’s not forget the cost of renting or owning such equipment.
Doris’ eldest son informed us, prior to the beginning of the seance, that there were certain record albums that appeared to, in his words, “infuriate it.” Strangely enough, these albums were by Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep and both specific songs mentioned by the son dealt with devil worship. Both Doris and her sixteen year-old son were of the belief that the phenomena within their home had some connection with evil or the devil itself given its belligerent propensities. Much to our surprise, when the records were playing the songs indicated by Doris’ son, the anomalous light activity dramatically increased, reaching a crescendo in conjunction with the music, in fact, with specific passages within each of the two songs. Two distinct possibilities arose with regard to the music’s effects; one was that the frequency and amplitude modulation of the mechanical compression waves generated by the music were somehow directly affecting the source producing the phenomena; or, the same elements of the music were alternatively affecting the people in the environment which caused the emission of an unknown biological energy (RSPK) that in turn reinforced the phenomena. Since both albums contained very high-strung music, either hypothesis has equal merit in this situation.
With three 35 mm. cameras continuously firing at these oscillating greenish-white, three-dimensional lights, only one photograph depicted anything significant. The camera loaded with Kodak Tri-X black and white film with a deep-red filtered strobe captured what appears to be a small ball of light flying across the corner of the room. The sixth obtained photograph displayed an object bearing strong resemblance to a comet with a tail behind it. However, due to the fact that we did not have any background reference against which this shot was taken, no estimate of its size, speed or distance from the wall could be made. Because these exposures were pushed in development past 6000 ASA, the available background was extremely grainy, which further hindered analysis. This photograph was the only meaningful one that was obtained that evening, for not one of the cameras captured the images we saw with our unaided eyes. The three-dimensional lights lasting more than ten minutes at-a-time, which everyone present observed, also did not appear in any of the photographs.
However, several other pictures showed what appeared to be faces or figures outlined in light against a sliding closet door. However, as these images are highly subjective in nature, much like a Rorschach, we did not subject them to further analysis. Another photograph depicted an intense light against the south facing wall in several separate frames.
The professional photographer who took these pictures was convinced that this exposure could not be explained away as irregularities in paint or a “hot spot” of reflection. The photographer was similarly convinced that the flying ball of light, discussed earlier, which he also caught, was not an artifact of overdeveloping or scratch marks on the negative. The criticisms raised against the facial and figure outlines on the walls were, in most respects valid, in that the lack of uniformity of paint on the bedroom walls in conjunction with the slight penetrating power of the pushed Kodak Tri-X film could have conceivably accounted for these unidentifiable figures, which unfortunately were not recognizable by everyone examining the photographs.
Our fifth visit to Doris’ house resulted in a large-scale magnification of all phenomena. We began by duct taping large black poster boards up on the walls and ceiling of the bedroom, all of which were numbered and identified with a magnetic orientation. White duct tape was placed between the dark panels that formed a grid network, like graph paper, therein providing us with a reference for further attempts at photographing the lights. Black poster boards were also used to seal off all the light entrances into the bedroom that rendered the environment almost pitch black. With over 30 individuals, some of whom were volunteers from our UCLA parapsychology laboratory, the lights returned and were even more brilliant than before, as well as demonstrating a direct responsiveness to our verbal suggestions. The three-dimensional lights seemingly reacted and responded to our jokes and various provoking remarks, especially those of Doris. In fact, when Doris began to swear and curse at the lights, assuming that they were in some manner related to the entities that attacked her, the lights, always appearing bright lime green in color, intensified beyond all previous displays. The room being almost completely dark further enhanced the brightness of these excited luminous structures. It almost seemed as if the lights were a direct product of, or counterpart to Doris’ psychic state, waxing and waning in accordance with her emotional fluctuations.
This evening marked the first occasion where we attempted to establish communication with whatever it was in the house. Communication with the lights consisted of our asking them (or it) to blink out coded (numbered) responses on different numbered black poster boards on the walls of the bedroom’s corner where the phenomena seemed to emanate from; two blinks in panel three for “yes” and four flashes in panel six for “no." To our mutual amazement and astonishment, the lights almost immediately responded to our request. The answers out our questions, coming as numbered flashes of light, were sharp and fast, illuminating the numbers on the selected panels, and thus indicating that we may have been dealing with some type of incorporeal or discarnate intelligence. From the observed modulations in light activity, which displayed both vertical and horizontal parallax when seen from different angles, it is our collective opinion that we did indeed communicate with something, whether it being Doris’ unconscious mind, who was always in the room, or the agency itself (conceding that it did separately exist). The answers we received could not be confirmed, and never really made any sense. The most intense response was to the questions as to whether or not “it” feared extreme cold, such as with supercooling or absolute zero. To this, the light responded most dramatically, almost as if it knew exactly what we meant and was disturbed at the thought of it. It should be remembered however, that these are no more than our speculations based upon our observations. One of the more interesting events of this night involved an extremely sensitive geiger counter that we had brought along in the hope that it might reveal some significant information about the phenomena occurring within the house. The instrument, sensitive in the milliroengten region, behaved oddly in that when the lights were at peak intensity, the previously constant background radiation registering on the device suddenly dropped off to zero.
When the light activity began to dwindle, fade and finally abate, the geiger counter’s meter returned to its normal level of ambient background radiation, which is generally comprised of high-energy cosmic rays from solar events, deep space, as well as other stray sub-atomic particles which penetrate through to the Earth’s atmosphere due to their speed and energy. Although this peculiar reaction of our geiger counter occurred only that one evening, we must take it into consideration for the possible implications is noteworthy. There are three possible alternatives regarding the geiger counter’s behavior. The first, is that whatever energy was causing the various phenomena in Doris’ house were somehow setting up its own field and therein scattering, deflecting, screening or absorbing the background radiation, similar to that of an energy sink. Perhaps this phenomena’s power source is ambient background radiation or noise? The second choice is that the phenomena present, whatever it happens to be, generates a moderately high-strength electrostatic or magnetic field that is known to have adverse effects on the tubes within geiger counters, sometimes to the point of nulling them out, as with our device.
The final possibility is that the geiger counter itself was simply malfunctioning. This latter hypothesis is not valid in this situation because the unit accurately registered the emission of radiation from my tritium-dialed watch both prior to and following the evening’s excursion. The photographs resulting from this evening’s encounter, surpassingly did not reveal the incredibly detailed images of the corpuscular masses of light we observed with our naked eyes. Instead, were brilliant arcs of light, one essentially framing Doris. The others were floating in the middle of the bedroom when Doris was not even present in the room. We believe that these arcs of light represent a time-dilated rendering of the rapidly moving, corpuscular masses of light that our camera’s shutter speed was not fast enough to stop its motion. Therefore, instead of balls of light, we captured what amounts to tracks or, more precisely, time-lapse photos. Similar to what you get if you photograph stars without a moving platform. As disappointing as these results were, in a strange sort of a way, they helped us rule out fraud.
From a scientific point of view, what is absolutely fascinating about photograph one is the fact that the arc appears to be floating in free space. It is crucial to recognize that behind the arc’s image, two bedroom walls meet at a 90 degree angle. Therefore, if the image of the arc was projected against the wall, it would appear bent at a 90 degree angle in accordance with the wall. The fact that it is not signifies that the arc or it’s source, the corpuscular masses of light, were in fact, flying over and around Doris’s head at the time. Exactly what we all observed. Equally compelling is the fact that the arc perfectly frames Doris, the subject or focus of the haunting. Certainly, this is not a coincidence! In photograph two, there are depicted two separate, inverted arcs that give the appearance of being at a 90 degree angle to each other. However, the perpendicular walls described above are now far off center (to the left) and the wall behind the dual arcs is flat (opaque curtain covering a large bedroom window). When Adrian Vance, the West Coast Editor of Popular Photography examined the negatives of these photos, he was as perplexed as we were. According to Vance, the very nature of optical glass in a 35 mm. SLR camera prohibits such inverted arcs from occurring. Yet here they are. Vance could not conceive of any known artifact or anomaly to account for such images.
These enigmatic physical effects, although remaining unexplained, brought our fifth encounter with Doris’ house to a close, at least we assumed it did. The next evening we received a frantic phone call from Doris informing us that all the black poster boards that we so carefully taped up on the walls was torn down. That literally “all hell” had broken loose that afternoon, which apparently climaxed at one point with the poster boards. Doris told us that while she was in the bathroom, which is directly adjacent to the bedroom, she suddenly heard (quite loudly) the boards being forcibly torn from the walls. Upon entering the bedroom, Doris observed, as we did later that evening, every poster board lying down along the floor of the various walls, and the duct tape, which is utilized on occasion to fasten aircraft parts together, literally hanging from the walls and ceiling, as if pulled by some unseen hand. This phone report prompted our return to the house that night, allowing us to observe that the tape and boards were pulled away from the walls with such force that large portions of paint and plaster beneath the tape were removed along with it. It was suggested by several of our colleagues that a sudden, sharp rise is temperature and humidity could possible account for such an occurrence, in that the tape’s adhesive power would be significantly diminished to the point where it could no longer maintain the board’s weight against gravity on the wall. However, such a change in tape bonding strength would not result in it hanging from the ceiling and the plaster and paint being pulled from the wall beneath it. That is, even if we conceded for one moment that there was a significant increase in temperature and humidity to radically weaken the tape, which we do not.
It should also be pointed out that the duct tape used here is the same as that employed near high-temperature jet engines in supersonic fighter aircraft and thus would not be affected by any conceivable room temperature change. Upon examining the fallen poster boards and the tape surrounding them, it was apparent that the tape was still quite sticky and fully capable of supporting the relatively light boards on the walls. Also apparent that evening was the intense presence of the penetrating cold, which in itself defeats the argument regarding the rise in temperature affecting the tape. The foul stench was back with a vengeance as well. Doris told us of more activity on the part of the apparitions within her house, much of which was similar to what she had previously reported to us. After calming her down at some hour past midnight, we decided to leave.
Our sixth session at the house took place five days later and in most respects was a repeat performance of our fifth visit with the exception that the lights repeatedly began to take shape; forming the partial three-dimensional, apparitional image of a very large, muscular man whose shoulders, head and arms were readily discernible by the more than twenty individuals' present. However, no salient facial characteristics of this apparition were discernible. Suddenly, we heard two loud thuds. Turning quickly in response I observed the unconscious bodies of Jeff and Craig hit the floor with a resounding noise. Apparently, observing the apparition was just too much for them and they simply passed out. Needless to say, they never worked with us again on any investigations. On this evening we came armed with nine cameras loaded with very high-speed Tri-X and recording film, all of which was eventually pushed in development past 6400 ASA. On stationary tripods were a Hasselblad, a Bronica, and a Nikon FTN with a motor drive, all with wide-angle lenses. In keeping with the previous seances in the house, the three-dimensional lights appeared almost immediately upon starting the session and were again seemingly reinforced by the record albums, Doris’ verbalizations and the emotions of all present within the room.
The display of lights this evening was so intense that they easily illuminated the numbered poster boards covering the walls of the bedroom’s corner. Even the clothes of the individuals observing the lights from outside the seance circle were brightly lit by the luminous activity. In fact, so piercing were the lights that they were seen to reflect off the camera’s metal (aluminum) framing and lenses, all of which were aimed directly at the corner where the optical display was concentrated. Consequently, we expected to obtain some reasonable representation of what our eyes were seeing, especially since the Hasselblad and Bronica were set at five-minute time exposures; being held open for the duration of several lengthy bursts of light activity. It should be emphasized that during the dramatic optical manifestations before us, all of the seven mobile cameras were continuously firing, the noises of which could be hear behind us. In other words, the cameras were simultaneously firing at the lights as we were observing them at peak intensity.
Not surprising to us, considering the past two attempts at photographing the lights, all the negatives were perfectly clear, as if no light whatsoever was present to expose the film. Even the motor-driven, strobed, 35 mm. cameras with extremely fast black and white film pushed as far as possible in development, which on a previous occasion (4th) provided us with the flying ball of light, failed to capture anything. The events that occurred during the sixth visit were seemingly paradoxical. Lights sufficiently intense to illuminate the darkened room should have extensively overexposed our fast film, especially with time exposures exceeding five minutes.
What type of kind of light will reflect off solid objects, including lenses, cast shadows, be visible to the naked eye and yet not pass through the camera lens to expose the film? In the attempt to answer this most puzzling question, we speculated on the possibility that long-wave ultraviolet radiation, just above visible light, was in some manner generated by this phenomenon, which in an extremely dark environment such as the room we were in, is occasionally visible to the unaided eye of young persons. The presence of this form of light or radiation might conceivably explain the absence of photographs in that ultraviolet radiation is almost totally attenuated by conventional optical glass of which the camera lenses are constructed. Such being the situation, theoretically, the lack of a spectrometer, or the use of specialized color film with the appropriate lenses and filters that are sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, allowed us only to visually experience the small amount of seemingly visible light reflection and refraction off the lenses. This, of course, prevented our validating the presence of long-wave ultraviolet radiation.
Another intriguing possibility arose with the suggestion that the greenish-white light collectively observed by more than twenty individuals (only with eyes open) was the result of localized atmospheric gases being ionized and emitting light. The prime candidate for this theory would logically be xenon or neon with representative ionization thresholds of 12.13 ev (electron volts) and 21.56 ev. Xenon might display its characteristic green spectral line at 4671, while 4912 and 5401 of neon might also be accountable for the greenish-white color of light observed. Considering the relatively low ionization threshold of the atoms in these atmospheric gases, it is conceivable that the presence of some unknown energy source strong enough to affect the tube in a geiger counter, could generate such luminous effects. However, lights as emitted from these ionized atmospheric gases, should be photogenic. Yet this manner of light was not. This intriguing mystery was the end of our sixth night of investigation at Doris’ house.
Our seventh visit began with Doris informing us that on the previous night, which was exactly six days following our last stay, “all hell” had again broken loose in the house. Doris detailed her and her son’s experience with a pair of candelabras which of their own accord literally took off from the kitchen sink to fly across the room (about 10-12 feet) and strike her in the arm. Doris’ twelve year-old son fully corroborated her story in that he witnessed the event, as the flying candelabras barely missed him in their attack on his mother. Doris and her son also related another incident to us which occurred the same day in which a large wooden board, firmly nailed to the wall beneath one of the bedroom windows, was literally torn from its secured position, again as if by some unseen hands, and with what seemed tremendous force, was propelled more than fifteen feet across the room, missing his head be mere inches. Fortunately, Doris dodged in time to avoid being struck herself. We both observed the rather large red bruise on Doris’ forearm sustained from the flying candelabras, which had already begun to raise a considerable welt. Upon entering the bedroom we were again greeted by barren walls as all the poster boards were, once again, on the floor with the tape surrounding them fully intact. At numerous locations on the walls the tape was left hanging with large sections of dislodged paint and plaster beside them, while everything else within the bedroom, as on previous occasions, remained untouched. Again, Doris claimed to have heard the boards being torn down. Needless to say, the thought did cross our minds that Doris was the one tearing the poster boards down and was simply lying about it.
Accompanying us on this evening was Dr. Thelma Moss, head of our laboratory in UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, various assistants from the lab, several psychiatrists from the institute who professed an interest in such phenomena, and Frank De Felitta, a renowned writer, producer, and director of The Stately Ghosts of England (NBC, 1965). De Felitta brought along one of his professional cameramen (Mort Zarkoff) with a 16 mm. motion picture camera mounting a zoom lens and loaded with packs of high-speed black and white as well as color film. After the re-taping of the poster boards back onto the walls, we decided to begin another seance. There were some faint glimmerings of light, but they were in no way intense enough to cause any real excitement. Recalling how the earlier attempts with time-exposure photography had failed, we did not seriously expect to record anything substantial on film. Such indeed was the case. Even the playing of the records albums and the extreme emotional intensity of the observing crowd, failed to produce anything of value.
Sadly enough, those attending only on this evening did not witness the magnificent display of three-dimensional swirling lights or apparitions that had been occurring within the house. However, at one point during the seance, Gaynor suggested to the “presence” in the house, whatever it was, that it should demonstrate its strength by again tearing the poster boards off the walls, but this time in our presence.
As if in immediate reply, within five seconds following Gaynor’s request, several of the poster boards directly over Doris’ head were suddenly torn loose from their position and sharply struck her in the face. Both Gaynor and I, as well as others in the room, could easily observe the bizarre sight of the duct tape being pulled, again as if by unseen hands, from the boards on the wall. After quieting down Doris following her ordeal with the poster boards, Gaynor again requested the “presence” within the room to remove more poster boards from the walls. Once again, the request was honored as two more well secured boards were ripped from their position from the back wall and thrown across the bed to the floor, although this time missing Doris completely, to her great relief.
It should be stressed, that on this evening, which marked the first decline of visual phenomena, Doris’ emotional state was immensely improved as compared to earlier visits. She was considerably calmer, and for the first time in our series of visits to her home, was not even mildly intoxicated. However, we do not feel that Doris’ fondness for alcohol in any way invalidates her testimony regarding the unusual occurrences within her house, as the phenomena were collectively observed on frequent occasions as discussed earlier. Needless to say, the opinions of those attending only for the seventh visit to Doris’ house were anything but positive, as our claims were not even marginally supported. As far as the activity surrounding the poster boards was concerned, many of those present felt that their sudden removal from the walls and ceiling was explainable under the heating and humidity hypothesis discussed earlier. Yeah, right. And pigs can fly too.
The eighth and final visit to the house, ending a two-and-a-half month investigation, the lab’s longest (until that time), took place on October 31, 1974. What better night than Halloween, which coincidentally happened to be a full moon? This last evening we came prepared in that we brought an image intensifier (low-light or starlight scope) video recording system that we believed was sensitive enough to capture the weak light and images that our cameras could not. On this occasion, again without an intoxicated Doris, the event was a total failure, even worse than the seventh visit with the entire lab attending. There was a weak odor and sensation of cold, but the lights that had intrigued us for so long, were now absent from the residence. Also missing was Doris’ hostility, belligerence, and fear of the occurrences in her house. These emotions were replaced by almost total apathy and indifference towards the entire situation.
Perhaps in Doris’ mind, she felt that she had won the battle against the Entity. Or else, she had given up entirely. Who knows? After this visit, we temporarily lost contact with Doris as she finally moved from this location in Culver City and apparently was too preoccupied with her relocation to phone us, a situation that forced us to locate her. (Although, perhaps she just wanted to get away from all that was going on around her.) Not surprisingly, after re-establishing contact with her three months later, early in February 1975, we learned that the phenomena around her was continuing within her new environment, although at a considerably lower magnitude. The question we are now faced with is just what the appropriate explanation is for the phenomena that over fifty individuals, some collectively, including ourselves, observed. The answer can be narrowed down to three distinct possibilities, while completely rejecting the hypothesis of hallucination or fraud.
One possibility suggests that living human agents, in this case Doris and her children, were directly responsible for all the witnessed phenomena. This belief falling under the previously discussed category of poltergeists in which unconsciously released energy of an unknown variety affects surrounding matter and energy and is assumed to be associated with the emotional state of the occupants of the house (in many cases, one individual in particular) in which pubescent or adolescent children are present, which in this case was extreme. The psychodynamic environment within Doris’ household was extremely intense and anxiety ridden, with overtones of animosity and belligerence underlying its nature.
From a psychoanalytic perspective, it is interesting to note that Doris’ reported attacks and alleged rapes were by three male “beings,” the same number of male children she has. Considering the strong antagonisms existing between Doris and her children, especially the three boys, the potential for subliminally projected hostilities are self-evident and require no further clarification at this point. Understandably, it is within the realm of reason to suspect that the poltergeist hypothesis in this case is a viable one and therein taking responsibility for all of the paranormal activities, although not explaining their mechanics.
However, due to the frequency and consistency of phenomena experienced by us and numerous assistants during the short course of this investigation in conjunction with its responsive, directed nature, which is not in keeping with poltergeist cases, the possibility of something beyond a recurrent spontaneous psychokinetic effect must be considered. Even if Doris could, through some presently unknown paranormal mechanism, direct energy to move objects and create visible lights that behaved unpredictably, how often would this ability or faculty operate in our presence? The probability in view of past recorded cases of it operating six out of eight times consecutively, is almost nil. Indeed, not one known poltergeist case involves collectively visible three-dimensional lights. Additionally, we must not forget the cold spots and the terrible odor that almost always preceded the onset of phenomena. Taking all of the aforementioned effects into account, we are inclined to believe that the phenomena witnessed cannot as yet be explained by any coherent theory involving poltergeist activity (RSPK) or discarnate intelligence. While we recognize that a belief in discarnate intelligence is almost inconceivable, we nevertheless must align ourselves with the theory that best explains the experienced phenomena (remember, your theory must fit your data). Perhaps what was demonstrated here was a unique combination of different types of phenomena acting in concert. The evidence in this particular case, in our opinion, leans slightly towards the hypothesis of discarnate intelligence, or at least one capable of acting independently and at-a-distance from its operator, agent or source.
To conclude that these phenomena are no more than the products of emotionally disturbed personalities would indeed be an insult to those individuals plagued with such phenomena. This single investigation seemingly appears to reinforce the findings of contemporary researchers in this field that is that there is some abstract form of relationship between intense emotional episodes and paranormal phenomena.
Whether there really are such entities as ghosts or apparitions, whether these terms are really appropriate for such a state in view of reported incidents of RSPK, and where within spacetime such non-physical energy exists, remain problems that we may solve only in the distant future. Meanwhile, what we have here is a study which, in our opinion, and considering the limitations imposed, meets the requirements of a contribution to science in that once you eliminate and rule out all the known possible causes, you’re left with something truly extraordinary, something that has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Something that may eventually tell us more about who and what we really are. Furthermore, it illuminates an area of human experience that continues to occur in spite of our advanced technology, ignorance and lack of recognition, and appears to be relatively inaccessible to the scientific method. However, such might not be the case in view of current beliefs within the field, especially considering the analogies drawn between holographic processes and paranormal phenomena. Although this investigation shed no further light on the real source or true nature of the phenomena encountered, we believe that it constitutes a diligent effort in that direction, despite financial and technological handicaps. The occurrences outlined within the body of this study, which were documented to the best of our ability, cannot be explained or accounted for by any conventional physical, scientific theory or model and therefore remains just as it began; a phenomenon.
As previously discussed, dramatic license was extensively exercised with The Entity. For example, we obviously never replicated Doris’ house in a controlled laboratory environment. Nor did we attempt to restrain and capture the entity by supercooling it with liquid helium as portrayed in the book and depicted in the motion picture. Such efforts, while scientifically feasible, would have been prohibitively expensive given the non-existent funding of our lab. However, what was visually observed by more than 50 eyewitnesses between August 22nd and October 31st. of 1974 was far more incredible and astounding than what was shown on screen. If you wish to blame anyone for the major diminution of the movie as compared to the book, blame the producer and director. Unfortunately, the producer of The Entity, the late Harold Schneider, was vehemently opposed to Frank De Felitta directing the film, as was originally planned. Given Frank’s extraordinary credits within the entertainment industry, this was a real shock. An even greater shock was the director Schneider hired to replace Frank (as if such was really possible). From the Ipcress Files and Lady Sings the Blues fame came Sidney J. Furie.
As is all too common in this business, the first thing Furie and Schneider did was substantially re-write Frank’s exemplary screenplay, significantly diminishing the magnitude and sometimes the nature of phenomena experienced along with my methods of how to document it, i.e., holographic laser cameras, thermal imaging, etc. The most critical changes made by the Schneider/Furie team involved the climax where the entity is frozen by liquid helium. What was described in the book was quite compelling and thought provoking. What ended up on the screen was, in my opinion, a hack’s attempt at controlling and devaluing De Felitta’s brilliant labor of love. However, it should be understood that Frank’s script was rewritten not simply as a matter of dramatic license or putting their own two cents in, but more due to the fact that Sid Furie and Harold Schneider were total skeptics, verging on debunkers. They basically believed that we were all somewhat disturbed and essentially fabricated the entire case. This prevailing attitude was the primary reason for their altering the screenplay.
During one conversation with Furie prior to the start of production I straight out asked him why he took on the direction of The Entity if he felt it was nothing more than a cheap hoax. His reply was equally straightforward; “money!” My only retort was, “Well, given that you are essentially little more than a mercenary, if we give you even more money, will you leave the production and let Frank direct it, as was originally intended?” By the look on Furie’s face, he was not amused. The exact words I used here are not worthy of being repeated in this text as they would dramatically cheapen it. I never even attempted a conversation on this matter with Schneider as intellectual communication with him was all but impossible. I know that one should not speak ill of the dead as they cannot defend themselves. In this case however, Schneider was such a talentless, tasteless, rotten, soulless man, it’s of little or no concern.
The passage of time can have dramatic and sobering effects on one’s interpretation of reality, especially when it pertains to an area of science that lacks voluminous amounts of hard, replicable data, like parapsychology.
More than thirty years of investigative research into some 3,500 cases of ghosts, hauntings, apparitions and poltergeists has significantly altered my attitudes, perspective and belief system. Very distinctive longitudinal patterns have emerged, reinforcing existing theories regarding this type of phenomenon. And while revisionist history does not generally lend further credence or substantiation to any event, in this particular case, time-acquired knowledge and experience has provided a unique viewpoint that was otherwise unobtainable. The result is a reinterpretation of events from a quarter century ago.
In the simplest terms and contrary to the popular media hype, The Entity case was not, in my opinion, an instance of haunting or discarnate intelligence, but one of extreme RSPK, that is, a poltergeist manifestation. In this regard, it was apparent from the outset that Doris was a deeply troubled woman whose claims of spectral rape were due in large part to extreme emotional distress coupled with an overactive imagination and libidinous fantasies. The fact that the phenomena moved with Doris as she moved, first from Culver City to Carson, then to San Bernardino, then all the way to Texas, and then back to San Bernardino, strongly suggests that the phenomena was a direct product of her tortured unconscious mind and not of her environment.
In fact, once she moved from her original residence in Culver City at the end of 1974, the house was forevermore free of phenomena. In an even stranger twist to an already mind-boggling case, while in San Bernardino, Doris claimed that she had gotten pregnant from The Entity. However, medical results were more consistent with an ectoptic or hysterical pregnancy (no fetus). Once again, leaving us scratching our heads for answers. Understandably given the circumstances, Doris believed that The Entity would eventually kill her. Now back to what we believe to be reality. Lending further support to the poltergeist hypothesis was the fact when Doris moved into her new residence in Carson, the tenants of the houses flanking her immediately began experiencing violent outbreaks of poltergeist activity (even though the neighbors had no knowledge of her identity or experiences as we kept her away from the media), indicating that this phenomenon was perhaps radiant in nature with a proximity effect to it.
After investigating thousands of poltergeist cases over the subsequent twenty-eight years, data has clearly indicated that this type of phenomena moves with the agent over time and does not appear to have any lasting or residual effects on the house or apartment once the agent leaves. When the suspected poltergeist agent takes up residence in a new abode, psychokinetic storms follow shortly after the PGAs are acclimated to their new environment. However, even accepting the substantial evidence in favor of the psychokinetic origin of The Entity case, does not account for the inexplicable 35 mm. photographs recorded during the course of the investigation, which after detailed analysis by the West Coast Editor of Popular Photography and others were left wanting for answers. The last and perhaps most compelling psychodynamic indicator of the case’s RSPK underpinnings is Doris’ claim of being repeatedly attacked by three male entities (two allegedly held her down while the third raped her). It is no coincidence that at the time she was living in a highly volatile relationship with three male children. It does not take a great leap of logic to understand the obvious conflict ridden environment that spawned this incestuous hallucinatory projection, especially given Doris’ incredibly abusive past at the hands of both her parents and numerous men. In this case, the circumstantial evidence appears to speak for itself.
But, what if we are wrong? What if there really are discarnate entities that prey on weak and emotionally troubled individuals? What if ancient mythology regarding the incubus and succubus are more than just legend, superstition and religious hysteria? Are we so cock-fired sure of ourselves and our neonatal paranormal science that such a definitive statement is possible? Given that the discipline of parapsychology (or more precisely, psychical research) is but an embryonic science (albeit after 120 years), we are all in the position of the three blind men touching different parts of an elephant trying to determine the nature of the beast.
One touches the tail and thinks it’s a rope, the other touches a leg and believes it to be a tree trunk, while the third blind man touches the elephant’s trunk and is positive it’s a hose. Might we not be in exactly the same situation here? At this time, due to the lack of any developed paranormal technology, all we are able to do is speculate and theorize about the true nature of the phenomena based on fleeting encounters with its multi-faceted components. In reality there is little, if any, hard evidence pointing to a credible, objective description of this phenomenon.
Coming back to the human part of the equation, the last I heard from Doris was in February of 1983, approximately when The Entity was released. She said that to her great relief, the phenomena had ended quite some time ago. Not long afterwards, I again lost contact with her. The last Frank De Felitta heard from her was in late 1990. So, at present, we do not know where she is, or even if she is OK...
Special thanks to Kerry Gaynor.