From left to right: John Zaffis, Lorraine Warren, Bill Ramsey and Ed Warren
Ed and Lorraine Warren are considered the foremost experts on supernatural phenomena. They have helped families and individuals worldwide, battling ghosts, demons, and other manifestations of the paranormal. This is a case of the man Bill Ramsey, “A true story of demonic possession” and is detailed in a book called “WEREWOLF”. Ed and Lorraine became aware of Ramsey’s plight from a segment on a television show called “Incredible Sunday” and managed to track him down in London with the help of police.
The investigation begins:
“BILL RAMSEY AS A YOUNG BOY” Like many imaginative nine year olds, Bill often liked to play alone. Companions had a way of inhibiting him; with them, he had to play “real” games. But when he was alone, his mind was free to roam, and he could be anybody from The man in the Iron Mask to Flash Gordon. There was even music in his head, the way there was in the rousing movies at the Saturday matinee. And there were always pretty damsels he was rescuing, damsels who rewarded him with a tender kiss and a rose, symbolic of their esteem for him. Bill often played alone in his back yard and although it wasn’t large, it was grassy and the sun filled it in the afternoon. Sometimes his mother would have wash hanging on the lines the whole length of the yard and the air would be pleasantly filled with the fresh aroma of clean sheets. Bill often played out there for long hours.
On one particular day, a sunny Saturday as he recalls, he had come home from the movies and looked forward to two hours of light before night came. He helped his mother with a few chores and then ran outside, eager to play fighter pilot. The matinee that afternoon had run two films about royal Air Force adventures in World War II, and in his mind Bill was now ensconced in a fighter plane, diving to take out a German bomber destined to set London aflame. Bill was rested from a good night’s sleep, had a full stomach from movie theater popcorn and felt restless, with an abundance of energy. He played for an hour before he turned and felt a coldness come over him like an invisible ocean wave. To this day, Bill recalls the sensation exactly: “Have you ever walked into a meat locker right after you’ve been outside on a hot day? That’s what this was like. I was playing and my body temperature was normal and then, well, I’d say it felt as if my body temperature dropped a good twenty degrees. Sweat froze on me and my whole body started shaking. It was as if I’d opened this door and stepped inside to another dimension or something. And there was this odor. Very foul. A few years earlier, a sewer on our street had backed up. I’d never smelled anything as bad as the gasses that escaped. And that’s what this smell was like that day, I was afraid I was going to vomit.”
Bill stood in the back yard for a long time trying to make sense of what had happened to him. He felt that he had changed in some subtle, yet profound way. Something terrible had just happened to him, but he had no idea what. Eventually, the chill left his body and the smell drifted away. He was again a seemingly normal boy. His body temperature warm again, he started playing once more, but somehow it wasn’t the same. Now when he closed his eyes and imagined himself a fighter pilot, with the music swelling in the background and a variety of sound effects playing in his ears, it seemed silly. Something a child would do and, curiously, Bill no longer felt like a child.
The Light faded. Up and down the block, you could hear mothers calling their children in to their homes. In most houses, that is. But at one home not all the children were inside as yet. At one home, one lone nine-year-old still stood in the back yard, shadowy in the growing gloom of night. Something was different, he was now frightened. He had long ago ceased his playing. He stood staring up at the first of the night’s stars, feeling the coldness starting to shudder through him again. He walked slowly over to the fence to look down the narrow alley. If he followed the alley far enough, it would lead him to the sea. He thought now of stealing aboard a boat, the way young Jim Hawkins had in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and sailing somewhere far away where people wouldn’t know the truth about him.
“ABOUT THE STRANGE COLDNESS NOW INSIDE HIM“, About the curious, growing rage that seemed to overtake him like a blinding seizure. Images of himself as a wolf began flashing through his mind. Through the fog of his thoughts and fears, he heard his mother’s voice calling him in. Ordinarily, this would have been a comforting thought, a reassurance that the word was a safe, knowable place filled with parents who loved and cared about him and wanted to protect him. But tonight he heard his mother’s voice differently. Somehow it irritated him. Didn’t she know the truth about him? Didn’t she know that he was quite capable of taking care of himself? He turned, the rage starting to course through him now, and in so doing caught the toe of his shoe against the fence post. He tripped and fell to the ground. By the time he’d regained his feet, his anger was blinding him, and he heard the low, chilling rumble of a frenzied beast and knew that, somehow, it was himself he was hearing. He turned to the fence post, which had been dug and planted deep into the ground, and tore it from its moorings so violently that dirt and grass were flung all the way up on the back porch.
Seeing this, his horrified mother called to his father and they both came running out of the house. But Bill was too “far gone” in his rage to stop. Three men would have had a hard time getting the fence post from the ground. Yet Bill had done it simply and brutally and now he stood swinging the post over his head as if it were nothing more than a baseball bat. The wire fencing attached to the post was still nailed to the wood. When his parents drew close and shouted for him to put the post down, Bill hurled it to the ground. But then he fell to his knees and began ripping into the wire fencing with his hands. He pulled the fencing to his teeth and began tearing it apart with them. His father, terrified by now, tried to pull his son to his feet, but was having a difficult time. The boy’s strength was incredible, and frightening. His mother began sobbing. Finally, hearing the grief he was causing her, Bill relented and forced himself to get back into control. He threw the fence back to the ground. His hands and mouth were bloody from where the wire had torn it. In the darkness, all he could hear was his mother’s sobbing and his father’s confused cursing. All Bill could feel was the peculiar coldness, “a coldness ” at his very center, a coldness that marked him as different from other human beings. He turned to them then, thinking he was about to say something reassuring, but he was once again seized with the rage. He saw another image of himself as a wolf. Another growl started up from his belly and filled his chest and burst out of his mouth. His mother and father ran back to the house. On the back porch, his mother tripped. His father bent to pick her up and when he did so, he looked back at his son and thought he saw a the form of a wolf, then his parents rushed inside and bolted the door, leaving Bill in the twilit back yard.
Eventually, the roaring quieted, and Bill began to feel the rage leave his body. Some of the coldness left also… finally. But he made his way across the back yard up to the porch, he realized that something terrible had happened here today, something that could never be undone. He raised his small hand and started knocking on the door. His mother and father looked at each other, unsure if they should let him in.
What a strange feeling, to be afraid of your own little boy. But neither could withstand the sight of their little boy locked out of his own home, so they opened the door. He came running into their arms, the way a much younger child might. All three of them cried there in the doorway. Later, as his mother served them dinner, she found herself noticing that Bill had, in some way, physically changed. It was a subtle change, one she couldn’t really identify. But he HAD changed, changed in a way only a mother would be aware. They said nothing more of the incident in the yard. Both his parents wanted to believe that it had just been some freakish incident and should be utterly forgotten. And so it was. For a few years anyway.
BILL RAMSEY THE MAN went on with his life. He married, began raising a family and worked as a carpenter. The freakish incidents started again…on the night of Monday, December 5, 1983, a young policeman donned his uniform for only the sixth time in his short career. Before leaving for work that night, he kissed his wife as usual, spent a few minutes with his baby girl in her room, and then came into the apartment’s kitchen for another cup of coffee. Before his shift ended near dawn, he’d add many more cups to his system. His young wife had always been sensitive to his moods, and tonight she sensed something wrong. As she leaned in the doorway, watching him stand at the window and look outside, she recalled the night before the police exams. He’d been so tense he kept swallowing his words and complained of a headache, something that rarely troubled him.
When she’d first met him, she always thought of him as calm in virtually all circumstances. But the longer she was around him, the better she could read the small signs that tipped off his real feelings. Tonight, he kept clearing his throat. He did this every “half minute” or so, and sometimes he did it so violently his entire upper body bucked. Something was wrong. She came up from behind him and gently slid her arm around his waist. She looked out the window, too. She had to smile for as often as they stood here staring out, there wasn’t much of a view, just a narrow alley lost in darkness and the silhouette of crumbling Victorian houses against the moonlit sky. Genteel poverty, she supposed, was the proper description. As soon as her husband got his first promotion, they planned to move to a better neighborhood.
But for now… “Coffee all right?” she asked softly. “You feeling all right, dear?” He quickly replied “Sure Why?” “You keep clearing your throat.” He smiled and gave her a hug. “My wife the psychiatrist.” “Well, I read in one of my magazines that little nervous habits are a sign of stress and anxiety.” Trying to lighten the mood, he responded “So now I’m all stressed-up and anxious, am I?” She looked up at him, the smile fading from her soft, pretty mouth. “You seem to be, love. What is it?” She surprised him by taking his question seriously. “I’m not sure. Just this-feeling. I don’t know how else to describe it.” “What kind of feeling?” He didn’t hesitate. “Fear.” He turned and looked back at her. “I’ll be fine. I’m sure of it.” “I’m sure of it, too,” she said, though that wasn’t the way she felt at all. As soon as he’d gathered his coat, kissed her, and set off down the steep stairs leading to the street, she began saying a decade of the rosary especially for her husband.
Later that same evening, Bill Ramsey was on his way back to the taxi cab company when he felt a hard pain in the middle of his chest. Maalox usually stopped such pain, but Bill sensed that Maalox would be no help this time. Bill pulled his car over to the curb, clutching his chest and trying to get his breathing back to its normal pace. But the pain got worse, and so did the irregularity of his breathing, which now came in great heaves. Cold sweat covered most of his upper body. Terrified that he was going to die, he put the car in gear and headed toward nearby, Southend Hospital. He went straight to the Emergency Room entrance and found a parking spot. When he got out of the car, another stabbing pain raced up his chest and right arm, and he fell back against the car door. He had a palpable sense that he was dying that his entire system was shutting down.
The Emergency Room entrance looked hopelessly far away now, as if he were seeing it through the wrong end of a telescope. He took one step forward, two. And he started walking again. He wanted to call out, but he didn’t want to waste the last of his strength on it. He needed whatever strength he had for reaching the Emergency Room. By the time he reached the entrance, he was starting to feel the freezing sensation starting up his legs and spreading into his torso. He thought again of his earlier “wolf” episodes. He prayed to God such a thing wasn’t happening now. The reception area of the Emergency Room was empty. Two nurses in crisp white uniforms sat behind a long desk, going over patient charts. From speakers recessed into the ceiling, soft pleasant music played. The air had a medicinal smell that was somehow reassuring.
As soon as Bill open the door, the two nurses glanced up and saw him. One of the nurses, looking somewhat alarmed, scurried from behind the desk and hurried over to Bill. The other nurse, up on her feet now, too, ran to get a gurney. The nurses carefully helped Bill on to the gurney and then pushed him down a long corridor to a series of empty rooms where emergency patients were treated. This time of night, there was a curiously relaxed feeling about the empty hospital. Bill didn’t have much of a stomach for blood, or for watching other people in pain. “How are you feeling now?” “Better, I guess,” he said. And then he felt the rumbling sensation in his belly. It started almost like gas pain, moving up through his stomach and into his chest and then into his throat. All the time the sensation moved, it gathered power, so that when it reached his mouth it was expressed in a roar that bounced off the walls and seemed to echo for a good two minutes. Both nurses jumped back from the gurney. Both looked at Bill in terror. He felt another growl work up from his belly and out his mouth. He felt his hands begin to curl powerfully into paw-like claws. ” I don’t know what’s going on here, Bill, but it’s not anything a man in your condition should be doing.” He swiped at her with one of his powerful hands. She jumped back just in time. But this woman was a testament to the entire nursing profession and Bill allowed himself to be pressed back on the gurney. But just as his head was touching the pillow, he let out a horrifying roar again and snapped upward once more. This time before he knew what he was doing, he grabbed the nurse’s arm and dug his teeth into the tender flesh just below the elbow. She screamed. The other nurse came at Bill and slapped at him so he’d let go of her but at first he didn’t let go of her at all. He kept hold of her bleeding arm. The iron-like, tart taste of blood, human blood, filled his mouth. He held on to her arm as if he never planned to let go of it. The other nurse ran out into the hall, yelling for help.
At the same time, the young policeman had dropped by the hospital for cup of coffee in the emergency room. The hospital was one of his regular rounds. He always checked to see if there were any way he could help them. The policeman was now two-and-a-half hours into his shift and feeling pretty silly about the “premonition” he’d had. He was just finishing off his coffee when he heard the scream somewhere back in the examining rooms. The intern he’d been talking to set down his coffee and immediately started running in that direction. The policeman followed closely. Even from where he was, the policeman could hear furniture being tossed around. The screams of two nurses could also now be heard. And he heard an animal growling. He now overtook the intern and led the way into the room. What he saw, he couldn’t believe.
There, crouched in the far corner, was a wild-looking man holding the two nurses at bay. The growls were coming not from some animal, but from the man. The policeman pushed into the room, stepping over a chair that had been hurled and smashed against the wall. The closer he got to the man, the more the man growled. The policeman tried to act unperturbed by this, but the sight and sound of the man rattled him. He couldn’t help himself. With the way the man crouched, his face slick with sweat and contorted into an animal-like expression, all the policeman could think of was a wolf. The young policeman attempted to approach the crazed man in the corner. “I’d like to talk with you, sir.” The man, frenzied, glanced wildly around the room. Hatred showed in his eyes when he saw the nurses. He clearly felt they’d betrayed him in some way. The policeman could sense the intern coming up behind him. The intern was a brave lad. Together, they were going to try and capture the wild man. The gurney had restraining straps on it. If they could just get him up there. Suddenly, the man picked up another chair and flung it across the room. The nurses screamed again. The policeman and the intern kept inching forward. “We don’t want to hurt you,” the policeman said. “We want to help you, that’s all.” And then the man jumped at him, grabbing the policeman’s arm and trying, unmistakably to bite him. The growl was even more chilling this time. The intern used this moment to get behind the man. He got the man’s right arm in a hammerlock and shoved him forward to the policeman. Grabbing the man by the shoulder, the policeman shoved him down onto the gurney. Quickly, the two men lashed him to the cart with restraining straps.
They both considered themselves lucky. The man had been so strong they’d barely been able to handle him. And even now, strapped down, it seemed he would eventually be able to snap the straps. He moved so violently inside the straps that the gurney was literally lifted from the floor. Finally, the doctor in charge was summoned. He took one look at the man thrashing crazily about on the gurney and ordered an injection of Thorazine. Twenty minutes later, over coffee with the intern, the young policeman started trembling. His earlier feeling had proven accurate. He had been part of something tonight that was profoundly disturbing. He couldn’t get the man’s face from his mind. Its lean, feral lines, the mad burning eyes-they belonged to a wolf. “What the hell’s wrong with that man, anyway?” the policeman asked the intern. But all the medical man could do was shrug, “I wish I knew. I’d be a genius if I did.” “You ever heard of anything like this?” “Not really.” Then he grinned. “And I can’t say I want to see it ever again, either.” The policeman tried to find the humor in the remark but somehow he couldn’t. “What’s going to happen to him?” “To the wolfman?” the intern said. “Yes.” “Booby hatch, wouldn’t you think?” The policeman sighed. “I suppose.”
He began thinking back to the various trips to mental hospitals where he’d been handing over prisoners. Bill became conscious inside of the ambulance, he was strapped down. The interior of the ambulance would light up every once in a while with the headlights of passing cars. Then, silence again, just the thrumming of tires against the road. Across from him, leaning back against the opposite wall, the intern smoked a cigarette and watched him. “Little fellow to do all that, don’t you think?” “Do all what?” Bill was terrified. How had he gotten into an ambulance and more importantly, what had he done tonight, he had no recollection. He feared the worst. Had he killed somebody? “Don’t worry, little man, the doctors will tell you all about it.” “What doctors?” “Why at Runwell, of course.” “The mental hospital?” The ambulance sped on through the night. A chill rain had begun to fall and the windshield wipers made a heavy noise in the silence. Bill had never felt more alone in his life.
Bishop Robert McKenna through his many years in the priesthood has comforted thousands of people with his gentle voice. He has performed more than fifty exorcisms, twenty of which had been successful. The exorcism, is one of the most ancient rituals of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was about to begin. During the course of an exorcism, special instruments: holy water, a crucifix, and a relic of a saint are applied to the body – touched to the head or breast, for example. There is no chanting or singing, the priest prays in a loud, strong voice and in Latin. In the church sat Ed and Lorraine Warren, Bill and Nina Ramsey, John Zaffis, and four off-duty policemen who had been hired by the bishop. He knew he could not defend himself if Bill, in the throes of his exorcism, attacked him. Also present were David Alford and John Cleve, the writer and photographer from The People, the newspaper that had paid the Ramsey’s fare and accommodations.
Bill became very troubled the moment they stepped into the church. The demonic spirit within him was trying desperately to keep Bill under its control. Bill sat alone now in a chair facing the altar. Bishop McKenna approached him, said a few more words in Latin, and then demanded aloud that the demon identify itself and then leave Bill’s body forever. Bill stared at the bishop, sensing the ceremony was already going to fail. There was something comic in the whole thing, “Mumbo jumbo” Bill thought to himself. Nina was feeling pretty much the same, she wasn’t sure what she expected but it wasn’t this. Everything seemed so commonplace, like out of a horror movie. Bishop McKenna says, “I could feel and see what Bill could not. The demonic spirit in him was beginning to fight me through Bill.” He felt right from the start that this exorcism would be successful.
Thirty minutes into the exorcism, Bishop McKenna stepped forward and touched the stole he was wearing to Bill’s forehead. He then took Bill’s head firmly in his hands and ordered the werewolf to be banished forever. Bill started thrashing around in his chair, he didn’t know it yet, but he was fighting the demon for the control of his body and soul. Bill continued to shake and writhe uncontrollably, he was having an attack, the worst he’d ever known. He felt his lips pull back from his teeth felt his hands become claws, and the unmistakable urge to attack the bishop. And he did so. His hands reached up and attempted to rip open the Bishop’s face. Two of the burly policemen jumped up to grab Bill, but the Bishop bravely ordered them back to their seats. The bishop then bought a crucifix out from somewhere inside his religious garments, and pushed the cross into Bill’s face. Bill, or more properly, the werewolf inside him, went berserk. He came up from his chair snarling and growling and grasping at the Bishop. This time the Bishop had no choice but to retreat beyond the altar gate. Bill, spittle flying from his mouth, eyes wild, began to rush through the gate for the Bishop. But the priest stood absolutely still now, holding his cross up once again and beginning to speak in Latin. And then something happened. Bill felt suddenly weak; he staggered back to his chair and threw himself in it. He could feel the coldness in his body begin to warm; and he felt his desire to attack the Bishop begin to fade. Now the priest was back, standing over Bill and continuing his admonitions in Latin.
As he sat there, Bill marveled that he felt purified; “the poison that had been in my body drained from me completely. I was left without any strength at all, and when I turned to look at Nina, that small movement caused me to black out. I gripped the chair as tightly as I could and let the demon continue to be pushed away by Bishop McKenna’s Latin words.” Bill could feel the spirit of the werewolf within himself, and its desire to destroy the religious man. But the werewolf’s power was slipping quickly away. A faint roar sounded in Bill’s chest, and then faded. He brought up his hand, but they were no longer clawlike. They were merely hands. Bill tried to push himself up from the chair for one last lunge at the Bishop, but he found that his eyes were starting to close, he was losing consciousness and, as he lost consciousness, he felt a great peace within himself, and almost overpowering love for his wife and children.