A Parapsychologist is one who investigates and studies scientifically the interaction between our bodies and the environment in ways we do not yet understand – Dr Barry Taff
On August 22nd, 1974 Kerry Gaynor was in Hunter's bookstore talking about his work to a friend. Little did he know that there was a lady in the next isle listening who would expose them to one of their most intriguing cases.
Doris Bithers approached Kerry and told him that she too had a ‘ghost’ problem and asked him to help her. He took her number, and he and Dr Barry Taff went to see her.
She lived in a small house 11547 Braddock drive, Culver City Los Angeles. It was quite a dark house and already had a reputation for being haunted. It was over one hundred years old with a basement, and the bedrooms were a later addition.
The unassuming 11547 Braddock Drive, Culver City
Even though Doris had been the one to request their help, she was very evasive when answering questions about her life and backstory. She would not tell them her age or give them any medical background.
They had a two-hour interview Doris told them what had been happening. When the family had first moved into the house, an old Mexican lady in her 70’s or 80’s had knocked on the door and told Doris
“You need to get out. I used to live here in this old house, back when it was just a farm, and I was a little girl. There is something very evil here. This place is haunted, and you need to get out.”
And then she dropped a bombshell. She told them straight out that she had repeatedly been attacked and raped by the ghost. Dr Taff put a P at the top of his paperwork his way of saying psychosis he thought she was mentally ill. They thanked her for her time, and they left.
She called them about a week later saying that friends and neighbours had witnessed the events and asked them to come back. The witnesses described, strange lights and smells and would see things out of the corner of their eyes and it disturbed them.
Thankfully they did return; it was an incredibly hot summer yet the house was very cold, Ice-cold and the bedroom colder still, and yet they weren’t able to record or measure it. A horrific stench of rotting flesh which would also appear which they were never able to find the source. The smell would come and go with the coldness.
They were interviewing Doris in the kitchen with one of her friends when a lower cupboard door opened and a frying pan flew out and landed on the floor. They checked the kitchen for wires and any other reason that it may have occurred but could find none.
Images taken when Doris claimed the entity was near her
As they investigated the house, Doris would tell them where the entity was, and Kerry Gaynor would take a Polaroid photo. In all the pictures where Doris said the ghost was the image was bleached out. He decided to do a control picture when she said it had gone and the Polaroid took a perfect picture. It occurred every time she said the ghost was there.
Control image taken when Doris stated that the entity had left
Typical poltergeist behaviour commenced with objects being thrown randomly around the house with the main events occurring in Doris’s bedroom. Lime green plasma lights would shoot across the room; They blocked out all the light in the room to ensure that it was not coming from the outside but they were then unable to see where the lights were manifesting. So they had to put black poster boards up all over the room with a number and a magnetic orientation reference grid so they could see where they were manifesting and going to.
Nothing happened while they were there but then they get a call at one A.M a few days later from Doris who was hysterical. Some of the boards had ripped off the walls, it had pulled the plaster and paper with it and had nearly hit her.
They arrived at the house and tried to reconstruct the incident. The orbs were ripping around the room, and they asked the entity to tear something off the wall. They hear this ripping noise, and one of the boards goes flying off the wall and hits Doris on her head, they ask it to do it again, and once again one of the boards rips off and lands at her feet, in a room full of people it targetted Doris. An electric fuse box tore itself off the wall and had nearly hit her on the head, and a candelabra had nearly hit her.
Another image taken of the 'orbs' in Doris's bedroom
When interviewing the children, they revealed that certain rock songs would incite the entity. One song, in particular, on the Uriah Heep album “Demons and Wizards” that talks about good versus evil and good winning would cause the haunting to intensify. They decided to test this out, and on one occasion a large apparition of a man, from the lower waist up manifested in front of them. It was made up of these lights not illuminated by them. You could see the upper torso, the shoulders, the brow ridge his head it was detailed, and it was articulating, moving its arms and then it disappeared as soon as it had appeared. The image was in the same lime green light that they had seen in the room. They had nine professional photographers taking lots of photos colour, regular, sensitive all types of film but did not capture a single image, they all wrote down what they saw, and everyone had written down the same thing. There were at least twenty-five to twenty- eight people in the room which had all seen the same thing. If only a couple had seen it, then it would have been discounted as a hallucination but not with all of them seeing it.
Dr Taff was at the address for a total of ten weeks during that time no sexual assault occurred; the rapes had occurred long before Dr Taff had started to investigate, he deduced was not, in his professional opinion, the result of spectral rape, .a.k.a. spectrophilia, but a rather disturbingly real poltergeist outbreak. Dr Taff believes that poltergeist activity is possibly linked to seizures & epilepsy
The most extraordinary thing we’ve ever come across it happened over and over, a plethora of phenomena – Kerry Gaynor
When talking to Xavier Ortega from Ghosttheory.com Doris’ middle son, Brian Harris confirmed that he had witnessed the bruises on the inside of his mother's thighs and legs and the attacks and that although the film had exaggerated a lot of the incidents, though he thought Barbra Hershey had portrayed his mother well.
He also gave some background on Doris’s upbringing It turns out though that Doris’ childhood was not the best. She had been messing around with Ouija boards and doing séance’s, drinking and doing drugs through the drink and drugs may have been a consequence of dabbling with the occult.
Her parents finally kicked her out due to her behaviour and by the time Dr Taff had come to visit her she had four children by as many different fathers and was struggling to bring them up on her own.
He admitted that all the family had been attacked in some form either pushing biting or scratching. He claimed there were four entities in the house and that they would show themselves all the time sometimes they were translucent and foggy and other times very detailed and solid looking. They would walk past them as they were watching tv all the time.
“The whole rape thing was real. My room was right next door to my mother’s. I would hear the attacks happening. Things being thrown, her screaming. Then she would come out of the bedroom and have all these bruises. On her legs, her inner thighs. Just like in the movie.”
“…there were times where we would see it happen in front of us. It was like if a man was standing in front of my mother and would start to beat her. Imagine a woman being beaten. You could see her being picked up and thrown around. Sounds slap…but there was no one there actually to do it.” “we all felt it too. pulling, biting and scratching…we were all attacked.”
He stated that when the team would turn up it would be chaos as you would have all these people crammed into this tiny house and when they would leave all hell would break loose as though the spirits were unhappy that they had told someone about them
Dr Taff stated that Doris just couldn’t take anymore and eventually left without telling them they finally found her and they visited her and she told them within a couple of weeks of moving in was having activity in the new house and so were the neighbours on either side. They were coming home and finding rubbish on the floor and plates stacked up.
They carried on with their investigation, and on one occasion they had a recorder with them, they turned out the lights and heard a loud crash as a vase smashed on the floor in front of them. They then recorded the sound of deep breathing; they hear footsteps then a dragging noise then the mic turned itself off. At no time did they hear anyone moving or the breathing.
She moved again.
He finally caught up with her at the premiere for the film the Entity, and she told him that it had almost stopped.
Brian claimed that his mother had died in 1995 from pulmonary arrest aged 58
Interview with Dr Barry Taff here
Interview with Kerry Gaynor here
Interview with Doris's son here
Jo has been interested in the supernatural since long conversations with her invisible twin friends. Ghosts or imagination? who knows but her insatiable thirst for the paranormal was born in those long forgotten conversations