The Possessed, The Watseka Wonder: Today by Jason Korbus; Toledo Paranormal & Hauntings Examiner.

The Brothers Grimm told fairy tales and it scared kids. The Brothers Booth tell real ghost stories and it scares EVERYBODY. The Possessed DVD, a great addition to your collection. Terra King/Las Vegas Examiner

The Possessed, The Watseka Wonder: Today by Jason Korbus; Toledo Paranormal & Hauntings Examiner.

Okay, so now you know the historical information about the Watseka Wonder.  Briefly, a young girl named Lurancy Vennum shocked her town and really, the world, when she appeared to be possessed by the spirit of Mary Roff, a young lady who had died 12 years earlier, at a time when Miss Vennum was just one year old.  The families and friends of all the people involved came away with just one conclusion; that is, that they had witnessed a true miracle.  Even the renowned Society of Psychical Research was never able to arrive at a true alternate explanation.  The story of the Watseka Wonder, even now after over 144 years since the death of Mary Roff, continues to captivate the imaginations of those who hear it.

But this article today is not about the history, per se; but about in what ways the Wonder lives on...

Books, of course, have been written on the subject.  But perhaps the most well researched tome on the market comes from highly esteemed writer and investigator Troy Taylor.  His book, "The Possessed," brings the story to life in such a way as that you almost feel you were there at the time.  Rich with historical data, quotes, and information culled from the record of those who were actually involved in this story, "The Possessed" is a book not to be missed out on.

If books are not your thing, or you are simply interested in more of a visual companion piece, there is a new documentary out right now by the Booth Brothers.  The Booth Brothers are the directors of several paranormal themed video projects, perhaps most notably last year's "Children of the Grave" which was featured heavily on the Sci Fi Channel.  

Their Watseka Wonder documentary, also called "The Possessed," was originally going to be a part of the prior "Children of the Grave"project.  However, they gathered so much information and had so much great footage that it simply called out to be a project of its own.  And thank goodness it was, because it will soon be coming to a television set near you!

That's right.  While it is available for purchase on DVD, The Uncut version through several different websites, this film will also be arriving to SyFy (formerly Sci Fi Channel) this Halloween.

The DVD contains unseen footage plus haunted extras that SyFy could not show you. Available Online at www.spookedtv.com, thepossessedmovie.com
and at amazon and target.com.

Not only is the chilling story of the Watseka Wonder recounted, but there is also interviews with such paranormal luminaries as Troy Taylor, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, and John Zaffis, among others.  Furthermore, it includes footage of paranormal investigations being conducted at the site of the events, as well as an interview with a relative of Lurancy Vennum herself; and who actually knew her!

Now, books are great and so are companion DVDs.  But what could be better than visiting the locations and experiencing the feeling of history for yourself?  Thankfully, it is very much possible to do so.

The Roff Home, the actual residence where Lurancy Vennum lived as Mary Roff for approximately 100 days, is still present and available for open houses.

John Whitman, who is interviewed for the Booth Brother's documentary, purchased the home several years ago after having grown up in the area long being fascinated with the story.  His interest was raised in buying it when he learned that the home, at the time in poor repair, was set to soon be dismantled.  John contacted the owners, made an offer, and it was accepted.

He soon began the process of restoring the home to what it looked like during the time the Roff's owned it.  This involved some restructuring and remodeling of changes done to the house by the many occupants who had lived there before.  Mr. Whitman is currently deep in the process of scraping off, by hand mind you, some 8 layers of paint from the doors and walls.  He has pored over a number of old interior photographs and consulted with experts in an effort to establish what the original color scheme of the home was so that he can restore that as well.  

All the while, he continues to hold open houses, as well as offer guided tours so long as you contact him in advance.  He will also permit your paranormal investigation team to have over 90% access to the home for extended periods of time.  Tours and paranormal expeditions, of course, are available for a nominal fee.  It is a private residence after all, and a labor of love for John Whitman.

In conclusions, I hope you have enjoyed the story of the Watseka Wonder, both then and now.  It pleases me greatly to know that the tale and, in many ways, the cast of characters themselves continue to live on through the hard work of the people profiled in this article. 

THE POSSESSED DVD Uncut is now available online at www.spookedtv.com, thepossessedmovie.com and at amazon and target.com.

by Jason Korbus


Jason is a writer, a paranormal investigator, and the host of Strange Frequencies Radio. He has been examining various forms of bizarre and unexplained phenomena throughout his life, and has had the privilege of researching and investigating haunted locations both locally and across the country. He now writes for the Examiner.