A former Pennsylvania politician who says his family's house was gripped by evil spirits is sharing new details about the supernatural ordeal they went through in their Pittsburgh home.
Bob Cranmer claims his home was infested by a demonic force that terrorized his family for years before being successfully dispelled by a team of faith leaders and paranormal experts.
A dark column that glided through the house. Mysterious shadows. A rancid stench. Clocks stopping. A mysterious blood-like substance coating the walls. Broken crucifixes. Cranmer's children exhibiting signs of possible possession.
A picture of a broken crucifix that Cranmer claims resulted from the demonic infestation (Photo courtesy of Bob Cranmer)
These sound like something out of a horror film, but the former Allegheny County commissioner says it all really happened -- and that the supernatural battle raging in his home nearly tore his family apart.
"It was like living with the invisible man. This wasn't some ghost roaming the halls looking for its head or a lost lover," Cranmer said. "It would be like hell for a week and it was like this thing needed to recharge itself."
Cranmer, who has four children, said his kids once saw the entity, describing the figure as "a really strange-looking person" wearing a black dress. But that was the only overt apparition, as he said the demon would typically manifest itself as a shadowy figure moving about the home.
His rosary beads would often be twisted and contorted so that he couldn't use them to pray. And there was a blood-like substance -- a reddish brown fluid that Cranmer said appeared on the walls and ceilings. He had it tested and says there was "no conclusive evidence of what it was."
Cranmer, who now runs a lobbying business and has a forthcoming book about the experience, told TheBlaze the situation really "started getting crazy" in late 2003, when two of his sons began acting out. What unfolded over the next two years was absolute chaos.
"At one point we thought my son was possessed. He had started a big fight with me, the police were called [and I was] arrested and banned from the house for several months," he said. "I came back to the house around Christmastime and that's when all hell broke loose in the house."
To outsiders, the fight and subsequent arrest looked simply like a prominent individual embroiled in a very public domestic dispute, but Cranmer said something far more sinister was going on.
He told TheBlaze his kids "went from normal football-playing, bike-riding kids to [these kids with] black fingernails, black hair and coats, demonic entities that covered their walls."
Cranmer said they were even hospitalized several times during the infestation and that his oldest son would get "wild." Police were sometimes called to help deal with the out-of-control behavior.
Cranmer told TheBlaze that he eventually sought help.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh, Fr. Michael Salvagna, a priest from a local religious order known as the Passionists, Protestant pastors and Adam Blai, a self-described demonologist, came together to hold regular Mass and prayer events to combat the demonic force. And after a long, two-year battle, they said they succeeded.
"They're saying Mass, they're blessing the house, going around with incense, blessed salt, saying ritualistic prayers," Cranmer said. "To tell you the truth, when they would come, generally it wouldn't help. It would make things worse. This thing would have a temper tantrum after we'd have Mass."
Salvagna was present during what Cranmer described as "deliverance services" in the home.
"When we went to pray ... you felt you were invading an enemy territory," Salvagna told TheBlaze. "We would have these smells ... drippings on the wall that looks like blood."
The priest said that Cranmer and his family members would "wake up with scratches or bites" and said the horror took a toll on the entire family. He too believes that Cranmer's sons might have been impacted by the demonic entity.
Salvagna said one theory is that an abortion mill was run inside the home long ago and possibly opened the door to the terrifying presence. He described the process of dispelling the force as a long one that was "like putting out a fire on a gas well."
"There are ritual prayers for house infestation. There are patterns of prayer," he said, describing the events held in the home. "We turn to God, the saints, the blessed mother ... there are regular prayers ... Psalms ... scripture passages."
Blai, the demonology expert, has a degree in psychology and said he saw shadows with no origin and experienced phantom smells.
"I observed black shadows sliding along floors and walls that were not being cast by anything," Blai told TheBlaze. "I also smelled a column of air with a horrific death-like stench that moved like a person walking. This column of air left no lingering scent behind it like natural odors would."
Blai said he was scratched across the forehead -- scratches that formed and then disappeared in a quick, 60-second period.
Despite all that, all parties continued to pray fervently against the force they believed was taking over the home.
Cranmer said he would sometimes use the film "Passion of the Christ" to ward off the demon, playing it for six months straight until the DVD no longer worked.
"I would come in and the TV would be turned off, the DVD would be taken out of the player," he said, claiming that the demon hated it.
In another instance, Cranmer said, some of the family's personal items were found in a crawl space that the paranormal and faith team sawed into -- a space that had long been inaccessible.
"This is an area that's closed off for almost 100 years," Cranmer said. "We found playing cards, we even found some of my kids Lego toys. It was completely closed off and not accessible at all."
Another picture of a broken crucifix that Cranmer claims resulted from the demonic infestation (Photo courtesy of Bob Cranmer)
Salvagna said he knows some will scoff at Cranmer's claims, but he insists that the home was infested -- and he said skeptics are faced with a simple option.
"I think these people have to look at the experiences of other people," he said. "Either this person [claiming infestation] is totally out of their mind or they experienced something they cannot explain in our world and [it] has something to do with another world."
Blai said skeptics are right to be cautious and that it often takes a personal experience to show people that spiritual realms exist beyond this world.
Blai, who has a deep interest in brain science, continues to help train priests in combating demonic entities.
Cranmer is making final edits on his book about the experience, titled, “The Demon of Brownsville Road,” slated for release Aug. 5, 2014.