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THE POSSESSED 

THE TRUE STORY OF THE WATSEKA WONDER

THE POSSESSED
THE TRUE STORY OF THE WATSEKA WONDER
BY TROY TAYLOR | $14.00
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In 1878, a small town in Illinois gained notoriety around the country as home to one of the strangest spirit possessions in American history. The story of what came to be known as the “Watseka Wonder” created a mystery that endures to this day. But what really happened in this enigmatic case and how much of the mysterious story that has been told over the years --- about the spirit of one dead girl invading the body of a living one – is truth and how much is fiction?

Author Troy Taylor has spent years delving into the facts behind this chilling story – searching through dusty records, wandering through old graveyards and visiting the sites associated with the case. This book, which is the first full-length, non-fiction title to be written about the case since 1879, unveils the true facts behind what occurred in Watseka in the 1870s and allows the reader to judge for himself whether Lurancy Vennum was truly possessed by the spirit of Mary Roff.

This eye-opening -- and sometimes terrifying -- book is a must-have title for anyone with an interest in the mysterious and a fascination with the unexplained. Discover the true story behind this infamous case and decide for yourself if you believe in the possibility of possession by spirits. You may not believe it now -- but it's possible that you just might change your mind by the time you turn the last pages of this book. $14.00

CAN THE DEAD RETURN?
AND CAN THEY INHABIT THE BODIES OF THE LIVING?

  Lurancy Vennum

Lurancy Vennum

The story of the “Watseka Wonder” officially began in 1877, when a young Illinois woman named Lurancy Vennum began to suffer strange seizures and spells that caused her to lose consciousness for hours and even days at a time. During these trances, she claimed to communicate with the spirit world. After being examined by a number of doctors, it was suggested that she be sent away to an insane asylum. There was nothing physically wrong with her, they said, so her symptoms could only be caused by insanity.

But before Lurancy could be locked away, her family received a visitor — a man named Asa Roff, whose daughter, Mary, suffered from the same illness more than a decade before. Mary’s life had been a chaotic one. Her spells and trances had started when she was an infant and no doctor could ever find a reason for them. As she grew older, they allowed her to manifest clairvoyant abilities and speak to spirits — or so she believed. Her family and doctors weren’t convince and so Mary was sent to an asylum, where she died in July 1865.

By the winter of 1878, Asa Roff had become a devout follower of Spiritualism and believed that Mary had not been insane — she had been a gifted, but misunderstood, spirit medium. He begged the Vennum family not to send Lurancy away. He believed that a Spiritualist physician could alleviate her symptoms and save her from Mary Roff’s grim fate.

The Vennums agreed to try and during a visit from Dr. E. Winchester Stevens, Lurancy entered a trance and became possessed by the spirit of a dead young woman who professed to be able to help her. When Lurancy regained consciousness, she seemed different — unlike her former self. When Dr. Stevens asked her to identify herself, she replied, “My name is Mary Roff.”

  Mary Roff

Mary Roff

Soon, it becomes obvious to the Roff and Vennum families — as well as scores of local townspeople, neighbors, friends, relatives, and more — that Lurancy has somehow become a woman who died more than a dozen years earlier. She recognizes people that Mary knew, identified things that belonged to the dead girl, and knows intimate family secrets that there was other way Lurancy could have known. It seemed impossible — but it was happening!

For the next five months, Lurancy lived as Mary Roff in the Roff family home, possessed by her spirit. There was no logical explanation for how this could be happening — and yet it was. Lurancy, who Dr. Stevens would dub the “Watseka Wonder,” became the best documented paranormal event in American history.


Author Troy Taylor, long fascinated with the story, presents the first full-length account of the story since Dr. Stevens’ own book, which was released in 1879. Using archives, letters, and first-hand accounts from the era, he has explored the details of the story and presents the evidence for the reader to decide whether they want to believe in the impossible. This is a book not to be missed and one that will have you turning the pages long into the night!

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