Ep. 114 – The Watseka Wonder

The Watseka Wonder is the name given to the first documented American possession of 14-year-old Lurancy Vennum of Watseka, Illinois in 1878. It all started with Lurancy suddenly feeling ill with severe stomach pains, seizures, and loss of consciousness which they referred to as “trances”. She also wasn’t able to sleep well because she was being awakened at night by someone calling her name that wasn’t there. As time went on, her symptoms got even stranger when she would speak in different voices or speak of places that she had never been to.

After one of her last “trances”, Lurancy stated that she was now Mary Roff, a young woman who had died 13 years prior. She told them that she would retain control until Lurancy’s soul was healed. She knew the Roff family, all of their nicknames, and even how to play the piano, even though Lurancy had no knowledge. She lived as Mary, with the Roff family, for a few months before announcing that Lurancy’s soul was healed and would be returning soon. As promised, Lurancy did return and lived a happy, normal life from then on.

Did Lurancy suffer from a temporary psychological condition, or did she actually get possessed by the spirit of Mary Roff? Join us on episode 114 to hear more about this bizarre case of spiritual possession!

Sources: library.illinois.edu, bumpinthenight.net, daily-journal.com, morbidology.com, historyofyesterday.com, encyclopedia.com