Alice Oscura, Paranormal Investigations Head Writer
Disclaimer: This article is not from a political point of view.
Review: Based upon a book called “The Residence” by Andrew Piper and directed by Brook Linder, the Shock Docs paranormal documentary Demon in the White House explores the possibility of demonic forces having major influences in the past American Presidents’ decisions. The primary focus seems to be on the wives of Franklin Pierce and Abraham Lincoln. Both families became connected through personal tragedies that involved the loss of their children and how the grief motivated desperate mothers to seek solace in a rather unconventional way. They both conducted séances in the White House. These may have opened up a doorway that let something rather dark and sinister into one of the most highly regarded representations of power on the planet.
The White House always being seen as a seat and representation as a form of power is enough to tempt any demonic entity. The documentary highlights the various occult influences within the structure of the building itself including its secret tunnels and corridors. This has also been known to be a contributing factor to the numerous mysterious occurrences that have been taking place there for close to 150 years. The location was once a swamp before becoming one of the most influential buildings to ever be constructed.
The hauntings began at the White House during the tenure of the 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce. Pierce would prove to not only be the most unpopular President but also the worst due to his support and signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act. Jane Appleton became his wife in 1806 and she came from a largely conservative and religious family. Jane Pierce disliked politics and the consumption of alcohol, which would ironically lead to her husband’s death in later years.
Jane suffered from melancholy as well as being a long-time sufferer of tuberculosis. But the key event that many paranormal psychologists refer to is the train crash that occurred on the 6th of January 1853. Weeks after Pierce’s successful Presidential election, the family were on their way to Boston when the train derailed, and their last surviving son, 11-year-old Benjamin known as “Benny” died when his face became so severely crushed that he was almost decapitated.
Jane’s grief at the horrific death of her son led her to consult the famous spiritualist duo, the Fox Sisters. Her determination to contact her dead son becomes something of an obsession. She wished to express the depth of her love and ask for His forgiveness for her shortcomings as a mother. But she also held unto the belief that because her husband decided to enter into politics the loss of their children was their form of punishment. Mrs Pierce would isolate herself for weeks on end which caused her to be dubbed The Phantom of the White House.
As Franklin Pierce’s wife delved deeper into believing that she was communicating with their dead son, he retreated more and more into the bottle. His Presidential demise finally came with the Kansas-Nebraska act which became the fuel that lit the fire for the bloodiest war in America, The Civil War.
Years later, the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary would suffer a similar trauma. She would lose her eleven-year-old son Willie to typhoid fever while her husband Abraham Lincoln led the Union during the Civil War in 1862. She also became obsessed with consulting a series of psychic mediums such as Cranston Laurie and even invited Nettie Colburn Maynard, William Shockley, and another identified in the record only as “Colchester of Georgetown” to conduct “calls to the dead” in the White House Red Room.
Demon in the White House brings to the forefront that the risk of something bad or demonic coming through in a séance is extremely high. Many desperate mourners seek answers and want one last opportunity to speak to their loved ones who have passed on taking the risk.
Experts have noted the veil of secrecy over the whole building is the perfect recipe for a spiritual parasitic demon to work on a person’s psyche. When dealing with darker forces their energy could prevail if you are in a weakened state of mind. This period of dark and bloody American history, where the politics at the time were extremely controversial, would pave the way for many more tragic and devastating occurrences involving future Presidents of the United States.
The documentary also goes on to mention the stone-tape theory where the building itself absorbs the mental impressions from extremely emotional and traumatic circumstances. The energy can become a recording of sorts by being absorbed into the structure of the building itself or even objects. Under certain environmental conditions, the energy can become projected and replayed.
Demon in the White House is a particularly thought-provoking, paranormal documentary that gains its strength from accurately recorded historical events. It has become one of my personal favourites in the Shock Docs series next to The Devil Made Me Do It. The idea that something dark and supernatural can influence one of the most powerful and influential persons on the planet in a way that can trigger a catastrophic world event is mind-boggling and terrifying at the same time.
Alice’s Score: 8 out of 10
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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More