Historical Haunts: The Peculiar Case of Doris Bither

Being a “Paranormal Investigator” one often hopes for that miracle case that will, beyond a doubt, prove the existence of ghosts and the paranormal world.

From the Lutz’s astronomical, though proven false, accounts of their “High Hopes” house in Amityville, NY to the alleged “Haunting in Connecticut” anyone in the field of “ghost hunting” would give an appendage to partake in such a profound and career defining case such as these.

The most fascinating cases though, as previously stated, often prove to be false or greatly over exaggerated.

Speculation about the Lutz’s claims became apparent after inconsistent stories between the husband and wife’s claims surfaced. Doubled with the fact that no occupant since has experienced anything paranormal and the author of the novel “The Amityville Horror”, Jay Anson, was told to make up something fantastic by the less-than-scrupulous investigative team.

The same team who propelled that case to mainstream would later go on to do the same with the “Haunting in CT” and the stories are almost parallel. Home has a sordid past, (The Defeo family slaughtered by their eldest son Ronald in NY, and in CT the home was a funeral parlor and possibly seance were conducted there in the past). Both homes were a bargain price-wise. The basement of each home held a dark secret. The father of the haunted families struggled with alcoholism and alleged drug abuse and both families fled in the middle of the night after only a short time in each home.

Because both stories were publicized heavily with book deals, television shows, and movies they also became the target of skepticism and both cases, to date, are used as the benchmark for debunking any claim of the paranormal.

But what of Doris Bither? A single mother of four living in a ramshackle home in Culver City, CA who claims for years she was attacked, bitten, beaten and even raped by four malevolent spirits.

Doris’ life was not part of the picturesque American landscape. She was unmarried, had a daughter and three sons. People familiar with Doris would say her relationship with her sons was tumultuous, angry and broken.

Doris herself grew up in a Midwest middle-class home with alcoholic parents. At the age of 10 the family moved to California where in her teen years some major altercation with her family ultimately led to Doris being disowned by her parents and her Aunt and Uncle. With the passing of her parents the inheritance was given to Doris’s brother leaving Doris a single mother with no money.

Failed marriages and relationships abounded and in the end she had four children all from different fathers. She tried to carve out a life for herself in the small home but due to close quarters a general sense of animosity and blame began manifesting within the home.

Shortly after moving into the home Doris began experiencing an infestation period. Infestation periods are described as the time when a presence of unknown origin begins making itself known. Creaking noises, the sound of footsteps, disembodied voices and phantom smells.

Soon the activity escalated into full on attacks. Doris reported walking into the spirits in the hall as if she was bumping into someone in a crowded store, then biting, slapping, punching and eventual rape that led her to seek out help from a local paranormal investigation team.

For three months the team of researchers visited the home, typically on Thursday’s and reviewing their evidence the rest of the week. Some of the team reported bruises appearing on Doris Bither’s thighs as if her legs were being forced apart, black eyes, bite marks, the strong smell of body odor coming from nowhere.

Doris reported three malevolent spirits and at time the crew reported seeing something try to manifest. There would allegedly be a green mist that swirled around and the upper torso and musculature of a man would begin to appear only to disappear into the mist before that too vanished in what is described as a vortex.

Doris Bither and a group of paranormal investigators looking into her claims of being attacked and raped by unseen forces. Her story is the basis for the 1980's horror film "The Entity".

The crew supposedly witnessed the eldest son being thrown across the room as he tried to stop his mother from being attacked. The attack was described in detail from witnesses on the intervention team as Doris being thrashed about, handprints forming in her skin and her body being tossed around.

The family ended up moving from the home to a low-income neighborhood where the paranormal activity either slowed to almost non-existent or stopped completely depending on whose story you read.

Doris’s middle son, Brian Harris, claims the activity continued sporadically. Until the move, the attacks became more prevalent after the investigation team meddled then left. He acknowledges the claims and to this day stands by his mother’s story.

Pictures and video obtained in the home never produced anything to substantiate the claims of the investigation team other than one odd photo with a light arch and some orbs. The light arcs above the bed of Doris on which she is seated and does not bend at the corners on the wall in the background; indicating the mysterious light is free-standing and not a reflection on the wall.

So all we have are unsubstantiated stories, some eye-witness accounts and the confirmation of Doris’s middle son, the only one who will speak openly about the events. To this day he seems angry and in the interview in question he curses, threatens and carries himself in a less than approachable manner.

Many professionals in the field of paranormal research claim that the activity was perhaps a manifestation of Doris’s psychic abilities that she was unaware she had. From years of her own alcohol abuse, to abusive relationships and general feelings of burden, regret and loss she perhaps was projecting her anger and despair and created these forces as a way to deal with what she was keeping inside. Sort of a split-personality dissociative disorder where instead of manifesting alternates in her body she was able to manifest them outside.

Is that possible? According to some psychiatrists yes. We give off magnetic energy. When we get angered or upset these energies can spike and as a result we experience mechanical failures. Cell phones stop working, the computer goes on the fritz, and electronics go crazy. If our magnetic pulses in such a short burst can affect our surroundings imagine what a sustained incident could affect. People and objects around us? Maybe.

Unfortunately, just like the Amityville case before it and the Connecticut haunting that would come decades later, the line between fact and fiction has become blurred and just like those events, subsequent occupants in the home have not reported any paranormal activity. As with an Entity haunting, the target appears to have been Doris and her family as they reported activity in their new home. Eventually though the family dropped off the face of the earth and lived their life in relative quiet.

Doris Bither moved to Texas then back to California where she eventually died of heart failure. What truly happened in the Bither home in Culver City, CA remains unclear. Was it a true intelligent haunting, poltergeist activity or demonic? Or was it simply a confused woman with a special gift that she didn’t even know she possessed? Or, just like the famous cases that came before and after, is it all a hoax?

17 thoughts on “Historical Haunts: The Peculiar Case of Doris Bither

  1. Very interesting stuff. Outside of the many theories, how is parapsychic proof collected, in which is considered evidence? In medicine, we can’t even prove the soul exists physically. Perhaps there are other ways of collecting parapsychic proof through different thinking/energy. Perhaps death is first, and life comes after. Of the many things I have seen, it always is outdone by some other thing to top it, then I have to redo my thinking again.

    1. It’s almost like a cruel joke, or at least Sisyphean in nature. We are forever pushing that boulder up the hill only to have it roll back down again.

      The problem with collecting evidence of a parapsychic nature is that there is always a more scientific explanation for it. If there is a natural explanation for something, than a supernatural explanation must be discounted.

      I do like your theory that perhaps we have to die before we can truly live. One day we will find that elusive piece of irrefutable evidence that proves all things supernatural, that elusive cipher or Rosetta Stone that will crack the code once and for all.

  2. I dont believe in ghosts but I do believe in Angels and Demons. I dont think we can see angels but I can feel them around. I do however believe that demons can make us believe they are someone else like a family member or friend that passed. I believe they can take many forms to fool us or trick us. I have never seen it in that type but I have see dark figures. I think children are more vulnerable to these type of things which I think is part of the reason why I dont see them now but I can feel when something is off in the house. Could be my imagination I suppose but I dont know I know that I feel better after I pray, read the Bible or sing a faith song. Whether its a coping mechanism or actually works oh well it works and makes me feel better.
    I know I saw things when I was younger and things happened in our old house. My mom didnt see any figures but she felt them and saw weird things in the home. Things would break be moved around, dogs would bark crazily, weird sounds and cold spots. Some could argue that because of things that were happening in the home with the family that stress made these things seem like they were happening but I personally dont believe that. In my study of the Bible and all the accounts today of things happening to people I believe in demons and their limited power as do a lot of people I know it has happened to. Every time they said the Lords name or read the Bible it would stop or the “things” would go away. Demons and Satan shudder at the name of the Lord. You cant possibly say that none of these things can ever happen to anyone and its all in anyones head. well how about the ones that DONT believe in these things and then it happens to them? also i dont believe that these things are always attached to one thing like a house I believe that if you have something in your possession or involved in something of the occult or pagan that these things will follow you no matter where you are.

    1. Hi Aley:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to our blog. You have some interesting theories regarding the paranormal that I am sure a lot of people tend to agree with. Strictly speaking from my point of view, I am not sure what to believe. It is one of the reasons that we as a group do what we do and I as a member of the group am personally searching for answers.

      I have seen/experienced some odd things that could have alternate earthly explanations but for those things that I can not explain, I am not ready to say it was a result of strictly demonic activity. That would require a lot of faith and dismissing other possible explanations.

      Definitely food for thought though and your feedback is greatly appreciated. 🙂

    2. I agree with you, evil spirits can imitate people as you know well that satan’s greatest talent is deception. They can be ordered out though, through the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Bible is full of scripture dealing with demons and evil spirits, to say they don’t exist is tantamount to stupidity.

  3. Hello! Just before I found your site, I was listening to an interview with Barry Taff on Coast-to-Coast AM.
    Barry Taff is the researcher that worked on this case, I was blown away by his back story to this, he explains the emotions, the details and what happened afterwards (to his researcher and Bither herself)
    I shouldn’t spoil it for you any further, anyway, take a listen…


    It’s a very fascinating subject, almost as creepy as the Geminoid 🙂

    1. Thank you very much for commenting and for the link! I haven’t heard this before, it offers some insight into the case by someone who was there.

      Also, you gave me an idea for my next article!

      Thanks again for stopping by. Everyone should check out your blog as well, it is great!

  4. No worries, thanks for your support!

    Do you listen to Coast to Coast (or “Coast” as I call it hehe)? It doesn’t have any affiliates here in Australia so I have to go online… but you’ve got some in Arkansas http://www.coasttocoastam.com/stations/arkansas I enjoy every show I listen to, on every topic imaginable – from economics to UFOs to archaeology to parapsychology. The best thing is that they’re mostly interviews and not reports so you can make your own mind up about any questionable content… Spread the word!

    Keep up the good work!

    P.S Is most of your paranormal research experience conducted on people of Christian and non-faith backgrounds?

    1. I listen to Coast to Coast occasionally. It comes on in the evening hours and more times than not I miss it. I think it is a great program though and I love that George Noory never belittles people no matter how outlandish their claims or beliefs are.
      Our research, investigations, consultations, basically our complete body of work comes from all walks of life.

      Being in the southern states(which is part of The Bible Belt), here in North America, we find that a majority of our cases and research revolve around Christians by default. We get our fair share of non-Christians, but just because of our environment I would say 90 percent claim to be of the Christian faith.

      Our group is made up of all types of belief structures, from Christians to Wiccans to people like me, atheists.

      1. Cool, I asked because I’m interested in the different cultural explanations for phenomena especially related to possession and hauntings.. lately I’ve been trying to find more stories about “djinn” and the experiences shared by Muslim families. I’m guessing it’s also something that Wiccans might be familiar with as well…

        Anyway, awesome blog!

  5. Well I’m not saying this has anything to do with what happened but did anybody else notice that she had FOUR sons and FOUR ghosts? And that she didn’t have a great relationship with them? I’m just putting it out there.

    1. i believe in spirits.. i had a bad one terrorize me because I had seen it and chased it into the attic crawl space..i see such things through my peripheral vision and why idk. ..but i was told by native shaman that he, the dark spirit, was the type that didn’t like being caught, like a drug dealer or bad guy doing crimes and because i seen him as humans don’t or can’t, he wasn’t happy and said he was gonna make things bad for me and he did.. … things were awful..first, everything i tried doing did not ever work out…seemed the bill companies made mistakes on our bills like the cell bill was $300 more than the system said, was told musta been a bill typo…also, the spirit had others doing things against me, one especially, was slashing my tires..another was bugging my wife at work for no reason things were not working out…spirits are able to possess the weak through suggests so when that person says it was their idea..think again! they were so weak spiritually that they’re easily possessed…i know no one will believe me but we don’t have the technology yet to see such and until we do no one will understand such..well till we die then we become like them….trust me spirits exist as humans exist and they can be very evil remember too some have never been in human form so they know nothing of compassion or feelings towards others. scary eh?

  6. where the missing evidence from this case i do belive that this women was attacked and was telling the truth too all the world

  7. I agree with Captain Jack Sparrow (nice name). I believe that she was attacked and was telling the truth. There will always be skeptics out there who don’t want to believe in such events even if it hit them straight in the face.

    1. Well, not having been there, not knowing her personally, and not being privy to any of the evidence, I can only guess as to whether it truly happened or not. I believe in being able to quantify evidence, and without doing that, I can only guess. I am not comfortable saying it did or didn’t happen. But, I respect everyone’s opinion on the matter.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I truly appreciate it! 🙂

      Tony Harrington
      The SPIRIT Seekers blog

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