It was a chance encounter at a California bookstore in 1974, that would eventually reveal one of the most terrifying hauntings in American history. The case, which was used as the basis for the film “The Entity,” involved a woman named Doris Bither and her four children. Bither was the woman at the bookstore who overheard two men discussing a haunted house and approached them to say that her house was also haunted. Although unknown to Doris Bither at the time, one of the men was Kerry Gaynor, a paranormal researcher and associate of Dr. Barry Taff from UCLA.
Doris Bither had moved to California with her family at about the age of 10. Little is known about her early life but by the time she spoke withe the investigators in 1974, her life was falling apart. Bither was a single mom in her 30′s, had four children, one girl and three boys by four different fathers, was an alcoholic and suffered from serious emotional problems. Bither appears to have endured one abusive relationship after another, now Doris and her children were reportedly being assaulted by a trio of violent entities. Dr. Taff and his associates had serious reservations about Bither’s claims considering her numerous personal problems. However, after considering all factors involved, Dr. Taff decided to visit the Bither home to assess the situation.
Dr. Taff and Gaynor arrived at the Bither home at 11547 Braddock Drive on August 22, 1974. From the outside the small Culver City house appeared to be perfectly normal, the inside of the Bither home was far different. On entering the house Dr. Taff was greeted by a totally chaotic situation. The home reeked of rotten garbage, dirty dishes were piled high in the sink, the house was filthy in every way. It was obvious that Doris was not able to perform in her role as a mother and the children were left to fend for themselves. Considering that Doris had ask for help, what puzzled Dr. Taff the most was that Doris was being very uncooperative. Without her help the investigation could not continue. Bither’s attitude would soon change and a phone call was made to Dr. Taff’s office saying things had gotten much worse and they needed help fast.
Over the next several months investigators attempted to document the claims of Doris and her family. It was believed that there were four manifestations in the home that were responsible for an array of paranormal phenomena.
One of them, which was seen on a regular basis by all the family members, appeared as an old man and seems to have been harmless. The ghost of the old man was seen so often that the children named him “Mr. who’s it.” The family believed that “Mr. who’s it” was the spirit of the children’s recently deceased grandfather. Had all the apparitions in the Bither home been so friendly life would have been much easier, but they were not.
While phenomena observed in the home included many instances of the type of activity commonly reported in haunting cases, the Bither home seemed to have reached a state of infestation as the activity was nearly unrelenting. There were levitating pots and pans, strange sounds and smells and objects thrown about by unseen forces. The most disturbing aspect of the Doris Bither case however was not the usual poltergeist type activity, as it soon became clear to everyone that there was something truly evil in the house and it, or they, were physically attacking the family.
It was believed that three malevolent entities were in the home and were aggressive towards all the family members. Doris however was the one who seemed to be the target of the most violent assaults. While the children were pushed and on occasion thrown, it was Doris that claimed that one of the entities, the largest one, was sexually assaulting her as the two others held her down. As hard to believe as her claim may have been there were witnesses to the attacks. While no one saw the entity, witnesses did see Doris attacked by an invisible force that punched and slapped her, threw her against a wall, as if phantom hands was grabbing her. Doris also displayed injuries common to rape victims.
As the investigation continued, Dr. Taff organized a group of paranormal investigators as well as professional photographers and camera operators to go to the Bither home and attempt to document the case. The group assembled in Doris Bither’s bedroom and waited to record the events. After a period of time had passed and nothing appeared to be happening, Dr. Taff suggested that Doris yell at the unseen entities to try to provoke them to act. As all looked on, a green mist began to form in the room and before long a figure could be seen in the mist, becoming more dense as time passed. It was described as being a large human torso, very muscular, without any other features such as arms or legs. Perhaps it’s not surprising that when the film from the numerous cameras was examined, there was little to see as is often, unfortunately, the case with paranormal activity. The only photograph of interest is one of Doris sitting on her bed with a strange arc light showing over her head. The light could not have been created by the lighting in the room and is actually above Doris, not on the wall as it does not bend with the corner of the room.
Despite all of her problems Doris Bither continued to fight her demons, both mental and paranormal.
It is not known if she ever received any treatment for her alcoholism or emotional problems but it does not appear that she was helped. Doris did eventually move herself and her children from the Culver City home, reportedly living in Texas before returning to California. The spectral rape of Doris Bither however continued wherever she went, at one point Doris claimed that she had been impregnated by the entity, that turned out to not be true. According to Brian Harris, Doris’ middle son who was 13 years old in 1974, Doris Bither died of pulmonary failure in 1995.
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