Jack Smurl succumbed to complications from diabetes last week, and while many in his life remember him as a devoted father, hard worker, and a local hero softball coach, it is his family’s connection to one of last century’s most infamous hauntings that the world at large remembers.
It was shortly after flooding damaged their Wilkes-Barre home that Jack and Janet Smurl moved into a duplex West Pittson, PA. The home needed work and as they set about the task, they began to notice small disturbances. Tools would go missing and there were stains on the wall that they simply could not make disappear no matter how many times they painted over them.
As time passed, the paranormal activity increased and soon the family was afraid for their lives. Jack’s mother suffered a heart attack and soon after began hearing voices in the home. She claimed that they were Jack and Janet screaming at each other, arguing and using foul language against each other. At the same time, Janet began hearing her mother-in-law call her name. Each were adamant that what they heard was real, even though they were the only ones hearing the voices. Unfortunately, voices were only the beginning.
Jack claimed he was raped by a demonic presence while watching a baseball game on television. Family members and their dog were thrown across the room, and soon the family’s neighbors began hearing screams coming from the home, even when the family was away.
A host of investigators came into the home as the paranormal activity reached its peak including famed husband wife duo, Ed and Lorraine Warren. It was Lorraine’s belief that there were four separate entities in the home. One of those entities was a demonic presence who, Lorraine said, controlled the other three entities in the home and forced them to do its bidding.
Numerous cleansings, prayer sessions, and exorcisms were performed inside the house, but still the activity continued. The Smurls decided to take their story public but soon found that it was a huge misstep on their part. Television crews landed on their doorstep and people camped out in their yard in hopes of witnessing activity.
The family finally decided to leave the home in 1987, but the activity followed them and it wasn’t until an exorcism sanctioned by the Catholic Church was performed in their new home in 1989. After that, the family reported no further activity.
Smurls daughter remembers her father being the “tough one” in the family. He protected them as much as he could throughout the experience and attempted to give them as normal a life as possible.
In short, he was the family hero.
He continued to coach local girl’s softball teams and is remembered as the most ardent and encouraging fan. Smurl is survived by his daughters including Carin who is a social work and part time paranormal investigator.
We at ParanormalInvestigating.com wish the Smurl family our sincerest condolences.