Are your children misbehaving at school? Are your loved ones suffering from medical ailments? Is your home infested with bedbugs?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a simple reason you are experiencing these seemingly unrelated misfortunes: Your dog is possessed by a demon.
And, thankfully, there’s a simple solution: A $197 pendant sold by a woman who claims her poodle was inhabited by a demonic spirit.
But wait, there’s more!
New York artist Olga Horvat started designing demon-deterring accessories after she adopted Princess, a pure-bred toy poodle that she credits — or blames — for literally tearing her life into pieces.
Horvat claims that soon after Princess arrived in her home, bad luck befell the family, including a bedbug infestation that led to $7,000 in exterminator fees from her co-op as well as legal fees to fight an eviction.
In addition, her husband was in a serious car accident and came down with a rare autoimmune disease called Churg-Strauss Syndrome. Then Horvat’s daughter was almost expelled from second grade for offending classmates with an action that was perceived to be bigoted when she put on a rubber glove then grabbed the bare hand of a Muslim friend — an action the child blames on a strange voice she heard in her head.
Meanwhile, Princess herself suffered a broken leg that did not respond well to treatment.
Horvat says her family’s misfortunes are all linked to the tiny white pooch that just happened to be possessed.
To be fair, it’s not Princess’ fault that a demonic spirit attached itself to her — or so Horvat wrote in her book Paranormal Pooch (Omega Publications), where she presents the theory that some kind of evil presence infiltrated her dog.
Skeptical? Especially since even New Yorkers without possessed poodles have bed bugs? You’re not alone.
Even Horvat admits she initially dismissed the idea that her dog might be demonically possessed, even though she claims weird stuff happened from the very beginning.
«We had her for four months — May through September in 2006 — and she didn’t want to eat, sleep and she couldn’t be trained to learn simple commands,» Horvat told HuffPost Weird News. «She was happy, but something was manipulating her.»
Now, Horvat is trying to prevent similar catastrophes from happening to other pets and humans by selling «energy shield pendants» that supposedly block electromagnetic energy and evil spirits. The pendants for humans cost $197 each while the pet versions are $11 cheaper — presumedly because animals have less disposable income.
Jim Underdown of the Center for Inquiry Los Angeles, has a bone to pick with the question of whether demonic possession exists at all.
«The only people who get possessed by demons — and subsequently cured — are those who believe it’s possible,» he told HuffPost Weird News. «You never hear about it happening to atheists.»
As for whether the arrival of a dog is really responsible for the string of bad luck, Underdown also remains skeptical.
«There is a word, ‘pariedolia,’ that means assigning meaning to patterns that are actually just ‘noise,'» he said. «We are hard-wired to recognize patterns in whatever we do. It has helped us biologically, but it can also be a hindrance.»
Still, Horvat claims she saw what she she saw and believes what she believes.
«I am convinced that something was attached, whether it’s the spirit of another animal, human or even extraterrestrial,» Horvat said.
Sadly, Princess died four months after coming into Horvat’s life when she mysteriously fell down some stairs while she was staying with someone else. In the five years since, Horvat has delved into the small amount of research that has been done on possessed pets, and claims she has made some interesting discoveries.
It seems a dog whose ears point up is more prone to possession than one with floppy ears, perhaps «because the spirit can get in there easier,» she said.
One person who supports Horvat’s efforts is paranormal researcher Joshua Warren, a correspondent on «Coast-To-Coast AM» and host of the weekly syndicated radio show «Speaking Of Strange.»
«Her case is intriguing because she goes into great detail and calls into attention things we’ve only talked about in human terms,» said Warren, who covered similar territory in his 2006 book, Pet Ghosts.
But even with his background in the paranormal, Warren said that verifying Horvat’s story is difficult at best.
«It wasn’t done scientifically, so we have to take her at her word,» he said. «Of course, when you know you can’t talk to the dog, it’s more frustrating.»
As for those pendants that supposedly prevent demonic possession? Well, the only kind they may prevent is the possession of money that could have been spent on things that actually work.
Glen Dash, the founder of Dash, Straus and Goodhue, a laboratory that has tested devices for electromagnetic emissions, says science doesn’t support Horvat’s claims the pendants can stop electromagnetic fields, much less the bad vibes from negative people or malevolent spirits.
«You can block electromagnetic radiation at the frequencies emitted by these devices by using either shielding or absorption,» he told HuffPost Weird News. «For shielding or absorption to work however, the shield or absorbing barrier would have to surround, or nearly surround, the person or thing protected, which a pendant cannot do. If the device does work, it would have to operate under truly novel principles.»
To be fair, Horvat says none of her customers or their pets have griped about being possessed after buying a pendant, and she said she understands why people may be skeptical regarding her story. Still, she doesn’t feel she needs to convince anyone.
«I never try to convince skeptics,» she said. «They’re not going to change their minds until they’re put in a situation like I was.»