Life After Paranormals: Season 4, Episode 9
Linda McMahan talks about the horrifying events of "The Fireplace."
Can you describe the object you found in the closet when you first started setting up Mandy's room and that you found with your cousin Jeanie when you were moving out?
The object that I found was metal and round and had shapes around it like moon halves and star shapes.
You experienced this whole thing pregnant and largely by yourself! Can you talk a little about your sense of independence at this point?
I was happy to have found a nice place for me and my daughter and the baby that was on the way; I felt like things were about to start heading in a new direction. It was very difficult and a true lesson in how to keep up the strength of mind, body and soul.
My idea of an easy pregnancy and birth went from positive to negative in just a few months of living in that place. I just never expected the activity to become so much more aggressive after the arrival of my son. My independence was in jeopardy because I ended up spending a lot of time with my mom and my stepdad, but things got worse –- it came to a time when the presence would follow me wherever I would go. No matter where I went, it followed me and my children. My mom did not believe in the supernatural until one night she ended up fighting it with her own fists! Things kept getting worse; even my stepdad was so scared of this thing that he would ask me to sprinkle holy water around the bed before he went to sleep.
Your sister Audrey comes over and hears the noise, too. Can you talk about how you felt when someone else heard the noise?
I was scared for her, but I was just so relieved that someone other than me heard this. And then, of course, this thing bit her leg and left teeth marks.
Once you had the baby, you talk about turning the corner. What did you attribute that to?
It was a difficult pregnancy. My doctor back then was wonderful and I am very thankful for his care. Around my 7 to 8 months mark, he had to let me know that my son and I had a 50% chance of survival. With my condition and with my baby, it was traumatic. I ended up going into labor on the delivery date he gave me and they had to rush me into an emergency C-section. My poor mother was so shook up and she had to sign all my paperwork because there was no time. The sweet part is, of course, that we both came out fine ... that is, until we went home.
What do you remember seeing in the fireplace?
It was Jeanie and I who really first encountered the fireplace. She was unscrewing the side of the board on the fireplace and when she looked inside she told me she could see a large figure ... and that she suddenly got the sensation of "death" running over her. It was later on that I decided to try to look in it, because it kept crackling. That's when whatever it was pulled the board back.
Your cousin Jeanie seems to be a source of support for you. Have you always been close? Do you still discuss the incident?
Yes, Jeanie is and was a source of support and we are still very close. We do talk about it at times.
Do you still talk about this experience with other family members?
Yes. We don't talk about it a lot because it was traumatic for all of us. My family felt sorry for me but they were afraid of what we couldn't see. And that’s how I felt. But the lesson is, just because you can't see it ... it doesn't mean that it's not there.
The moment where you felt like there was a presence on top of you holding you down. Can you describe this?
It was like 300 pounds laying on me. It was like whatever it was kept trying to push me into the mattress. It had so much force that I couldn’t move any part of my body. I couldn't even get a breath in.
What kind of things did you think up at the time as non-paranormal explanations? As it was all happening, did you try to find a logical explanation?
At first, I thought it was really nothing: my daughter Mandy playing with, sharing a cookie with, or handing her toys to her "friend," I didn't think anything of it. She was little and she loved the room that was supposed to be hers, so she'd go in there and play. And then when things would be moved around, I thought maybe I had done it and forgotten or that Mandy may have been playing and moved things or placed her cups on the floor.
Then, one day, I realized as I was cleaning and told Mandy to go play, she wouldn't go in the room. I told her go get some of your toys and then I saw the look on her face when she didn't want anything to do with that room. It was then that a cup flew off the counter! I thought at one point that perhaps I was going crazy, because as things kept getting more and more active, I tried to tell family about it. I tried to find a reason. My family thought I was depressed or lonely, but I never felt lonely until nobody heard me.
The night that your friend Becky came over and there was something in the baby's room. Was there ever an explanation for the blood drops? How does Becky describe that?
No, there was never an explanation. It was so frightening, we both searched [Linda's son] Aaron for cuts or scrapes or anything and nothing was on him at all that night. This was the night that whatever it was laid on top of me. Becky was terrified. She still trembles when she talks about the memory; it's overwhelming at times.
What does Mandy remember about the incident now?
Mandy has no memory of this whatsoever. I am so thankful!
Have you had any paranormal experiences since then?
Yes, I have, but not like that. That apartment was a nightmare and I wouldn't ever want to live in another place like that. I have lived in one that seemed close to that experience, where I found myself being pulled by my ankles into the hallway. But that's another long story.
What advice would you give to people who think there may be a presence in their house?
If you believe you have a presence, understand that in my case it was a deceitful entity: it played with my daughter, then it slowly showed itself to her. This was enough to make her afraid and eventually that's what clued me in that we had a problem. I guess I would say to not ever ignore your feeling or your natural instincts. The priest who helped me tried to do more, but before he could bring in a higher source, I had to have more physical injuries than what I had experienced. He did try to bless my home but it just got worse after that.
Did you ever research the old "witch" woman who had lived in the apartment when you were little?
I have asked about her, yes. An old friend told me her name. I guess I believe in what my mama told me. When I was talking about Paranormal Witness, she said to me, "Linda, sometimes you need to let the dead be dead." She's right. But I can't help but think, "What if the dead don't want to be dead? What if they want to tell us something?"