Lou Gentile: portrait of a demonologist

Lou Gentile: portrait of a demonologist
September 9, 2009
Kevin Meares

On June 28, 2009 the paranormal community lost one of its most important leaders. Known as the King of EVPs and the King of paranormal controversy Lou Gentile did much to make the world aware of the reality of the spirit world and the dangers that world offered. While gone his influence will still be felt throughout the community for years to come.

Lou’s own journey began as a child growing up in a haunted house. The house was the site of a number of preternatural occurrences and became his first indication of a darker side to the world he lived in. As time wore on and he began to study the subject in greater depth he went on to meet the late Ed Warren. From Ed, Lou learned the ins and outs of paranormal investigation doing investigations both for NESPR and his own group DVDR. He spent much of his life traveling the country actively seeking to help people who claimed to be afflicted by spiritual problems at times directing them to priests and other clergy that could help them and at others directing them to psychological help or other more mundane explanations as each case required. Also in this time he started, first on local Philadelphia stations but eventually finding national syndication and an international listener base through the internet, the famous “The Lou Gentile Show.” For more than 10 years Lou interviewed some of the most famous and notorious figures in the paranormal community (notable interviews included: Katherine Ramslan, Hanz Holzer, Lorraine Warren, John Zaffis, Bruce Campbell and George Lutz). Hosting the show also brought Lou directly into the controversy regarding the infamous Amityville Horror case.

The show’s involvement began when Ric Ossuna, author of “The Night the Defeo’s Died: Reinvestigating the Amityville Murders” who claimed to have special information regarding the murders and the alleged haunting that came later. In the end Ossuna’s information would prove questionable at best (his chief source on the murders was a convicted felon who claimed to have married Ronald Defeo Jr. while he was in prison, and his information on the haunting was merely a repetition of the claims made by Stephen Kaplan) but it provoked an amazing response. George, Kathy and Chris Lutz (the family that the book was based on) approached Lou about giving an interview. Soon an entire week of the show was dedicated to the story with the producers of the history channel special, and Lorraine Warren (one of the original investigators), and most remarkable of all a letter from Ronald Defeo Jr. still in prison but taking the time to denounce Ossuna’s claims regarding the haunting. Lou’s own opinion was that the case was indeed legitimate but that many of the later details had become exaggerated in the telling.

The other great controversy in his years doing the show was his dispute with the famous debunker James “The Amazing” Randi. Originally Lou contacted Mr. Randi regarding his well publicized 1 Million Dollar Challenge to anyone who could produce paranormal phenomenon under controlled conditions. What resulted was a complex series of problems involving severe miscommunication on the part of the JREF, including sending a revised version of the protocols for the testing to a radio program both Randi and Lou appeared on and then confronting Lou on air for “not having accepted” the new protocol Lou had never received a copy of. In the end the matter was put to rest by Randi’s organization after Lou suffered a severe back injury on the job and was unable to communicate with them during recovery with Randi’s group declaring Lou had withdrawn from the challenge despite no communication from him stating as such.

Aside from the show Lou made multiple appearances on Television and radio. Fox Family Channel’s Scariest Places on Earth, MTV Fear, TLC/DSC’s The Entity, In Search Of, La Salle’s Forum and many other shows over the years asked Lou to make appearances. Further Lou lectured throughout the Delaware Valley informing people about the reality of the demonic. Sadly, he came to be diagnosed with cancer and after a long fight and several hopeful periods of remission he left this world in June of 2009. Lou left many legacies in his wake from his family; to the people he chose to train to continue on the work he began. Where his work as a paranormal investigator is concerned it’s safe to say that the most important legacy Lou left is not his lectures, radio show or TV appearances it’s the many people he went out of his way to help get free of spiritual attack.
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