Zaffis, John

Zaffis, John (1956– ) Paranormal investigator, Demonologist, and author. John Zaffis is recognized as one of the leading authorities on Demonic Hauntings and Possession. For more than 35 years, he has worked on over 7,000 cases internationally, including assisting in more than 90 cases of genuine Demonic possession. He has worked with clergy of different faiths and participated in ExorcismS.

Zaffis was born on December 18, 1956, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the youngest of three children to John and Babbette Miney Zaffis. Zaffis’s mother was the twin of Demonologist Ed Warren. As children, the Warrens had experienced haunting phenomena. Unlike Ed, who made the paranormal his career, Babbette was frightened of the paranormal and did not want her own children involved in it. John, psychically sensitive, was drawn to it anyway. At a young age, he became fascinated with the stories Ed and his wife Lorraine Warren told about their cases.

His interest in the paranormal heightened at about age 15 to 16, when he had a bedside visit from an APPARITION. The transparent form of a man appeared at the foot of his bed, shaking its head as if to say “no.” Zaffis’s mother thought the apparition was his deceased grandfather. Shortly after the experience, his grandmother died.

The experience had a profound impact on him, and Zaffis initiated study and research of the paranormal. His first haunting case was a visit to Phelps Mansion in Stratford, an abandoned property where people had reported apparitions, cold spots, touching by invisible hands, and other phenomena. The former private residence had been turned into a nursing home, which had been shut down by fire. Upon entering the ruined building, Zaffis and his friends heard noises on the second floor. Frightened, they left—but Zaffis felt compelled to learn more about hauntings.

He asked the Warrens if he could accompany them on cases, but Ed told him they would not work with anyone under 18. Ed also had reservations about involving a member of the family. He solemnly informed Zaffis that entering the Work, as he referred to Psychical Research, carries serious responsibilities and sometimes grave consequences, especially concerning work in the Demonic realm. The Demonic always tries to destroy those who work in the field, Ed said, and will, through temptation, try to make individuals destroy themselves. Zaffis was determined to become involved, and at age 18 the Warrens allowed him to participate in their work. Ed schooled him on Demonology.

For about 12 years he stayed in the background of the Warrens’ work, watching, observing, and learning. Gradually, he worked more in the forefront on cases of hauntings, Demonic possession, and Possessed Possessions.

In 1998, he founded the Paranormal Research Society of New England (PRSNE) and began working with his own group. The same year, his mother died. She has made two after-death visits to John and sometimes appears in his DREAMS prior to significant events. Demonic cases have been on the rise, especially since about 2000, Zaffis says. He receives requests several times a week—sometimes as many as 15 in a single day. He often works with Bishop Robert McKenna of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, and Reverend Larry Elward of Connecticut. The majority of cases do not require exorcisms—for example, places with negative spirit attachments can respond to clearings. Not all malevolent entities in hauntings are Demonic; some are bad-tempered ghosts of humans.

Many Demonic problems can be traced to misuse of a Talking Board or other form of divination that opens a door to the spirit world, particularly to deceitful entities who masquerade as dead loved ones, higher spiritual teachers, and so forth, while they gain control. Sometimes one of the first signs of infestation is a knocking on a door or a window; when opened, no one is present. However, the opening provides a literal opening and invitation for the invisible to enter.

Zaffis acknowledges that Demonic cases continue to have frightening aspects, even after so many years of work in the field. The powers of evil work relentlessly. He does not describe himself as a devout Catholic, but says that the working of evil powers has strengthened his belief in God. Having a strong foundation of religious faith—in any religion—is crucial in the Work.

One of the most unsettling experiences Zaffis has had was the materialization of a reptilian-like entity in a former funeral home in Southington, Connecticut. The funeral home, turned into a private residence, had negative activity that was plaguing a family that had moved in. Zaffis, the Warrens, and others conducted an investigation that involved 24-hour monitoring of the premises. One night while Zaffis was a monitor, alone in a room, the temperature dropped, and he had a sensation that something was about to happen. Turning and looking up, he saw a murky-colored reptilian form materialize at the top of the stairs and descend toward him. Behind it were fluttering movements. It repeated in an audible voice, “You know what they did to us.” Zaffis grabbed his car keys and exited the house. It took him three days to return, during which he withdrew from the Work and questioned his involvement in it. He ultimately concluded that there are people who need help in dealing with the Demonic, and he could not retire from the work at any cost. As for the funeral home, a full exorcism was performed by Roman Catholic clergy.

Zaffis has experienced a wide range of paranormal phenomena, which often kick up before a significant case gets underway. Lights going on and off, knockings and Rapping, car problems, and so forth are not uncommon.

The lower level of the Zaffis home in Stratford, Connecticut, is filled with deactivated possessed possessions; that is, objects that have had spirit attachments and caused haunting and Poltergeist problems for owners. Zaffis has collected such objects since the beginning of his paranormal investigations. Bindings and prayers have been said over the objects to neutralize or terminate the attachments. Some of the more problematic objects are in acrylic cases to prevent people from handling them and becoming affected by them. The objects do not bother Zaffis or his family. One of the most significant pieces is an idol, now in a case, once owned by a young man who was interested in black magic. The youth was adversely affected by the spirit in the idol, which instructed him to kill himself. Fortunately, he did not, but an exorcism was necessary to end his occult problems.

In 2006, Zaffis was involved in a difficult case of Demonic possession and encountered a prince of hell, a high-ranking Demon. The victim, who had become possessed after practicing black magic, showed the unusual symptom of the eyes changing from their natural brown colour to opaque milky white three times; this was captured on videotape.

Zaffis makes numerous media and lecture appearances. He is the co-author, with Brian McIntyre, of Shadows of the Dark (2004), about his paranormal career and some of his most notable cases. The Struggle Within, co-authored with Pat Reading and Brian McIntyre, is one of the most notable exorcism cases Zaffis has worked on, and was scheduled for release in 2007, as was Possessed Possessions: the Zaffis Collection Vol. 1, coauthored with Adam Blai.


  • John Zaffis Web site. Available online. URL: https://www. Downloaded April 3, 2007.
  • Mihalko, Mark A. “John Zaffis: Out of the Shadows.” Haunted Times, Summer 2006, Issue 3, pp. 16–22. Paranormal Research Society of New England Web site. Available online. URL: Downloaded April 3, 2007.
  • Zaffis, John, and Brian McIntyre. Shadows of the Dark. New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2004.



The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

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