Apparition Paranormal Investigation isn’t mincing words – it wants to rid its clients of the ghosts and demons that haunt their lives.

The Swansboro-based company is relatively new on the scene, but co-owner Robert Deljeutice has been involved in the world of demonology and exorcism since he was 13. A near-death experience as a child at the hands of abuse opened up new, scary doors for the perceptive teenager.

“It seemed like a blessing and a curse at the beginning,” Deljeutice said. “I’m able to communicate with the dead. I know it might seem weird, but I do see them and they do come to me. They usually need help, and I want to help them.”

The desire to pursue the study of the afterlife and develop the spiritual tools to battle ill-intentioned entities goes back to the former firefighter’s roots in Massachusetts.

“My brother was my biggest influence in this realm,” he said. “We lived in a really haunted house and I was beaten almost to death as a kid, so I’ve always had the ability to do some things other people can’t do. I know a lot of people say that, but I take that seriously. I prove my work.”

API touts a 100 percent success rate so far and prides itself on being the only paranormal investigation company in North Carolina capable of performing exorcisms outside of the church. But it is also a group bent on educating its community on the existence of intelligent spirits, negative residual energy and poltergeist activity.

“We’re historians, we’re scientists and we’re teachers,” Deljeutice said. “The more knowledge we can share about the paranormal world and paranormal investigations, the more people won’t be afraid of it. You know, there are things out there that you should be afraid of, but that’s when we come into play. But normally when people are dealing with that, they should be afraid of it because they have opened up something themselves.”

Deljeutice and his team draw inspiration from Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life married demonologists and inspiration behind “The Conjuring” movie series. The couple was revolutionary in the 1950s, 60s and 70s in their application of scientific reasoning and analysis to demonology.

“We follow in the footsteps of Ed and Lorraine Warren,” Deljeutice said. “They were the godfather and godmother of demonology. They were able to exorcise and produce things that are unimaginable. We’ll never measure up to them, but we can take their teachings and findings and help other families.”

Deljeutice stressed the importance of relying on trained professionals rather than dabbling in the spiritual realm unsupervised, which he said can open up the imprudent to targeting from lower vibration systems. However, the Christian-based strength he draws on is accessible to all.

“When we think about exorcisms, we think about the Catholic belief,” Deljeutice said. “But there are a lot of religions that deal with some form of this. It can cause more problems if it isn’t done correctly, but it’s really the love and the intent behind the words. There’s nothing that you can’t do through the word of Jesus Christ and the power of God.”

The fledgling API company sees a half-dozen inquiries per week. Some back out after exploring possible solutions, be it out of skepticism or fear of delving deeper into a frightening realm, but when one wants to go forward, the team has a set of boxes they must check before moving forward.

It must validate the claim by learning more about the client’s fears and, at times, their state of mind. If the spiritual concern centers on a home or a building, they make a visit and ensure natural anomalies aren’t the culprit. When man-made or natural peculiarities, such as faulty wiring or animals under the floorboards, are ruled out, the team goes forward with a plan to root out the problem.

“Then it’s time to understand what we’re dealing with,” Deljeutice said. “We call it a genetic makeup for the actual spirit or the demonic entity, whatever we’re dealing with. There are different signs and symptoms to look for. It can take three to four days of actual investigation work with infrared cameras, EVP recording, EMF meters, whatever equipment we have in the trade to establish what we’re working with. We try to establish communication.”

Deljeutice said spiritual fiends often use one of two routes to enter a home – through an item or a person. And even then, the team must identify a potential variable that could pose as a stumbling block and ensure backup plans are in place.

“Once it’s inside, think about all of the electromagnetic energy inside your house,” he said. “You live there so every emotion is felt. All that energy has been soaked into the wood and the flooring. It thrives off the ability to live in a toxic household. When you come in with Plan A and Plan B, you better have C and D ready too.”

The team’s first step is to do what it calls “starving the demon.” Those on site try to identity potential sources upon which a spiritual entity might feed, and eradicate it from an item or a client through repeated phrasing gleaned from spiritual sources.

“When you perform the exorcism, you can feel the whole house change,” Deljeutice said. “It’s like a light switch, the light of Christ comes on. It’s a great feeling. By the time we’re finished with a client, we’ve become like family.”

On API’s Facebook page, previous client Rachel Tritt wrote, “I am a retired teacher, educated and a Christian all my life so asking for help with a negative energy was difficult for me. Robert is very professional. I was treated with kindness, compassion and support throughout the process. After investigating my home to determine the problem, this team was able to remove a dark shadow-like presence. Not only could I feel it but everyone who came here had seen it lurking in the house.”

With more experience, Deljeutice finds tougher challenges. A recent case pushed him to his physical limits, as three members of a family were afflicted by a presence that also existed in one of the family members’ homes. Deljeutice was called to the scene and quickly determined something was noticeably wrong with one of the family members.

“I could feel something was off,” he said. “I called the team and told them to get ready. As soon as I went out the door, (the client) just started laughing, laughing, laughing. He told me in a voice that wasn’t his that I was messing with something bigger than myself. I tried to communicate with him and he started cursing wildly. Then, he started hyperventilating as I’m communicating and he threw up a bunch of black matter.”

The team snapped into action, deploying a crucifix and holy water as they worked through stages of spiritual battle.

“It was everything from mocking the trinity, super strength, crying, manipulating by saying stuff like ‘You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me,’ and then a lot of laughing,” Deljeutice said. “He would say ‘Hey, I got you, didn’t I. I was just kidding around.’ This was a difficult case because it was a harder chess game to put together.”

When the demon was eradicated from the physical form of the family member, Deljeutice took the extra step to address the presence in the home. He took holy water into the attic space, where he encountered something entirely new.

“I could see the holy water coming back at me in slow motion as I was throwing it in the crawl space,” he said. “It was literally being thrown back at us. That was the first time I’ve seen something like that.”

Such physically and spiritually laboring experiences are made easier with a team of 10 at his disposal; something Deljeutice didn’t have in his early days.

“We were not a company until recently,” he said. “I was doing this in my off time without recording or anything, just helping the afflicted by myself or with another person. It was all word of mouth at the beginning. But over the last year and a half, we’ve grown immensely.”

Deljeutice also noted the significant role the entire team plays in applying the work so thoroughly and passionately.

“I couldn’t do it without them and their dedication,” Deljeutice said. “There’s 10 on the team and each one plays a role. They all want to help their community and they have conviction for what they do.”

In addition, Deljeutice pointed out the symbiotic relationship that must occur between the paranormal investigation teams that share the industry with professional businesses.

“We have to work together because what’s most important is getting the word out and helping educate people about this,” he said. “There’s always going to be some competition, but we can do more together.”

The API team is still holding interviews to expand the business. Those interested in the service can reach out to Deljeutice at (910) 233-1706.

Email Zack Nally at zack@thenewstimes.com.

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