Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton were none too happy when police arrived at their Liberty County farm searching for a mass grave of dismembered children . . . especially after learning law enforcement were following the incredibly false vision of a "psychic and reverend" named Angel.
Nearly two years after the incident, a Texas judge has ordered the spiritual medium Presley Gridley to pay the couple $6.8 million in damages for needlessly drawing them into a national media storm that stretched from CNN to the New York Times.
It all started with Gridley's ill-fated phone call to the Hays County Sheriff's Office.
"I need to talk to someone about the kids that y'all have an Amber Alert on," she tells an emergency call center in early June 2011. Click here for the full recording provided by Liberty County blogger Allen Youngblood.
"They said y'all would also find their bones there. T here's stuff written all over the walls in blood."
Gridley gives the address of a farmhouse in Hull,, a small town roughly an hour northwest of Houston. While she says she's never been to the home, she does know via the spirit world that the male homeowner is a "carny," while his partner is a professional truck driver. The man's daughter and her boyfriend also live in the house.
From a paranormal perspective, Gridley was actually right about Gena's job as a truck driver as well as Bankston's daughter and boyfriend staying at the home . . . but the right ends there.
"You'll think I'm crazy, but have you ever heard of Sylvia Browne? She's actually a psychic, and I'm a reverend and a psychic. Some of their spirits talk to me. There were 32 of them that told me they were kids and they're actually there, and they think these kids are there."
The child spirits apparently told her they were killed as part of a sacrifice.
"They said y'all would also find their bones there. They said their bones are like in the walls. And also if you'll look with some kind of light or whatever, there's stuff written all over the walls in blood."
Local investigators rushed to the Bankston-Charlton farm along with swarms of news reporters.