Robby Rush was just a child when he first delved into the occult. He eventually broke free and dedicated himself to helping others plagued by spirits and demons. When Rush isn’t investigating animal sacrifices in cemeteries or haunted houses in the country, he lives in Mesquite and works as a security officer. He talked to us about his dark past, a run-in with a headless spirit in Anna, Texas, and why Ouija boards aren’t just fun and games.
D Magazine: Can you tell me about your work?
Robby Rush: What makes me different from most paranormal investigators, is I’m an occult specialist. I coined that word back in 1995. I was one of the first people to use that, and people started using that later on after I did. I deal with the occult and the paranormal because I believe, and can prove, that they go hand in hand.
D: And what did you think about The Haunting of Hill House?
Rush: It was true to life in the way of the occult and the paranormal. In fact, the show validated what I’ve been saying all along. Because one of the characters explained that they had found tarot cards and a Ouija board in the house before they moved in, which is from the occult. It validated what I’ve been teaching, that the occult practices brought on the spirits. And then because they were there somewhere in the home, the spirits were not going to leave. They were kind of bound to that area, kind of like a territory.
D: Explain to me a little what the difference is between the words “occult” and “paranormal.”
Rush: Well the occult is the practices that involve magic, curses, and spells, and trying to summon in spirits, whether they are malevolent or benevolent, to learn about the future, learn about the past, or help them with the present. And the spirits is where we get the word paranormal from, because it’s not normal for people to have the paranormal happen to them.
The occult is the activity; the paranormal is the phenomenon that goes with the activity. They go hand in hand. If you have occult activity, you’re gonna have paranormal phenomena. If you’re gonna have paranormal phenomena, it’s because of all that occult activity.
D: When did you get into this stuff?
Rush: When I was eight years old, I was introduced to witchcraft by a family member. And from eight years old until I was 23, I was in and out of the occult; and I got deeper into the occult as I got older.
I got out of the occult in 1988. In 1989, I felt called to investigate the occult and the paranormal in other people’s lives, and help them put a stop to it. Because a lot of the stuff that I used to do to people—put curses and spells and actually cause hauntings—I was now thwarting them.
I’ve been helping people through doing this, my investigations, in Texas and Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana for almost 30 years. I don’t just ‘document and depart’, which is a term I came up with. I document, and I deal with it. I never leave the place or home or person until that entity is gone. That’s why I have over fifty recommendations on my website.
D: And are you usually investigating within a physical space?
Rush: It’s a mixture. It can be a home, it can be a cemetery, it can be a location. And a lot of times, I deal with haunted objects. Sometimes people think that things that are haunted are causing problems, when it’s actually not that; it’s something else. I do a walkthrough, look around the place, and a lot of the times within 30 minutes to an hour, I can actually tell them what’s going on because of my former occult experience.
Now that I understand this, it’s kind of like a person who’s been on drugs can spot a drug user a mile away even if they try to hide it. The same thing, those of us who have been in the occult come out of it, we can tell who’s doing what by the way they’re acting, the way they’re speaking, the terms that they use, the behavior that they use. They can’t hide that.
D: Any examples?
Rush: I just got back from Lubbock, Texas, last week, which I had a family that contacted me about a home that was built in 1935 and they had been having all kinds of paranormal phenomena. While I was talking to the family, we were sitting in the front living room, a very nice picture frame was ripped off the wall—and I mean ripped off, because they had attached it that afternoon. It was pulled off the wall and thrown on the ground, and smashed.
I was talking to them about occult practices, specific ones that I believed that they were doing, and that’s when that happened. And that’s when they admitted to me that the week before, when I talked to them on the phone, soon as I got through with them, one of the other picture frames of this really nice elegant home was pulled off the wall and smashed on the floor at the same time.
Afterward, I did the investigation; they had all kinds of occult stuff in the house. Once we got those things out of the home and I blessed the home and got rid of these entities, it all stopped instantly. Instantly.
D: They had things like Ouija boards and tarot cards, like that kind of stuff?
Rush: The lady, she was using divining rods, and I used to use those when I was a little boy. A lot of people think they’re good things. I don’t. When people have used any kind of form of the occult—whether it’s witchcraft, sorcery, Santeria, Palo, voodoo, whatever you want to call it, shamanism—whenever they keep the objects, the spirits will attack the people who own them.
They didn’t have Ouija boards, but they had other occult objects that had been used in occult rituals. They had no clue what they were. Some of them are from Celtic belief systems, some are from Native American shamanism. They liked to travel a lot and keep a lot of artifacts.
And unfortunately, I tell people before, when you get out of the United States, people take seriously the religious beliefs of their objects they use. They’re not playthings, and when they bring them to their homes, those spirits follow them into their homes or to their business or to the car.
D: What was it that got you out of the occult?
Rush: I became a Christian. Plain and simple, I became a Christian. I was pretty bad. I killed animals, I was talking to demons constantly. I have a darkness that was around me that people would just not want to be around me, they wanted to fight me. I had no friends. I even tried to kill myself. I tried to drive off a mountain. I drove off and I wound up on a road, I have no idea how. I was really messed up.
D: Did you walk into a church?
Rush: A friend of mine I worked with had been inviting me for church for a long, long time, and I just never went. And one Sunday, I decided to go. It was interesting ’cause nobody would sit around me. I listened to the preacher talk, and I received Jesus as my savior. What’s interesting about that is instantly all the things that I’d been going through, the demonic oppression, the spiritual attacks…I mean, I was seeing spirits in my home, literally.
One time when I was about eleven or thirteen years old, I was actually thrown out of my bed, across the room, and landed against the wall. I had things that would grow dark; it would be bright outside and the room would grow super cold and I would hear sounds and growling noises and it would get dark. But I went away from my room and it’d be fine, but I’d go back in my room, ’cause I had occult stuff in my room, and I was doing rituals and spells in my room, and put spells on my family and other people I knew and anybody who crossed me. And then when I got saved, all that stuff stopped, instantly.
D: So the show talked a lot about mental health…
Rush: Yes ma’am. It did, it did. And see, another thing interesting about it is I’ve also dealt with demon-possessed people, whether adults and children, both of them. And also demon-possessed animals.
The mental health aspect of it—there’s a fine line between mental illness and demon possession. And having dealt with them before and having felt close to being demon-possessed myself through the past, I recognize and I can tell what it is by talking to them and listening to them. Because there’s certain things, certain words that you say, they will react violently to.
And, like I’ve said, I’ve helped get the spirits out of a young girl who was 10 years old and a young man over in the Dallas area who was demon-possessed. These things react violently to those who are Christians, and especially those who are former cultists because they know that’s how they got in and they know that’s how they’re gonna get out.
The mental illness aspect of the show, I know one of the characters kept saying that the family had mental illness when it wasn’t mental illness at all. It was spirits. They were prodding the people along, and I do believe that spirits can put thoughts into people’s minds. I refer to that as ‘thought impression.’ And they can get them to do things that will spur moments such as attack somebody, hurt somebody, push people, bite them, kick them, poison them like he does in the show. But yet, they’re oblivious to what’s going on because they’re under the influence of these evil spirits.
They will try to implant thoughts and images into a person’s mind to get them to think that life is hopeless, you have no purpose in life, kill yourself. And I believe, like I’ve encountered over the last, almost, thirty years, that these evil spirits will do everything possible to mimic, sound like, look like, and appear as loved ones.
D: Do you use any kind of equipment?
Rush: Yes ma’am. I rely on things such as infrared cameras to document. I actually have caught on film spirits. I’ve recorded them speaking at high-pitched sounds, that if you slow them down they’re actually talking. Or you hear, like in the show, you hear garbling, or you hear mumbling.
Matter of fact, I got back from a trip a couple weeks ago from Canton, Texas. Well, I was at a farmstead down there, and these people actually came home one day and found dead animals in their barn that had been sacrificed from people at their barn doing rituals. I did an EVP recording session, which is using an electronic voice phenomena recorder I have, and I actually caught these things saying things and I asked specifically, ‘Who is it that came and what’d they do?’ And the spirit actually told me who it was, by name. And later on when I shared that with the family, they said, ‘That’s the person we saw, and we didn’t even tell you that, to make sure that what you’re doing’s legit.’
D: What’s the most intense paranormal experience you’ve had?
Rush: Back in 2014, I got a phone call from a family up in Anna, Texas, and the home was built in the early 1900s, late 1800s. There’d been several deaths on the property. They were having all kinds of demonic phenomena and paranormal phenomena going on every single day, day and night. It was a two-story structure with a huge attic and there was a number of people who were living there.
I did an investigation—my wife actually came with me this time—and the people, I found out were involved in witchcraft. They had occult stuff all over the home. They did not tell me that until after I got through doing my investigation; I found that out the hard way, just by doing investigative work to start with.
And at the very top of the stairs, it’s a really small staircase. It’s right in the center of the house and you can see underneath it, behind it. I was talking to them in the afternoon, going over preliminary information I was gonna do. And I saw an apparition, with no head and no feet and no ankles, walk down the stairs twice in front of me.
The people were facing me and I was facing past them, looking over their shoulder. As I talked to them, I said, ‘Don’t move.’ And they said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘Let me ask you a question. The apparition, did it look like this, this, this, this?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, how did you know?’ I said, ‘Because it was right behind you,’ and then they started freaking out.
Well, as I did the investigation late at night, the very last EVP I got, it said, ‘They’re onto us.’ After the investigation, it was like two, three o’clock in the morning, I had everybody come back to the house. There were about twenty people there, and I had them sit in this large living room. I shared this information with them and they didn’t know what to think about it, but when I let them hear the EVP that said, ‘They’re onto us,’ a giant boom hit the house. I felt like somebody struck it with a car. I mean, it hit so hard that the ceiling, the walls, the floors shook. I’ve never had anything like that happen to me, all the years I’ve been doing this.
We all ran out the house. The women were screaming, crying, and children were throwing fits. The men got up, some of them got guns and ran out the door ’cause they thought somebody attacked, you know, shot the house. We’re all running around. This is out in the middle of nowhere, okay? The closest house is still about three, four hundred yards away. And there’s only one tree by this home, and the rest is fields and woods further out. And they had no animals outside; they’re all inside the house. We couldn’t find anything.
They admitted to me that they’ve been practicing occult, and I told them to stop, you know, get rid of them. Well it all stopped, but unfortunately because they were so scared out of their minds, they actually left the home. And that was a pretty traumatic experience for my wife and I, especially these people because I was trying desperately to tell them, ‘You don’t have to leave. You don’t have to leave; they’re gone. They’re gone.’ And they said before they left that nothing was happening; they just didn’t want to take the chance in the future. Unfortunately, I’ve had that happen a couple times, where people have moved and moved and moved, and finally contact me and they stop moving.
D: Like, the spirits go with them?
Rush: Here’s what happens. A lot of the times it’s because the objects they have near them, because they’re occult ritual-based or cultic in purpose, whatever. Sometimes they’re Ouija boards, sometimes they’re tarot cards, sometimes they’re crystals, sometimes they’re magic books or actually the practices they use, they’ll download stuff from the internet about how to cast spells on enemies and do love potions on people or whatever. And that really does work. I used to do it myself.
But the thing about this is if they leave it there, the spirits stay there. But if they take it with them, those spirits will go with them. I don’t care if you travel to Antarctica. I’ve told people before, if you do not destroy these items and get rid of them, they will follow you for the rest of your life.
To read Part 1, our interview with investigator Becky Vickers, click here.