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The ‘Dear David’ ghost story is probably fake, 2 mediums say

'I don’t think he's haunted by any means.'


Grace Speas

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 1, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 2:31 am CDT

The Twitter thread “Dear David” has kept users hooked and losing sleep over its legitimacy since August. The account of a dead boy named David, who seemingly haunts the apartment of a New York illustrator, is complete with evidence of strangely behaving cats, grainy images of the dead boy in a chair, and ghostly sounds that echo through the home at night.

Former BuzzFeed staffer Adam Ellis either has us fooled by his haunting posts, or the dude needs an exorcist. But two professional mediums the Daily Dot spoke to think he’s greatly exaggerating his viral ghost story.

“I always go back to the cards,” said Megan Benanti, who has been doing tarot card readings for 18 years. “Because, despite my own opinions, I’m reliant on cards to tell me the truth of the situation.”

The Dallas-based medium usually starts her readings with prayers, asking for clarity. Benanti asks her clients to pull from a stack of cards on the table, but because Ellis was not present at the reading, she went with her own intuition.

“The first question I asked in the reading was, ‘What do we need to know about this man being haunted?’” Benanti said of Ellis. “There is kind of an ego drive in this. Something had come to a halt in his life as far as his career development or image.”

Ellis’ Twitter bio links back to his apparel store and he has contributed illustrations to over 400 BuzzFeed postsEllis is also working on a new book to be published in 2018, according to his Twitter and Instagram.

“He might have legitimately got a little spooked one night and then thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I could really do something with this,'” Benanti said.

The medium thinks “Dear David” could be a way to build up publicity for a new book or a passion project to see how people respond to false information. Benanti said he might actually be connecting to deceased beings in his sleep, but she thinks the “Dear David” concept is bogus.

“There’s aspects that he wrote really well in this story, so there’s an enticement about it,” Benanti said.

But Benanti thinks the thread is a little too detailed to be true.

“Even the way he refers to what he sees is very exact, and the spiritual world isn’t that way,” Benanti said. “The part about the little girl in the dream saying, ‘If you ask three questions, he’ll kill you,’ that just ruins the story right there because that just sounds so contrived.”

Another medium, Leslie Werling, agrees that Ellis’ story and the photos that come along with it are too exact for the supernatural world.

“I’ve seen spirits all of my life,” Werling said. “For me, it’s never really looked like that. Spirits would have more of a light to them. They weren’t as realistic as what I’m seeing of the boy in his photographs, so that kind of throws me off a bit. For his cats to be paying attention to some sort of energy, yeah that is totally legit.”

Both Werling and Benanti agree the cats could be signaling something supernatural in his apartment. Benanti said Ellis could be developing a sixth sense and have uncertainties about what to do with it, but an encounter with a passed soul like this would not be evil, Benanti said.

“A soul that’s passed is not vindictive. The human ego can be vindictive, but human souls are inherently pretty good,” Benanti said.

Werling also said the presence didn’t seem dark to her, but that it was curious instead.

“[Ellis] could do some really simple things to create boundaries and set up rules in that space that would downgrade a lot of the activity he’s experiencing,” Werling said. “A spirit doesn’t really know boundaries until you create them. They can go through walls, they can be whatever, because they are essentially energy.”

If this “Dear David” is really inhabiting Ellis’ apartment, he can claim back his space simply by verbalizing his rules, Werling said.

So if Ellis’ thread does have some truth to it, it’s not a haunting, but rather more of an unruly roommate. Benanti said hauntings are demonic presences, not human ones—so the story doesn’t make spiritual sense.

“I don’t get into that world, really, but I trust that it exists,” Benanti said.

She has worked in the past with people who feel like they’re being haunted and said if Ellis were truly afraid for his life, he would be seeking professional help. In October, Ellis tweeted that he “declined” the help of mediums who reached out.

But in January, he tweeted, “I tried everything I can think of. I’ve saged my apartment, I’ve hired a medium, nothing has worked.” Users asked him about the medium he used, and he never replied to the tweets.

For the last part of her reading, Benanti turned over two cards— the first, the Ace of Cups, which means an opening of the heart. The second card was the Prince of Cups, which also connects with the idea of an opening of the heart, Benanti said.

“There might be actually something really good developing from this for him that’s not made-up,” Benanti said. “I wouldn’t fully discredit him. I think there might be some kind of awakening that he’s having.”

The medium said perhaps it’s a new beginning that he desperately needed or wanted in his life.

“I don’t think he’s haunted by any means, so the whole ‘Dear David’ thing just sounds false,” Benanti said. “But I never want to discredit anybody from something they believe is changing their life. We hear our intuition in ways that work for us.”

Ellis did not respond to a request for comment.

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*First Published: Feb 1, 2018, 9:05 am CST