Fears of the unknown, including demonic forces, monstrous creatures, and spirits that no one can control, have long been a mainstay of human history. Modern horror movies play on those fears by bringing occult-like, Satanic practices and instances of demonic possession to the big screen. Often, the flicks claim to be based on real events, as in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Amityville Horror. More recently, The Conjuring claims to be based on the true story of the hauntings that the Perron family experienced in their Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s.
The Perron family claims that the events of the haunting were authentic. More than that, they continue to be haunted by the ghost of Bathsheba Thayer, a witch whose spirit still inhabits the house. So is the claim of true events just there for extra scare factor, or is there something to it? Regardless of what moviegoers and readers may believe, the Perron family remains convinced that something really happened to them.
The film The Conjuring is actually less about the events that transpired among members of the Perron family than it is about the demonologist Ed Warren and his clairvoyant wife, Lorraine. It is based more on their case files than on the autobiographical information put forth by Andrea Perron, one of the girls who grew up in the house that Bathsheba haunted. As such, there are some discrepancies between the movie and the historical events. There were also forensic flaws in the way that the Warrens went about their work with the Perrons.
Read on to see where fact can be even scarier than fiction, and how the creators of the film took some artistic liberties.
1. Neighbors Advised the Perrons to Leave Their Lights On At Night
The old farmhouse in Rhode Island that the Perrons moved into apparently was notorious in the area for some reason or other, whether or not the extent of the paranormal activity was realized. Allegedly the neighbors advised the Perrons that they had best leave their lights on at night, though the reason behind that advice was probably not given.
In the beginning, the activity was just small occurrences that could easily be explained away as part of living in an old house: noises, objects shifting. Nothing that could be immediately labeled as “paranormal.” Cindy Perron, one of the children who grew up in the house, said in an interview, “[Things] would either be moved all-around in a different position than how I left them or they would all be shoved up underneath the bed. And I would go to my sisters – of course, you’d go to your sisters – and ask, ‘Hey, what’d you do to my toys?’ And they’d say, ‘Nothing. Why would I mess with your toys, Cindy?” No one discussed any of these events until much later.
It turns out, the house was the site of many violent acts, including suicides, rapes, murders, and drownings. There were plenty of reasons for the neighbors to tell the Perrons to leave their lights on after the sun went down.