13. Bathsheba Thayer Probably Wasn’t the Ghost Haunting the Family
The idea that the most malevolent of the spirits at the house, the one torturing and even possessing Carolyn Perron, was the ghost of Bathsheba Thayer came from Lorraine Warren. Carolyn had a perfectly concentric wound on her leg that mysteriously appeared about the time that the Warrens began to investigate the haunting. Lorraine saw it and immediately presumed that it was made by Bathsheba Thayer, who was accused of stabbing an infant in the back of the neck as a means of sacrificing the child to Satan. Lorraine claimed that Bathsheba took the knitting needles to her grave and used them in hauntings.
Lorraine’s story is based almost entirely on assumption and circumstantial evidence. The people were unable to prove that Bathsheba actually did stab a child with a knitting needle, so it is entirely possible that that crime never even transpired. In fact, there is no historical evidence that such a trial even took place. Additionally, the ghost never claimed to be the spirit of Bathsheba Thayer. If there indeed was an evil spirit haunting the family – and the family insists that there was – it may have been an unknown entity that was not associated with another person’s ghost.
Poor Bathsheba Thayer. She’s getting worse press centuries after her death than she acquired during her lifetime. She was accused of witchcraft and of making pacts with the devil, claims that were all too common in New England during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and into the nineteenth century. Don’t like someone? Accuse the person of witchcraft. No evidence? Doesn’t matter. Your accusation will ensure that even if the person is not hung for it, he or she will at least live out the rest of his or her days in shame.
Also, she probably didn’t kill any children, least of all her own. She had four children, three of whom died in early childhood. While today that many deaths of children would undoubtedly raise the alarm with child services, Bathsheba lived during the nineteenth century, a time when infant mortality was particularly high. As far as historical records show, there were no accusations that she was murdering anybody.
Claims that Bathsheba hung herself outside of the house are also dubious. A physician claimed that she died following a strange bout of paralysis, which was probably due to a stroke. She was buried next to her husband and three children.
So where did the story come to originate? Possibly local lore. After all, the house has seen quite a bit of violence.
15. Something Definitely Did Happen to the Perron Family
The house’s present owner, Norma Sutcliffe, claims that the house is not haunted. In 2005, a film crew from the SyFy channel’s television show Ghost Hunters was filmed at the home for one of the episodes. They did find some evidence of paranormal activity, such as a door opening on its own and “cold spots.” All of these things surprised Sutcliffe, who is adamant that the house does not experience the paranormal disturbances that people associate with it.
Nevertheless, both the Perrons and the Warrens attest to the paranormal activity, much of it malevolent, that occurred within the house’s walls. The children, who are now adults, are still traumatized and are only able to speak about the disturbances with great hesitation. There are still details that they refuse to discuss. One mark of the events’ veracity is that, when questioned separately, the stories that are told line up with each other. Another score is how quickly the girls left as soon as they were able to move. Clearly, something did happen to the Perron family while they were living at the Rhode Island farmhouse. Nevertheless, without forensic evidence, there is no way to know for sure what actually happened there.
16. The House’s Present Owner Sued Warner Brothers
Whether or not she is living in a haunted house, Norma Sutcliffe wants to be able to live her life in privacy. Unfortunately, plenty of fans of The Conjuring disagree. It is quite common for occupants of homes that became famous through movies to see a disproportionately high number of visitors (read: trespassers) who believe that their homes are tourist spots. This scenario happened with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Goonies, and the Long Island home featured in The Amityville Horror. When The Conjuring was released, unsolicited trespassers poured onto Sutcliffe’s private property as if they had every right to be there.
Virtually overnight, the secluded farmhouse in rural Rhode Island became a hotspot for thrill-seekers and paranormal enthusiasts. Norma Sutcliffe said in an interview that she would go for days without sleeping because people would show up in her yard in the middle of the night, looking for ghosts with a flashlight. She also received harassing phone calls from people who wanted to know if hers was the house from The Conjuring. She went on to sue Warner Brothers for damages and the cost of a new state-of-the-art security system to keep trespassers away. The studio refused to comment.
Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: