'The Conjuring' IS based on a 'true story'…our story. However, the film is not based on my trilogy 'House of Darkness House of Light'. It is, instead, based upon the case files of Ed & Lorraine Warren. ... There are liberties taken and a few discrepancies but overall, it is what it claims to be — based on a true story, believe it or not.
-Andrea Perron (in a Letter to Horror-Movies.ca, June 2013)
Questioning the Story:How long did the Perron Family live in the Rhode Island farmhouse?
The real Perron family lived in the farmhouse for approximately ten years. Located in the small country town of Harrisville, Rhode Island, Roger Perron and his wife Carolyn purchased the home in the winter of 1970. The 200 acre property offered plenty of space for them to raise their five daughters: Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cynthia and April. They moved out in June of 1980.Did Lorraine Warren and the real Perron family support the making of the movie?
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The real Perron sisters (top) with their movie counterparts (bottom) in 2012.
Yes. Our research into The Conjuring
true story reveals that paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren acted as a consultant to director James Wan and the filmmakers. She even visited the Wilmington, North Carolina set on the lot of EUE/Screen Gems Studios. The film itself was mostly inspired by she and her late husband Ed Warren's case files and recordings dealing with the 1970s Perron family haunting.
The entire Perron family also put their support behind the film, having already come together to support daughter Andrea Perron's self-published 2011 book about their experience, titled House of Darkness House of Light
(available in the right column). Like Lorraine, various members of the Perron family, who where friends with producer Tony DeRosa-Grund, also visited the Wilmington, NC set. Andrea, as expected, has been the most vocal of the group while her sister Christine has been the most reluctant to talk about her experiences in the house.Who was the real Bathsheba Sherman?
The most haunting spirit in the movie is that of suspected witch Bathsheba Sherman. Born Bathsheba Thayer in Rhode Island in 1812, she married fellow Rhode Islander Judson Sherman (one year her senior) in Thompson, Connecticut on March 10, 1844. The two were married by Vernon Stiles, a local Justice of the Peace. Bathsheba filled the role of housewife while her husband Judson worked as a farmer on their land. Fairly well-off, Bathsheba and Judson had a son, Herbert L. Sherman, born when Bathsheba was approximately 37 years of age in March of 1849. It is possible that they had three other children as well, all of whom did not survive past the age of seven, though no census records could be found to confirm these reports. The family also usually took in a boarder, most likely to help them on the farm.Are there any photographs of Bathsheba Sherman?
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The real Perron farmhouse (Arnold Estate) circa 1885. Is suspected witch Bathsheba in this photo?
The only photograph that has surfaced that could possibly include suspected witch Bathsheba Sherman is pictured on the right (click to enlarge
). It is a photograph of the Perron family farmhouse circa 1885 when it was then the Arnold Estate. The real Bathsheba, who lived next door on Sherman Farm, would have been in her early seventies at the time, if not already dead, since she passed away in the spring of 1885.
Various videos promoting Andrea Perron's book House of Darkness House of Light
have featured the vintage farmhouse photo displayed above, zooming in on the woman in the middle when eluding to Bathsheba Sherman. This was likely nothing more than a suggestive tactic used to promote the book, as we've found no evidence to support that the woman near the middle of the photo is Bathsheba. Furthermore, the fact that the woman appears to be wearing a surgical mask undoubtedly adds to the video's creepiness, but it also makes it nearly impossible for anyone to know her true identity. If you're wondering why the woman might be wearing a surgical mask, it is more than likely to protect herself against bacteria spreading from influenza or one of the other rampant epidemics of that era, like diphtheria or tuberculosis.Was Bathsheba Sherman really a witch?
Male actor and composer Joseph Bishara portrays female witch Bathsheba in The Conjuring
There is no hard evidence to support that Bathsheba Sherman was really a witch, only legend and local folklore. Having lived on a neighboring farm in the 1800s, suspicion grew when an infant mysteriously died in her care. When the baby was examined, it was determined that the mortal wound was caused by a large sewing needle that had been impaled at the base of the child's skull. Though the townspeople believed that Bathsheba sacrificed the infant as an offering to the devil, due to insufficient evidence a court found that she was innocent of any wrongdoing. Despite her name being cleared legally, the public was not convinced.
In her book House of Darkness House of Light
, Andrea Perron describes her mother Carolyn talking to a man who she refers to as "Mr. McKeachern." Supposedly a bit of a local historian, Mr. McKeachern told Carolyn that Bathsheba treated the help badly and that she starved and beat her Sherman Farm staff.How did Bathsheba die?
The real Bathsheba Sherman's gravestone site in downtown Harrisville, Rhode Island.
In researching The Conjuring
true story, we discovered that the suspected witch Bathsheba Sherman died as an old woman on May 25, 1885, roughly four years after her husband Judson Sherman's death in 1881. Bathsheba lived to see her son Herbert, a farmer like his father, marry his fiancée Anna in 1881.
Various articles online will have you believe that her body "literally turned to stone" when she died, or that Bathsheba died from "a bizarre form of paralysis" that puzzled and frightened doctors. Their basis is never more than legend and local folklore (or internet rumors), and these same articles often state that Bathsheba had four children, all of whom died before reaching the age of four. However, U.S. government census records contradict this since we know that Bathsheba had a son, Herbert L. Sherman, who lived a long life as a farmer and had a family of his own. As for her three other children, we could only find an unofficial record of there existence on a public internet family tree that lists there names as Julia (born in 1845), Edward (born in 1847) and George (born in 1853). It is possible that they died before the next census was conducted. -Ancestry.comWhere is Bathsheba Sherman's gravestone located?
The grave site of Bathsheba Sherman (pictured above) is located in the historic cemetery across the street from the fire station and rotary in downtown Harrisville, Rhode Island (near the start of Sherman Farm Road). See a satellite view of the cemetery.How did the Perron family figure out that the spirit haunting them was that of Bathsheba Sherman?
The family's connection to the spirit of Bathsheba Sherman came at the suggestion of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The mother, Carolyn Perron, told Ed and Lorraine about an incident that had happened a few years earlier. She said that she had been lying on the sofa and all of the sudden felt a piercing type of pain in her calf and then the muscle began to spasm. Upon examination, she noticed a puddle of blood at the point of impact. She checked for bees or anything else that could have caused the puncture in her leg but found nothing. In her daughter's book, Andrea Perron describes the wound as a "perfectly concentric circle" ... "as if a large sewing needle had impaled her skin."Was the real Perron family home used in the movie?
When Carolyn told Ed and Lorraine Warren this story in conjunction with the tale of Bathsheba Sherman, who had been suspected of killing an infant with a knitting needle (see above), Lorraine suggested that Bathsheba Sherman could have taken the needle with her to the afterlife and used it to stab Carolyn in the calf. From that point on, Lorraine Warren referred to the demonic presence in the Perron house as "Bathsheba." -House of Darkness House of Light
movie house (top) vs. the real Perron family home in the 1970s (bottom).
No. Tapping into its $13 million budget, the filmmakers rebuilt the Perron farmhouse on a sound stage in Wilmington, North Carolina (top photo). Pictured on the bottom is an image of what the real Rhode Island farmhouse looked like in the 1970s when the Perron family lived there.Where is the real farmhouse located?
The real Conjuring farmhouse, often referred to by the Perron family as the Old Arnold Estate, is still standing and is located in Harrisville, Rhode Island. The barn is also still standing and is located to the left of the house. When the real Perron family fell upon hard times after a pipe burst and flooded their business, they reluctantly sold off a significant portion of their property's 200 acres. The lot size is currently listed at 8.5 acres.How many people died on the farmhouse property?
Subsequent owners have referred to the property by other names in addition to the Arnold Estate, including more recently the Old Brook Farm. Its original name before it was called the Arnold Estate was the Dexter Richardson House, named after the family that built it. The current owners, Norma Sutcliffe and Gerry Nelfrich, have no relation to the Perron family.
"Eight generations of one extended family lived and died in that house prior to our arrival," says Andrea Perron, adding, "Some of them never left." The Black Book of Burrillville, the town's former public records book, reveals that over the course of its existence the property had been host to two suicides by hanging, one suicide by poison, the rape and murder of eleven-year-old Prudence Arnold by a farmhand, two drownings, and the passing of four men who froze to death, in addition to other tragic losses of life. -WJARDid the seller of the Arnold Estate disclose to the Perron family that the house was haunted?
In her book, Andrea Perron addresses the members of the Arnold family who died on the farm, where she states, "Most of the recorded deaths which occurred on the farm were in that family: Mrs. John Arnold, Harmonie, Johnny and Prudence…even Bathsheba was an Arnold." However, with regard to the rape and murder of eleven-year-old Prudence S. Arnold, her official death record indicates that she died in the town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, not Burrillville, Rhode Island, revealing that her place of death was likely not on the farm. Furthermore, the record lists her cause of death as, "her throat was cut by W.E.K." These initials contradict the name Andrea gives in her book, "Bill Norton." The first initial 'W' could possibly stand for William, which can be shortened to Bill. However, this still doesn't explain the last name being incorrect. Andrea cites her source as being the Black Book of Burrillville, which was complied by a man named John Smith with additional entries by J.C. Mathewson.
No. Our investigation into The Conjuring true story revealed that the state of Rhode Island does not legally require the seller of a home to inform the buyer of the existence of a supernatural presence, nor does it require them to disclose any paranormal events that have taken place on the property. However, in her book House of Darkness House of Light Andrea Perron states that on the day the family moved in, the man selling the house told her father, "...leave the lights on at night."Have any other homeowners who've lived in the Perron family home had paranormal experiences?
The real Conjuring
farmhouse in its restored state in the early 2000s, similar to how it looks today.
Daughter Andrea Perron, author of House of Darkness House of Light
, addressed this question in an interview, "Everyone who has lived in the house that we know of has experienced this. Some have left screaming and running for their lives. The man who moved in to begin the restoration on the house when we sold it left screaming without his car, without his tools, without his clothing. He never went back to the house and consequently the people who owned it, the adjacent landowners, never moved in and it sat vacant for years." -Tallapoosa-Journal.com
The current owner, Norma Sutcliffe, stated that she and her husband Gerry have had far less intense paranormal experiences in the farmhouse, including the door banging in the front hall, sounds of people talking in another room, the sounds of footsteps accompanied by a door opening in another room and her husband's chair vibrating in the study. The only things that were ever visible to them were a blue light that Norma saw shoot across the bedroom and her husband once thought he saw a fog in the home.
During Norma's conversation with Andrea Perron, she states that a minister and his wife who had lived in the home never spoke of experiencing anything paranormal. The real Lorraine Warren attempted to attribute this to the fact that he was a minister and would not want to reveal such information.Is there a real Conjuring doll that inspired the movie doll?
The real Annabelle doll (left) and The Conjuring
movie doll (right).
Yes, but it is not related to the Perron family haunting. The doll is based on a separate case from 1970 that paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren handled, the case of the Annabelle doll. The details of that case are as follows:
A nursing student named Donna received the Raggedy Ann Doll from her mother as a birthday present. Shortly thereafter, Donna and her roommate Angie began to notice that the doll would switch positions and move around their apartment on its own. Donna and Angie then began to notice childlike messages that had been scribbled onto parchment paper, which they concluded must have come from the doll. Things escalated when their friend Lou, who had been staying with them, claimed that the doll tried to strangle him during the night. On another occasion, Lou believed that the possessed Annabelle doll was responsible for bloody claw-like scratches that mysteriously appeared across his chest when he went to investigate a noise coming from Donna's room.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, a séance was held. The medium informed them that the doll was possessed by a young girl named Annabelle, who had resided on the property before the apartments were built. When she was just seven-years-old, Annabelle's lifeless body was found in a field where the apartments now stood.
Ed and Lorraine Warren eventually came to investigate after being informed of the doll through a priest that Donna had contacted. At the recommendation of the Warrens, an exorcism of the apartment was performed, and at Donna's request, the Warrens took the Annabelle doll into their possession where it still remains today. -Warrens.netHow long had The Conjuring movie been in the works?
The Conjuring movie had been in the works for over 20 years, ever since paranormal investigator Ed Warren played producer Tony DeRosa-Grund a tape of his interview with Carolyn Perron that he had recorded during his first visit to the farmhouse. DeRosa-Grund in turn recorded Ed Warren playing the tape and at the end of DeRosa-Grund's recording he can be heard saying, "If we can't make this into a film I don't know what we can." He can also be heard discussing his idea for the movie with Ed.
The Conjuring Interviews and Related Video
"It was either black or white," says producer DeRosa-Grund. "Either this woman [Carolyn Perron] had severe mental problems, which she didn't, or she was literally scared to death, which she was." -ShockTillYouDrop.com
Explore The Conjuring
true story with a selection of Perron family interviews. Watch author and daughter Andrea Perron talk about living in the farmhouse with the spirits that she claim haunted her family. Finally, view The Conjuring
|The Real Perron Family Speaks|
The Perron family is interviewed in
conjunction with the promotion of Andrea
Perron's book House of Darkness House
of Light. Included in the interviews
are mother Carolyn Perron, father Roger
Perron, and daughters Andrea and Christine
|Andrea Perron Reviews The Conjuring|
After attending an early screening with
her sister Cindy, author Andrea Perron
offers her review of the The
Conjuring movie, which was based on
the haunted Rhode Island farmhouse that
she lived in as a child. She praises the
movie for taking the unique approach of
looking at their real-life story from the
perspective of paranormal investigators Ed
and Lorraine Warren.
|Lorraine Warren and Director James Wan Interview|
Watch an interview with paranormal
investigator Lorraine Warren and the
The Conjuring director James Wan.
Lorraine, who had investigated the
haunting with her husband Ed, talks about
growing up with her psychic abilities and
James admits that he never visited the
|The Conjuring Trailer with the Real People|
This is The Conjuring Trailer
that features members of the real Perron
family on which the movie is based. This
preview is the third trailer and is
essentially the TV spot interspersed with
clips of family members speaking about the
actual haunting of their Rhode Island
|The Conjuring Trailer 1|
If you only watch one of The
Conjuring movie trailers, choose this
one as it's the scarier of the three
full-length previews. It features Lili
Taylor as Carolyn Perron, playing
hide-and-seek with her daughter in their
home. She quickly realizes that someone
(or something) else is playing too.
|The Conjuring Trailer 2|
This is the second trailer for The
Conjuring. The movie is based on the
case files of paranormal investigators Ed
and Lorraine Warren, which document the
Perron family's supernatural experiences
at their farmhouse during the 1970s.