Former guests and listeners of the show share their tips and techniques for clearing a space of funky energy or removing unwanted spirit visitors.
Former guests and listeners of the show share their tips and techniques for clearing a space of funky energy or removing unwanted spirit visitors.
In this solo episode, I discuss the upcoming Conjuring 2 movie, the Enfield Poltergeist, life in St. Louis in 1875, and the Spiritualist Movement. Plus, Tim Prasil shares the haunting report of a 10-Foot Ghost!
Pssst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe Link?
This evening I received a comment submitted by Norma Sutcliffe, the current owner of the house and farm that is depicted in the movie, The Conjuring. It is Norma’s house that is the main character and focus of Andrea Perron’s books that tell a lengthy and frightening decade-long story of hauntings. As I’ve mentioned before, the movie is not based on Andrea’s books. The Hollywood version is supposed to be based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, though I can tell you that the books, as exciting and descriptive as they are, don’t seem to have much to do with the movie. With that being said, I think I’ve made it clear on this blog that I love the books and the movie, though they’re completely separate identities in my eyes.
If you follow Andrea Perron or have been a fan of the movie, or even this blog, you probably already know that since the overwhelming success of the movie, Norma’s house and land has been consistently invaded, vandalized, and trespassed upon by inconsiderate and crazy fans of the movie and the story. I first learned about this when Andrea herself posted a video pleading for people to stop violating the privacy of Norma and her husband. This was back in late July of last summer.
On one of several posts I wrote about the first two books from Andrea’s trilogy (the third has yet to be released), House of Darkness House of Light, I posted a comment updating folks about the unfortunate events going on at the house.
I suppose I should make it clear that I do not know Norma, and have no real way of verifying that this is truly her, though I can’t think of why someone would parade around using her name and sharing this information, and I’m sorry if it’s insulting to even wonder. You just never know now days. Even so, the comment submitted by “Norma Sutcliffe” was in reference to my update on the house and is below:
The video that Norma references is embedded below. It is over an hour long and I watched (although “listened to” is probably more appropriate here) every second of it. Norma includes a ton of information based on her own research and makes a lot of claims. I have no way of knowing if this is all true, but thought it was definitely worth sharing to get your thoughts, and to simply share her side of the story. No doubt about it, her and her husband have gone through hell since the movie was released. In one of her comments in the video, she says “Our home has now been mocked, made a spectacle, and stigmatized forever.”
Here’s a brief summary with some of my thoughts, if you don’t have an hour to watch the video:
The video presents her points in 6 sections.
1. Research about claims made by the Perrons
2. History and research of the Warrens
3. History of the times and interesting facts and connections from the 50s to the 80s
4. Life during the assaults
5. Life before the movie
6. Past videos made in our home
Norma Sutcliffe maintains that they’ve experienced no paranormal activity in the nearly three decades of living in the home. Perhaps Norma’s biggest beef with Hollywood and the creators or The Conjuring is that they included personal and private information, including the name of the actual town, and the Perron family name. This easily led anyone to locate their farm. She claims that no one made them aware or warned them of any of this. The movie, she claims, is complete fiction and not based on reality. According to her, Andrea Perron was more involved in the movie than she claims. Norma says that Carolyn Perron made up much of the haunted history of the home, including details of suicides and the infamous Bathsheba. Apparently Andrea Perron had mentioned publicly, and I seem to recall hearing or seeing this myself, that the production company had been providing security for the Sutcliffes and was somehow assisting with all of the chaos. Norma denies that any of this was true.
Something interesting that I learned from the video that I didn’t realize, is that SyFy’s Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation there in 2005. At least at the time of this posting, you can view that video HERE. I remember seeing this early episode several times, but because they didn’t give many specific or private details, and because this was years before The Conjuring, I had no clue that I’d actually seen “The Conjuring House” in that episode. If you watch the Ghost Hunters episode, you’ll hear Norma kind of go along with the claims of the hauntings (which conflict with her views now), and in the end, even make the statement that she lives in a “bonafide haunted house.” She addresses some of those conflicting comments and interactions in her video below.
I’d love to know your thoughts. I’m a little torn between a movie and an author that I’ve loved and followed recently, and a couple that is clearly going through hell right now. I may follow this and keep you posted.
Last night Meril and I were burrowing in blankets on a chilly and windy evening at home alone, as Joe is away for work this week. We decided to catch up on another film on my list of movies to check out this fall. The weather the last few evenings here in the St. Louis area could not have been more perfect for an old black and white spooky film, so we made hot beverages (well I did, anyway), lit several candles, and popped in the recently released 1944 film The Uninvited. The cast includes Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Dorothy Stickney, Barbara Everest, Alan Napier, and Gail Russell.
When it was over, we went out for our bedtime walk. Not only was it bitterly cold, but the earlier rain and wind had turned many of the trees naked for the first time this season. The misty cloud cover in the moonlit sky created an eerie, muted, black and white scene. Our day was closing with quite the Hollywood ending, minus having to retire to a quiet and cold bedroom by ourselves. I resisted turning the heat on and imagined we lived in an earlier time, wishing we had an old fireplace to take the chill away.
It appears Meril missed quite a bit of it, but I loved the movie. In this DVD, released by The Criterion Collection, the film is completely remastered and presented in its original aspect ratio on widescreen televisions. For the few times I got lost in the plot, I was able to refer to the very informative booklet included with the DVD. It includes several pages (with photos) of an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme and a 1997 interview with Lewis Allen, who was actually a first-time director for this film.
The special features include a “visual essay” by filmmaker Michael Almereyda, which discussed some of the details of the film, the people involved, etc. It was very detailed and interesting. One of the things he mentions is how Gail Russell, who plays Stella, was plucked out of high school by the studio for her beauty. She was horribly shy, not confident, and the stress and anxiety drove her to drinking at such a young age. It was the alcohol that killed her at the age of 36. Apparently it was a common opinion, even by the director, that she was a poor actor with a studio contract who they were stuck with. Since I found her performance to be beautiful, it all surprised me. I felt that Donald Crisp, who was a respected academy award-winning actor by this time, had a horrible performance. It is said that at the time he was insulted to have to work with such a newcomer with no talent and experience. With the exception of Crisp, I thought the cast was spectacular! But what do I know?
I also want to point out that this 1944 film did an excellent job on several scenes with incredibly spooky ectoplasmic ghost manifestations. I expected to laugh at dated effects, but they really held up and are actually quite beautiful and impressive for 1944.
The film includes an original song, Stella by Starlight, which in the plot is written by one of the main characters, and in real life was later arranged with lyrics and covered by many famous artists. Here’s an overly dramatic but beautiful orchestral version. It is definitely not this dramatic in the film.
A haunting bit of information regarding this song was shared in the special features. Apparently in 1961, Gail Russell was known to frequently call into a particular radio station and request to hear Stella by Starlight. It is rumored that the night before she was found dead (apparently alcohol related), she had called in for her traditional request.
Like many of these old films that I like, if you require your spooky old movies to include the classic old house (a beautiful and massive one), having to use candles in place of electricity, a séance scene (which you KNOW I enjoyed), and some really fantastic ghostly moaning, then add this to your list for sure! Click HERE to see the original trailer for the film.
Next up! This year’s pumpkins turn into Jack-O-Lanterns!
Since the first part of July of this year, a lot of my blogs and reading have had to do with either the House of Darkness House of Light trilogy by Andrea Perron or The Conjuring movie. Even though the movie is based on the investigation case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, Andrea, the eldest real life Perron daughter, tells the story of the very real events in her books. Though I have not seen or read the actual case files, after reading Andrea’s first two volumes, I’m fairly confident in saying the movie is VERY loosely based on the events from that farmhouse outside of Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1970s. I didn’t have knowledge of just how loosely it was based when I wrote the review of the movie. At the time, I was very excited about researching the back story and seeing an advanced screening of the film. I’d read that Lorraine Warren was pleased with the final product (she also makes a very brief appearance that many people, including myself, missed). Also, in a YouTube video Andrea reviews the film and states “I expected something entirely different. I expected Hollywood to do what Hollywood does, and yet in some ways this is a very quiet and studious film. You would never know that from the trailers, but that’s their job… to entice an audience. It’s also about the love of a family. It’s also about people who came to help, who felt that this was the most significant and compelling, and dark and disturbing story that they had ever heard in the course of a fifty year career.” She also mentioned that the film “truly captured what we endured.”
I really did love The Conjuring and I think it’s truly a new classic, but after reading volume one and two, they don’t seem to be connected. You know how it is when you get sucked into reading a novel AFTER you watched the movie it inspired? Do you allow yourself to visualize the setting and the actors in the situations you saw in the film? I usually try to shake the temptation, because as soon as I allow myself to watch the movie in my head while reading, something ends up being slightly or majorly different. Once that happens I’m hopelessly confused till the very last page. Well… let’s just say I didn’t have this problem with House of Darkness House of Light.
At around 500 pages each, volume one and two aren’t for light and quick reading. Volume one had my intense attention for most of the book. I really enjoyed how detailed Andrea was. I don’t think there’s any chance of her leaving out any of the details. After a blogger and Big Séance reader commented on my review of volume one, mentioning how the book jumps back and forth in time, making it very confusing, I had to agree. Though it didn’t bother me as much in the first book, I frequently got lost in the timeline of the story in volume two. Not only that, but you have to try to keep track of the five siblings, the order of their ages, and how old they are at that particular moment. Was this chapter before or after a particular event I just read about? Had the Warrens been there yet? In my opinion, even though I think Andrea is a fantastic writer, and I very much enjoyed the books, the back and forth in time thing is the biggest flaw in these two volumes. With that being said, perhaps an explanation for this style has to do with these events lasting a whole decade. It may have been impossible to get points and information across in a simple chronological style. The reader might also want to be aware that Andrea writes in a very flowery and poetic style, which might not be something everyone resonates with.
By the time I got midway through volume two, it had my serious attention, just as volume one had. It was the moment the Warren’s arrived on the scene (their involvement is only hinted at in volume one). They made several appearances in the book, but the infamous séance chapter, which I can only assume was the direct inspiration for the exorcism portion of the film, was so very powerful. Dramatic and intense, after being carried away with real life and reading short chunks at a time for a week or two, it brought my focus back to the book. This was the height of the supposed “oppression” (making its way to “possession”) of Carolyn Perron (the mother). Before the séance was over, Roger Perron (the father), who incidentally is painted horribly in the books, ended it all and threw all non-family members out of the house.
Speaking of being painted horribly, what I didn’t know and was surprised to find out, was that the Warrens aren’t portrayed at all to be the saviors that they are in the movie. In fact, the family seems to end their relationship with the Warrens on bad terms. For the most part, they’re blamed for making everything worse. Prior to their first visit, Carolyn took quite a few notes on her early haunting experiences at the house. She did lots of research on the history of the farmhouse and the residents that appear to be haunting them. Apparently the Warrens either lost these documents or just never returned them. Possibly the biggest strike against them was the fact that they apparently broke their confidentiality agreement with the Perrons, discussing details of the fascinating haunted Harrisville farmhouse in the talks they gave around the country. For a while the Perron family’s privacy was continually violated by curious travelers dropping by to catch some kind of paranormal activity first hand. Ironically, the popularity of the movie caused the same thing to happen for the current residents. I sincerely hope that problem is old news by now.
In the remainder of volume two there are some very heartfelt moments, some incredible stories involving the sisters, and a big life-changing realization by Carolyn. The paranormal activity (which isn’t always negative) apparently got milder as the family learned to give respect and practice “live and let ‘live'”. In the end, Roger and Carolyn split up, though it’s unclear to me whether this happened before or after they move out of the farmhouse for Georgia, leaving a decade of haunting experiences behind. I’m only guessing this will be cleared up in the last volume.
Volume three has not been released yet, but I imagine you’ll hear from me at some point after it arrives and after my bookmark has the chance to make its way through the pages.
In my last post, I listed the Top 10 Spooky Movies For Fall. After doing some research, I’ve come up with four classic spooky/fally movies that I haven’t seen but would like to see in the coming months. Tracking down at least one of these will be difficult, but I’m going to try. I hope to write a review for at least a few of them.
Linked titles take you to IMDb. Photos take you to Amazon.com.
Here’s a clip…
Well I held off for as long as I could stand it. Last year I posted this list a whole month earlier. It’s September. I have pumpkins. Just lit a candle. Just saw a witch flying in front of the moon in a meme on Facebook. I don’t care what you say it’s FALL! Alright let’s go.
In chronological order by release date. Linked titles take you to more info on the film. Photos take you to Amazon.com.
There’s just something about a Hitchcock classic in black and white that gets me electrified for fall. And with the success and rise in popularity of A&E’s Bates Motel series starring Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), the original Psycho has made it back onto the scene for lovers of this spooky genre. As a kid, I was obsessed with this movie… a movie most known for the screeching strings in the score that in my opinion forever changed film music, and that horrifying shower scene. I was known to refer to it as simply “Bates Motel”. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s time to dust this one off and give it a watch! Just be sure to shower BEFORE showtime! Watch the trailer.
I watched and fell in love with this film for the first time last year. The movie begins with a black screen and a creepy melody, “O Willow Waly”, which is sung a cappella by a young child. Much of the film is shot in beautiful outdoor garden-like settings, and the rest of the movie takes place in a beautiful large country estate. It really is beautiful to see on screen. And then, of course later, that same beauty creates the good old-fashioned spookiness that I love in a horror movie. No special effects needed. The storyline involves two children, their governess, and the ghosts of the former governess and valet who possess the children.
This movie first played at screens just two years before I was born, but it was actually only like 6 years ago that I saw it. I’ve seen it many times since. The wonderful Sissy Spacek hasn’t aged a day since filming it. Also, at the time I had no idea that Betty Buckley (a Broadway star to me) was in the film. For many people, this was the first time they learned of a phenomenon called “telekinesis”. Carrie has an amazing film score that I think is really beautiful, but unfortunately it isn’t really accessible or recognized. The beautiful score from final scene that finishes with a surprise, is simply genius and is one of my favorite movie themes. Don’t waste your time with any of the remakes. They are horrible and just don’t even come close to the small budget original. Watch the trailer.
Like The Innocents, it was only last year that I saw this film for the first time. Starring the wonderful George C. Scott, it has that classic spooky movie feel that I always prefer. I very rarely enjoy all of the computer generated imagery (CGI) of modern-day films. I get a much bigger scare out of some good sound effects, an emotional score, an incredibly spooky setting, darkness, a ball bouncing down the steps, or a secret dusty room that has been untouched for decades. This movie has all of those things. Fitting right into the subject of this blog, The Changeling also includes a séance scene, and believe it or not… even some EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Watch the trailer.
I first watched this Disney Pictures film when I was very young. Until recently, I sort of forgot about it, which is unfortunate. I was two years old when it was released, and I can’t believe I’m old enough to mention that it stars Bette Davis… but it does. I never understood why it was the Disney company that made this film, simply because it is so incredibly creepy! Don’t believe me? Watch it! I remember having nightmares about it. But it is such a good movie. From imdb: “When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before…”
Ohhhh my beloved Hocus Pocus. I’m finding that I’m far from being the only nerd that enjoys a tradition of watching this film every year. As a young teenager I loved it because it had all of the elements a spooky Halloween themed movie needed to have… witches, spells, graveyard, a black cat, and a cute main character. But of course, what makes this movie fabulous is the hilarious trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler. It used to be on cable a lot more, but I try to catch it every time it’s offered. In fact, I think I’ll set the DVR now. Most of these movies are on my list because of the nostalgia that they bring, and this one brings back feelings of the excitement I’d get as a kid around Halloween. Watch the trailer.
The events taking place in this film, along with the year it was released, marks twenty years after the original. It is one of those nostalgic college movies for me. I used to be into these old slasher movies a lot more than I am now. Don’t get me wrong, if a Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or a Michael Myers (Halloween) marathon catches me on the right day in October, I just might get sucked in. But even though this is probably on many lists for being a really horrible movie, it is my favorite of the Michael Myers films, with the possible exception of the original Halloween, which I haven’t seen in a long time. It is the Halloween movies that has forever changed the meaning of The Chordettes’ Mr. Sandman for me. And of course, there is the unforgettable classic Halloween theme. Watch the trailer.
People often make fun of me for loving this movie. It is a movie I have often watched late on Halloween night by myself after the trick-or-treaters fizzle out. I’m not sure why, because this movie doesn’t exactly scream “HALLOWEEN”, but ah well. I think the improvised faux reality style in which it was made was ground breaking and shocking. Several films have used this technique since. If you’re not familiar with this movie or the way it was filmed, it might be worth checking out its wikipedia page. Then again, that might ruin it for you. Watch it first and then check out the page. Though a lot of people complained about getting nauseous in the theaters due to the amateur shaky film footage, I think they’re whiners! Watch the trailer.
Again, college nostalgia for me. I was lucky enough to have HBO in my apartment back then, and this was shown a LOT for a year or two. It’s just a creepy movie with some pretty intense spirit communication, including a funny scene with a Ouija board. Right up my alley. Plus, who could forget the amazing bath tub scene? I’ve never personally had one of those “lounge in a tub” kind of bath tubs, but when I see one I immediately think of this scene. Sadly, this is one of those movies that is becoming hard to find unless you own the DVD. I do not.
The last movie on our list tries to give us a glimpse into what happens when we die and what it might be like. That, of course, is probably not how Hollywood describes it, but that’s the question that is pondered and brought up so many times in this blog and in other paranormal circles. Again, like most the movies from this list, it has all of the spooky elements to it. Creepy old house, creepy children giggling, lots of darkness, and a séance scene that includes some automatic writing. And then… the creepy old woman… with the little girl’s voice! I thought this was a very well-made movie.
The Conjuring, a film that has now grossed over 125 million dollars, has been ranked by Box Office Mojo as #6 for top grossing horror films of all time. Last month I had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the film and was researching the story to write my review. In my research, I quickly became fascinated with learning about the very real family behind the true story. This led me to Volume One of Andrea Perron’s trilogy, House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story.
The author, who is the eldest Perron daughter, writes in a beautiful style that leaves no detail behind. After all, volume one alone is 504 pages. As I’ve mentioned before, she puts you in that house with the characters. Roger and Carolyn Perron, along with their five daughters, moved to the infamous farmhouse (built in 1736) in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. They remained there for nearly ten years. For decades, the world knew very little about the incredible events that happened in that farmhouse. What little we knew was probably due to the fact that the famous Ed and Lorraine Warren, pioneers in the field of paranormal investigation, came to the aid of the family and documented their experiences. This was all before the famous Amityville case that involved the Warrens as well.
Forty years later, the family’s story is finally told.
The book begins with the Perron family in their former suburban home, before they even knew the farmhouse existed. But fate seems to take over and leads them there, like it or not. They experienced paranormal activity in the farmhouse from day one, and even though it is hard for the reader to believe, the family’s acceptance of their reality – the fact that they share their home with others – is a slow and gradual process.
As a reader, I felt I had the opportunity to get to know each of the seven members of the Perron family. Mrs. Perron (Carolyn) seems to have experienced the worst of the activity, having been directly attacked by a jealous ghost named Bathsheba, the nastiest and most complicated spirit (with quite a history) in the farmhouse. Mr. Perron (Roger), a hard worker who spent much of the time traveling to provide for his family, for the majority of the book is in complete denial about the activity in the house. This causes a lot of friction in the family, and it frustrated me to no end. One of my favorite moments involved an incredibly brave and blunt Nancy, the second daughter, who finally had enough and told her father what was what. Everyone else knew and accepted it. It was time for him to wake up. That seemed to be the beginning of his awakening, and also the moment that I tried to silently cheer in the middle of the night while the rest of the world was asleep. Roger Perron’s family was indeed learning to survive in an incredibly haunted house.
Another character that I felt like I got to know and related to was Cindy, the 4th daughter in line. Growing up in the house, she experienced hundreds of visits from the spirit of a little girl. She was always crying for her mother. As she grew older, the little girl didn’t. Cindy cared for her, giving her space whenever she came around, and even letting her play with her toys.
We occasionally get bounced around in time when it is necessary, and the Warrens never make an official appearance, but I have no doubt that by the third volume (not yet released) we’ll know it all.
It is important to note that Andrea Perron began writing the trilogy in 2007 and this volume was released in 2011, well before the movie. It also must be noted that the movie is based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren and not Andrea’s books.
Visit the author’s website at houseofdarknesshouseoflight.com
Also, learn more about the book on Facebook.