True Tuesday "Behind The Conjuring"
The past few years horror fans have been introduced to paranormal pioneers Ed and Lorraine Warren through James Wan’s superb adaptations of their investigation files. The movies that have come out of these actual investigations have been Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and both Conjuring films. Prior to these films how many people realized that the Warrens were the investigators involved in the Amityville Horror case as well? True, many fans of the paranormal are familiar with the work of the Warrens even if it was just from the brief disrespectful mention on Ghost Hunters. Some people, including those in the field of paranormal research have not always given the Warrens the respect that they deserve. That is not the subject of this article though.
The question is the accuracy of the film adaptations. Did Carolyn Perron seek out the help of the Warrens on her own or did others try to help her? How close were the events to the actual investigations. The answer for the first Annabelle movie is not really. It’s pure conjecture on the part of the screenwriters. The doll was not a porcelain doll, but a Raggedy Anne doll. It was written to give one writer’s idea of how the doll came to be with the nursing students who ultimately called the Warrens for help. For the time frame of the movie, the idea of a demonic cult doing the things the real girl Annabelle was apart of has some basis in fact. The idea seems to have been inspired by the Tate-Labianca murders that Charles Manson instigated.
Due to the wonderful book written by Keith Johnson and the handful of interviews I have heard with Andrea Perron, whose story was told by the first Conjuring movie, I have decided to start with this particular movie. According to Andrea’s website, quoting an interview with CBS, the basics of the movie do coincide with the actual case.
I started with reading Paranormal Realities 1 by Keith Johnson. In his book he discusses how the group he and his twin brother Carl were apart of were the first group, (PYRO) to investigate the Perron home. The Perrons had answered an ad in which Keith had placed in a local paper when the church the family attended refused to help them. The church also suggested that they worship at a different place. This is another discrepancy in which the movie differed from the real life events. In the movie the story claims that the Perrons were not religious and did not attend a church. According to an interview Keith gave to The Big Seance Podcast dated Sept. 30, 2015, the family was actually devout Catholics. The oldest daughter, Andrea Perron wrote a trilogy of books in which she writes about the paranormal events that she and her family experienced living in the farmhouse. Andrea believes that her family was meant to be in the house. Interesting enough it seems that the people who moved in after have very little paranormal activity occurring in their home. They did have an investigation that was aired on an episode of the Ghost Hunters television show.
As the investigation began to evolve and the Johnson brothers, who were in college at the time began to realize that the Perron case was going to be above their experience at the time, they began speaking with Roger and Carolyn Perron about bringing in the Warrens.
Keith’s interview with The Big Seance was done in two parts. He discusses how PYRO was under the belief that the investigation would be a joint investigation but it would ultimately be held out to the Perron Family that it would not be safe to have college age kids involved. PYRO was excluded from the investigation much to the dismay of the Perron daughters who had found people near their age who believed them and did not find them crazy. This was especially important to the young girls since their own church had refused to help them and suggested to their parents that they find a different church.
Keith reveals that Bathsheba was a real person that had lived in the house in which the Perrons had lived. He does not believe that anyone had mentioned this to Miss Lorraine when she felt that this was the spirit haunting the home and attempting to harm Carolyn Perron. Once the movie was made it cemented Bathsheba’s image in the mind of the world.
The case really takes an interesting twist when Andrea Perron is interviewed by The Big Seance podcast. Andrea was very apologetic that the couple who bought the farmhouse experienced prowlers and worse, kids who were creepy crawling the home. For those who are not familiar with the term, creepy-crawling, it comes from the Manson family. As described in Vincent Bugliosi’s book, Helter Skelter the members of the Manson family would enter homes and change things around to make people afraid.
Andrea’s books, House of Darkness, House of Light are written from the family’s point of view. She was happy that she was able to write the books and begin the screen play before the death of her younger sister, April.
Andrea calls the gaps in the movie, wounds, but she is glad it was successful. She also says that Warner Brothers cherry picked her books because the execs said that the full, real story would give people heart attacks. She speaks about the climax of the movie and how it was tame to the actual event in the movie. Her mother was levitated in the air and crashed to the floor so hard Andrea and her sister, Cindy thought their mother was dead. She reveals that the only one who knew that they had seen it was Ed Warren. Andrea’s father, Roger was livid, and Ed tried to stop him from rushing to his wife. Roger punched Ed in the face and Ed saw them when he went to the bathroom to tend to his bloody nose. She states that Ed embraced the two girls to comfort them since they had seen and heard their mother crash to the floor so hard that they could hear her skull hit the floor. Andrea does not believe that the entity did not want to kill her mother, Carolyn but simply wanted everyone to know it was there.
She admitted that Keith’s account of PYRO’s involvement with the case and their abrupt dismissal was true. She states that she loves Keith Johnson and was scheduled for events. Andrea states that Keith had told them that Carolyn had called him but Carolyn could not remember ever calling them. For some reason Carolyn did not have the same affection for Carl as she did Keith. Andrea believed that her mother was able to discern that the twins were polar opposites with Keith being extremely religious and Carl’s dabbling in the dark arts at the time.
Andrea recalls a funny story in which one of her younger sisters thought Keith was Jesus when PYRO appeared. Keith would go through with some chalk and mark crosses on the windows, when Andrea admits that “all hell broke loose.” She also tells that she was afraid to go into the cellar, but Keith prayed with her, and found him to be sincerely holy, and was not afraid to go with him.
Andrea does not recall how someone could call Keith, in her mother’s voice since Carolyn does not believe she called him. Andrea surmises that her mother could be so oppressed that she unknowingly called Keith and his group for help. In Paranormal Realities, I believe Keith mentions he had a dream that a family would be calling him for help.
The Perron family lived in the farmhouse for ten years. When the family left they believed that they would be leaving the spirits behind. Unfortunately, Andrea reveals that attachments were formed between the family and the spirits that exist to modern times. She revealed that one of her sisters was more sensitive to the spirits than the others.
Andrea was used as the face of the Conjuring movie as the author of her own books and as a representative of the family. She kept two bags packed because the studio was giving her 24 hours notice at times to fly her out for interviews about the movie. She thought it was a wild time being the face. She was grateful to the studio to allow her to be the face of the movie, which allowed her to gain exposure for her own book series. Her books, she is adapting into screenplays to bring to light, the real cases told from the family’s point of view.
For more information I have provided the links below to the important parties involved in the investigation as well as to Andrea Perron's own website.
- Home - House of Darkness House of Light
House of Darkness House of Light by Andrea Perron.
© 2018 Kristina Stancil