Turns Out The Conjuring Actually Conjured Up A True Story

Carolyn Perron in basement holding a match, The Conjuring, July 2013

(Photo: Screen Crush)

The most horrifying part about watching a horror movie is realizing it’s based on a true story. The Conjuring is that kind of movie. It’s easy to assume the movie is fake and that the characters are phonies, but unfortunately for my anxieties, research shows that a version of The Conjuring might’ve happened in real life. There’s just one minor problem. Even though the film is based on a true story, this “true” story involves ghosts and demonic possessions. Sooo in order to believe the events in this film happened, you’d have to believe in ghosts, Satan, and possessed Raggedy Ann dolls… And frankly, I loved my Raggedy Ann doll and was offended the demon “Annabelle” doll in The Conjuring was based on the same kind of doll I had growing up. Watching this movie really had me questioning whether it was based on true events or not. But since I do deep down believe in the supernatural (I watch Long Island Medium religiously), I’ll go along with what I learned about the true story.

The film begins and it’s 1971 and everything seems groovy when the Perron family moves into a rundown, Rhode Island farmhouse. Roger and Carolyn Perron (played by  Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) have five daughters who fight over bedrooms and play a game called “hide-and-clap” on their first night since, you know, there’s no TLC or iPhones yet. The girls accidently discover a sealed off basement, which Roger decides to explore alone with matches. Mistake number one…

He fights through the cobwebs and finds an old piano and an assortment of junk.  In the following days, a series of scary things happen like the dog dying unexpectedly and Carolyn being locked inside the basement when a ghost joins her during a game of hide-and-clap gone wrong. At night, two daughters feel someone pulling on their feet and see a spirit in their room, while another begins banging her head into a wardrobe while sleepwalking.  Finally, a spirit physically leaps onto the back of the oldest daughter, guaranteeing that, yeah, their house is 100% infested with unfriendly ghosts.

The Perrons do what any ghost-fearing people would. They stay in the house and suffer until convincing Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to help them exterminate the ghostly intruders. Unfortunately for them and all innocent bystanders involved (including the volunteer cop), this turns out to be more difficult than expected because a witch-ghost possesses Carolyn. In the 1800s, the witch attempted to sacrifice her baby and then hanged herself outside after cursing anyone who moved onto her property. Lorraine, a clairvoyant, and her husband Ed, a demonologist, eradicate the witch from Carolyn’s body and the house by performing an illegal exorcism.

The Perron Family, The Conjuring, July 2013

(Photo: Super Marcy)

Immediately after seeing this movie, I began furiously googling because I had to know before falling asleep whether it was true or not. What I discovered appears to be more disturbing than what I saw on screen.  In the film version, the house contained three solid ghosts; a little boy, his mother, and the witch, Bathsheba Sherman. The Perron’s oldest daughter, Andrea Perron, writes in her book House of Darkness, House of Light: The True Story that multiple generations of ghosts from the same family inhabited their house. According to Andrea Perron’s account in her book: “Most of them were completely benign and some of them didn’t even seem to notice that we were there, but eight generations lived and died in that house prior to our arrival and some of them never left.” The Perron family reportedly did hear and see doors slam shut and also encountered spirits speaking to them especially in dreams.

The film changes the details of the paranormal events the Perron’s encountered, but according to the family these events did occur in a similar fashion. But what about Ed and Lorraine Warren? Did they experience the haunting the way the Perron family describe it? I can’t say for sure since Ed Warren is deceased, but in an interview with Lorraine Warren from the Christian Post, we learn that the basement depicted in the film was based on the original cellar in the Rhode Island farmhouse. Lorraine admits to having felt evil spirits in the house’s cellar: “When I got to the top of the stairs and I looked in this room and it was all dark and this grotesque face was in there and I made the sign of the cross in the air and said, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to leave and go back to where you came from.’”

Lorraine Warren in scarf and Vera Farmiga from The Conjuring, July 2013

(Photo: Cross Map)

In another interview with Lorraine from Badass Digest, she discusses the Warrens other cases besides the Perron’s haunted farmhouse.  For instance, the Warrens investigated a case in Enfield, England of twins being controlled by “inhuman spirits.”  One twin even disappeared for 17 minutes and was found twisted and shoved inside some sort of toolbox or cabinet.

I’m all about being on the ghost bandwagon. I mean, anytime my lamp flickers I assume it’s a spirit trying to contact me rather than the bulb burning out.  But, I will say, I’m not so sure about the mental state of these so-called ghost hunters.  Having read quite a few of Lorraine Warren’s interviews, sometimes I’m confused by her answers to the interview questions. In an interview from Trailer Addict, she goes from preaching about Jesus one minute and then lusting over The Conjuring’s director, James Wan, the next minute. There’s also the issue of the Warrens being associated with The Amityville Horror case, which is now being criticized as a hoax. Lorraine Warren might be a sweet, old lady who’s off her rocker… but I believe The Conjuring is true and that she and her husband were legitimate ghost-hunters. Then again it will be the nonbelievers who are going to be able to sleep again after watching this movie. 

You can reach this post's author, Rachel Brickell, on twitter.
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    • Jessi Bruton

      PLEASE proofread the stories on this blog more carefully. I was so confused when this article cited Vera Farmiga as the actress who plays the mother, when ever other article I’ve read mentions her as the ghost hunter.

      Errors and typos confuse the reader at best, and undermine credibility at worst. Take care!

    • Rev

      “Roger and Carolyn Perron (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) ” nope. Wrong. no. This is just sad. It’s a movie review. You supposedly saw this. It’s a basic, easy thing to check. IMDB, any site where the writer actually cares. I am so sick of this obscene level of laziness, on every level, in the writing on Crushable. You should be ashamed of yourself. Really. You are writing about a movie and you could not check this? It’s just actors in the lead roles. This really indicates how deep the total indifference runs.

      • Jenni

        However will we ever earn your forgiveness for this horrible mistake? (Keep in mind before answering that we are totally indifferent to mistakes.)

      • Samantha_Escobar


      • Janet

        Sir (I’m guessing from your aggressiveness you are male) you are actually wrong. So shame on you. Before reading this I went to the IMDb website and looked up the movie. The roles of Roger and Carolyn Perron are actually played by: Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston. The roles of Lorraine and Ed Warren are played by: Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. I thought that the writer did a extensive amount of research and did a good job on their review.

      • haileyP

        Wow what a sexist bitch you are. And the articles was obviously altered because it originally stated the wrong information that the OP has in quotes – the author obviously went back and corrected it as she should have. And no, I’m not a male.

    • Sarah

      Actually Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson portray Ed and Loraine Warren in this movie. The Perron parents are played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston.

    • Alyssa

      I saw this movie last night and it scared the hell out of me. I already knew it was a true story going in and I do believe in the supernatural. I was a little disappointed by the story behind the main ghost because I thought it was over done and a little over the top. They could have just had a satanist live there but for some reason the film makers had to throw infanticide and a reference to the Salem Witch trials (which were actually pretty horrible because it was basically mass hysteria that resulted in the convictions of nearly 30 people) into the mix just to make it more interesting.

      • Shers

        If you google her name it actually states that she did sacrifice her child. She put a pin or something in its head. Bathsheba was a real person.

      • Denise Quinn

        Yes, she was a real person back in the 19th century, but the Salem witch trials were back in the late 17th century and had nothing to do with the real story. As Alyssa said nearly 30 innocent people falsely accused of witchcraft died.

    • Rach

      I don’t know what happened at Amittyville, but I do know that people don’t leave all their belongings and refuse to set foot in their once dream home for nothing.

      • Rachel Brickell

        yeah, the whole thing seems a little sketchy. I agree something went down there.

      • Benita

        Amityville was a hoax, the family bought a house they couldn’t afford and concocted the haunting over a few bottles of wine. There have been at least three other owners of that house and none of them complained about “haunting”.

      • Kerri Guarino

        There is truth in Amityv ille, but they’ll always be critics to tear the story apart.

    • Benita

      If you buy that this is a true story, you are saying that you believe that the people who were murdered (there’s no other word for it) were actually witches.

      Think a little, ok?

      • haileyP

        Not everyone who doesn’t share your beliefs is stupid or superstitious. It has been reported that Bathsheba Sherman (a real person) beat and starved her farm staff and performed black rituals in the house. An infant in her care was found with a knitting needle jabbed through the base of her skull. I’m not saying this movie or the Warrens are completely credible sources of information but something scared the hell out of this family.

      • Kerri Guarino

        I think it was more like a mentally unstable woman, who was not a witch.

    • doesn’tmatter

      So the doll inspired Chucky and movie theaters are blessed by priests before viewing, I just love the hype!

    • alicia

      i watched it but i dont get what the doll had to do with it either i missed a part of the movie or it didnt explain it

    • Glaciusx

      well isn’t THAT wonderful?

    • alice

      what i dont understand is if you want people to believe why not show the real videos from that night in the movie it showed a lot of taping and videos was taken dose mrs warren have the real videos from the real haunted ????? if so show it live so people can see what really happened . dose anyone think the same as i do ????????????

    • alice

      every story is made into a movie never did i ever see real events all the ghost hunters have said to have video and taped voices why cant they ever show them ????????

    • alice

      I would like to see one time a real video not a

    • alice

      I also say if you believe in in god all evil will stay away .

    • Pingback: The Conjuring – A Evocação (2013) « A Grande Ilusão()

    • Jay

      Everything was going fine until “I watch Long Island Medium religiously”.

    • NLS

      Bathsheba never lived at farm not an Arnold no record of a death connected to her no historical evidence only from Perrons Died of a stroke buried by Baptist minister because she was a practicing Baptist no murder no suicides no hangings no drownings recorded at farm. Mrs John Arnold died in her house Harrisville rd. John Arnold 1911 died at his home Tarkiln. Prudence orphan died in Uxbridge Mass Dexter Richardson house did not own farm. Many stories proved untrue movie totally fictitious Acording to Perrrons Warrens made it worse Only Perron claim farm haunted. Kenyons angered that their ancestors home degraded by story. More details when one actually does research.