Director James Wan's latest horror flick, The Conjuring, claims to have been based on a true story. Is this just another marketing ploy to spark moviegoers' curiosity and draw them to watch the film?
If you're one of those horror junkies who is into the paranormal kind of stuff, chances are you have already come across the names Lorraine and Ed Warren way before the film was released.
Played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, Lorraine and Ed Warren were known American demonologists who founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952 and claimed to have investigated more than 10,000 cases of paranormal activities. They have written numerous books about paranormal investigations and hauntings. Ed died in 2006, but Lorraine continued their investigations in honour of her husband. She also runs the Occult Museum situated at the back of their house in Monroe, Connecticut.
One of their famous paranormal investigations is the Amityville Horror, which was also made into a movie based on the The Amityville Horror: A True Story by Jason Anson. Many believed that the paranormal events experienced by the Lutz family were a hoax, which led to controversy and lawsuits. The Week reported that the judge said the book is largely "a work of fiction." However, George Lutz, the house's owner, consistently maintained that the story is true and Lorraine supports his story and said that it was not a hoax.
What about the demonic possessions in The Conjuring? Is it true?
The Perrons' disturbing events in their home happened in 1971 when Roger, Carolyn and their five daughters moved into a colonial farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. They began experiencing haunting and spiritual possessions quickly after they moved in.
The Perrons invited the Warrens to investigate and described the spirits to be harmless yet angry and "stunk of rotting flesh," which routinely arrived at 5:15 am in their beds.
They are even included in some of the promotional materials of The Conjuring, which seems to add truth that the happenings were true. "Because I was the youngest and the most vulnerable, I was approached more than anyone, and I actually had a relationship with that (ghostly) boy," April Perron said in the trailer.
The president of the New England Skeptical Society, Steven Novella, doubts the story and told USA Today that "there is absolutely no reason to believe there is any legitimacy" to the Warren's reports on the Perron case.
Andrea Perron, in return responded that The Conjuring "is a fair reflection of the chaos and danger we faced at the farm."
"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."
Meanwhile, the real-life Lorraine Warren, who is now 86 years old, attended the premiere of The Conjuring in Los Angeles on July 15.
Lorraine told the Christian Post that she was educated at a Catholic school for girls, and even then she felt different from the other girl such as seeing shadows around people. She tried to reach out to the nuns but was punished for it.
When asked how close was The Conjuring in real life, she said, "In the Perron case, the family at that time did not have any religion. I don't know how it is now. There were six children and a mother. The father worked in New York, and he came home usually on weekends. So [my husband] ... would command the demons in the name of Jesus Christ to go back to where they came from. He always did it in God's name."
"I think they (The Conjuring) did a pretty good job. I can remember the places where it was very bad such as the dirt cellar [in the Perron home]. I can remember my husband going down the stairs and there was a professor from a university in New Haven, Conn. who wanted to see what was happening in the Perron home," she said.