In 2019 a couple named Cory and Jennifer Heinzen bought a beautiful 1736 farmhouse in Rhode Island. But the isolated property had an interesting history behind it… maybe too interesting. And before long, the couple claimed to be witnessing all sorts of bumps in the night. For you see, its previous inhabitants had claimed that their lives had been torn apart by paranormal goings-on.
From the outside, the farmhouse looks like the ideal home. In fact, Cory told the Lewiston Sun Journal in July 2019 that he and his wife, “immediately fell in love with it. Eight-and-a-half acres, a river in the back and a pond, it’s so serene down there, never mind the story behind the house.”
But Cory just so happens to be a paranormal investigator “fascinated in all aspects of the weird, from ghosts to aliens.” And he has the constitution for it, as an ex-Marine. In fact, he claims to have had his first encounter with ghosts while serving in the military. That’s because during a study at Virginia’s Fredericksburg Battlefield – with a group of other Marines – he witnessed something spooky.
As the husband went on to explain to the Lewiston Sun Journal, while out on the battlefield, “at about 2 o’clock in the morning, we heard gunfire and screaming and cannon fire, but nobody saw anything. The next morning when the tour guide came out, (he said) ‘Oh, yeah, it happens quite often.’”
So maybe the Heinzens are prepared to deal with whatever their new home might throw at them. And the building certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. For it was the house in which the terrible events documented in the 2013 film The Conjuring allegedly took place. On that note, let’s take you back some years.
Now The Conjuring claims to be based on real events that happened within the walls of Cory and Jennifer’s new home. And they all revolved around the Perron family, a couple and their five girls who moved into the house in 1971. Now apparently, creepy things began happening to the seven relatives very quickly. And it all started with the sighting of a man.
Yes, two of the Perron daughters, Andrea and Cynthia, gave an interview to Trespass magazine in 2013. Right from the beginning, they said, inexplicable things happened. Cynthia explained, “The first thing happened when we were moving into the house. As we were carrying the boxes into the house, we saw a man. We thought it was someone from the family that was helping us move in, but they all left and he was still there.”
Then, Andrea said, the mysterious man vanished. “He vaporized in front of [my sister] Nancy. I never saw him vaporize,” she alleged. It didn’t faze her, though. “I just saw him as a full body apparition. I thought he was a full mortal being. It never occurred to any of us, including our parents, that we were moving into a haunted house,” she said.
But soon, they found out. For the mother of the Perron family, Carolyn, began to hear noises and find piles of dirt on the floor. Meanwhile, her husband, Roger, experienced a terrible smell like the stench of dead bodies. And the little girls constantly found their toys gone. Suddenly their very emotions seemed to change.
As Andrea explained to Trespass , “We were five little girls who shared everything, who loved each other madly. And then we moved into the farm and suddenly there was suspicion and animosity. We weren’t wealthy children and our toys were treasured. And when things started coming up missing, then the accusations started flying.” But it didn’t end there.
That’s right, for Andrea went on, “The sadness in that house. We could come home from school happy as a lark and within five minutes of being home it would just completely overtake you.” Now Trespass questioned how many spirits she thought had lived there. “A number of them,” Andrea answered. “We said ten or twelve that were pretty frequently visible to us, but there was something evil in that house that was not of this world.” On that note, it was time to call in some help.
Yes, eventually the Perrons were put in touch with paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. What’s more, Ed was a war veteran – just like Cory Heinzen. “We were excited and relieved because we could talk about what was happening to us to somebody that actually would listen and believe us,” Andrea told Trespass.
Furthermore, Cynthia added, “Ed Warren would sit down with us and say, ‘Okay, baby, tell me what’s going on,’ and we’d just spill our guts to him.” Of course, the Warrens form a big part of the movie The Conjuring. And in real life, Andrea claimed that Lorraine had shared a terrifying insight. For she explained, “Mrs. Warren said that you can’t really kill what’s already dead. They were announcing to you, the mortals in the house, the presence of the spirits in the house. And when you acknowledged what was happening… their work was done.”
So Carolyn Perron, after talking to the Warrens, believed that she was personally being haunted by a woman named Bathsheba. And Bathsheba had lived in the house during the 19th century. In fact, she was accused of being a Satanist who murdered a neighbour’s baby by stabbing it with a knitting needle. As we’ll see, the story gets murkier.
Yes, because the legend around Bathsheba states that she was a witch who made a deal with the devil. She would be beautiful during life, but turn to stone upon her death, spending eternity yearning for her lost beauty. And the Perrons think that Bathsheba tormented Carolyn, a pretty young woman, even once stabbing her with a knitting needle. For one claim was that she couldn’t accept there was a new matriarch in the house.
In truth, there’s no evidence that states the real Bathsheba was any sort of witch. What we do know, is that she lived in Rhode Island during the 1800s and was married to a Judson Sherman. And while an infant had apparently died under her care, the courts couldn’t find any proof that she had committed murder.
Moreover, accusations of witchcraft were common in the 19th century, where it was a crime punishable by death. And once you were implicated you could never shake it off, even if you managed to avoid the gallows. Unfortunately, it seems this may have been what happened to Bathsheba. As for her “turning to stone”, she most likely suffered a stroke which paralyzed her before her death. But, as we all know, that’s not usually the way it works out in Hollywood.
You’ve guessed it, The Conjuring shows something much more dramatic. In the film, Bathsheba marries Sherman and has a child with him. Then, her husband catches her trying to sacrifice the baby to Satan. So Bathsheba climbs up a tree, curses anyone who would ever live on her land, and hangs herself. On that note, let’s get back to the supposed true story.
So the Perrons do seem to believe in a curse, even though there’s little historical proof of one. In fact, in her interview with Trespass , Andrea claimed that she had been struck by a ghostly happening. And unbelievably you may think, this happened when the family visited the set of The Conjuring itself.
On that day, Carolyn Perron turned down the invitation to visit the set. However, some of her daughters went along. And after sitting down for an interview with the crew, Andrea explained, “All of a sudden, this rogue wind swept over us…They (staff) were grabbing their cameras, grabbing their equipment. It was like a 70-mile-an-hour wind. And I looked around and none of the trees were moving, nothing. There was nothing going on on that set anywhere else.” But that’s not all.
For Andrea went on, “And I leaned forward and looked down at [my sister] Chris. I said, ‘Bathsheba’s curse.’ She said, ‘Yes.’ At that same time, my mother fell and broke her hip (at home). We got the message several hours later because, of course, we couldn’t use cell phones or anything on set. A message got through to us late in the day that mom had fallen and broken her hip.”
So Andrea later went to visit her mother in hospital. And she claimed, “She was still not anything close to lucid… And she sat bolt upright in bed, looked me directly in the eye and said, ‘Bathsheba’s curse. She does not want to be exposed.’ And then she laid back down and she slept straight through until the next day.”
Eventually, the Perrons moved away from the house in 1980. And by 1987 it had become the property and residence of Norma Sutcliffe. Now she’s always been adamant that the place is not, in fact, haunted. However, when The Conjuring came out it changed her life, and not in a good way.
For you see, in 2015 Sutcliffe claimed that The Conjuring had inspired countless ghost-hunters to descend upon the house. Indeed, she told CBS News that in addition to trespassers breaking in, “we had harassing phone calls in the middle of the night. They’ve had discussions of people destroying the house because ‘it’s so full of evil.’” On that note, she decided to take action.
Yes, Sutcliffe ended up suing Warner Brothers, the company behind The Conjuring, for damages and the cost of a security system. In fact, in 2016 she spoke to Paranormal Studies & Inquiry Canada about her anger. “We wake up at two in the morning [and] there are people with flashlights in our yard,” she said.
Furthermore, Sutcliffe spoke about the time the house had appeared on an episode of the reality show Ghost Hunters. And it turns out she hadn’t been impressed by the actions of the production team. “Of course as reality shows go, they made claims that were very strange,” she explained. So let’s find out more.
Well, Sutcliffe said, “They asked if anything unusual ever happened, so I said years ago the door shook once, and one night we thought we felt vibration in the mattress, and once Gerry [her husband] thought he felt the chair in the study move. Bizarrely they claimed to feel the same the very night they were here, both bed and study.” And that’s not all.
That’s right, because while Sutcliffe said that she played along with some of it, “when I saw the actual show I couldn’t believe what they tried to claim.” Actually, she alleged the producers faked most of it, including a scene involving a mattress placed across a closet door. “We never heard from them again,” Sutcliffe concluded.
And she was also convinced that most of what the Perrons had ever claimed about the house was false. “Whatever death record they could find, they attributed it to the house and when it was discovered that Bathsheba died of a stroke and had a Christian burial the story changed again. They claim that the ghosts told them this new information,” Sutcliffe said. Unsurprisingly then, Sutcliffe quickly fell out with the Perrons, as we’ll now find out.
Indeed, she met Andrea Perron in the past, and filmed a YouTube video with her about the house. But now the two aren’t, apparently, that friendly. And this has something to do with Andrea’s involvement with The Conjuring. As Sutcliffe explained, “Andrea had told me she had nothing to do with a movie that may be made… I told her how angry I was that she had lied to me. That she better take the video down, not because of the content, but that she put my name on it linking directly my name to her.” So is there any truth in the climax to the movie?
Well, at the end of The Conjuring, the Warrens save the Perron family from the evil forces haunting them. According to Sutcliffe, that’s far from the truth. For she told Paranormal Studies & Inquiry Canada, “The Warrens did not end the Perrons’ problems. [They] were thrown out of the home the night they were there.”
Eventually, Sutcliffe decided she had had enough of the house, and decided to sell. At least she had some good news, though – Warner Bros. settled with her out of court. Now she might have wondered who would buy the house, since the new owners may have to contend with hauntings. Furthermore, there was the constant stream of curiosity seekers visiting the location. However, Cory and Jennifer jumped at the chance.
And while ghost fans have continued to trespass on their land, there apparently have been other unwanted guests. Yes, as Cory explained to the Lewiston Sun Journal, “We had doors opening, footsteps and knocks. I’ve had a hard time staying there by myself. I don’t have the feeling of anything evil, [but] it’s very busy. You can tell there’s a lot of things going on in the house.”
At around the same time, Cory told broadcaster KETK, “Footsteps, knocks, we’ve had lights flashing in rooms, and when I say lights flashing in rooms, it’s rooms that don’t have light in there to begin with.” And he revealed that he had set up cameras around the house. “Sometimes we catch it on camera and sometimes we don’t,” he said.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Andrea Perron has been to meet the Heinzens, and it was documented on her Facebook account in July. Chillingly, she made fresh claims about a plague of flies which seemed to circulate around the house when she lived there. “One of the very first manifestations that appeared in the house was these big, fat, black, fuzzy flies,” she said. But that’s not all.
As Andrea went on to explain, “It was January, with snow on the ground. You know, nobody has house flies in January. And… we didn’t know what was causing it, and they were tormenting us.” Furthermore, she believed they were far from average flies. “One would fly right up to your face and go ‘zzzzzz’ and just stay right in front of your face,” she said.
“They were like looking at you with these eyes and you could see the intelligence in them, it was bizarre,” Andrea explained. “And it wasn’t until my mother and father had their first fight about the house being haunted that they (the flies) all died, at one time.” Hopefully, Cory and Jennifer don’t have that to look forward to. But they have noticed other activity.
For you see, in July Cory told Insider, “We’ve had a few moments in here that have made us jump a bit. We’ve had doors open on their own, footsteps, disembodied voices, electronic voice phenomena, and some awesome spirit-box sessions.” Meanwhile, there’s reportedly a documentary about the house coming along soon.
Yes, the investigators of Ghost Adventures will be looking at the house on – when else? – Halloween. And cast member Zak Bagans claimed on Twitter in August that during the course of filming, “Many new details uncovered, INCREDIBLE occurrences have been documented.” He added, “the best part has been working alongside actual persons involved from…1973.”
So interest in The Conjuring house and “Bathsheba’s curse” isn’t likely to die down anytime soon. Did any of it really happen the way the Perrons say it did? Well, the Heinzens plan to open the home up for visitors eventually, so you can go and see for yourself. If you’re brave enough.