‘The Conjuring’: How the Real-Life Story Was More Terrifying than the Movie

Any time of year is ripe for a good horror movie, but October makes things feel extra spooky. Modern classics such as The Conjuring come to mind when queueing up this season’s streaming list. The 2013 flick hit all the right notes with horror fans and proved its “based on true events” tag was more than a marketing ploy.

The movie recounted Lorraine and Ed Warren’s investigation into supernatural events at the Perron family’s Rhode Island farmhouse. Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Patrick Wilson, and Ron Livingston starred in the film.

Andrea Perron—one of five children in the Perron brood—authored a book the movie was based on, House of Darkness, House of Light: The True Story. She once revealed the movie toned down some of the things that really happened to her family.

Lorraine Warren at 'The Conjuring' premiere
Lorraine Warren at ‘The Conjuring’ premiere, 2013 | Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

‘The Conjuring’ was supposed to be PG-13

Back in 2014, Perron did an interview with San Antonio Living and stated that director James Wan intended for the film to have a PG-13 rating. She explained they pared things down to make it less frightening, but the Motion Picture Association rated it “R.”

She said Wan “went through the roof” and asked the group how he could amend the film to earn a PG-13 and was told nothing because it was too scary. Perron said he was shocked, but they made the film work.

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‘The Conjuring’ house had a sordid history

Perron shared that the home was built in the 1700s and eight generations of one family once inhabited the place.

Her mother researched its history and discovered there were multiple hangings inside the house. Perron also recalled seeing a ghost on move-in day and within the first couple of days, her baby sister wanted to sleep with her.

Why? She said the five-year-old girl kept hearing a group of voices tell her there were seven dead soldiers in the walls.

One of the spirits depicted in The Conjuring was Bathsheba Sherman, a real-life resident of the home who was once accused of murdering an infant she was caring for. According to Perron, she died of old age but her reputation was dragged through the mud after the case was dismissed.

In the film, Bathsheba was an evil spirit, a Satanic worshipper who tormented the family.

Perron broke down that terrifying levitation incident

Perron also shared that the Warrens didn’t come live with her family, but they did bring a priest to the home in 1973. She said their investigation lasted over year and although no exorcism was conducted at their house, the séance marked the end. Perron said it “went horribly wrong.”

At that point, Perron’s mother started dressing in period clothing and speaking with dated language. She said the Warrens brought a medium in and they “inadvertently opened a door they could not close.”

She said something attacked her mother. “Whatever attacked her was not of this world. It spoke through her in a language that does not exist on this planet, and it levitated her in the chair that she was in,” Perron said.

“And within a split second when it was done curling her body into a ball—you would’ve expected to hear bones breaking—it threw her into the adjacent parlor about 20 feet away,” said Perron.

Perron recalled another incident after the séance

The house quieted down for a few months after the séance attack, but Perron said one night, her mother saw another family seated in the house having dinner.

She recalled a woman cooking at the fireplace which was sealed 100 years before. One of the men nudged another person at the table and pointed to her mother, indicating they could see her.

Perron admitted she didn’t know anything about demons, but her family believed the house is some sort of portal. The Perrons lived there for 10 years. Andrea Perron’s trilogy about their life at the house is available online.