6 Oct

Based On A True Story: The Haunting In Connecticut

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday October 6, 2011 | Based On A True Story

The Haunting In ConnecticutSeveral years ago I had this ambitious plan to take Cinema Suicide and go pro. The idea was that my brother and I would produce original content on a slim dime that would make this place more than just another horror movie blog. This would result in a boom in site traffic and a contract with an ad provider that would allow us to quit our jobs and basically do this for a living like we were Dread Central or Twitch, who are pretty much the greatest success stories that I can think of for a genre movie website. It was not to be, obviously. A lot of the trouble came from the fact that at the time, the site was barely a year old and no one had ever heard of me. It’s several years later and still no one has heard of me but I’m a lot more comfortable with that now than I was then. One of the plans we had to get people to come around was to capitalize on the popularity of “paranormal reality shows” like Ghost Hunters, which was at the peak of its popularity and trailed Battlestar as Sci Fi’s most watched show. A friend of ours is a Ghostbuster with a unique approach and philosophy to this controversial field of research and we somehow managed to ply her with alcohol and convince her to do a series of investigations with us that would up in episodic installments on the internet. She had told us both some seriously harrowing stories of turbulent hauntings and we wanted to film that sort of thing because that’s where the party is at but she talked us into basically doing what Ghost Hunters does and lugging our video gear into a public spot with a reputation for the unexplained and trying to capture something like that, instead. We did. We caught nothing interesting. Total bummer. Her reasoning, however, for not taking us into one of those places where it seemed like your actual sanity was at risk at first sounded like an anti-skeptic stonewall tactic, but in the end it made perfect sense. Most of what the paranormal community considers poltergeists aren’t demons or ghosts in the traditional sense. She talked about it as though the shit flying around the room, noisy ghost phenomena were actually extreme manifestations of a severely troubled person’s mental state and personal energy. I started to believe it but not because of that abstraction, mostly because what we would be doing is invading someone’s personal tragedy, filming it and then letting it loose on the internet for entertainment purposes and there are some serious ethical issues at work there. As mercenary as I like to consider myself, I begrudgingly accepted this reasoning and reconciled with the fact that I’m just not that big a dick. But all this preamble relates directly to why you don’t hear more about place like the Union, Missouri Fear House or The Haunting In Connecticut.

The Haunting In Connecticut was pretty standard Hollywood horror. Ultimately it’s the kind of movie you waste a rainy Sunday afternoon with because there’s no good excuse to blow precious time on it when you could be doing something worthwhile. The general gist of the movie is that a family moves into a Connecticut house to be closer to he medical center treating their son’s cancer. After they move in, all manner of overblown Hollywood ghost shit starts happening, the sick son’s physical health improves at the expense of his mental health and a spooky background about the house is uncovered. You’ve seen it all before. The “truth” of the story is about the same.

The house, according to the controversial “demonologist” and psychic medium, Lorraine Warren, who with her husband had been involved in many highly publicized hauntings and hoaxes, turned out to be a former funeral home. It wasn’t just any funeral home, either, it was said to be the kind of place where dead bodies were cornholed by the morticians. Straight up necrophilia, yo. It wouldn’t be a Warren investigation either without some kind of demonic implications, so just to be on the safe side, Lorraine declared the place to be crawling in Satanic influence with actual agents of hell making things difficult for the current tenants.

The children reported hearing the sounds of chains in their room, which at one point was the showing room for wakes and such. The Warrens also tell a story of finding the image of girls dancing in the basement before dissipating as Ed Warren approached them. Two distinct demonic presences were said to be in the home. One, a being with long black hair and jet black eyes and another with white hair, a tuxedo and feet in constant motion. Both were said to terrorize the family among a litany of other paranormal phenomenon. Both parents, in the film, The Parkers, in real life, The Snedekers, reported being raped by demons. Mop water turned to blood and the place frequently smelled horrible (which many paranormal investigators attribute to extreme, demonic hauntings. There were a lot of problems with the Snedeker’s story, though. The first and probably the most obvious motivation for any kind of disturbance in the home was the illness of the Snedeker child and the sort of mental conditions that accompany that sort of thing for all parties involved. Fighting cancer is a long, agonizing process. Not only do you sink all your money into its treatment, you spend a tremendous amount of emotional energy that eventually takes its toll on your mental state and physical condition. You are literally watching a loved one die slowly before your very eyes. Many of the extreme hauntings that I’ve heard of often involve this sort of circumstance or something very similar like mental illness as that also tends to creep into everyone else’s life and affect their perceptions and judgment. Secondly, and anyone familiar with the Warrens will back this up, the involvement of this couple and the claims they make immediately cast long shadows of doubt on any evidence you may gather in a paranormal investigation. In spite of their reputations and the air or reverence that their names evoke among some paranormalists, there a four times as many people out there who feel that this couple are pure fraud and nothing more.

Ray Garton, author of In A Dark Place, the book that most of The Haunting In Connecticut and the Discovery Channel episode of A Haunting is based on has since come out to admit that the book was almost a work of pure fiction and that he was compelled to do so by Ed Warren, who assured him that that’s the way these things sort of work. Like The Amityville Horror, the Snedeker’s were going through a tremendously awful time in their lives and resorted to absolutely ridiculous tactics to find a way out of their immediate problems.

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