Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it’s big on scares. Not only is Rhode Island the birthplace of H.P. Lovecraft and the filming location for Joe Hill’s N0S4A2 series, but it’s also the real-life location of the home that inspired the Warner Bros. film The Conjuring (2013). Now, if all goes to plan, new homeowners Cory and Jennifer Heinzen will have the house open to visitors and paranormal investigators this November.
It’s just like a piece of paranormal history, this house. – Cory Heinzen
Fans of The Conjuring will be familiar with the film’s story of Bathsheba Sherman and the haunting of The Perron family. But these people actually existed and resided on the property of the reportedly haunted farmhouse in Harrisville, RI. The real Bathsheba allegedly occupied the nearby property in 1844 with her husband and was accused of witchcraft after an infant died in her care under unusual circumstances (impalement by large sewing needle to the base of the skull!) Bathsheba was never charged and lived into her early 70s, eventually dying on her farm, four years after her husband.
The Perron Family bought the farmhouse in Harrisville in 1970s and lived there for ten years. During that time, the family experienced many frightening and odd occurrences, (some playful, some violent), which prompted Ed and Lorraine Warren to make several trips out to the home to investigate and hold seances. Allegedly, after one seance where Carolyn Perron was reportedly possessed, her husband Roger made The Warrens leave out of concern for his wife’s physical and mental health.
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Since the release of the film The Conjuring, former homeowners Norma Sutcliffe and Gerry Helfrich, who bought the house in 1987, discovered a different type of terror: living, breathing trespassers. Norma once described their paranormal experiences as “far less intense” than what The Perrons went through, including shaking doors and vibrating furniture. Even SyFy’s Ghost Hunters made a house call and reported the house as being active. However, Sutcliffe and Helfrich reportedly felt more scared of the living infiltrating their home than they did the dead and claimed they no longer experienced paranormal activity. (The couple went so far as to sue Warner Bros. in 2015, believing the studio was at fault for promoting the house as being haunted).
So what is The Conjuring house activity like these days? New owner Cory Heinzen, who purchased the home from Sutcliffe in June, described it as being “very busy.” After only being in the residence for a month, he’s already experienced doors opening and closing on their own as well as the sounds of footsteps, knocking, and disembodied voices. Both Cory and Jennifer are looking forward to restoring the farmhouse and sharing it’s history by opening the residence up to visitors and investigators alike. Jennifer told The Press Herald: “This whole journey has been both scary and exciting all at once. I love that we have the opportunity to share the home with others”.
What do you think, boils and ghouls? Ready to take a Rhode trip this fall and stay in the abode that inspired The Conjuring? Share your thoughts with us and the rest of the Nightmare on Film Street community on Twitter, on our Official Subreddit, or in the Fiend Club Facebook Group!