If you’re a fan of horror movies, you’ve no doubt heard of The Conjuring the hit 2013 movie about a family’s relentless haunting. But have you heard the actual story of the Perrons? One thing you might find interesting is that the Perrons were not the first people to have strange experiences in the house. In fact, according to the family, the previous occupant said “For the sake of your family, leave the lights on at night!”
The movie got the timeline right, it seems, but muddled the lead up a bit. The Perrons moved in December 1970 and, according to them, strange things started happening almost immediately. However, it didn’t start off quite as scary. The entities seemed to largely ignore the parents, but their five daughters received a lot of...attention. According to the girls there was a bevy of different entities, including Mrs. Arnold who would tuck the girls in at night and kiss them on the forehead. For the adults, particularly Carolyn, there wasn’t anything outright bizarre. Unlike the girls, who seemed to play and interact with the entities, Carolyn would simply notice that things seemed to move spots around the house, or there would be small piles of dirt even though she had just finished the kitchen floor.
Although it wasn’t all kisses and dirt piles forever. In fact, a malevolent feeling soon began invading the house. The family would random smell something awful, like the smell of rotting flesh, randomly and throughout the house. The girls claimed that their father, whenever he had to enter the basement, would often feel a cold, foreboding presence behind him. In fact, the family stayed away from the cellar as much as they could. Physicality was out of the question, either. In fact almost every member of the family claimed to have experienced their beds lifting off the ground and then shaking them violently, throwing them to the ground.
There was one spirit in particular who terrified the entire family...oh, and there is a historical record of her. This female spirit actually was the focus of Amanda Perron’s book, House of Darkness: House of Light, in which she recorded her experiences in the house and her strange childhood. Most of the family encountered Bathsheba at some point in their 10 years at the house, however she focused a lot of attention on the adults of the home, particularly Carolyn. Amanda believed that Bathsheba was used to be the mistress of the house - above all other spirits, powerful, and in-control. She was jealous of Carolyn’s status of matriarch of a busy and bustling home. She would hurt Carolyn, scream threats, make herself appear to Carolyn in order to scare her, and create discontent among the children by hiding their toys and causing fights. She also expressed and touched Roger inappropriately more than once.
And...Bathsheba was real. In fact, you can see her grave right here. She was born in 1812 and was the mother of four...for a short time, at least. Sadly, three of her four children died quite young. Although the death of young children wasn’t unheard of in the 1800s, three children did seem a bit startling. Sadly, rumors began to swirl and the suspicion of the community grew and grew. The worst rumors went as far as claiming she was sacrificing her children to the death and participating in black magic. However, these claims are completely unsubstantiated. The rumors, grief of her loss, and isolation drove her to become a recluse. She died at the age of 72 and her one son survived her by many years...although he died quite young in his early 50s.
Eventually, the family called in the Warrens for their help as they were well known in the area. The Warrens visited several times and, on their last visit, Carolyn allegedly became possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba. After the possession experience and attempted contact, Roger, feeling helpless asked the Warrens to leave immediately. Roger feared for his wife’s mental and physical stability and the Warrens only provoke Bathsheba to attack more.
Sadly the Warrens lived at the home for a decade due to insufficient funds to move away. When they moved in 1980 and left the house far behind they were no longer haunted or followed. There were no more sightings, no more unexplained smells, and no more feeling of fear in their own home.
As for me...what do I think? I haven't read Amanda's book yet but it is definitely on my list. Outside of the Perrons' own testimony and Ed & Lorraine Warrens, there doesn't seem to be a lot of support. In fact, the current homeowner highlighted several falsified claims about Bathsheba (like her trial) and says she has never had an experience. However, some of the chilling eye witness testimony of the children does seem to be quite haunting. At the end of the day, I think this would take a lot more investigating than a simple blog post going through the timeline of events. I'd be interested in digging into the surrounding area and learning more about the geography, other homes, and the community response.
This image is unrelated to the story and is from Smabs Sputzer on Flickr. It is liscensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).