"The Conjuring" was a box office smash over the weekend, bringing in a total of $41.5 million. And it's no surprise, as the creepy plot, stirring trailers and rampant media coverage have created quite a bit of intrigue.
Last week, TheBlaze brought you a review of the movie and we also profiled Chad and Carey Hayes, the brothers who penned the script. This week, we spoke with Andrea Perron, 55, one of the daughters who is depicted in the film, who lived in the farmhouse for a decade and who says it was haunted.
Father Claude Burns joined us on the BlazeCast, along with TheBlaze writer Billy Hallowell and editor-in-chief Scott Baker, to talk about the theological implications of "The Conjuring":
Perron, who was 12-years-old when her family moved into the home in Burrillville, Rhode Island, told TheBlaze about some of the real-life details that weren't included in the movie. She also clarified a few of the differences between what she claims actually happened and the movie's depiction of various events.
Perron's Experience in the Home
Appearances of spirits were allegedly rampant inside the house. In fact, Perron claims that she and her sisters saw a ghost on the first day they arrived. As they were bringing boxes into the home, she recalls seeing a man standing inside the dining room.
"I saw my first full-body apparition at the age of 12 on the day that we moved into the farm," she said, noting that she, at first, assumed he was an actual person. "He looked totally mortal ... I just said good morning and kept walking."
And from there, the situation intensified. Perron said that she began using a journal to document the bizarre experiences as they unfolded.
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers
Despite the horrifying events shown in the film and the creepy nature of the story, itself, Perron said that she doesn't have any fear today. Ironically, she calls the 10 years that her family spent in the home "the most enlightening decade" of her life.
"I learned from the tender age of 12 to live fearlessly, because I know that we are all essentially spirit," she said, also describing herself as a "spiritual" person. "The thing that's most important to me is to know that there's something beyond our mortal experience."
But while living in the home showed Perron that a spiritual world exists beyond what we see immediately in front of our eyes, that doesn't mean that the experience wasn't terrifying. In fact, it was so jarring that she claims it took her and her family 30 years to prepare themselves to come forward and share the details -- an act that she said was also dependent on how ready the world was to hear their harrowing tale.
Differences Between the Film and Perron's Claims About What Unfolded
Perron claims that the movie is based on her family's true story, however some elements were changed on the big screen. To begin, the time frame during which the events unfolded was naturally condensed, as showing 10 years in detail over a two-hour period is virtually impossible.
So, what else was different, you ask? Perron shared a few of the more specific disparities.
If you've seen the film, you know that birds are depicted as consistently flying into the home and subsequently dying. These creatures circle the old farmhouse, crash into windows and, at moments, torment the family. In reality, Perron said that a far more creepier scenario was unfolding when she was a child.
It was bats, not birds, that she claims tormented the home. She remembers the mammals flying down the chimney and entering the home to terrorize the family.
And -- that's not all. There were also flies that regularly appeared inside the home.
The family's lack of faith is also not entirely accurate, she said. In the movie, the Perrons are depicted as people who were not church-goers, but she said that she and her sisters had actually all been baptized in the Catholic faith. Her mother, though, did enter the home an atheist, but she is a very "spiritual" person today following the experience.
At some point during their time living at the farm house, the family began attending church again. However, word spread about the happenings in their home and people became terrified of them. Perron claims this eventually created a divide between the family and the Catholic Church.
"When we re-established, word started getting around about the manifestations at the time and the priest confronted my father and said perhaps we should worship somewhere else," she told TheBlaze, noting that she believes the faith leader was afraid.
At that point, she said that she and her family realized that they were truly on their own. Perron found the local church's avoidance odd, considering that Catholics have experience -- at least in popular theology and pop culture -- fighting demonic spirits.
One of the biggest differences between fact and fiction is the scene in which Ed and Lorraine Warren, the paranormal investigators who are depicted in the film, seemingly perform an exorcism on Perron's mother, Carolyn. In real life, the situation was quite different from how it is shown in "The Conjuring."
"It wasn't technically an exorcism. An exorcism was a very archaic and a drawn out process," she explained. "Ed and Lorraine came to the house one night and brought an entire team with them. My father was mortified and wanted no part of it."
It's what happened next, though, that was utterly terrifying.
"They did a seance that went terribly wrong and they opened a door they were not able to close that night," Perron claims, noting that the alleged spiritual problems lasted well beyond the time that the Warrens came to the home. "We were there another seven years after my father dismissed them from the home that night."
The Scariest Alleged Real-Life Moment That Was Left Out of the Film
In addition to the differences between what she claims happened in the home and what the movie actually shows, there are also many elements -- as the Hayes' brothers told TheBlaze -- that were cut out and simply not included. Among the most horrifying was an incident during which Perron's mother claims that all of the spirits in the home gathered around the parents' bed.
"I'm really glad that they didn't include all of the stories, because I think that people would find it unbelievable," she said of the collective array of alleged haunting tales. "One of them is the night that my mother laid beside my father in bed and all the spirits gathered as a coven of witches."
The real Perron sisters and the actresses who portray them in the film (Andrea Perron is top right) (Photo Credit: Warner Brothers)
"They had burning torches," Perron added, noting that the spirits would always torture her mother with images of fire.
In this case, she claims that the most terrifying of the spirits, a woman named Bethesda, pledged to drive her mother mad and to drive her out of the home.
Despite the differences between the movie and what allegedly happened inside the home, Perron said that she is thrilled with the way her family's story is told -- and that she loves the final product.
"It's phenomenal in every sense of the word," she said of "The Conjuring." "I am so proud to endorse it."
Where Are They Now?
The family eventually left the farm and moved to Georgia, but the spirits purportedly never left them. These entities, Perron claims, attached to her sisters and parents and even tormented her mother after they left the house.
"There was an attachment to my mother that followed and warned her in a very violent way that there was no escape from the farm," she said.
Perron described the spirits as "omnipresent" even after the family left the home. While the incidents that unfolded there don't appear to have the same intensity now that the Perrons have left, it was unclear to what level this haunting purportedly continued -- and continues -- to take place, as she didn't go into greater detail.
Still, Perron said that her family is fine and that they took a big leap of faith in signing over their likenesses and images to be depicted in the film. In the end, she said of the filmmakers, "What were perfect strangers have become perfect friends." She and her family are clearly elated with the way in which they are presented.
Despite the intense connection the Warrens had to the case, they seemingly didn't keep in touch with the family. Perron said that she saw Lorraine for the first time in 40 years at a hotel in Hollywood for a screening of the film (Ed has since passed on). The two embraced upon seeing one another as though no time had passed.
As for those who would dismiss the family's story as a conjured up tale (pun intended), Perron has one simple message: "They are absolutely entitled to their opinion. I would invite them to spend one night in that house. I think they would change their tune."
TheBlaze Faith Editor Billy Hallowell joined Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker on the Tuesday BlazeCast to talk about his interview with Andrea Perron and his feelings about the chilling movie in general:
Evangelical radio talk-show host Hank Hanegraaff joined TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker on the BlazeCast to talk about the theological questions raised by "The Conjuring":
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