The True Stories Behind 6 Haunted House Movies


The latter part of the last century was rife with paranormal activity. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, supposed supernatural incidents occurred in homes (and a hotel) across the globe and led to novels being written and filmmakers adapting those ghost stories into hit films. Though all of these stories have been debunked, there are those who still want to believe that these events really did happen. Regardless of which side you stand on, they make for some spooky tales. Here are the true stories behind six haunted house movies.


The 1979 film, starring Margot Kidder and James Brolin, was based on a book that chronicled the real-life paranormal activities of a Long Island home. After moving into the house, the Lutz family discovered that, a year prior, previous occupant Ronald DeFeo Jr. had killed six members of his family (including his parents) in the home. Some disturbances they experienced were: swarms of flies in the winter, strange odors of perfume wafting throughout the house, and sounds of the front door slamming. The Lutzes moved a month later, though successive residents of 112 Ocean Avenue have not reported anything abnormal. Several more books were published about the happenings, along with sequels to the film and a 2005 remake. Want to find out for yourself? The home, which is now officially 108 Ocean Avenue (a previous owner worked to have the infamous address changed), is currently on the market for $850,000.


One of the highest-grossing supernatural films of all time, James Wan's The Conjuring depicted the true story of the Perron family, who lived in a demon-filled Rhode Island farmhouse. Akin to the Amityville house, real-life paranormalists Ed and Lorraine Warren (depicted by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in the film) visited the home and interviewed the family. Despite activity such as a séance causing the mom, Carolyn, to become possessed and speak a strange language, the family tolerated the home until 1980. Andrea, one of the daughters, published a book on the phenomenon, and told USA Today, “People are free to believe whatever they want to believe. But I know what we experienced."

3. THE CONJURING 2 (2016)

This 2016 sequel exchanges New England for Brimsdown, Enfield, England, where the Warrens investigate a case known as the Enfield Poltergeist. Peggy Hodgson’s daughters claimed they saw a chest of drawers slide and heard knocking, but experts think they made it up. Guy Lyon Playfair published a book on the matter in 1980 called This House is Haunted: The Amazing Inside Story of the Enfield Poltergeist.


Director Pat Holden’s 2012 British film about the Maynard family is based on his family’s story. His aunt, Jean Pritchard, and her family—who lived at 30 East Drive, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England in 1966—experienced a poltergeist in their home that looked like a monk, a.k.a The Black Monk of Pontefract; they named it “Fred.” The not-so-friendly ghost smashed eggs, made banging noises, and dragged Holden’s cousin up the stairs. He was too young to visit the house, which is one reason he wanted to make the film.

“I’ve always had this feeling of never quite being in the zeitgeist,” Holden told The Guardian. “And I think it was a little bit like that with the ghost. My sister was allowed to see it. My mum got to see it. My dad wasn’t that interested. I felt like I’d missed out.” Recently, a resident at the same house captured a photo of what’s believed to be the Black Monk

5. THE ENTITY (1982)

In The Entity (based on Frank De Felitta's novel of the same name), Barbara Hershey plays Carla Moran, a fictionalized version of Doris Bither, a woman who claimed the spirits of three Asian men repeatedly assaulted her. The real-life events supposedly happened in Culver City, California, in 1974. Paranormal investigators Dr. Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor visited Bither’s house, which had been condemned twice. At the house, the doctors witnessed “a green mist that formed the body of a man” and orbs over Bither’s body when photographed. Bither moved out of the house and claimed the entity continued to follow her around.


In 2009, the film version of the Snedeker family’s harrowing haunting was released, but according to Lorraine Warren, “The movie is very, very loosely based on the actual investigation.” Both the film and the true story involve a family in the 1980s who had a son stricken with cancer, so they moved into a house near the University of Connecticut hospital—but didn’t know that the house was a former mortuary.

While the family resided there, kids levitated and rosary beads pulled apart on their own. The Warrens invited priests over and held mass, but that wasn’t enough. Finally, an exorcist stopped by, and that seemed to calm the place. In 1992, Ray Garton wrote a book about the haunting, In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. But the book and the events have come under fire as being hoaxes.

A 2013 sequel to The Haunting in Connecticut, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, is also based on a real event—a child named Heidi Wyrick attracted spirits in her home in Georgia, not Connecticut.

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Here's What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

Americans indulged their sweet tooth in a major way this Halloween, spending an estimated $2.7 billion on candy intended for front porch distribution. Rather than confronting a weepy child with an empty bowl because they bought too little, shoppers tend to buy in bulk. Come November, that can mean pounds of sugar-packed temptation still sitting in the house.

The good news: You can remove the risk to your waistline and do some good at the same time. A number of charitable organizations take leftover candy and send it to troops stationed overseas. Operation Gratitude has set up a number of drop-off centers around the country—you can search by zip code—to accept your extra treats. Once collected, they’ll send them to both troops and first responders. Last year, the group collected nearly 534,000 pounds of goodies.

Often, drop-off locations will be located in dental offices as a way of reminding everyone of the perils of tooth decay from excess sugar consumption. Some dentists even offer buy-back programs, paying $1 for each pound returned.

If donating to a national program is proving difficult, you can always deliver the extra candy to local food pantries or homeless shelters.


The FDA Has a Warning for People Who Love Black Licorice

Every Halloween, children and adults alike gorge on candy. One estimate puts the number of junk calories consumed at up to 7000 per kid, the equivalent of 13 Big Macs. While all of that sugar is most certainly not healthy, Consumerist reports that there’s actually a more immediate danger to your well-being: black licorice.

Most versions of the candy, which gains some popularity around the spooky season, contains glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound found in the licorice root. While tasty, glycyrrhizin can affect potassium levels in the body, causing them to fall to dangerously low levels. High blood pressure, swelling, and even heart issues can develop as a result.

It’s not just bingeing that can cause issues. According to the Food and Drug Administration, adults over 40 who eat more than two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could suffer heart problems like arrhythmia. If you have a history of heart disease, you’re even more susceptible to complications.

The FDA recommends using a little common sense when consuming black licorice, eating it in moderate amounts and stopping if you notice any adverse symptoms. If you do experience potassium level drops, it’s usually reversible once you put the bag down. Treats that are licorice-flavored are typically artificial and won’t have the same effect as the actual plant root—but for your waistline’s sake, try to avoid gorging on anything.

[h/t Consumerist]


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