When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut Ed and Lorraine Warren were very active doing lectures and slideshows around the state. Every year, around Halloween they’d come to Ridgefield and do a presentation in the evening at the high school auditorium. Most people now know them because of The Conjuring movies; The Conjuring 1 and 2, Annabelle, Annabelle Creation, Annabelle Comes Home, etc. and I remember all the stories the movies were based on because I heard them tell those stories. In person. In a dark auditorium. When I was about ten years old.
Yeah, my parents took a ten year old to see the Warrens. They need some kind of special parenting award for that.
So, I was about ten and sitting in the auditorium listening to audio tapes of people under demonic possession, and seeing pictures of this huge honkin’ Raggedy Ann doll (the real Annabelle was a Raggedy Ann) that would move around the house and leave notes for her owners in crayon when they were at work… I don’t think I slept at all for like three weeks, and even when I did sleep after that I slept with the lights or the TV on in the bedroom. FOR YEARS. It was also the year that the book The Amityville Horror came out. I had the paperback and read it – yeah, at TEN, and yeah, my parents bought it for me – the Warrens had George Lutz with them that year, and he signed my book. So, I had kind of a twisted childhood and a fixation on the paranormal from a young age. I followed the Warrens’ lectures and even went to some of their “classes” at the Carousel Gardens (a supposedly haunted restaurant which turned out to be as much of a hoax as Amityville in the end) as an adult. I had all their books and believed in ghosts and all that.
Let’s talk about Amityville for a second. Ronald DeFeo murdered his whole family one night, with a shotgun. Killed his parents and all his younger brothers and sisters. He later told the police and testified that he heard voices telling him to do it. Then the house was purchased by the Lutz family who had a failing business and three kids. Twenty eight days later they moved out and left all their stuff behind. That was in the 1970’s. Not too long ago they admitted that it was a great money-making hoax. Nothing happened in that house. Ronald DeFeo has since confessed that his lawyer told him to say that stuff about hearing voices. He’s in prison for the rest of his life anyway, he has nothing to gain or lose at this point by telling the truth. But the Warrens said it was “as close to hell as they ever hope to get.”
So, when I was almost 40 years old I moved to a different county in CT than I’d been living in most of my life. I was single, working full time, etc., and wanted to make some new friends more locally so I went on meetup.com and found some groups I was interested in. One of them was a ghost hunting group. I thought that sounded like the most fun ever. So, I joined. That was where I met my friend, Mary, who was the “medium” of the group. She could see and hear spirits and the things she’d relate back to the friends and relatives of those spirits was always perfectly accurate. We ran around cemeteries at night taking pictures and getting EVPs. We had websites and got calls from people who thought they had something in their homes. We spent long nights in homes throwing bottles of holy water around and lighting up sage and smoking ourselves out of the house. We did some of the most ridiculous things.
I remember one night we were in someone’s house and they’d been getting bitten and scratched and pushed down the stairs by unseen forces for weeks. We were there a bunch of times, saging and placing crystals and St Michael medallions, etc. One of the last nights we were there we were sitting at the kitchen table reading some Psalms and praying and whatever was in the house started banging on the walls – pounding – and the more we prayed the more it pounded. Eventually it stopped and we thought we were pretty cool. I started taking pictures around the house and didn’t seem to be getting the shadows or the orbs or whatever that I had been getting before. We went home. It was about four in the morning when I got home and started downloading the photos onto my computer. One picture in particular kind of stopped me short. It was in the living room, and I caught one of the windows in the picture. In the window there is a clear image of something – something pale with sunken eyes starting in the window at me from the porch outside. I guess that was my wake-up call.
to be continued…..