In Episode 115, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Burrillville, Rhode Island, to go Halloween trick-or-treating at the farm house that served as the inspiration for the 2013 movie, The Conjuring. We explore the movie, Ed and Lorrain Warren, then dive into what really happened in that house. You’ll hear from Roger Perron, whose family lived the experience in the early 1970s, and who were portrayed in the movie, as well as the new owners who are still facing the haunting today. Happy Halloween!
Read the episode transcript.
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The Conjuring House in Burrillville, Rhode Island. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Fireplace. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Library. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Stairway. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Bedroom. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Borning Room. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Basement. Photo by Frank Grace.
The Conjuring House Basement Well. Photo by Jeff Belanger.
The Destroyed Grave of Bathsheba Sherman in Burrillville, Rhode Island. Photo by Jeff Belanger.
The Grave of John Arnold in Burrillville, Rhode Island. Photo by Jeff Belanger.
*A note on the text: Please forgive punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Like us, the transcripts ain’t perfect.
KIDS: Trick or Treat!
RAY: Happy Halloween, kids! Here you go.
JEFF: Ray, I love Halloween. Even though it’s insanely busy for us, it’s still my favorite holiday.
RAY: Me too, Jeff. I love the spooky decorations, the candy, the costumes, and of course the scary movies.
JEFF: What are some of your favorite scary movies, Ray?
RAY: I love Scream, Halloween, Friday the 13th.
JEFF: You go for the slasher films. I get it. I prefer the more psychological scares. But if you make me jump out of my seat, I’m pretty much on board.
RAY: Yeah, Halloween is a time for scary movies and haunted places.
JEFF: So there’s this house in Burrillville, Rhode Island. It’s a house where something happened back in the 1970s. Something creepy enough that it would go on to inspire a 2013 movie called The Conjuring.
RAY: Of course! I loved that movie. It’s about famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s case.
JEFF: Right, that’s the one. Ray, for Halloween this year, you and I are going trick-or-treating at the Conjuring House.
JEFF: I’m Jeff Belanger and welcome to our Halloween Special – Episode 115 of the New England Legends podcast.
RAY: And I’m Ray Auger. Thank you for joining us on our mission to chronicle every legend in New England one week and one story at a time. And being Halloween, this episode is different for us. As many of you already know, most of our episodes are about 10 minutes in length. But this one is going to be longer because there’s a lot to cover.
JEFF: That there is. And we’d like to thank our patreon patrons who are sponsoring this special Halloween episode. This is a grass-roots show, and it’s our patrons who help us with our hosting, production, and marketing costs. If you’d like to join the movement and help us out, head over to patreon.com/newenglandlegends and for as little as $3 bucks per month you’ll get early access to new episodes, plus bonus episodes that no one else gets to hear.
RAY: Between our Web site, ournewenglandlegends.com, our super-secret Facebook group, the New England Legends television series on PBS and Amazon Prime, and Jeff’s on-going story tour, we’re amassing an army of legend hunters sharing stories from all over the northeastern United States. We’re glad you’re with us. You can also help by spreading the word. Tell a friend or two about us, or post a review of our show. It all helps.
JEFF: Okay, Ray. First, The Conjuring movie.
RAY: We should warn people that there will be some spoilers here.
JEFF: There will. You have no idea! But let’s face it, the movie came out in 2013, if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m not going to worry about spoiling anything.
RAY: And Darth Vadar is really Luke Skywalker’s father.
JEFF: So a little bit about the movie. The Conjuring movie begins with the line “Based on a true story.” Then follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
RAY: Played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.
JEFF: Right. In the movie, Ed and Lorraine are asked to come to the home and Roger and Carolyn Perron.
RAY: Played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor.
JEFF: According to the movie, It’s the early 1970s, and the Perron Family are experiencing some strange phenomenon in their new house. The activity has the family scared. Ed and Lorraine Warren are brought in, they determine there’s an evil presence that they call Bathsheba Sherman, who is trying to make Carolyn kill her children the same way Bathsheba murdered her own back in the day.
RAY: The activity ramps up further. Objects fly off the wall, the family is attacked, and suddenly Ed Warren is forced to conduct an emergency exorcism as the house tries to eat Lorraine. The exorcism works, and everyone lives happily ever after.
JEFF: Right, that’s the movie in a nutshell. Now let’s talk about what really happened. You ready?
RAY: I’m ready.
JEFF: The house was built in 1736. It’s formally known as the Richardson-Arnold Estate, because the Richardson family built it, but the Arnold Family lived here longer. The land that this estate was built on dates back to land granted by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams.
RAY: The same Roger Williams that we learned back in episode 108, was eaten by an apple tree.
JEFF: That’s the guy.
RAY: Basically this house has been around since before the United States was the United States.
RAY: When this house was built, the owners still had to worry about Indian attacks. There were once special windows on the second floor that you could open and slide your rifle outside to ward off attacks.
JEFF: This house has seen some stuff. Centuries of history. But let’s begin in January of 1971. Roger and Carolyn Perron move in with their five daughters. On the day they’re moving in, the former owner is still inside trying to move out the last of his things. Still, something strange happens, which we’ll get to a little later, that tells the family they’ve just moved into a haunted house.
RAY: Two years go by and the Perrons are growing more concerned. Sometimes they would hear footsteps or see apparitions. Other times weeks would go by…
RAY: And nothing would happen. Finally one day, Carolyn Perron sees this ad in a local paper from the Rohde Island college paranormal group. The ad says they’ll investigate homes for free, so Carolyn calls.
JEFF: Two of the people on the team at that time are twins Keith and Carl Johnson. Two guys I’ve known for a long time. Keith said the first time he walked into the house he saw this black, shadowy cloud moving through the basement. He saw the fear in the family, he knew this case was for real. So the Johnson brothers call in Ed and Lorraine Warren.
RAY: Once Ed and Lorraine Warren get to the house, they also believe this is something legitimate, so they tell the Perrons they need to kick out these kids from Rhode Island College and leave it to the professionals. And so that’s what the Perrons do.
JEFF: So the Warrens continue to investigate until everything comes to a head. But before we get too far into that, I should let you know that something happened recently related to this case.
RAY: What’s that?
JEFF: Someone I know bought the Conjuring House in Burrillville, Rhode Island.
RAY: No way!
JEFF: And we’ve been invited over for an exclusive audio look inside.
RAY: Oh man. This is exciting. Our Legendary Listeners know we take them into the story each and every week, but this is going to be a little different. This time we want to give you the raw tour of the house so you’re right there with us every step of the way.
JEFF: Let’s head down to Burrillville, Rhode Island, and go trick-or-treating.
JEFF: All right. Are you ready to do this?
RAY: I think so.
JEFF: Yeah, we’re right outside The Conjuring House.
RAY: We’re on the grounds here and it’s pretty amazing.
JEFF: And it’s Halloween.
RAY: Halloween. Happy Halloween.
JEFF: Yeah, Happy Halloween.
RAY: I couldn’t think of a better place to be in New England than right here, right now.
JEFF: I’m with you.
RAY: All right.
JEFF: Let’s go.
CORY: Can’t you read the No Trespassing sign?
JEFF: Trick or treat!
RAY: Hi guys.
CORY: What’s going on guys?
JEN: Hi, you guys.
JEFF: Hey, so we’re here with Cory and Jen. Hello, Cory.
CORY: How are you guys doing?
JEFF: Thank you for inviting us into your home.
RAY: Yeah, we appreciate it.
JEFF: Yeah. So . . .
RAY: This is The Conjuring Home?
JEFF: This is The Conjuring Home.
JEFF: We are in what used to be the original barn, correct?
CORY: Yes. This was the originally the barn/woodshed/toolshed, whatever they wanted to call it.
RAY: Now, what’s the structure — as we came in, there was another barn there?
CORY: That barn — that’s the original barn from 1832. It’s withstood all these hurricanes and stuff throughout the years, so.
JEFF: Jen, tell us about what happened when Cory said to you hey, there’s this house I want to buy in Rhode Island.
JEN: I was like, uh, what house is that? So when he explained to me it was The Conjuring House for sale, I said okay, let’s do it.
RAY: Did he not say it and just play the movie? He goes, well, hold on, I’ve got a movie to show you.
JEN: I had seen it anyways.
JEN: I’ve seen all the movies; I know all about it.
RAY: How did you feel about that?
JEN: I actually honestly didn’t think it would all work. It’s one of those things where you try not to get excited because you think it’s never actually going to happen, so I’m like sure, let’s try it. It won’t happen.
RAY: Cory, what happened to the previous owners?
CORY: The previous owners, I think they just had enough of trespassers and stuff like that and they just thought it was time to sell.
JEFF: So when you — when did you move in? What was the day?
CORY: We finished paperwork and everything June 21st.
JEFF: And it was June 22nd, by the way, that I reached out to Cory. (Laughs) And I said hey; and he said hey, we met at the Mount Washington Hotel at this paranormal event. And he said would you want to come to The Conjuring House? And I said sure. And he said do you want to come tonight? And I said yes.
RAY: Did you reach out to the previous owners? Because they weren’t as welcoming.
JEFF: I knew Norma. No, I knew Norma. She came to one of my talks right after the movie came out.
JEFF: And I remember her telling me that the movie had caused a lot of problems for her.
JEFF: That she and her husband — who was alive at the time — would be in this house at night and at 10:00 at night, all of a sudden you’d see flashes come through the window. People would hold their phones and cameras up to the window and would take pictures.
JEFF: And so this was like a huge problem for them because, you know, they had nothing to do with the movie, right? The movie was about the Perron family and so on, which we discussed earlier.
JEFF: And so they had nothing to do with it. And so for the longest time, I think this was a real problem for her. And they were not spring chickens, right? They were older. And so I think she was ready to sell the house.
RAY: It’s time.
JEFF: Time to move on. And Cory and Jen purchased it and now here we are on Halloween, which is amazing.
RAY: All right. Can we take a tour?
CORY: Sure. Let’s move on to the next room.
JEFF: All right. So we’re going up a couple of stairs from the former barn and there’s this old, hardwood floor. And you’ve got some cots laid out in here. What room is this, Cory?
CORY: This used to be one of the bedrooms. I believe it was the bedroom that Roger built for Carolyn after the séance that went bad.
RAY: How much of this is original?
CORY: This is all original, to my understanding. The only thing that was changed, honestly, that I know of, is the wallpaper.
RAY: Okay. Which still looks relatively old.
JEFF: Right. And this is a 1730s house.
CORY: Yes, it is.
JEFF: Right. It says out front — what was it? 17 —
JEFF: 1736, okay. Has anything happened in this room to you guys?
CORY: We’ve had flashes of light — not from photographers or anything like that, but just blasts of energy, I guess you could say.
RAY: Can you feel that energy? Just on a daily basis walking through the house, can you feel that, Jen?
RAY: You can?
RAY: It’s very obvious?
JEN: Yes. It’s a heavy feeling sometimes and sometimes it’s just fine.
JEFF: How do you feel, Ray? I mean, this is your first time in the house.
RAY: Well, I — you know what house you’re in, you’ve seen the movie, you know the stories. So you’re automatically going to feel something when you come in. And whether that’s psychological or an actual presence here. So I do feel a weight, you know?
JEFF: All right. Well, let’s keep moving because —
JEFF: — this is a live tour.
RAY: It’s getting darker, by the way.
JEFF: It’s getting dark.
RAY: And that staircase just scared me.
JEFF: Yeah, so there’s this great old fireplace here on one side of us.
JEFF: This is — would this be the old living room, dining room? What was this?
CORY: This was the old baking room. This is where they used to cook all their meals and stuff like that, so that’s what we call it — the baking room.
JEFF: And there’s a great fireplace with like this beehive stonework, which I imagine you’re going to make pizzas in one day.
JEFF: And I love the wood beams above our heads. And this wide-plank flooring. This — it feels like — you’ve been to Old Sturbridge Village, right?
RAY: Sure, absolutely, yeah.
JEFF: Doesn’t this sort of feel like walking into one of those homes?
RAY: Yeah. This is New England. This is old school New England, for sure.
RAY: So what’s happened in this room, Jen?
JEN: This room, when Cory and I were laying in the room we were just in, in a cot where you can see into this room in a bed, this is the room where we saw a black shadow figure in the doorway.
JEFF: What do you think at that moment?
JEN: I think my heart stopped.
RAY: Does this stuff scare you or are you used to it by now?
JEN: That’s probably the only thing that scared me so far. And it wasn’t necessarily that I’d felt like it was going to hurt me, it just was like are you really seeing what you’re really seeing.
RAY: Was the shape of that of a human being or just a —
RAY: Yeah, it was.
JEN: Yep, yep.
JEFF: We should mention — Cory, you’re a paranormal investigator before this. This wasn’t just oh, let me buy The Conjuring House. This is an interest of yours, right?
JEFF: How long have you been an investigator?
CORY: Just a little over ten years now.
JEFF: So this obviously made your radar?
CORY: Oh, absolutely (laughs).
RAY: And have you ever experienced anything other than what you’ve been experiencing here? Is this like the pinnacle of what you do?
CORY: For the most part. I’m sure there’s more to it. I mean, it just hasn’t really reared its head yet, so.
JEFF: All right. Well, let’s keep going. There’s a lot to see.
RAY: We’re moving forward.
JEFF: Yep. Watch the wires.
RAY: Yep. And the cameras, yeah.
JEFF: So you guys have closed circuit cameras pretty much on every room?
CORY: Yes. We have it rigged up like Big Brother in here.
RAY: (Laughs) Now, why is that?
CORY: It’s just it’s — something’s always happening. I mean, we like to think like the whole, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a noise?
CORY: I think it does, so.
RAY: Have you seen anything? Have you gotten anything?
CORY: All the time.
RAY: Really? Wow.
CORY: All the time.
JEFF: We’ll take a look definitely before we go.
RAY: Yeah? Okay.
JEFF: So this — this answer — I see two Ouija boards on the fireplace mantel over here. And tell us about this room, Jen.
JEN: Um . . .
JEFF: Or freeze. (Laughs) It’s okay, we’re live.
JEN: I’ll let Cory tell the history of it.
JEFF: Okay, go ahead.
JEN: He’s better at the actual history than I am.
CORY: This is the room that the séance took place. The Warrens had brought in a medium to try to conjure up whatever it was.
RAY: Now, in the movie, that was in the basement, right?
CORY: That was in the basement.
CORY: But that — I mean, a séance is a kind of exorcism just like they did down in the basement, but the medium was actually supposed to conjure it up; it’s supposed to go through her. Well, it didn’t. It went after Carolyn and threw her into the room we just came out of.
JEFF: And we learned way back in Episode 3 of the New England Legends podcast —
RAY: A long time ago.
JEFF: — when we spoke to Roger Perron — he described — and actually, we’ve got a clip that we’ll play. So this is what Roger said.
ROGER: Ed came over to me and started pulling on me and trying to drag me away from her. And I just got up and I called him a pretty bad name and I just turned around and whacked him. And I think he ended up losing that tooth, but (laughs). It was — it was not a good thing. That was about the worst thing that happened to me in that house.
RAY: I noticed there’s the — what’s that game called?
JEFF: It’s an old flip cup — flip game.
RAY: Is there a reason why that is on the table right there?
CORY: We just got a bunch of older toys strewn around the house just, you know, for —
RAY: In case —
RAY: If there’s a child here?
JEFF: Trigger objects.
CORY: Trigger object, right.
JEFF: We would call it that in the paranormal, yeah.
JEN: You probably know about the stairs?
JEFF: Yeah. Well, let’s move into the kitchen.
RAY: All right.
JEN: Do you want to go through the library?
JEFF: Right, sure. Yeah, okay.
RAY: Oh, yes. Let’s go — I’ll follow you.
JEFF: All right, yeah. We’re wired —
RAY: There’s a partition in the middle here. We would have messed up our wires. Ooh.
JEFF: So this is the library. It’s filled with books that belonged to Norma’s husband, right?
JEFF: And so there’s a lot of psychology books in here that I’ve already perused at another time and it’s just filled wall-to-wall. I don’t see any of my books here, which is unfortunate.
JEFF: No Weird Massachusetts, no nothing. We’ll have to correct that, I guess.
JEN: We’ll have to add that to our library.
JEFF: Yeah, definitely. Has anything happened in here?
JEN: Yes. So this is — I’ll show. This book right here we’ve captured coming off the shelf twice.
JEFF: And which book is it?
JEN: Moral —
JEFF: Moral Relativity by David B. Wong.
JEN: Two separate occasions.
CORY: Same book.
JEN: These balls that we have set up in the chair, those have also — we’ve gotten on video coming off.
JEFF: All right.
RAY: Can you read into that book and why that book came off the shelf? You were doing some thinking there.
JEFF: So you know what? So Moral Relativity, like as we’re going to discuss pretty soon, the story of Bathsheba Sherman troubles me, right? Because I think that —
RAY: She was so predominant in the movie . . .
JEFF: She’s the villain; she’s the monster.
RAY: Right, exactly, yeah.
JEFF: And I think that’s unfounded and I think that we kind of have an obligation to get it right.
JEFF: So yeah, so we will — we’ll talk more about that very soon.
RAY: Let me ask you this — if it’s not Bathsheba, who is the villain? Have you guys figured that out yet?
JEFF: When Andrea Perron first moved in — in fact, let’s — actually, let’s take this to the kitchen which is the next room.
JEFF: When Andrea first moved in, she told me that during the day they moved in, the previous owner was still moving out. And so they’re bringing in boxes, he’s bringing out boxes. And she brought a box into the kitchen and she saw a man standing here in — she said in old-time clothes, kind of leaning against the wall. He looked out of place, but she figured he must be with the previous owner. And so now we’re in the kitchen area. There’s this great old table —
RAY: The dining room.
JEFF: The dining room, yeah. There’s — it just — again, this looks like Old Sturbridge Village to me.
RAY: It does.
JEFF: Another fireplace, an old musket above the fireplace.
RAY: The house is larger inside than it appears on the outside.
JEN: It is.
JEFF: It is, yeah, for sure. And so — so now this is the kitchen area, even the bathroom looks — I mean, though it’s got modern toilets and stuff, it just looks like you’re in the 1700s and it’s amazing.
JEN: The bathroom is my favorite, it’s just beautiful.
JEFF: One of the things we missed when we first walked in, there’s actually an old privy. That’s not used anymore, right?
JEN: There is, yep.
JEFF: And so the kitchen area. So this is where — and Andrea had said she believed it was John Arnold. That’s who she believed she saw.
JEFF: And the other sisters had seen the same man and at one point they come in and he just sort of dissipates right in front. And then they say oh my goodness, this is not someone here with the previous owner. This is someone who’s just here. And so —
JEN: Right. I have heard her talk about that story as well.
JEFF: Yeah. Let’s head upstairs.
RAY: All right. So now we’re ascending the staircase — it’s steep.
JEN: It is very steep.
RAY: Is this normal for that time period? I would — a farmhouse? I would imagine, right?
JEFF: Yeah (laughs).
JEN: This room does not have a light in it.
RAY: Oh, this is creepy.
JEN: This would be the master bedroom.
JEFF: Okay, I’m standing up and if I even go on my tippy-toes, I’m going to hit my head on the ceiling.
RAY: This is my kind of room.
JEFF: This is Ray’s kind of room.
RAY: (Laughs) Right?
JEFF: I’m 6’2”, so I’m saying this roof is 6’3”.
CORY: Well, the average person was, what, 5’5” back then? And that’s true, so.
RAY: So we have toys on the floor here and what have we experienced with these toys so far?
CORY: We actually caught that softball getting thrown off the register the other night.
JEFF: So there’s a softball sitting on an old-time radiator and it was —
JEN: Behind Alf.
JEFF: Behind Alf, which is great. Alf doll is sitting on the floor and there’s some various other toys — some blocks. I see some like Matchbox-type cars and — and then, of course, you’ve got a couple of chairs. It’s pretty — otherwise, the room is empty and there’s another fireplace and a vent where we can see down below.
JEFF: So this — and you can see — actually, we’ll see in a second. This house has had some additions, right? Because we’re going to find a window in a second.
CORY: Yes. The addition was put in right above Andrea and Roger’s bedroom.
JEFF: All right. Let’s keep moving. So we’re going through a very narrow doorway. It’s dark because it’s early evening now. Okay, there’s — Jen just turned on a light. And now —
RAY: Oh, and there’s the doll.
JEFF: There’s a Raggedy Ann doll.
RAY: Wonderful. Wasn’t that the original? It wasn’t what we saw in the movie.
RAY: But that original doll was a Raggedy Ann doll?
JEFF: The original Annabelle was a Raggedy Ann doll and I remember meeting Annabelle at Ed and Lorraine Warren’s house in their basement museum.
RAY: Encased in a glass just like in the —
JEFF: Yeah, encased in glass. And the funny thing was — Ed told the story so well. This was long, long before the movie. This was back in like the late 80s, early 90s when Ed first told me about the story. And what freaked me out is my sister had the same Raggedy Ann doll.
JEFF: Like the same one, so there’s a little homage, I guess, to Annabelle — which has nothing in the world to do with the Conjuring story.
JEFF: The Annabelle story —
RAY: Just Ed and Lorraine —
JEFF: Yeah, it’s just Ed and Lorraine was —
RAY: It was a great way to start the movie.
JEFF: But no connection otherwise.
CORY: Absolutely not.
JEFF: All right.
JEN: This middle bedroom is the bedroom that we have a lot of activity in as far as flashing lights, as well as the master bedroom, with no lights in there.
CORY: And one of the Perron sisters — this is where a lot of stuff happened to her, that she has a difficult time up in here.
RAY: This was the — not the oldest one, the young — was it the youngest one? No, it wasn’t the youngest either.
CORY: I’m not sure which one it is.
JEFF: Yeah, there was just a bunch.
RAY: The sheets got pulled off her.
CORY: Yeah, she would get like her legs yanked, hair pulled, and stuff like that.
JEN: I can’t remember which one either.
JEFF: The youngest sister used to say over and over, according to Andrea, that there’s seven dead soldiers buried in the wall, seven dead soldiers buried in the wall.
RAY: Like in her sleep or just chanting?
JEFF: Over and over, almost like chanting it. Now, we’ve been through this house — there’s no wall thick enough to put a human body. However, outside — just outside, there’s a retaining wall and we know — I mean, the King Philip’s War wasn’t far from here. There’s been all kinds of activity for centuries. You’ve got to realize, this is going on almost three centuries that this house has been here. So who knows what’s just, you know, fifteen feet off the foundation of this house.
RAY: I love the window that separates the —
JEFF: Yeah, so this is — you can see that — would have been the addition because there’s an actual window in the bedroom.
RAY: Okay. So this is the addition that we’re looking at.
JEFF: This is the addition, yeah.
RAY: The next — yeah, the next room we’re going into right here.
RAY: Big chalkboard.
JEN: This is Andrea’s bedroom.
RAY: This is Andrea’s? Okay.
JEN: Yep. She talks about putting the bed right here in front of the doorway and the window so that if they were laying down at night, they could actually see whatever might come at them.
JEFF: Andrea told me — one of the scariest things she told me is that — you know, the thing about a real haunting is that sometimes days, weeks go by, nothing happens. And then something does. And she used to say you’d be upstairs doing your homework or whatever and you’d hear footsteps coming up the stairs and you never knew if it was mom and dad telling you dinner’s ready.
JEFF: Or if it was something that you couldn’t see and couldn’t wrap your hands around.
JEFF: That to me is a lot more frightening than like something leaping out of the walls.
JEFF: Because it just sort of chips away at you. It’s a little by little —
RAY: It’s things that bump in the night.
JEFF: Yeah, it’s the things that bump in the night.
JEFF: So have — you guys have slept here a few times now in the last couple months.
JEFF: Have you noticed what — any pattern to what makes it quiet or what makes it not quiet?
CORY: Certain individuals when they come here, like it will really amp up the activity in here. But just like you said, like a lot of times it will go for like a week.
JEN: Hit or miss, yeah.
RAY: Do you find that it’s a certain event or a certain person that comes in here that may spark some of that activity?
CORY: Carl Johnson.
JEN: Carl Johnson.
CORY: It loves Carl for some reason.
JEN: Well, even Roger when Roger’s here.
CORY: Yeah, it loves the Perrons too.
JEFF: So funny thing about Carl Johnson. Carl and his brother, Keith, they were the first investigators in this house.
JEFF: It’s completely left out of the story. There’s a photograph where you can see Carl — little 18-year old Carl — with Lorraine Warren and with Carolyn Perron in the basement, which is where we’re going to go next, by the way.
JEFF: And so Carolyn Perron had answered an ad that was put in the local paper saying we do paranormal investigations from Rhode Island College. They come out, Keith and Carl investigate and said wow, this — something seems to be going on here. Let’s reach out to Ed and Lorraine Warren and bring them in.
RAY: Right. Who’s above their pay grade at that point.
JEFF: Right. And also I think they were looking like hey, look at us. We found a cool case we could work with these people that were icons back then. And Ed and Lorraine Warren come here and they kind of take over the case, to the point of telling them you can’t work with the Rhode Island College kids — told the parents you have to work with us, we’re the pros. They’re nervous, so of course that’s what they did.
JEFF: So with that, can we head down to the basement?
JEN: Any of the viewers want to know where the borning room is?
JEFF: There’s no viewers; this is audio.
JEN: Well, any of the audio listeners?
JEN: That’s the borning room right off this area.
JEFF: What’s the borning room?
JEN: The borning room is the room that they used way back when to birth children.
JEFF: Oh my goodness.
JEN: But in her book she talks about how haunted it is in there.
JEFF: Well, let’s just peek inside. All right.
JEN: It’s probably 100 degrees because every time we look in that door —
JEN: Usually what — there’s a light switch right there.
RAY: Yeah, go in, Jeff. Go right in, all the way in.
JEN: I don’t know if you want to go in.
JEFF: Yeah, because there’s nails.
RAY: Oh, okay.
JEN: We don’t want you to hit your head.
JEFF: There’s all these nails sticking out of the roof and, yeah, right now it’s quite hot but I imagine in the winter it will be quite cold. So yeah, it’s just this little tiny room. It looks almost like an attic would look, but.
RAY: Have you guys spent time in there?
RAY: You said that like that’s not an option.
JEN: Right, right.
CORY: It isn’t an option, no.
CORY: I mean, if something jumps and scares you, I mean, be honest, you’re going to stand up real quick and get impaled.
RAY: That is true.
JEN: I’m fine, I’m short, but.
JEFF: This is what I’m most excited about — we’re heading down to the basement. Another narrow set of stairs here.
JEN: Be careful.
JEFF: A second stairway.
CORY: Some of the rails are pretty loose.
RAY: Imagine moving in here with big beds and furniture and — all right, so now we’re going down to the basement.
JEFF: And this is where —
CORY: Automatic atmosphere.
RAY: In any house, a basement can be creepy.
JEFF: Jen, you go first in case —
JEN: On the inside?
JEFF: In case something leaps at us, Jen, you go first.
JEN: Well, just be careful coming down here too because the stairs are just as near as (indiscernible).
JEFF: Got it. Just more rickety, okay. So I see, oh, some great old stonework.
RAY: It’s still very narrow.
JEN: You can turn, just keep something down south.
RAY: Well, you live here, you’re used to it. Okay.
JEFF: It’s cold and chilly down here.
RAY: It’s nice though. Oh my gosh, now I’m freaked out. Just a bit.
JEN: And in here —
RAY: Because it’s really dark.
JEN: — is one of the coolest places down here — a well.
RAY: This is the well. Look at the well!
JEFF: It’s an actual well.
RAY: How deep is that? Do you know?
JEFF: Go look.
JEN: We don’t actually know how deep it is. If you put your cell phone over there with the light — just don’t drop it.
RAY: Yeah, let me do that.
JEN: You can see the bottom.
RAY: Hold on.
CORY: You can see — yeah, you can see the bottom. I’d say it’s probably about three feet right now.
RAY: Oh, yeah, okay. We can see that.
CORY: Yeah, you can see the bottom.
JEFF: This looks like right out of The Ring.
JEN: But it’s pretty neat to have a well in the basement.
RAY: So what has happened down here?
CORY: Probably the most creepiest thing is this box. Somebody brought to our attention there’s drawings of what seems to be a lady with a broken neck with her tongue sticking out.
JEFF: All right, let’s take a look.
RAY: That’s a common theme, right? The hangings?
JEFF: Okay. This box we’re looking at, it’s maybe like three and a half feet tall, it’s on its end right now, it’s made of wood.
RAY: Oh, look at that.
JEFF: Oh yeah, it’s like a little kid drawing. Ray’s taking a picture we can show you guys. Wow. So it’s an old wooden box. I mean, if I had to guess, this box is what — 50, 60, 70 years old? But probably not a whole lot older than that.
JEN: It’s old.
JEFF: Yeah. I mean, it’s old; it’s older than us. But wow.
CORY: Now, they did have a daycare here. They did have a daycare here. The previous owner had a daycare.
RAY: In the basement?
CORY: I’m not saying in the basement, but I’m not sure.
RAY: Okay, just in the house, okay. All right.
JEN: This could have been a toybox that they made. The wood itself does look older than the daycare though.
JEFF: All right.
JEN: Also, a window.
RAY: Yeah, the window — that’s what I saw coming down. So there’s multiple rooms down here. Is that a camera ahead of us?
JEFF: That’s an infrared camera. That red light is not a demon.
RAY: So what is this — like a coal chute right here?
CORY: That was a coal chute that goes actually upstairs to the command center that we walked into.
RAY: All right. Now, when you say command center, you have a series of screens and cameras around the house so you can watch everything.
RAY: How many screens do you have?
CORY: We have two giant screens. We’ve got three DVR systems going that cover the inside and the outside.
JEFF: And how many cameras?
CORY: Twelve inside and sixteen outside.
JEFF: Nothing’s happening that you’re going to miss.
CORY: Hopefully not.
JEFF: So there’s one more back part of this basement and then I think we’ve seen it all, Ray.
RAY: You think we’ve seen it all or enough?
JEFF: Maybe enough, yeah.
JEN: Do you want me to go around and switch the light?
CORY: You can.
JEFF: Do you have a flashlight? It’s completely dark on this half of the basement. And Jen very bravely is walking — there we go — into the darkness.
JEN: See, the light’s on over there. Is there a light on over there?
JEFF: So this is — you know, we’ve got some — a little step down, but you can see the walls are old stonework.
JEFF: You know, and mortar and the old beams above us.
JEN: There’s a wood over there that looks like a Lincoln log.
RAY: Oh yeah?
JEFF: Yeah, so you can see the house has been reinforced with like literal tree trunks. Holding up —
JEN: There’s one right here.
JEFF: Yeah, look at that.
JEN: And right here.
RAY: Oh, yeah, it’s got the Lincoln log indention there.
JEFF: Yeah. This is great. What a house.
JEN: The basement is huge.
JEFF: Yeah, it runs — it seems to run the length of the house. Oh, and there’s some light now, okay.
RAY: Well, I’ll tell you, Jeff. I thought I would be more — a little more scared coming down here.
JEFF: Well, there’s a group of us. If we left you down here alone, I’m sure you’d be screaming in no time.
CORY: Now, that corner over there by the furnace is where Roger would come downstairs and the apparition would actually like rub his back and stuff like that.
RAY: Did he come downstairs for that?
CORY: He always felt that there —
RAY: No, seriously though. Did he know what was happening and was like well, I need a good backrub?
CORY: Yeah. If you ever hear the story that he talks about, that like he sees the apparition and he sat at the table there in the kitchen for like fifteen minutes waiting for it to come into the room. And finally he got upset and he’s like look, if you’re going to come into the room, come into the room or just leave me alone. And he hadn’t seen it for like, what was it, a couple months?
CORY: And he was actually upset by it.
JEN: Like he hurt her feelings.
JEFF: It’s like Cory listened to Episode 3 of the New England Legends podcast when Roger goes into great detail about that very story.
ROGER: I’ll tell you a little story. I came back off the road. I was in the jewelry business in those days. I came back off the road. I walked in the house and the first thing I did was go to the pantry to get something to eat, so I cooked up some beautiful scallops — the real scallops, the ones that come in the shell, not the stuff they sell in restaurants. And I sat down and I started eating and my ex-wife walked in and said Roger, Monday is Labor Day. I says yeah, no problem. I’m not going to go anywhere; I’ll stay here. And she says but that’s not the problem. The kids go back to school the day after and they need shoes. I says oh, okay. And she says oh my God. She says let’s take the kids to the Little Red Shoe House in Webster and we’ll get them some shoes. And I says, you know, sweetheart, I just got in off the road. I’m tired, I just want to relax a little bit. Can we do it tomorrow? And she said don’t worry. Finish, relax, take it easy. I’ll just take them myself. So she took off and not three or four minutes after she was gone, I was sitting at the kitchen table enjoying myself and I had — I’d turned the music — I had some good music playing and I started to read the paper. When all of a sudden in the foyer, which I was looking at, it was like eight feet away from me — ten feet away, the cellar door opened up and I heard some footsteps on the stairs. And as the door opened up, it opened up about halfway and I’m looking and all of a sudden I see like a cloud or a veil of some effect that was flying into the — into — and then I says oh my God, it’s her. She knows I’m alone, she’s going to try to come to me. And for about a half hour I sat there; I couldn’t even eat anymore, I was captivated with what was happening. But then — in those days I was young and I didn’t have the patience that I’ve got today. Even today I don’t have that much patience. And I just looked into the foyer and then I saw this veil and I says look, old lady, either come in here and sit and talk to me or just get the hell out. Well, she got the hell out. She slammed that door and for the next five, six months, she wouldn’t come near me. So I says oh, shoot, what did you do Roger? What did you do? I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I could have sat there, if I had waited and had more patience, she would have come to me, I believe, and we could have sat there and had a conversation. I would have been the first man in history to have — sit down and have conversation with a spirit and I blew it. Oh, I blew it badly.
RAY: Roger had a deep connection with that apparition.
JEFF: He did, yeah. And I remember him saying yeah, this is —
RAY: Yeah, I am, why?
JEN: Because there’s lots of snakeskins on the wall.
JEFF: Oh, yeah, look at that.
RAY: Oh, wow.
JEN: They’re all over this wall. Some people think they’re creepy, but —
RAY: Is there a reason?
JEFF: Because there are snakes down here.
RAY: Is that where the — somebody didn’t hang those? Those were —
JEN: No, I think they just come through the wall here. This side of the wall, they tend to come through and drop their skin and —
RAY: I’m a little bit more scared of snakes than I am ghosts.
JEFF: Right. Oh man. All right. And we are now —
RAY: Back up to the warmth.
JEFF: Back up to the main floor and heading back to where we came in.
RAY: This is amazing, Jeff.
JEFF: Yeah. This is the house —
RAY: Now, and by the way, we should tell people — nothing like the movie house.
RAY: If you’re a fan of the movie, this is nothing like the movie house.
JEFF: No, it doesn’t look anything like it. I want to ask you guys — since being here, what are some of like the trials and tribulations of — are you also experiencing people coming to trespass and things like that?
JEN: Yes. I think we’ve only had — was it just one person that actually trespassed enough to try and push their way through the door?
CORY: Yeah. We had a group of them — I think the only reason we had, really, an issue was because nobody here speaks Spanish, you know? So it was like —
JEN: Yeah, I think — a lady in the area —
CORY: And we had people coming in that we knew and they thought they were just going to come in with that group, thinking we were doing tours.
JEN: Now that we have the gate up, not too many people pull past the gate. People just pull over and take pictures and yeah.
RAY: There are signs out front — no trespassing.
CORY: We just want people to be responsible.
CORY: You know, take pictures all you want from behind the fence.
RAY: So what’s the future of The Conjuring House?
JEN: We have no idea.
CORY: Yeah. If we knew, we would tell you, to be honest.
RAY: Just going day-by-day?
CORY: Taking it day-by-day.
JEN: Yeah. Just trying to figure out legally what we can and can’t do and what we’re —
RAY: And allowing us to come in. So we certainly appreciate that.
JEFF: Thank you. Yeah, thank you very much for having us in your home on Halloween.
RAY: Halloween — Happy Halloween — ooh.
JEFF: This is amazing. So thank you so much.
RAY: Did you feel something while you were here?
JEFF: You know, I — it’s a funny thing. When you’re working — when you’re busy like —
RAY: When you’re on?
JEFF: Yeah. I think it’s a little different for me.
JEFF: But we’re going to shut this off and we’re going to hang around for a couple more minutes, I think, if they’ll let us.
RAY: Without mics and —
JEFF: Without the mics and we’ll report back, by all means.
JEFF: So thank you both so much.
JEN: Thank you very much. Thank you.
JEFF: Ray, what did you think?
RAY: It was pretty amazing, Jeff. I expected a little bit more. I did. But only because I saw the movie and my mind was going a million miles an hour. We had a few things that actually happened to us.
JEFF: We did. I remember you were sitting in the dining room area where the séance took place.
RAY: I tried to get a few EVPs, I sat there alone for a bit, and then you guys joined me.
JEFF: I did. And while the three of us; you, me, and Cory – the homeowner, were in that room, in the next room, in the library, where no one was anywhere near it, this case falls over.
RAY: A case that was leaning in the opposite direction, not like straight up where it could have fallen or a wind could have pushed it over. It took a lot of work for that to fall over.
JEFF: And as you just heard, Cory talked about how this house is wired like Bog Brother. He’s got cameras in every room. So we all ran to the closed circuit TV system and sure enough he caught that thing falling from two different camera angles.
RAY: That’s right. We could see it clearly.
JEFF: And again, you’re in the Conjuring House, so you say, Alright, that’s weird. It’s weird! And like you said the movie has set your expectations.
JEFF: Which are totally unrealistic.
RAY: I thought I would leave possessed.
JEFF: You’re like aww, I’m kind of sad the house didn’t try to eat me, I’m not possessed.
RAY: Up until that point I was, and then that thing happened, and I’m like, oh thank God something happened.
JEFF: It’s definitely more subtle. Just to finish out what really happened contrasting with the movie. Remember when Roger Perron described that séance?
JEFF: This is what Roger said happened right after.
ROGER: The Warrens came over and they did the séance in the house. That was not a good thing. I was against it, but they did it anyway. Three-to-five minutes into the séance and my wife – her whole body went out of shape – it was like somebody was squeezing her. Her chair came off the floor and came right into me into the next room. I tried to help her – she was completely out of this world at that point – speaking crazy words. I tried to help her.
JEFF: So Roger punches Ed, says, “Get out of my house,” and the Warrens never came back.
RAY: And that wouldn’t make for a very good movie.
JEFF: No it wouldn’t. But there’s one part of the movie that bothers me the most.
RAY: It’s the Bathsheba Sherman story.
JEFF: Exactly. She’s the witch. The demon villain in the movie. Some say she murdered a baby in this house. Others said a child died while in her care here. But I found no record of it.
RAY: We know from census records that Bathsheba Thayer was born in 1812. She married Judson Sherman March 10, 1844, and she lived about six miles away from the Arnold estate.
JEFF: Which is what this house was known as back then. That’s a long commute if she were to work here. And we also found no record of any child dying in her care here or anywhere. Add the fact that when Bathsheba died May 25, 1885 at 72 years of age, her minister, Reverend A.H. Granger had only wonderful things to say about her, and then she was buried in consecrated ground in the cemetery at the center of town.
RAY: So how did Bathsheba Sherman enter the story at all?
JEFF: Lorraine Warren supposedly picked the name Bathsheba out during her séance here. They found a Bathsheba buried in town, and that’s how the connection was made.
RAY: That’s a bummer, but what’s the great harm here? Isn’t that just Hollywood being Hollywood?
JEFF: For that, let’s head over to Riverside Cemetery in the center of Burrillville.
JEFF: Here’s the Sherman family plot.
RAY: Okay, I see a little fenced-in area with several headstones.
JEFF: Right. And see that rectangular base with a missing stone?
JEFF: That’s where Bathsheba Sherman is buried. Her headstone isn’t there because it’s been vandalized so many times by people who saw the movie and came here to kick it over because they believe it belonged to a witch.
RAY: That’s terrible!
JEFF: It is. I’m not saying the house isn’t haunted. There’s plenty of witnesses, and shoot, we had our own weird experiences. I’m just saying it’s not fair to blame Bathsheba Sherman, who was resting in peace for maybe 120 years before suddenly she’s villainized. It’s not fair.
RAY: No it’s not. So who do you think is haunting that house?
JEFF: I think it’s people from the Arnold family. Perhaps even John Arnold. They lived there the longest. Andrea Perron believes that ghost she saw in the kitchen may have been John Arnold, and Roger Perron believes he saw the ghost of Mrs. Arnold. And who knows who else may be lurking in that very old house.
RAY: But it is Halloween.
JEFF: That it is.
RAY: And we’re ending this journey in a graveyard after leaving one of the most iconic haunted homes in American history.
JEFF: Our Celtic ancestors believed that on this night the veil between the world of the living and world of the dead is at its thinnest. That this is the time that ghosts and monsters can come into our world and meddle in our affairs. And I’m all for that. But I think the spirit of Bathsheba Sherman has been through enough already. Let the other spirits come forth. Bathsheba deserves some rest.
RAY: Happy Halloween to all of our Legendary Listeners. We’ll be back to our usual strange but true New England Legends next week just as we have been every Thursday for the past 115 weeks.
JEFF: If you’d like to see some pictures of the Conjuring House taken by the great Frank Grace who joined us on our adventure, head over to our Web site: ournewenglandlegends.com and click on Episode 115. Our Web site is the place you can find our super-secret Facebook Group, all of our past episodes, clips from the New England Legends television series on PBS and Amazon Prime, and links to everything else we do, including my on-going story tour and the 2020 Haunted New England wall calendar I produced with Frank Grace.
RAY: We’d like to thank Cory and Jenn Heinzen for allowing us into their home, we’d like to thank Roger Perron and the Perron family for sharing their story. And thank you to all of our legendary listeners. If you enjoy our stories each week, please consider telling a friend or two about our show. And of course our theme music is by John Judd.
VOICEMAIL_CLOSING: Hi, this is Will calling from the middle of the Bridgewater Triangle in Bridgewater, Massachusetts until next time remember if it’s our is closer than you think.
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