Horror logo

The True Story of The Conjuring Is Creepier Than the Movie

The Conjuring, directed by James Wan, is one of the best horror films of the 21st century. It looks amazing, it plays on the audience’s worst fears, and it is based on a true story. But how true is it? There are a lot of films that say they are based on a true story just to get in an extra scare, but those claims rarely add up to anything more than a disclaimer on a movie poster. Throughout the '70s, the Perron family claimed to have lived The Conjuring. The family members were thrown out of their beds, ghosts kissed them in the middle of the night, and they were preyed upon by the spirit of a witch named Bathsheba Thayer. Was The Conjuring a true story?

By Hari HaranPublished 4 months ago 16 min read

Lots of horror films say

they're based on a true story

to get in an extra scare,

but those claims rarely

add up to anything more than a

disclaimer on a movie poster.

One family, however,

claimed that in the 1970s

they lived the tale told

in James Wan's 2013 film

The Conjuring.

Family members were

thrown out of their beds,

kissed by ghosts in

the night, and preyed

upon by the spirit of a witch.

So today, we're going

to take a deep dive

into how the true story

behind The Conjuring

is even creepier than the movie.

But before we get started,

be sure to subscribe

to the Weird History channel.

After that, leave us

a comment, and let

us know what other

ghoulish topics

you would like to hear about.

OK, time to conjure up

some spooky history.

In 1971, Roger and

Carolyn Perron,

along with their five daughters

April, Cindy, Christine, Nancy,

and Andrea, moved into

their new house located

in Harrisville Rhode Island.

And if you've seen

The Conjuring,

you already have an idea

of where this is going.

But the most curious thing

that happened to them

didn't have anything

to do with ghosts.

Rather, it was a

piece of advice given

to them by their neighbors.

"For the sake of your family,

leave the lights on at night."

It wasn't long after receiving

that fateful piece of advice

that the parents encountered

their first paranormal entity.

As with all hauntings

and long-term paranormal

experiences, the

terrifying events

of the real life conjuring

began as strange occurrences

that barely registered

as paranormal activity.

Things moved.

There were weird noises.

It was nothing out of the

ordinary for an old house.

According to Cynthia

Perron, there

were a lot of small things

happening that no one talked

about until it was too late.

Unfortunately, the serenity

of a banal haunting

wouldn't last for long.

After moving into

their dream home,

the parents almost

immediately realized

that they were

living with what they

believed to have been an

entire set of ghost roommates.

At the onset of the

haunting, the Perron children

felt that most of the entities

had walked their halls were

benevolent, if not benign.

The children even claimed

that the initial entities

occasionally acted

as babysitters.

Some nights the ghosts

would even tuck them in

and kiss their foreheads.

Both Cynthia and

Andrea Perron remember

the ghost who tucked them in.

They even remember

the way she smelled.

According to Cynthia, when

they first moved into the house

for the first two months,

there was a ghost woman

that came and kissed her

every night on the forehead.

At first, she thought it was her

mother, but something was off.

As her sister Andrea put it,

mom smelled like ivory soap,

and this spirit smelled

like flowers and fruit.

After learning to live

with their friendly ghosts,

the Perron Family made a

go of it on their new farm.

However, it didn't take long

for more malevolent forces

to begin creeping into their

little slice of a somewhat

spooky heaven.

The Perron girls claim that

they were attacked in the barn

by unseen entities.

And then on one evening,

a series of voices

began to speak to them about

the bodies in their walls.

Andrea claims that

her sister Cindy

climbed into bed

with her one night

to tell her about the harrowing

news a disembodied voice had


According to Cindy,

the ghosts told

her there are seven dead

soldiers buried in the wall.

While the girls were dealing

with something reaching out

to them from beyond the grave,

a different series of events

began that foreshadowed

the terror to come.

They claim that at

5:15 in the morning

the smell of rotting flesh

would waft through the house,

tossing everyone out

of bed one by one.

Andrea claims that

around this time

that the girls were visited by

a male ghost that tortured them

so badly that she refuses to

give any concrete details.

Let's just say there was a very

bad male spirit in the home

with five little girls.

Given the implication,

you'd think

the family would pack up and

leave at that very moment,

even if they didn't have

anywhere else to go.

But astonishingly, they

decided to stick it out.

While the entire Perron Family

had paranormal encounters

throughout their time

living in the house,

Carolyn Perron, the

matriarch of the family,

seems to have been

the most sensitive

to the spirits

inhabiting the home.

In an interview with

The Providence Journal,

she claimed that she

knew something was wrong

when a woman in gray

appeared next to her bed

moaning "get out, get

out, I'll drive you out

with death and gloom."

As a not too subtle hint,

maybe they should take it.

I would.

The woman in the

gray dress could

have been the ghost of a woman

named Bathsheba Thayer, who

is the witch believed

to have done most

of the haunting in this case.

That being said,

she could have also

been a poltergeist created as

a portent of things to come

or one of the many ghosts

who dwell within the home.

Ghostbusters notwithstanding,

this isn't exactly a science.

Andrea Perron, the

eldest daughter,

later said, whoever

the spirit was,

she perceived herself to

be mistress of the house,

and she resented the

competition my mother posed

for that position.

Again, you'd think the

whole death and gloom thing

would send the family running.

But like a good horror film,

the answer would be no.

The Perrons allege that

Bathsheba Thayer's attacks

began as harmless

poltergeist activity.

They were pinched,

poked, and prodded

by a seemingly invisible force.

But then things escalated.

The Perrons believed Thayer

wanted them to leave.

Pretty obvious.

Remember the "get

out, get out" thing?

They also think Thayer

tried to get what she

wanted by torturing Carolyn.

When physically assaulting

Carolyn didn't work,

the Perrons claimed that

Thayer inhabited Carolyn's body

to better horrify them.

That sounds like an

effective strategy.

Possessing Carolyn

gave Thayer the power

to cause the mother and her

family intense bodily harm,

and it left Carolyn feeling

weak and emotionally drained.

One of the strangest

parts of this story

isn't the gray witch that

haunted the family or the broom

ghost that was known to

sweep up the kitchen whenever

no one was around.

It's how the story came to the

attention of Ed and Lorraine

Warren, the paranormal

investigators who

helped turn the Amityville

Haunting into a household name.

Most accounts of the subject

claim that the family

reached out to the Warrens.

But According to Andrea

Perron, a family friend

went to see the Warrens

while they were giving

a talk in Putnam, Connecticut.

Cynthia Perron backs up this

claim, saying in an interview

that a family friend named

Barbara went to the Warrens

lecture and then told the

family about the couple.

After Carolyn allegedly

became possessed

with the spirit of

Thayer, the Perrons

got in touch with Ed

and Lorraine Warren.

The couple came to investigate,

and Lorraine Warren

claimed that she sensed a

dark presence in the house

from moment one.

According to the Perrons,

the Warrens cleansed the home

and conducted a

seance with Carolyn

in the family's basement.


the seance did not

go as planned and made

things much worse.

The Warrens visited the

Perron Family intermittently

over the course of

the next decade,

but they were never

able to fix anything.

Lorraine never

publicly discussed

what happened during

the seance, but she

does claim what happened in

the basement disturbed her

to the core.

Andrea Perron corroborates

Lorraine's story.

She claims that she

snuck into the basement

to see the seance

firsthand and was

never able to look at her

mother the same way again.

According to Andrea,

her mother began

to speak a language not of

this world in a voice not

of her own.

Her chair levitated, and she

was thrown across the room.

So eight-year-old spoiler alert.

If you saw The Conjuring

movie, then you probably

remember a series of escalating

games of hide and clap, where

one person is blindfolded while

the rest of the girls playing

run off to hide.

In these scenes, the

mother is consistently

taunted by a pair of

ghostly clapping hands

belonging to Bathsheba Thayer.

The hide and clap

scenes are super spooky,

but it turns out that the real

story is much more harrowing.

Cynthia Perron claims that

one day while the girls were

playing hide and seek on the

farm, she hid in a pine box

without any kind of lock,

latch, or ventilation.

After no one came

to find her, Cynthia

decided to find a

new hiding place.

She later told an interviewer

that when she tried to get out,

the box wouldn't open.

She started to panic and

began pushing at the lid.

She kicked and screamed,

but no one heard her.

Luckily, 20 minutes

later, her sister Nancy

came along and simply

opened the box for her.

Paranormal or crappy old box?

We'll let you decide.

According to the

Perron Family, they're

still being haunted

by Bathsheba Thayer.

During the filming

of The Conjuring,

the entire family was

invited to the set.

Initially, they were all going

to go, but at the last minute

Carolyn got cold feet

and changed her mind.

She claimed that she didn't

want to make the trip,

but it's also not

hard to imagine

there was some trepidation on

her part to dig up the past.

Andrea Perron claims

that while the family was

being interviewed, a rogue

wind swept them over,

knocking down cameras,

lights, and anything

that surrounded them.


notwithstanding, they all

agreed it was Bathsheba's curse.

When they returned to

their hotels that evening,

the kids learn their mother

had fallen and broken

her hip at the exact time that

the eerie wind swept over them.

When the family made it to

their mother's hospital room,

they claim that she sat up

and said Bathsheba's curse--

she does not want to be exposed.

According to Andrea

Perron, everyone

who has lived in the

house that we know of

has experienced the haunting.

Some have left screaming

and running for their lives.

She claims the man they sold

it to started a restoration

project but left

screaming without his car,

without his tools, and

without his clothing.

However, According to the

current owner, Norma Sutcliffe,

the house isn't as haunted

as you might have heard.

Sutcliffe only claims

to have seen and heard

people talking in other rooms,

footsteps when no one is home,

and a strange blue light

shooting around a room.

Yeah, Norma.

That's still not normal.

Get out.

After The Conjuring

was released,

Sutcliffe became so unhappy with

all the attention surrounding

her home, she attempted to

disprove the Perron Family's


The demonic antagonist

of The Conjuring

is a witch named Bathsheba

Thayer, born Bathsheba Sherman.

The Perron Family

claims the spirit

of this woman haunted

them for nearly a decade,

possessed their mother,

and even followed them

onto the set of a film.

But was there really a

witch, or is she just

the victim of bad press?

The film posits that Thayer

sacrificed her baby to Satan

before hanging herself

in order to become

a malevolent spirit within

the Rhode Island farmhouse.

However, it turns out

that Bathsheba was just

a normal woman who was

married and had four children.

Three of them did

die at a young age,

but this was the 19th century.

So it wasn't that unusual.

In 1885, Bathsheba

passed away from a stroke

and was buried next to her first

husband and three children.

Finally, one of the

biggest questions

most people have about the

haunting of the Perron Family

is why would you just not leave?

I have that question.

It's a reasonable question.

According to them,

the answer is money.

It's simply wasn't financially

possible for the family

to leave.

The haunting was happening

during the end of the Nixon

administration all the

way through the Carter


The economy was terrible.

And no matter how

good your friends are,

no one has a room to house five

teenage girls and their mother

and father.

Aside from that,

Andrea Perron notes

that the property value

on their 200-acre farm

was devaluing by the

day, and the family

would have been destitute if

they had just walked away.

In 1980, the Perron Family was

finally able to sell the house.

And as soon as the

paperwork was signed,

they made a beeline for

Georgia and never looked back.

As to whether this is

a convincing reason

to stay in a house with ghosts

that take control of your body

and abuse your

daughters, well, like

with every other

aspect of this story,

you'll just have to decide

what you believe for yourself.

So what do you think?

Do you believe in hauntings?

Let us know in the

comments below.

movie reviewurban legendtv reviewmonsterhow tohalloween

About the Creator

Hari Haran

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.