The story goes something like this: it’s Enfield North London in 1977 and Peggy Hodgson and her four children live at 284 Green Street, in an ordinary house on an ordinary street. But then all heck breaks loose. After her two daughters, Peggy and Margaret, played with a ouija board, Peggy began encountering spooky things. She told The Daily Mail: “The next night, I heard screaming and banging coming from their room after they had gone to bed. When I went in, a heavy chest of drawers was sliding by itself across the floor, trying to block the doorway. The girls were terrified.” And it only got worse. A strange knocking sound was heard coming from the walls. Her daughter Janet, claimed to have been possessed by the spirit of a man who had died in the house, sometimes speaking in a creepy, raspy male voice. There were reports that Janet levitated above her bed. Who you gonna call? Enter paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
And there you have the basics of the story told in The Conjuring 2. Released in June of 2016, it made nearly $200 million in less than two weeks. It follows on from the wildly successful 2013 film The Conjuring. That film told the story of the Perrons, a Rhode Island couple who claimed their farmhouse was haunted by the malevolent Bathsheba Witch. But, how much of all of this is fact and how much of it is fiction, or at least a cinematic stretching of the truth? Big plans are already being made for spin-offs. Read on; here are 15 things you didn’t know about The Conjuring movies.
15. The Trailers For The Conjuring 2 Had Over 30 Million Views on YouTube
The ‘Teaser’ trailer and Official trailer racked up over 30 million views on YouTube. The reaction was overwhelmingly: Thumbs Up. The ‘Teaser’ trailer was spooky, but the Official Trailer came out with guns blazing. Crosses on the wall turning themselves upside down. A demonic nun attacking paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren (played by Vera Farmiga). When it was first released, social media was well and truly buzzing. Until then, the movie’s makers had kept quiet on what would actually come down. Not only did the movie have a stellar cast, including Vera Farmiga (Oscar nominated for Up in the Air) and Fargo and Insidious star Patrick Wilson as the Warrens, it was directed by none other than James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring).
14. A Man Actually Died While Watching The Conjuring 2
Did we mention the YouTube videos that purport to show a woman being possessed while watching The Conjuring 2? Panic all over social media is great for box office. But there’s a real story to tell. Reportedly a 65-year old man in a small Indian town died of a heart attack that some claim was brought on by the film. Times of India reported that the man complained of heart pains and fainted near the scary climax of the film. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. But wait, it gets even weirder; the paper also reported that the body disappeared before it could be identified. It’s no bad thing for the movie, with reports of the incident going viral pretty quickly. Perhaps we will hear stories of his ghost haunting for the Conjuring 3.
13. James Wan Gave Up Mega Bucks To Direct The Conjuring 2
The guy is a definite force of nature. Since he directed Furious 7, he has become a legend. It was only like one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. The studios were falling all over themselves to throw high-budget movies his way. He has said that he was offered what he called a “life-altering” amount of money to direct Furious 8. But it meant giving The Conjuring 2 a miss. So, guess what he does? He gives Furious 8 a miss and directs C 2. He says he finds horror energizing. Where else could you have your picture taken with Bathsheba Witch? That said, he claims C 2 is his last horror film for a while, but that it’s his scariest yet. Now, coming from the guy who gave the world Saw and Insidious, that’s got to make you sit up and take notice.
12. Both The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 Are Based on Supposed Paranormal Investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren
Ed and Lorraine Warren were a kind of power couple of paranormal investigators. Both The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 are based on cases they supposedly investigated. In 1971, the Warrens claimed that the Rhode Island home of the Perron family was haunted by a witch, Bathsheba Sherman, who had lived there in the early 1800s. They also asserted that she had cursed the land. That story formed the basis of 2013’s The Conjuring. Then there was their involvement in the Hodgson case and The Conjuring 2. Were they really involved in the case? Some uncharitable souls claimed they rolled up to the Hodgson’s London home only briefly when the case became a famous, well-reported one. Whatever the true story is, James Wan pretty early on realized the appeal of the Warrens as brave soldiers in the battle against evil. Hence their starring roles in the films. Ed Warren died in 2006, but well into her 80s, Lorraine Warren, is still around and doing her paranormal thing, advising on the films and posing for pictures with Vera Farmiga, who plays her in the film.
11. Spooky Happenings On The Set Of The First Movie Meant A Priest Was Called In For The Second Film
The Conjuring was released in 2013 amid reports of a series of spooky happenings on the set. Scriptwriters conferring with paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren over the phone, reported strange sounds and static on the line. James Wan witnessed his dog behaving strangely and snarling at something nobody could see. Actress Vera Farmiga, who plays Lorraine Warren in both movies, said that when she opened up her laptop one night there were claw marks across the screen. And when the Perrons, the family depicted in the movie visited the filming, apparently a strange wind blew through the set but did not stir the trees or bushes. So, James Wan decided to play it safe when filming for the second film started: Father Steve Sanchez, a priest in the Sante Fe, New Mexico Archdiocese, was called in to bless the set, just in case. The picture also shows the movie’s version of the London street where the Hodgsons lived.
10. Both Films Have An R Rating
When the script for the first movie was written, it was written with hopes of achieving a PG-13 rating for the film. The way movie makers think that means more potential viewers than an R-Rating (which means viewers must be 17 or older). The rating gurus at the Motion Picture Association of America took one look at the final movie and said, “no way”. And certainly looking at the scenes with the totally scary Bathsheba Witch, we can see their point. So they slapped it with an R Rating. Didn’t matter. With a fairly meager production budget of $20 million, the film made over $300 million worldwide. So when it came to writing the script for The Conjuring 2, they were able to throw caution to the wind and write to their scary little hearts’ content. Many say that the new film is better and scarier than the first. And that’s got to be a good thing.
9. The Real Life Investigators In Both Conjuring Movies Were Also Involved In The Amityville Horror
Ed and Lorraine Warren hit it big in 1976 with their investigation of the Amityville Horror case, in which a New York couple, George and Kathy Lutz, claimed their house was haunted by a violent presence that drove them out of their home. Some have called it a hoax. Lorraine Warren says that their investigation shows that it was real. The case has produced a best selling book by Jay Anson, as well as two movies, not surprisingly entitled The Amityville Horror. The Conjuring 2 opens with a pretty creepy scene based on the Warren’s involvement with the Amityville Horror case. By the way, the new owners of the Amityville Horror House are selling (or trying to). They’ve just reduced the asking price, yet again. Well, would you want to live there?
8. Conjuring 2 Scene With Upside Down Crosses Was Made Up
One of the scariest scenes in The Conjuring 2 shows a terrified Janet Hodgson (played by Madison Wolfe) watching in horror as crosses placed on the wall flip themselves upside down. The official trailer makes much of both the upside down cross scene, as well as the demonic nun (see below). But the thing is the upside cross scene was totally made up. And other scenes in the movie showing Janet levitating stretch the truth to breaking point. The only basis for the levitation scenes are some pictures of Janet doing what could be jumping above her bed. But then the whole thing about Ed and Lorraine Warren being heavily involved in the case probably stretches the truth more than a little.
7. The Nun Is Getting Her Own Movie
The scary Nun character from The Conjuring 2 is getting her own movie. New Line Studio has announced the project and it is no surprise that director James Wan will be one of the producers of the film. In the movie, the evil nun begins as a painting by Ed Warren (played by Patrick Wilson). She, literally, comes to life and later attacks Vera Farmiga who plays Lorraine Warren. She makes a sinister appearance in a mirror that scares audiences silly. The franchise is not short of spin-offs. New Line has already made a mint from 2014’s Annabelle, a spin-off from the demonic doll featured in 2013’s The Conjuring. Made on a slim budget of only $6 million, the film raked in $256 million worldwide. Look for an Annabelle sequel in 2017. Demonic nuns? We can’t wait.
6. The Owners Of The New England House Featured In The First Movie Are Suing Warner Brothers
According to a CBS News report, the owners of the Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired 2013’s The Conjuring are suing Warner Brothers because they claim to have been inundated by fans who constantly trespass on their property. Never mind that the movie was filmed in North Carolina or that the house in the film doesn’t really look like the Rhode Island house, fans have still beaten a path to the New England house. 60-something Norma Sutcliffe bought the house and its peace and quiet in 1987. Then came the 2013 film. Papers filed with the court cite a “Conjuring-instigated siege of their property”. In other words, it’s Warner Brothers’ fault. In addition to hoards of obsessed fans streaming over the property, Sutcliffe says she gets late night phone calls. Perhaps she should just sell tickets, run tours, and hire somebody to be the Bathsheba Witch.
5. Over in England, The New Residents Of The Hodgson Home Featured in The Conjuring 2 Get Spooked and Move Out
While Janet Hodgson left the Green Street Enfield house when she was 16, mom Peggy stayed in the house until her death in 2003. She claimed that things got quieter in 1978 after she brought in a priest to do his thing. After Peggy died, Clare Bennett and her four sons moved into the house, not knowing its history. When he lived there, Janet’s younger brother Billy, claimed that he constantly felt as if someone was watching him. Clare and her children echoed the sentiment. Then there were the voices in the dead of night that seemed to come from downstairs. But when her 15-year old son claimed that a strange man entered his room one night, enough was enough. The Daily Mail reported that they moved out the next day.
4. Did Janet Really Levitate As Shown in The Conjuring 2?
Pictures of the real Janet “levitating” have caused some skeptics to say it looks more like jumping around than spooky goings on. In The Conjuring 2, Janet (Madison Wolfe) rises up in the air and is pinned against the ceiling. This is a complete exaggeration of what happened, according to historyversushollywood.com. The pictures of Janet jumping or levitating (or whatever) were taken by a photographer for The Daily Mail after the family called them in. The family’s story is supported by two local residents who claimed to have seen Janet “hovering” above her bed. Janet has claimed that she was forcibly banged against a window so hard she feared it would break. Reports say that around 30 people witnessed strange goings on, including a police woman who had seen a chair levitate.
3. Was There Really An Annabelle Doll?
Well, yes and no. The doll was real but had nothing to do with the Perron family who featured in the first movie. Seems a girl who was given a Raggedy Ann Doll claimed that the doll would switch positions and even move around on her own. Then, she started getting childlike messages scribbled on paper. These, she decided, must be from the doll. Then someone claimed the doll had tried to strangle him. At a seance, a medium claimed to have discovered that the doll had been owned by a girl named Annabelle, who lived at the same property and had been found dead in a nearby field. In 1970, the Warrens investigated the case, had the place exorcised, and took possession of the doll. We reckon it has pride of place in the Warren’s Occult Museum. After The Conjuring, Annabelle got her own movie.
2. The Man Whose Ghost Possesses Janet Hodgson Really Died In Their House
One of the claims made by the Hodgsons was that Janet was possessed by the spirit of the Enfield Poltergeist, one Bill Wilkins, a man who had lived in the house and died there. Apparently, his son has confirmed that Bill did indeed die in the house of a brain hemorrhage while sitting in his favorite chair. In the movie, Janet is possessed by Wilkins and talks in a deep demonic voice. There are some recordings of the real Janet doing her Bill thing, and there are some similarities with the movie. Originally, Janet, now in her 40s, was not a fan of the movies, saying the whole poltergeist experience had been traumatic. She has since enjoyed her 15 of fame and even visited the set of The Conjuirng 2. Frances O’Connor (who plays Peggy in the film) refused to meet her, saying it might adversely affect her performance. What?
1. Was It All A Hoax?
What do you see? There are believers and there are non-believers. Ask Lorraine Warren and you will hear one story. Ask skeptics and get a different tale. Janet Hodgson herself told The Daily Mail that she had on occasion faked episodes to see if the investigators would catch her out. She said they always did. But she stands by her story that it was all too real and that the haunting drove her out of the house and caused her mother to have a nervous breakdown. Her version of events? Well, Bill Wilkins was not an evil spirit. He was just a ghost looking for peace who communicated through Peggy and her sister, Margaret. Janet believes the poltergeist is still in residence at 284 Green Street. Her advice to residents? If you want a quiet life, stay away from ouija boards.