Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Festival Of Fear: Day 28: True Story Tuesday: The Haunting In Connecticut

The 2009 film The Haunting in Connecticut is one of those that boasts the famous tagline of, “based on a true story”. But how true is the story? And who are the world-renowned paranormal investigators that made this tale famous?

The Haunting in Connecticut was based on the story of the Snedeker family, who moved to Southington in 1986 in order to get treatment for their eldest son, Phillip, who had cancer. Desperate to find a home, they unknowingly moved into a former funeral home.

The Snedeker home in CT
The mother, Carmen, was left alone to take care of the house and the kids since her husband had to remain at his job, hours away. She was busy and reluctant to believe her children’s (three boys and a girl) claims of supernatural activity. It started with Phillip hearing voices calling his name at night, and then seeing apparitions in his room, which was located in the basement beside the embalming room. His brother, Brad, who also shared his room would see them on occasion as well. While Phillip most commonly saw a man, he once awakened Brad to point out four cloaked men standing in the corner of their room. After a thorough search by their mother, the house was found empty.

Carmen was becoming suspicious by the crucifixes (which were hung above every doorway in the house) disappearing one by one. Eventually she began seeing apparitions in the house, as well, such as a girl with long black hair and a man in a pinstripe suit with white hair and white eyes.

Scene from The Haunting in Connecticut
Phillip began to noticeably change, and became withdrawn, moody, and violent. He would spend hours in his room—which became the embalming room after he moved himself into it—scribbling in a notebook that was later discovered to have pages of dark thoughts, drawings, and poems of a devious and disturbed nature. When his mother questioned him on how he could have written some of the material, since he was apparently dyslexic, he claimed “the man” helped him do it. Phillip began cutting bizarre, occult-like symbols into his arm, which was apparently also the instruction of unseen entities.

It wasn’t until after an older female cousin, Tammy, moved in, that things truly escalated. Once close with Phillip, she was now frightened of him and would find him staring at her from around corners. Tammy was pestered at night by unseen entities which were pulling at the covers and her clothes. Believing it was Phillip (and some accounts say it was Phillip), Carmen had her son committed and treated for schizophrenia.

~from the TV show Paranormal Witness
However, activity did not cease in his absence; on the contrary it intensified. Tammy was still attacked at night, and could even see disembodied hands running under her nightgown. Tammy, Carmen, and even father Al claimed to be sexually assaulted by the demons they believed inhabited the house. It was after repeated incidents that they called in renowned psychic and demonologist, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

After staying in the house for several weeks and experiencing all that the family did, the Warrens decided to perform an exorcism, which apparently brought an end to the horror. Phillip was released from the institution and the family moved out of the home. Phillip’s cancer took his life at age 24. Since their haunting, the family—particularly Carmen and youngest son AJ—have gone on to tell their story in many different forms, and perhaps many different versions, too.

They got attention with the book In a Dark Place, written by Ray Garton. Carmen and her family have relayed their story on episodes of A Haunting and Paranormal Witness; she now considers herself a spiritual advisor and plans on writing another book.

Although the Snedeker account is terrifying and gripping, many also believe that it is fake. Tenants who occupied the house before and after the famous family have had no reports of supernatural activity, nor has the landlady, who also claims that the Snedekers were aware of the former use of their home. More concerning is the fact that the author of their supposed biography, Ray Garton, doesn’t believe the story to be true. He was hired by the Warrens to interview the family and pen the tale, but was bothered when the family’s accounts were inconsistent and contradictory. When Garton expressed this issue to Fred Warren, he assured Garton that the family was “crazy” and to use what he could and make up the rest, but to be sure to make it scary. So that’s exactly what Garton did.

How much of the Snedeker’s story do you believe? Were they in it for the profit or were they truly tormented by inhuman spirits? Does The Haunting in Connecticut deserve their controversial tagline?

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