A series of hauntings took place in the small country town of Harrisville, Rhode Island between January, 1971 and June, 1980 in a roughly 3,100-square-foot home owned by the Perron family.
The story of Roger and Carolyn and their five daughters – Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April – would be chronicled in the case files of self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. However, the story would only receive limited notoriety until the release of 2013’s ‘The Conjuring.’
The film only told the tale from the perspective of the Warrens. Now here’s your opportunity to hear the story according to Andrea Perron, the eldest daughter of Roger and Carolyn Perron.
We’ll look at how the Perrons came to live in the house, the events that took place after they initially moved in, and details about the six visits that the Warrens made to the home.
So come with us as we take you into the depths of a story littered with spirits and hauntings, ending it all with a séance that pits good against evil.
Finding Their Dream Home
While waiting in town for Andrea to finish a music lesson, Carolyn happened across a classified ad in the Woonsocket Call, a local newspaper, for the nine-room colony farmhouse. Intrigued by the ad, Carolyn went to view the home without Roger, who worked as a long-haul truck driver.
Carolyn was so enamored with the home that she laid down a deposit of $500 on the spot (almost all the money the Perron’s had to their name at the time).
After he returned home from the road, Carolyn was able to convince Roger to view the home despite his reluctance with the idea. The entire family soon found themselves taking a trip to see the home and, like Carolyn, they all found themselves infatuated with the property.
Originally unable to afford the $75,000 asking price, the owner of the home graciously agreed to give the Perrons time to try to come up with the money. Over the next five months, the family worked to scrape together just enough money to afford the down payment on the home.
As they later found out, the reason the owner had been so willing to give the Perrons all the time they needed was that Carolyn had been the only one to respond to the ad. What made it even stranger was the fact that Carolyn had responded to the ad the first day it was posted in the paper. In the entire five months the Perrons worked to come up with the money, not a single soul ever came to look at the home. It was as if the Perrons were destined to live in that house.
During those five months, the Perrons would make repeated visits out to the farm. While they were there, nothing strange or unusual ever occurred. It seems that whatever supernatural forces dwelled within the home never paid the family any attention. That is, until the day they finally moved into the home.
Moving In Day
While carrying a box marked for the kitchen, Andrea walked through the dining room and it was there that she spotted a man standing in the corner. Unaware of who he was, but not wanting to be rude, she greeted the man as she walked by. The unknown man, however, did not respond. He didn’t even pay her any attention. Instead, he stood staring at the home’s previous owner, who was just finishing packing up his belongings.
As she headed into the kitchen, Andrea asked her mother who the man standing in the corner was. To her surprise, her mother responded by informing her that there was nobody else in the home.
Just as her mother was telling Andrea this fact, Christine walked through the kitchen door and asked her mother who the man standing in the corner was. She was then followed by Cindy and then Nancy, both of whom also reported seeing a man in the dining room.
When they later recounted their tales of the man, both Andrea and Christine saw the man as a solid being, while Cindy and Nancy reported seeing him as almost translucent. Nancy even stated that he had been there one minute and then just disappeared the next.
The Warrens’ First Visit
Ed and Lorraine Warren appeared at the Perron home in October, 1973 on the night prior to Halloween when the veil between the living and the dead is at its weakest. They had been alerted to the family’s trouble by a friend of the Perrons (unlike the movie, which had Carolyn actively seek them out).
That night, Carolyn unburdened herself to the Warrens about the abuse she had endured at the hands of a malicious, unseen force in her home. The spirit seemed to loathe Carolyn but adored Roger and their children. It was believed that the spirit had once been the mistress of the house and wanted to regain her title and, unfortunately for Carolyn, she was seen as an obstacle in its way.
Ed and Lorraine expressed their concern that the spirit was attempting to “oppress” Carolyn, slowly breaking down her spirit so it could take up residence inside her and, once again, be the lady of the house.
Carolyn gave the pair a notebook containing a number of her many encounters with the spirit.
On one occasion, Carolyn had entered the large barn on the property and, upon entering, she noticed a hand scythe that appeared to be hanging from off the barn’s rafters. Never having noticed it before, it struck her as odd but, unconcerned by its sudden presence, she continued upon her business.
It wasn’t long until she heard what she described as a “whooshing” sound overhead. She peered up and that’s when she noticed that the scythe now appeared to be spinning in the air roughly thirty feet above her. Even more ominous was the fact that it now appeared to be coming right at her.
Carolyn became frozen in fear as the deadly blade continued on its trajectory toward her. She was unable to move, so the blade of the scythe connected with the helpless Carolyn, slicing at her neck and shoulders.
The night had been especially cold and Carolyn had decided to bundle up with multiple layers, something that had become common practice since moving into the house. Carolyn found that, while living in the house, she could never seem to get warm, no matter how hard she tried.
On this occasion, it was the thick leather jacket that Carolyn wore over two layers of wool sweaters that proved to be her lifesaver. The jacket sustained the majority of the blows, with the scythe slicing it beyond repair. Carolyn managed to escape death that night, only sustaining bruises where the blade had struck her body.
In another encounter, after getting out of the shower, Carolyn found that, while attempting to get dressed, one of the clothes hangers in her closet began suddenly and mercilessly whipping her across her exposed skin. She screamed out in pain as the hanger continued its barrage of attacks. Hearing her cries, her younger daughters and a family friend who had just arrived rushed into the room. As soon as they opened the door, the hanger stopped its attack on Carolyn and fell to the floor. Whatever had been attacking her ceased the minute the concerned group entered her bedroom.
The most infamous attack came one night when Carolyn was lying on the sofa. Without warning, she felt a sharp pain in her calf. When she examined her calf, she noticed that there appeared to be blood surrounding the area. Upon further inspection, she found what appeared to be a “perfectly concentric circular” wound. It was this particular incident that tied her hauntings to that of Bathsheba Sherman, a woman who had long been speculated to be a practicing witch when she was alive.
Although no one has ever been able to officially confirm Bathsheba’s reputation as a witch –
only tales and rumors of her doings have been circulated – one story, in particular, appears to be the most damning piece of evidence against her.
One night, an infant in her care inexplicably died without any identifiable cause. When the child was later examined, it was discovered that it had a puncture wound at the base of its skull which appeared to be caused by a large sewing needle. The same type of instrument could have been responsible for the wound on Carolyn’s leg.
Due to lack of evidence, Bathsheba was never charged for the crime, but the locals were not convinced that the woman didn’t use the child in some sort of satanic sacrifice. From then on, she was branded a witch and no one could be made to believe any different.
Before leaving the Perron home, Lorraine requested a tour of the downstairs.
When she entered Roger and Carolyn’s bedroom, she visibly shuddered and proclaimed, “No one should sleep in this bedroom.” She even went so far as to instruct Carolyn to board up the room and abandon it completely.
Another hot spot in the home appeared to be the pantry door that led into the laundry room. Lorraine took one step into the room before quickly backing out. Lorraine then stated, “Terrible. Something awful happened in there. Violent. The poor thing. So young. A girl. Blood. Definitely a female.”
This is when Carolyn informed Lorraine that the door to the pantry would repeatedly open by itself. At one point, they even pushed a desk against the door in an attempt to keep the door from opening. It proved to be fruitless, as the door managed to push the desk away from it. Often, they would report experiencing a foul smell emanating from the pantry that could only be described as a smell of “death.”
Eleven-year-old Prudence Arnold had been attacked and killed in the pantry of the home. Her throat had been slit with a razor.
The Warrens told Carolyn that they wanted to return and the next time, they wanted to speak with her daughters about the experiences they had been having in the home.
When Roger returned home that night, he rejected the idea of the Warrens returning to their home to speak with their daughters. He didn’t trust them and figured them for charlatans.
One of the things that the family – specifically Roger in this case – always dealt with was a constant stream of flies in the home. No matter how hard he tried, Roger could never seem to get a handle on the situation. Every time he killed one, it seemed another would take its place. Sometimes, they also seemed to appear and then to disappear just as mysteriously as they had arrived. At times, the house would become virtually infested with them. The season didn’t matter, either. It could be the middle of summer or the dead of winter; the influx of flies never stopped.
Try as he might, he could never seem to discover where they were coming from. It was as if they just appeared out of nowhere. The family even had the home sprayed on a couple of separate occasions, yet the flies still returned.
Before the Warrens left that first night, they had a conversation with Carolyn about the persistent fly problem they had been having. They informed her that the flies in their home were “botflies…the devil’s pets.” They commonly appear in homes where spirits are present, acting like “harbingers” of things to come. The reason they always seemed to return after Roger seemingly killed them all is that “you can’t kill what is already dead.”
The Warrens’ Second Visit
On their second trip, Ed spoke to the girls, especially Cindy Perron.
During their conversion, Cindy revealed that she had been in frequent communication with the spirits within the home. She revealed that they would talk to her through telepathy. She informed Ed that it started to happen within the first night or two after moving into the home. She reported that there were disembodied voices coming from every corner of her room. They all talked at the same time and they were all saying the same thing, over and over, “There are seven dead soldiers buried in the wall.”
She informed Ed that they only came at night, and that they had come every night since they moved in. She added that when they arrive, the air in the room becomes chilled and an unpleasant aroma fills the room.
None of the other family members ever reported hearing the voices.
Along with the voices, Cindy revealed that, during the twilight hours, she was visited by the spirit of a “little girl who cried for her mommy.” Most disturbing of all, Cindy reported that the spirit “loved her.” Ed continued to probe Cindy on the matter. She told him that the girl floated out of her closet, speaking to her inside her head. When she got close to Cindy, she attempted to reach out to her, but she had no hands or feet. The girl also had no visible face and her neck was at an unnatural angle, implying that her neck had been broken. The girl told Cindy that she wanted her to “come to her.” Not wanting to go with her, Cindy stated that she ran out of the room and down the stairs to get as far as she could from the spirit of the young girl.
Following Cindy’s confessions, Ed decided to end the session, not wanting to further traumatize the young girl.
What Ed originally didn’t know was that Carolyn had been visited by a similar entity, only the one who visited her resembled more of a woman than a child.
Carolyn’s encounter occurred on one particular night when she and Roger lay asleep in their bed. It started when she was awoken from her sleep by the sound of footsteps coming into her room. As she opened her eyes, she saw what appeared to be a “grotesque” feminine figure floating over her bed.
She tried to scream, but no sound emanated from her mouth. She next tried to wake Roger, but, try as she might, she found herself unable to wake her sleeping husband, even when she went so far as to pull chunks of the man’s hair.
Similar to Cindy’s encounter, the figure possessed no distinguishable face, and its neck was at an unnatural angle. Where there should have been a face, there was only a “swirling, rotting mass of human flesh, that resembled a desecrated hornet’s nest. Flimsy wisps of hair, [not unlike] co-webs” were attached to the top of its head. As is common with these apparitions, it brought with it an icy chill and the smell of death.
It drifted ever closer toward her, reaching out with its spindly appendages. Once again drawing similarities to Cindy’s encounter, the thing had no hands. Even eerier was the fact that it also had no feet; what, then, had made the initial footsteps?
Carolyn, still unable to make a sound, quietly whispered to herself, “God help me.” In an instant, the figure was gone, driven away by the invoking of the name of God.
Turning her attention to Roger, she drew back the covers and discovered a ghastly sight: His back, neck, and shoulders were all covered with deep red scratches. Something had attacked him. Carolyn eventually managed to wake the subdued man, who almost appeared to be in a trance-like state. He had no recollection of the event, nor of how he had sustained his injuries.
The Warrens made their departure that night, but not before giving Roger and Carolyn the message that they needed to safeguard their children.
The Warrens’ Third Visit
As it was approaching the Christmas season, Carolyn asked the Warrens to stay away during the holidays. The couple complied with her wishes and didn’t return until January, 1974. Upon their return, Ed continued his investigation, this time speaking with Nancy about her experiences in the home.
She revealed that, during one of the girls’ games of hide-and-seek (not hide-and-clap as it was portrayed in the movie), Nancy had found a spot behind the chimney in the borning room (a small room adjacent to the warm kitchen). Within only a couple of minutes, she found the room suddenly dropped in temperature. She attempted to call out for help but found that she was unable to make any sound. The small space then filled with a “horrible smell” and she felt as if an unseen force was pushing her from every side.
Luckily for Nancy, Cindy had sensed where her sister was hiding. However, when she pulled on the door, it refused to open. She began pulling harder and then banging on the door. She yelled for his sister inside but received no response from the trapped Nancy. Fearing the worst, Cindy called out to her mother, but her screams went unanswered. Whatever had muffled Nancy’s cries appeared to be doing the same to Cindy’s.
Fearing for her safety, convinced that she would be crushed to death in the confined space, Nancy started to pray. Immediately, the door flew open with force and struck Cindy in the forehead. Unfazed by the blow, Cindy dashed into the tiny room and pulled her sister free.
Sensing a shift in mood in the room, Christine broke the tension by stating, “That was a long time ago. We’re all used to it now. They won’t hurt us.” When Lorraine asked her to elaborate on her comment, Christine added, “Because they know us, they share the house with us now. They love us.”
It was now the second time the Warrens had heard the girls state that the spirits in the home “loved” them. Concerned by the emotional attachment the girls appeared to be showing toward the spirits, Ed asked the girls why they thought the spirits loved them.
“We know it. I don’t think they want to hurt us. They only want us to know they’re here. They want us to acknowledge them then pay attention to them. The ones who misbehave do it on purpose. When we scold them, they stop it. If they don’t go away, at least they usually quit acting up.”
The conversation quickly turned in another direction after Nancy revealed that her friend Katy had brought a Ouija board to the house and used it to speak with spirits in the house. Lorraine immediately scolded the young girl for bringing the instrument into the house. She warned the lot of them never to bring anything into the home that willingly invoked the spirits, nor to dabble in the dark arts.
She then told the girls that the next time they were visited by a presence, they were to repeat the following statement, “In the name of Jesus Christ, go back to where you came from. Leave us in peace.”
The Warrens then asked to see the upstairs of the home, having already toured the bottom on their first visit.
They first stopped at the bedroom belonging to Nancy and April. While Lorraine sensed the room for detectable presences, Ed spoke with Nancy, who revealed that, on numerous occasions, they would hear footsteps coming up the stairs outside their room which would stop in front of their door. The door to their bedroom would then seemingly open on its own, with no one on the other side of the door.
The young April revealed that sometimes she had seen the man who was responsible for opening their door. She added that he smelled “sweaty” as if he had been “working hard for a long time.”
At this point, Nancy interjected into the conversation and revealed to Ed that they all came to name this particular spirit “Manny.” Manny was the spirit the girls had seen on the day they moved in. Nancy added that Manny would “watch over” them. He never caused the girls any ill and they often saw him as a part of the family. In fact, Andrea has revealed in interviews that they would often set a place for him at the family table.
Inside the girls’ room was a door to a small room that the girls would use as a playroom. Inside the room was a smaller access door that led to the attic.
Fifty-six-year-old Johnny Arnold had committed suicide by climbing into this space and drinking horse liniment. Despite this undoubtedly excruciating way to die, the family never sensed him as a threat. He was a benign spirit who just seemed to drift about the house.
Next, the Warrens entered Cindy’s room. She showed them one particular wall in her room: the wall she believed that the spirits had been referring to; the wall that the “seven dead soldiers” were buried behind.
Lorraine placed her hand on the wall and a somber look spread across her face. She then uttered the small prayer she had just taught to the girls.
When asked by Carolyn if she sensed someone in the girl’s room. Lorraine replied, “Someone is always here. So many of them…so many.”
What troubled Lorraine the most was that she sensed the room was a hotbed for spiritual activity. The source, however, wasn’t this particular room, but rather the room below it, the room where Roger and Carolyn slept.
Next, the Warrens entered Andrea’s room. Inside, they found the door to the borning room, the room that Nancy had found herself trapped in. Lorraine opened the door to the small room but suddenly backed out. She then gave a warning to the girls, “No one should go into this room.” (It’s not known what, if any, particular tragedy occurred in that room.)
Lorraine informed all the girls to go outside, so she and Ed could have a private conversation with Carolyn. This is when Lorraine first informed her that she felt a demonic presence in the house, the demonic presence that they would come to refer to as Bathsheba. Someone or something had let it into the home. Its arrival into the home could date as far back as when Bathsheba allegedly sacrificed the child to the Devil.
The Warrens would make a fourth trip to the Perron family home. Their visit however would not be documented by Andrea. So it’s unknown what events transpired during that particular visit.
It would be some time before the Warrens would return to the Perron home. That didn’t stop them from speaking about their encounters in the home and the stories they had collected from the Perron family.
During a number of the lectures the duo gave on the paranormal and their work as demonologists, they revealed details of the Perrons’ case, going so far as to divulge their names and even the town in which the Perrons lived. It didn’t take much for curious minds to find out exactly where the Perrons lived. After all, Harrisville was a small town. They would arrive and ask around town so they could find the now infamous farm. In no time, they would have the exact location of the Perrons’ farmhouse
This, in turn, resulted in the Perrons receiving numerous unwanted guests showing up at their doorstep over the next couple of weeks, all wanting to experience the supernatural for themselves.
One visitor that arrived was a personal friend to the Warrens, Keith Johnson. He would meet with the family and eventually return with the Warrens at a later date. (Andrea has identified that she still considers him to be a personal friend of the family to this day.)
What boiled Carolyn’s blood the most was the fact that she had now come to be known as the “oppressed” one, the one who Bathsheba was attempting to possess. When Carolyn finally managed to speak with Lorraine about the issue over the phone, Lorraine found it odd that anyone would have taken the time to look for the house and track down the Perrons.
It seemed that, no matter how far away the Warrens gave their seminar, it did little to reduce the arrival of new, curious guests. It was apparent that people were willing to travel great distances to get a first-hand look at the hauntings.
While You’re Away the Devil Will Play
During the time that the Warrens were away, Carolyn seemed to slip further into an “oppressed” state. She continually received visits from spirits that seemed determined to take her health and sanity or, worse, her life as she knew it.
She was tired all the time and soon was eating very little. She had become a shell of the person the family had once known.
The Warrens were unable to return to the home due to Carolyn’s unwillingness to allow them back into her home for fear of what their presence might do to the spirits within her home. They would call at least twice a week to check up on the family and, most importantly, Carolyn. Despite her declining health, Carolyn still refused to allow the couple to return to her home. She thought it best to leave the spirits alone. She would learn to make peace with the fact that her home was infested with the spirits of the dead.
Lorraine pleaded with the woman over the phone, reiterating that there was a demonic presence in her home and that it was seeking to take control of the woman’s life. If she wasn’t careful, she might soon be counted among the dead.
Over the course of weeks, with Lorraine continuously pleading with the woman to allow her and Ed to return, Carolyn finally relented and allowed them to once again step foot inside her home. Her plan, however, was not without ulterior motives. She knew that Roger would refuse to allow the Warrens to perform any type of seance or cleansing ritual in the home. Like Carolyn, he had grown to accept the hauntings in their home.
The Warrens’ Fifth Visit
The night the Warrens were bound for the Perron home, it seemed apparent to the family that the spirits within their house were already becoming restless. They had been quiet of late but, at the mere notion of the Warrens’ arrival, activity in the home began again, including an incident where items on the table were thrown about as if in a fit of rage.
When the Warrens finally did arrive that night, they brought with them a group of helpers: a medium, a shaman, a priest, and the Warrens’ film crew.
This fact enraged Roger, who demanded that the Warrens leave his home and never return. He wanted to have no part of the duo any further or their notions about cleansing his home of the presence within.
Roger’s anger and hostility toward the guests gave off a powerful negative energy, an energy that the force within the home gratuitously began to feed off of. His heated words and spite fueled the beast.
His energy would be all that was needed for the force within the Perron home to finally take full control of the weakened Carolyn.
Initially oblivious to the transformation that was occurring with Carolyn, the Warrens’ crew began bringing equipment into the home and started setting up infrared cameras, camcorders, monitors, and tape recorders.
Lorraine eventually came over to where Carolyn had been sitting in the parlor. As Lorraine spoke to her, Carolyn appeared to be unresponsive, as if not registering a single word the woman was attempting to tell her.
Lorraine lifted the woman’s head and found her eyes to be “dark and distant.” Tears trickled down the corners of her eyes, but no sound emanated from the woman’s mouth. Her face changed, a fearful gaze spreading across it, as if she was afraid of what was about to occur.
Lorraine claimed that immediate action was required or the woman’s soul would be lost.
Roger expressed to the Warrens that Carolyn was far “too weak” for the séance.
Because Roger was still unwilling to give consent to the séance, Ed pulled him aside and attempted to explain to him the importance of determining the true intent of the spirit that had been targeting his wife.
An hour would pass before Carolyn would show any sign of movement. Finally, it came when she began shivering and chattering her teeth uncontrollably, reacting to a sudden icy chill in the air.
Ed asked Carolyn if he could move her into the kitchen but she still seemed unable to form any real words. Carrying her in his arms, he moved Carolyn to a chair at the kitchen table.
The medium then started to place candles in a circle in the center of the table, lighting each one.
Roger refused to stay at the table, walking away while the medium proclaimed, “We are gathered here tonight to reach across, so to call forth the spirits.”
Ed was finally able to convince Roger to return, if for no other reason than for the sake of his wife’s well-being. All members joined hands around the table, with the individuals on either side of Carolyn taking her limp hands.
Not long into the séance, a gust of wind blew through the kitchen, threatening to blow out the candles. As the wind struck Carolyn, she raised her head and began mumbling a series of incoherent words. Before long, her words started to take shape and she began speaking in a “foreign language” unknown to anyone at the table.
She continued to utter the unknown dialect in a voice that did not belong to her as she pulled her hands free from the people beside her. Her fingers curled into fists, driving her fingernails into the palms of her hands. The action elicited a moan of pain from Carolyn’s lips, but she did not cease the self mutilation.
Her eyes, which had been closed the entire time, sprung open and she drew her knees up to her chin. She then released a guttural sound that reportedly sounded like a “wild animal warning off an intruder.”
All the while that this was going on, the medium never relented; she continued to attempt to make contact with the spirit and drive it from the home.
Carolyn’s voice briefly took on an even more sinister tone before she whipped her head back in the chair and let out an “ungodly shriek” just as another gust of wind blew through the kitchen.
Roger finally spoke up, demanding that they stop the séance.
Carolyn’s chair suddenly rose from the ground and shot straight back, traveling through the dining room and into the parlor. The chair landed with a crash on the floor with Carolyn still firmly attached. Her head struck the floor upon impact.
The house’s window shutters began violently opening and closing as Roger ran to his wife and carried her to the nearby sofa.
The cellar appeared to come alive as what sounded like wood splintering and glass shattering emanated from that part of the house. It was as if the house was attempting to tear itself from its very foundation.
Roger leaned into Carolyn and begged for her to come back to him before finally yelling out to the spirits to “get the hell out of my house!”
This action reportedly caused the sounds coming from the cellar and the movement of the shutters to abruptly stop. The house now grew quiet. Whatever had once been there having now retreated back into the darkness from whence it had come.
Roger then ordered the Warrens to pack up and leave his home. Complying with his request, the Warrens and their crew packed up and left the Perron family to cope with the events that had just transpired in their home.
According to Andrea, her father ended up staying up all night with Carolyn, who had suffered a concussion from hitting her head on the floor.
A Brief Final Visit
The Warrens would reportedly make one final visit to the home after the séance, but it would only be to check up on Carolyn. According to Andrea, the Warrens left that night, not knowing if she had survived the ordeal.
They reportedly never returned to the Perron family home following this final visit.
You watched the movie and now you’ve had the chance to hear the other side of the story.
Take what you will from this tale of a family forced to endure almost ten years in a house occupied by the souls of the deceased. Following the séance that night, the spiritual activity in the home continued. The Perrons would continue to cohabitate with the ghosts that roamed the halls until they were finally able to move out of the home in June of 1980.
The home still stands to this day and opens its doors to those looking to communicate with the dead.
Rates for an overnight stay are $125 per person, with a flat rate on Fridays and Saturdays of $750 for a group of up to six people. An additional $125 is charged for any guest over that amount.
Do you dare sleep with the dead?
Do you long to hear the disembodied voices telling you of the “seven dead soldiers buried in the wall”? Or would you like to meet the little girl who wants you to come with her? Perhaps you desire a face to face with Bathsheba? (Just remember to mind her sewing needle.)
Whatever you do, be sure to keep a watchful eye out as you roam the halls, because if you’re not careful, you, too, may become a permanent resident of this unholy dwelling.
Resources About the Case File
I have come here to chew bubblegum and write horror, and I’m all out of bubblegum.
Senior Editor at Horror Facts