A Haunting and the Story Behind It

Heather Brown

It has been a long time since a horror flick has received so much fan excitement and critic hype.

The movie, directed by Peter Cornwell and staring Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner and Erik J. Berg as the main characters, is based on the true story of the reported haunting in Southington, Conn.

According to reports made by the Snedeker family who lived in the home for two years before moving, a series of demons laid siege to the home and tormented the family. Carmen Snedeker remembers that the demons “were incredible powerful. One of the demons was very thin, with high cheekbones, long black hair and pitch black eyes. Another had white hair and eyes, wore a pinstriped tuxedo, and his feet were constantly in motion.” Activity in the home also included strange sounds and odors of rotting flesh and excrement.

The oldest child in the Snedeker family was fighting cancer at the time and was most affected by the haunting. The prognosis was grim, but the family was hopeful. His demeanor changed drastically and he was hospitalized for a time because of a fear of mental instability.

Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal experts best known for their work on the Amityville Horror case, were called in to discover the true extent of the haunting and to try to stop it. John Zaffis, Ed Warren’s nephew, also helped with the nine-week investigation.

“The situation was pretty chaotic by the time we arrived,” John remembers. “One night, I was sitting at the dining room table, reviewing some notes that I’d made. Suddenly, the room grew bitterly cold and I could sense a presence around me. I called out to the others, who were sleeping in the living room, but I couldn’t get anyone to wake up. I looked up the stairs and saw an apparition starting to form. The air was filled with a disgusting odor, so foul that I could hardly breathe. As the apparition took shape, I could hear a noise that sounded like thousands of flapping wings coming from behind it. I’d never been more terrified in my life!”

Zaffis has recounted this story to UNH for the last two years thanks to the Paranormal Investigation Research Organization (PIRO) and the Student Committee on Programming Events (SCOPE).

Because of the findings on the investigation, an exorcism was performed on the house and it was resold after the Snedeker family moved out. No paranormal activity has been reported since and the family’s oldest son had no signs of cancer since the move.

The movie The Haunting in Connecticut is very loosely based on this story. The movie focuses on the story of a young medium who lived in the home when it was a funeral parlor and his fight to free the spirits trapped there. The medium’s story ends terribly with his own spirit being trapped in the home when the Campbell family moves in. Mistaken as a harmful spirit, the family removes the spirit from the home only to realize that he was the last line of protection from the true horrors within.

I feel that this movie was a great one to see and a pretty good horror flick. I would recommend not doing too much research into the true story before seeing it. I was familiar with the story before seeing the movie and therefore wasn’t really surprised by some of the things that made everyone else jump.

There were some things about the movie that were improbable, like having tens of bodies in the walls without the stench being overbearing, but overall the movie was wonderful. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for some shocks and jumps. Enjoy!