"The Conjuring 2" and the real Enfield Poltergeist case
Writer: Casey Lee
How close is "The Conjuring 2" to the real story?
Director James Wan is back to haunt our dreams, or reality since his last movie was based on the case files of paranormal investigator couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Similarly, "The Conjuring 2" is based on one of the cases that the Warrens visited, this time across the Atlantic.
Between 1977 to 1979, a family of a single mother and her four children were disturbed by the presence of an angry spirit in their rented home, at Brimsdown, Enfield in England. When the situation got out of hand, the news captured headlines and soon attracted paranormal investigators on the scene, including the now famous Warrens.
While we can fully expect "The Conjuring 2" to embellish many of the facts and incidents that happened during the Warren's investigation, it is still based on some true facts. Perhaps by knowing what is real, it could help you to sleep better (or not).
Peggy Hudson had moved into the rented home in Enfield with her four children, Margaret, Janet, Johnny, and Billy. What began as random noises shaking up the house, saw to the Hudsons confronted with full-scale hauntings of objects being moved around, which had frightened not just the Hudsons, but also their neighbour and police officers that were called in to investigate. As the hauntings became worse, it took possession of 11-year-old Janet, who became the host of an angry spirit that manifested itself through her, through voices and supernatural acts.
For "The Conjuring 2", the names of the victims and the innocent bystanders are kept, with child actor Madison Wolfe playing as the pivotal Janet. Other members of the Hudsons are also portrayed, along with the neighbours who were among the first outside witnesses to the poltergeist's presence.
While Ed and Lorraine Warren were present at Enfield to investigate the case, they were not the only ones who were there, or had a prominent part to play in it. As soon as word of the Enfield Poltergeist went out, it attracted other teams of paranormal investigators, including the renowned Society for Psychical Research and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. According to accounts, each of them came out with different conclusions to the presence of the poltergeist, with the Warrens confirming that it was the work of demon possession, while others called it a hoax.
For the most part, the Warrens would be prominently featured in "The Conjuring 2", despite how small a part they played, but it would also include the appearance of Maurice Grosse and Anita Gregory, who were among the other paranormal investigators there. In fact, it was Grosse who had concluded that Janet could have been a fraud, after finding out that she had been faking her possession on numerous occasions. We don't think "The Conjuring 2" would be calling out any fraudulent elements in their version of the haunting (otherwise where's the fun in that?), but it might be good for you to know that whether there was truly such a ghost is up for debate, even though later tenants of the house reported feelings of being 'watched', after the hauntings had subsided.
The hauntings reportedly began in August 1977 when the children's room were disturbed by knocking sounds and their beds being shaken. When their mother came to see her children, she was nearly blocked by a chest of drawers that moved towards the door. The same chest later tried to trap Peggy together with her children in the same room. When Peggy asked for help from her neighbours, the Notthinghams, they also heard the strange knocks around the house, and decided to call the authorities. When police officer Carolyn Heeps arrived, she witnessed a chair being lifted up and her testimony sparked the press and psychics' attention to what has been happening.
However, the most infamous of the hauntings revolved around Janet, who is believed to be possessed by a spirit. Aside from the growling voices that can be heard in actual interviews with her, there were reports of her being levitated and spun in the air, which was captured by the cameras (seen above).
Many of the incidents will be replicated in "The Conjuring 2", including that levitation scene, but it would also add its own additional scares such as the cross spinning.
When Janet was reportedly 'possessed' by the spirit, it claims to speak with the voice of a dead man named Billy Willkins. There are several actual voice recordings of Wilkins, who explained how he died in the house and haunted it, and it was these recordings which became the basis for "The Conjuring 2". The existence and cause of his death was confirmed by Wilkins' son, but the authenticity of Wilkin's voice is put into question as some skeptics had suspected Janet for being a ventriloquist. For "The Conjuring 2", Wilkins will remain as the spiritual force behind the hauntings, and whether the Warrens will be able to cast it out is uncertain. However, the spirit of Wilkins was never truly put to rest in reality, even though his hauntings subsided after a visit from a priest.
Cinema Online, 12 June 2016
"The Conjuring 2" is now showing in cinemas.