Couple who Lives in “The Conjuring” House Sues Warner Bros.

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Fun fact: the well-known horror flick “The Conjuring” is based on supposed events that happened in a real house, located in the small village of Harrisville, Rhode Island. The 2013 movie was a huge success for Warner Bros., but not so much for the two people that actually live in the home. Residents Norma Sutcliffe and Gerry Helfrich are being driven crazy by fans who come to the house to look for evidence of the supernatural. It’s gotten so bad that Sutcliffe and Helfrich are now suing Warner Bros, the film’s director, and others for their troubles.

“The Conjuring” is based on the story of a couple of ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They’re a pretty famous pair in the ghost hunting community–“A Haunting in Connecticut” and “The Amityville Horror” were also based on their investigations. They were brought to the Harrisville, Rhode Island by the family who lived there in the 1970s, the Perrons. The Perrons and their five daughters were supposedly haunted by the ghosts of various spirits, and hired the Warrens to help them rid their house of supernatural occurrences. The farmhouse, built in the 18th century, had quite a history of death and misfortune.

Whether or not this story is true is very hotly debated–the Perron family and Lorraine Warren swear it is,  but there are many skeptics. Regardless, the story had all the important elements of the perfect horror movie–an old New England farm house, a young family, and even a haunted doll named Annabelle. So, it was obviously a huge box office hit; the movie generated almost $60 million in its first weekend alone.

The actual house wasn’t used in the filming, but the movie’s opening credits disclose that the events took place at an old farmhouse in Harrisville. Given the lore about the Perrons that already existed before the movie, it’s not hard to figure out that the house is the one that Sutcliffe and Helfrich live in now. But Sutcliffe claims that she had no idea that Warner Bros was even planning on making the movie until a friend told her about it–and since it’s come out, things have gotten crazy for them. Sutcliffe stated:

The Internet was bombarded by people who were actually going around the property, filming. … We had harassing phone calls in the middle of the night. They’ve had discussions of people destroying the house because ‘it’s so full of evil.’

She said that they’ve posted “No Trespassing” signs and built fences, but nothing has kept crazed fans at bay. Sutcliffe claims they’ve been harassed, stalked, and that she’s had to call the police at every hour to keep people away from her home. Now, they’re suing Warner Bros and others involved in the movie, for monetary damages, although according to some sources, they plan on asking that any money they receive be donated to local law enforcement for their trouble. They also want help with a security system and security plan to keep the crazies away.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for Sutcliffe and Helfrich–they’re now being haunted themselves by crazed fans instead of ghosts and possessed dolls. We’ll see if they’re successful in this lawsuit and rid themselves of their very-much human demons.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at amahoney@LawStreetMedia.com.



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