It’s a familiar tale. A struggling family moves into a beautiful house, ready to make it a home. They fill their new home with artifacts, mementos from family vacations, photographs, and textiles. Then, a darkness seems to settle over the space… There are strange noises in the night. Family members begin acting strangely. You can feel eyes moving over you. There are shadows moving in your periphery. The house is far from being a home.
In 1986, the Snedeker family rented a beautiful colonial style home in Southington, Connecticut. Carmen Snedeker found it was large enough for her entire family and was very reasonably priced, encouraging an immediate move. Carmen had been driving her son some distance from their current home for cancer treatments and the drive was difficult on him due in part to the nausea from the treatments and his medication. After searching for some time for a home closer to the hospital, the colonial home seemed to drop conveniently into her lap. The landlord said she was welcome to move in immediately, she’d struggled with finding a place that would allow four children, and she and her family did so. Carmen’s husband, Allen, still had to travel for work, but was there on weekends or as often as he could be.
Image: The NY Daily News
As the family started moving their belongings in, they began to notice there was something odd about the house itself. Above each doorway on the main floor, a crucifix was mounted. They appeared old and as if they had been there for some time. In the basement, there were strange tables lined against the wall containing what appeared to be medical tools, in the center of one of the rooms was a metal table on a swivel. In a corner of the basement was a large drain. A large hoisting mechanism was situated on one of the main walls. The family soon realized that the home they had moved into was originally the Hallahan (sp) funeral home and had operated as such since sometime in the 1930’s (some neighbors have speculated the business had operated there even longer). This in itself didn’t make it impossible to live in the house. After all, a funeral home is nothing to fear. Yes, corpses had once been stored in the basement and lifted in coffins to a viewing area on the first floor. Yes, preparation of the dead, embalming and drainage of fluids, had taken place. Every old house has a history. But, after a very short time, that history began to show its face.
Carmen’s son, Phillip, began exhibiting strange behavior. He was irritable, paranoid, and prone to fits of anger. Carmen chalked the behavior up to the medication and treatments he was receiving, believing that some of the things Phillip claimed to see were only in his mind. He would tell Carmen he saw men in the basement with long, dark coats and spoke with the ghost of a young boy with black hair down to his hips who lost his life in the house. When one of Phillip’s episodes became violent, threatening the safety of his siblings, Carmen made the difficult choice to have her son institutionalized. It was safer for everyone involved.
When Phillip left, the activity in the house escalated. One by one, the crucifixes above the doorways on the first floor inexplicably disappeared. When the crucifixes were all removed, the paranormal activity that seemed to be confined to the basement began to move upstairs. Food placed in the refrigerator would become rotten quickly, even if it had only just been purchased or eaten a short time before being stored. Carmen, while cleaning the kitchen floor, found that the mop water turned blood red upon contact with the linoleum and began to smell of decay. No matter how much she tried to mop it away, the festering puddle just kept getting bigger. The children began seeing shadows moving in their rooms at night, heard strange noises and voices, and experienced objects being thrown by unseen hands. The Snedeker children claimed that even leaving the house gave no relief. The spirits harassing them at home would follow them into social situations. If they went out, either they or their friends would experience the sensation of being touched or, on a couple of occasions, slapped. Both parents reported they had been raped and sodomized by demons. Many people asked why the family didn’t just move. Carmen stated that, not only would they lose their deposit for breaking their lease, something they were financially unable to do, they worried that the dark energy in the house would attach to and follow them wherever they went.
After a few weeks, the activity in the house got so bad that the family slept together in the living room on air mattresses.
It was at this point that Carmen decided to call Ed and Lorraine Warren, experts in the field of the paranormal and unexplained. It didn’t take long for the Warren’s to declare the house haunted and recommend the family go public about their experiences because, as Lorraine Warren stated, it would be easier to get the Catholic church to take notice and get involved if there was public outcry. Carmen’s husband was reluctant to go public at first, but after living in the home for so long, he had reached his breaking point. Their story was made public and the home was, eventually at least, as the Warren’s claimed, “successfully exorcised.”
Horror novelist Ray Garton brought the Snedeker’s story to light at the Warren’s insistence. Garton interviewed each family member individually about their experiences, but he encountered a problem. None of the stories matched up and they were unable to keep their stories straight about the paranormal activity. Garton claims he approached Ed Warren about the issue and was told that the whole family was crazy. According to Garton, Ed told him to find what story he could and make the rest up. “Make it up and make it scary.” According to some, that is exactly what Garton did.
The current owners of the home state that they have had no paranormal activity whatsoever, but that they are constantly bothered by people trying to take pictures of the home and asking about their experiences within its walls. Neighbors of the Snedeker’s have reported suspicious activity surrounding newspaper reports vs. actual occurrences on the property and doubt the property was ever really haunted at all.
Is the Haunting in Connecticut just another Amityville Horror story or is there more to it? Were the Snedeker’s telling the truth about what they experienced?
Neighbors and friends of the Snedeker children claim never to have heard anything about the haunting, though they did see the Snedeker children running around outside on warm evenings and making “spooky sounds” in through the open windows. None of the children ever mentioned it. One friend reported that he was eight at the time of the supposed haunting and it was never brought up. Were the children so afraid of what was happening in the house that they couldn’t bring themselves to speak of it? How realistic is it for a child around eight years old to keep that information secret? Was Carmen feeding stories to her children for the press and telling them to keep the information from their friends?
Enter the 2009 film, A Haunting in Connecticut, supposedly a true story about the Snedeker’s ordeal. The movie claimed to be “based on true events” and told of all the horrifying and demonic experiences the family had in the house. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible movie, but it seemed as if the movie often deviated from Carmen’s account. I’m still trying to figure out where the box of eyelids, bodies hidden in the walls, huge fire engulfing the house, and the carved symbols into Phillip’s body come into play. If by “true events” they mean a family moved into a haunted house and had some crazy shit happen to them, I suppose they’re not wrong…? The movie grossed over $77 million at the box office and DVD sales topped 1.5 million.
Gold Circle Films/Integrated Films/Lionsgate
The truth is, there is little to no proof of any paranormal activity in the case of the Snedeker family. Perhaps they saw all the press The Amityville Horror had received and found out how the Lutz family had profited from their story. Maybe the mounting medical bills from Phillip’s treatment made the opportunity to craft a believable story impossible to resist. Desperate times…
What are your thoughts about the Snedeker’s story? Let us know in the comments.
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