The Haunting in Connecticut

March, 2009 by Ray Bendici
Filed Under: 
Don't miss our exclusive interview with Ray Garton, author of In A Dark Place, which is billed as the "true" story behind the motion picture The Haunting in Connecticut.




Lionsgate Films

The Damned Story: As you may have heard, the film The Haunting in Connecticut is due in theaters on March 27, 2009. "Based on true events" (Hollywood-talk for "our version isn't a faithful chronicle of actual events, but one that we've take dramatic liberties with to try and make scarier"), it stars Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Amanda Crew and Elias Koteas.

According to the movie's promotional site:

Based on a chilling true story, Lionsgate's THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT charts one family's terrifying, real-life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural. When the Campbell family moves to upstate Connecticut, they soon learn that their charming Victorian home has a disturbing history: not only was the house a transformed funeral parlor where inconceivable acts occurred, but the owner's clairvoyant son Jonah served as a demonic messenger, providing a gateway for spiritual entities to crossover.

Now, unspeakable terror awaits when Jonah, the boy who communicated with the dead, returns to unleash a new kind of horror on the innocent and unsuspecting family.

So what "true story" is this movie based on?

Well, the undeniable factual part of the story is that in 1986, the Snedeker family bought a house in Southington, the basement of which had been used as a mortuary. From there, the "truth" gets a bit murky.

After the Snedekers moved in, two of their sons decided to make the basement their room -- and that's when the weirdness allegedly started. One of the the boys -- whom the Snedekers said was being treated at Yale in New Haven for cancer -- reported seeing the shadow of a man in the space that had been the mortuary as well as other apparitions in the room. Lights then began to go on and off by themselves, inanimate objects started to move around on their own, foul odors were encountered, unseen forces physically assaulted the family and eventually, the son became possessed by demonic spirits.

Not surprisingly, it was only a matter of time before demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren were called in to investigate the "supernatural" happenings. Being Ed and Lorraine Warren, they decided immediately the house did, in fact, have an evil presence and moved in for nine weeks to investigate. The otherworldly forces persisted until a priest was finally brought in to perform an exorcism, which apparently cleansed the boy and home. The family stayed there for two and a half years before moving out.



Lionsgate Films

As it turns out, some of the Snedekers' claims have not held up well, the most critical of which was that their son was receiving treatment for cancer -- it has been speculated that he may have actually been struggling with drug addiction, which would explain much of the "unexplained events" and stories of possessions. There are also some who think that the drugs he was taking for the cancer treatment may have caused the hallucinations. (Note: Since this post was originally published, a person claiming to be a family member has contacted Damned Connecticut to say that he did in fact have cancer.)


For what it's worth, neighbors never reported observing or hearing of any unusual occurrences.

Most of those who have subsequently lived in the house and others involved have also gone on record saying that there's absolutely nothing supernatural about the place; a few others have suggested that odd things have happened in the dwelling, but nothing anywhere near to the extent of the Snedekers' assertions. (Note: Since this post was written, the current owners of the house have said that they think "all the stories are ludicrous.")

A Haunting in Connecticut is a 2002 documentary based on these alleged events; it has been shown in various places, including the Discovery Channel. A book has also been written -- In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting by horror writer Ray Garton, which was created in conjunction with the Warrens and Snedekers. For the record, Garton has publicly distanced himself from this "non-fiction" book, suggesting that the Snedekers were dealing with "drug and alcohol issues" and that no one involved could "keep their stories straight." (Note: Check out the Damned Connecticut interview with Ray Garton, who talks about the entire situation in detail.)

If you're looking for dueling versions of this story, you can try this one from renowned spirit medium Chip Coffey and this more skeptical one from Associated Content.



Photo by Kate Geruntho Frank

Our Damned Experience: The film itself looks like standard horror film fare, with all sorts of terror-inducing scares and starts, and lots of creepy effects. We plan on seeing it theatrically as part of  "work" for this site -- we're willing to put forth that damned effort for you people!

And going the extra mile (or 20), we drove out to Southington in late February of 2009 to see the the real house where all the events are alleged to happen.

Not surprisingly, the house looks dramatically less threatening than the stories would lead you to believe.

The day we went by, it looked like any other house that you're going to see in any suburban Connecticut neighborhood -- well maintained, minivan in the driveway, basketball hoop out back, etc. Unless you tend to think completely normal is evil (which some of us do, by the way), it couldn't be more unassuming.

If You Go: Out of respect for the privacy of the family who lives there now, we will not list the exact address here -- but we're sure you can find it fairly easily.

We will, however, say it is located on a main thoroughfare, so you're always to welcome to drive past (if you haven't already). Just keep in mind that it is a private residence, so you are NOT allowed to trespass or harass the people who currently live there, under any circumstances.

Comment with Facebook


Submitted by Pat (not verified) on
I was wondering, have you been able to interview anyone who lived in the house prior to the Snedekers living there?

Submitted by billy joe young (not verified) on
thats pretty crepy

Submitted by Marcus (not verified) on
What is your evidence that the Snedekers made up the story of their son having cancer? That's a pretty bold claim given the fact you offer no proof that this is in any way true.

Marcus -- A few people have asked this -- as I was not there when the case was happening, I've had to rely on the accounts of others, and Ray Garton, the author of In a Dark Place -- which he collaborated with both the Snedekers and the Warrens, and was given a lot of access to the case -- has publicly made this claim. I have also received an e-mail from a woman claiming to be the aunt of the Snedeker boy who says he did have cancer.

Submitted by fran (not verified) on
Hey Ray! How come I grew up in the town that adjoins Southington and NEVER heard that story?? Well, I have been called brain dead. I havent actually seen the trailers for the movie but it always scares the crap out of my kids! Emmy came out of my room almost in tears! I cant wait to see this thing but I'll wait for your review.

Submitted by susan (not verified) on
i have to say it sounds like my kind of movie i just hope its not the same old theme as scary movies have been recently i really hope this is a good one.

Submitted by Steve Frank on
I have read both, and have had dealings with people who did need to go to Yale for Drug addiction. Trips to Yale for drug treatment to me does'nt add up. You might go to YPI because of an addiction. You might be sent there before being moved on to a detox of rehab. But its not an out patient treatment. I don't see a family moving to CT to treat a drug problem either, not necessary. But seeing as Yale is one of the best hospitals in the country to treat cancer, this story to me makes more sense. I'm not saying I believe the story one way or the other, but I tend to believe the cancer story more. Just my two Damned cents. Steve

Submitted by Wendy (not verified) on
Just curious if the current residents have encountered any issues since they have been there?

Submitted by Miko (not verified) on
I'm curious too Wendy!

Submitted by Ryan (not verified) on
I know a family that lived in the house and said it was older and creepy if you get yourself amped up for it but before they moved in and while they lived there they did not hear the story and did not experience any weirdness of any kind and also knew it was an old funeral home and thought it was nothing have moved out still fine and now know of the story and still say nothing happened ever.

Submitted by Jill (not verified) on
Has anyone researched the true history of the house? Was there ever any confirmation there was in fact a man performing necrophilia in the home? I was also under the impression that the home had a hard time getting tenants and that it eventually became a law office and then apartments...Anyone know the truth? I could only assume that knowing the true history of the home, rather than just taking this family's word on it, would be a good place to start.

Submitted by dinora (not verified) on
I think that the family have an over active imagination, and they are also very smart cuz they knew that they'll make money with this story

Submitted by justin (not verified) on
That is awesome. I wish I could stay there! I love ghost stories and haunted houses.

Submitted by melissa (not verified) on
Can't believe people bought into this crap and the Snedekers are probably making a bunch of money off of it. Come on people, don't go and see this movie!

Submitted by angelique (not verified) on
i am sorry guys i added a little extra letters to soul my computer keys is jammed

Submitted by angelique (not verified) on
well i think that anything is possible just because it didnt happen to anyone else does not mean it didnt happen.when it comes to the spirit world things are a little different you have to believe it exist.i have never had any encounters with the other side but i do believe in it.all the people who lived there probably encountered things but just didnt pay it any was a funeral parlor and i am pretty sure freaky shit happened the dead dont fuck with everybody it was something special about this family the other families probably didnt have big kids like they did or didnt pay attention to the signs some people cant handle the spirit world so things like this probably didnt get revealed to them because of how they would have handled it when people are sick or close to death that is a door for the spiritual to come in it thrives on the weak and the sick that is their passage way the boys that were killed was the same age as the young man in the movie so that is how he could have been picked just like the amityville horrors everybody that moved in there didnt get fucked with just the men they are very easily to be manipulated spirits try to take out the head of the household which is usually the man or the young son it emily rose case she was the oldest daughter and spirits who no longer can distinguished between life and death dont cross over because they still think that they are living need a host to stay in the real world i mean demons who have not crossed over or soluls wasnt laid to rest this is what happens

Submitted by John (not verified) on
The movie took the story of a haunted house and a sick kid and Connecticut and made the rest up. No necromancy, not kid who was kid. The family doesnt claim any of this happened, the house never burned down.

Submitted by Firedancer (not verified) on
OK, so if an exorcism was performed and the spirits were released, why would any who HAS subsequently lived there since experience anything supernatural? Interesting point to consider there now, isn't it! If the family really experienced that, then THEY know it was real and it doesn't matter if anyone else believes it or not. There will always be naysayers (interesting, too, that the above published story is clearly biased against the family, yet they don't really have any say here). And the fact that the individual family members' stories "didn't mesh" isn't such a shocker. Personal experiences are subjective and science proves that memory is faulty subject to its own perception and interpretation of events as well. With a family as large as theirs, it's perfectly natural that their stories might not match 100%. Maybe the story is true; maybe it's false. The absolute truth is that it's something that can neither be proven nor disproven. I'm just someone who is open-minded enough to believe that anything is possible.

Lets all drive by, well draw straws for who gets to harass them. I go first.

Submitted by John (not verified) on
I am surprised that so many people assume that the supernatural or anything for that matter can be explained to anyones belief. I'm not sure if I believe or not. I know I would freak out. However, if we are to believe in god and the devil. then why would the story of the Haunting in Connecticut be any different. Science can not always explain or if your going to insist on it. Then You have to do it on the believe on God. Even on that I am not completely sure on either. But, I believe that there is somethings that nothing that we know earthly can explain everything. That when I die that is when I will learn if I am right or wrong. It is the same as on the alien abductions reports or UFO sightings. No one for sure knows the truth but the people that it happened to. So, as the bible would say Judge not or be Judged. Enough is enough... In short accept the story as ones experience that you hope that would never happen to you. For if real. I wouldn't even wish it on my enemy. Also take note that everything in the move isn't as it was. As the movie starts. It does say "Based ON actual events" It didn't say that it was actual events that took place. Thank you for having a mind to read and understand.. Life is full of surprises.

Submitted by Sue (not verified) on
I live in Southington literally right around the corner from the location of this home and I can tell you it is not a law office or apartments, it is a single family home and people live there. I've not lived in Southington all my life so I don't know the real story and unfortunately I do not know enough old timers to ask but if I ever get the chance, believe me I will. I do know someone personally with the Snedeker name but she is not from the same town. It doesn't seem like a common name so I'm going to ask her anyway.

Submitted by Karo (not verified) on
i just had the chance to watch this movie. It is obvious from watching it that there are parts that have been made up. Focusing on the ending of the movie there is no way that there could be hundreds of bodies int he walls and that all the subsequent owners once the mortuary closed did not have a permeating smell of decay through the walls. Especially if any of the families had animals this would not have been possible. Animals are far more sensitive than and human being is. I for one do however believe in all things supernatural since I have witnessed occurrences firsthand. I obviously have not used my real info to write here because it is very difficult to live your life when people think your crazy because you see spirits. The reality is that there are very few places throughout the world that are void of any sort of "spirit" Everything that is alive can die and therefore can have a subsequent spirit left behind. Not many people believe this but it is true. Yes recognizing the spirits of non-human forms is not the most common thing it is possible. The majority of spirits I see and encounter are those of animals because while they are very intelligent beings they don't always realize they are dead. I do find the circumstances of this story to be a bit far fetched but stranger things have happened. Spiritual and magical things happen every day and some things are done in evil manners. It takes a believer to believe in all things spiritual, the slightest bit of skepticism can and will prevent you from seeing the unseen.

Submitted by Destiny (not verified) on
How do you know for sure whether or not the son lived through the cancer?!

and of course they wont talk about it now. the familt in that house now renovated it.

Submitted by Courtney (not verified) on
umm..... Go to Connecticut's NBC website there is an interview with Loraine Warren. The boy was actually not suffering from a drug addiction. and he was being treated at UCONN not yale, the house was in southington, UConn is in farmington the next town over from southington. yale is almost 2 hours away! if you knew any of connecticut you would know this. I live in CT I drive throught southington and that area at least every two weeks going to see family, I also grew up 20 mins away from yale, My pedericatian was the head of pederatics for the Children's hospital. GET YOUR RESEARCH STRAIGHT!!!

Submitted by B (not verified) on
For the record, It is NOT 2 hours from Southington To Yale in New Haven. It's a half hour, maybe 35 mins with traffic. You can get from one side of this state to the other in less than 2 hours.

Submitted by george (not verified) on
what's the name of the super natural effects that happened when the little guy through something on his mouth ( i mean) is like buddis or what ?

Submitted by Cassie (not verified) on
theres a documentary about this case that played on the discovery channel a few years ago and i personally found it scarier then the movie.

Submitted by Jeremy (not verified) on
Such things do happen, I have lived with them for my twenty six years and generally learned not to share the specifics unless one has an open mind, you cannot draw blood from a stone as we all know and you definately cannot convince or convert one who has not experienced it. As far as the Warrens go, credentials and reputation aside I see a pattern here. Amityville, a tragdy on a brutal slaughter, a family in dire straights, enter the Warrens and a lucrative book. West Pittston A.K.A the Smurl's case, same family in financial dire straights, enter the Warrens and books, movies, media and ofcourse profit. Then Southington Funeral Home Case same damn modus operandi, I know what your thinking I sound like a sceptic right? Wrong, I'm sure something happened, call it a gut feeling, my intuition or say I saw it in my crystal ball or bowl of alphabet soup but know this...there are things in this life we try to covet,and use science to disprove so feel safer in this world but when your time comes you will discover

Submitted by steve (not verified) on
Dave the author is the one who stated it. Here is our interview with the author of the book for which the movie was based.

The Warrens have stated or the Husband stated that the book that this movie was based on was totally elaberated! I saw the bogus movie and they ought to be ashamed at the pile of crap !

Submitted by Anthony (not verified) on
the Snedekers probably could have felt something but com'on.. (it the movie-decayed bodies were all over the wall???geeshh) i think the movie went overboard just to put some freakyness into's a horror movie so it needed to be pumped up for theatrical purposes..basically the Snedekers just neede the money ..who doesn't ...? plus it made them pretty famous even for a while.

Submitted by john johnson (not verified) on
The son died recently from a recurrance of his cancer. he was 38 yo, if i recall correctly.

Submitted by Mary (not verified) on
I'm a CT native born and raised in Bristol - cancer treatments in the 1980's were not quite like those of today - I do know that back then, cancer drugs (cures) were still in the experimental stage and not all of the side effects were known. It is very possible whatever treatments their son was taking caused hallucinations, personality changes, etc. I saw the movie when it first came out on DVD and thought it wasn't too bad.