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Lorraine Warren doesn't have to go to the movies to see ghost stories, she lives them.
Alongside her late husband, demonologist Ed Warren, clairvoyant Lorraine investigated some of the most famous and infamous paranormal hauntings around. Her most notable cases have inspired plenty of frightening flicks, including 1979's "The Amityville Horror" (as well as the 2005 remake) and next week's scream-inducer, "The Conjuring."
At "The Conjuring" press junket in San Francisco, Yahoo Movies recently had the chance to speak with Warren, now 86-years-young. We asked Warren how the 1971 case of the Perron family in Harrisville, Rhode Island, which inspired "The Conjuring," compares to the horror the Lutz family experienced in Amityville, New York back in the mid 70s.
Warren instinctively laughed, as if there is no comparison at all.
"Amityville was horrible, honey. It was absolutely horrible," said Warren. "It followed us right straight across the country. I don't even like to talk about it. I will never go in the Amityville house ever again. You don't know how long my career is; that's the only one."
Warren's career is indeed long, as she and Ed founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952, and have over 4,000 cases in their files. So when Warren says that the Amityville house is the one haunted house she won't return to, it's apparent something terrifying went down there.
That something horrific did occur at the house is not in dispute. On November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents, two brothers, and two sisters. But that's not what inspired the film, and subsequent sequels.
About a year later, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house at 112 Ocean Avenue with Kathy's three children. Not surprisingly, the Lutzes got a great deal on the house, which was ironically called High Hopes.
But according to the Lutzes, after moving into the house, evil forces started moving the furniture (most of which was left over from the DeFeos), strange welts showed up on Kathy's body, demonic red eyes peered around corners, and general paranormal terrorizing occurred. The Lutz finally evacuated High Hopes after only 28 days.
The Warrens were some of the only investigators to look into the case. And while many claim the whole story is a hoax, it's obvious in talking to Lorraine that she remains a firm believer.
Of course, movies based on actual events don't necessarily stay true to those events, especially in the horror genre, but if the Lutz's case is scarier than the haunting depicted in "The Conjuring," then it's no wonder Lorraine remains affected.
In "The Conjuring," directed by James Wan ("Saw," "Insidious"), Ed and Lorraine Warren are played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who set up an investigation in the Perron's isolated farmhouse to find definitive proof of the inexplicable and frightening events that endanger the Perron family. Unfortunately for everyone involved, they find that proof.
"You need proof. That's what you have to have. You can't tell ghost stories," Warren told us.
While "The Conjuring" may be more ghost story than proof, it's still enough to make you crouch in your seat, scream at the screen, and hide behind your spouse. But unlike the house in Amityville, Warren and the filmmakers hope you'll make return trips to see the flick.
"The Conjuring" opens wide July 19.
See the Perrons discuss the haunting that inspired "The Conjuring":