Witches, Ghosts, and Demons, Oh My!

While horror movie fans may be excited to hear that James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring,’ which stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga and is supposedly based off of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine warren’s personal case files, is mind-blowingly scary, the fact of the matter is, this movie is deeply troubling.

According to Lorraine Warren, the real-life Perrons were terrorized by the ghost of an accused witch, named Bathsheba Sherman. Supposedly, Bathsheba was a Satanist who performed so-called ‘Devil Worship’, killed her child ‘for Lucifer,’ and eventually hung herself. Her almost demonic presence was the main entity to torment the poor, poor Perron family–or so claims Mrs. Warren.

However, Ed and Lorraine Warren are known frauds–you can check out accounts at Skeptic Blog, Suite 101, Prairie Ghosts, and Swallowing the Camel. Flavourwire also adds that there was an ’06 lawsuit–a member of a family who supposedly battled a demon sued the Warrens and claimed the case was a hoax. Apparently they claimed that the family would become millionaires and that they could use the money to help get a sister’s boyfriend out of jail.

If that’s not bad enough they’re also deeply religious and see demons in every haunting they come across. If you don’t believe me, check out an episode of A&E’s ‘Paranormal State’ when Mrs. Warren guest-stars: it’s always demons this, demons that, demons, demons, demons!

There was even one episode, called ‘Suicide Possession’ where she claimed the home owner was being ‘oppressed’ by a supposed demonic force; meanwhile, it was quite clear that the poor man was suffering from stress and mental health issues, not demons. Also, if you need further proof that the Warrens and their associates are frauds, then check out the Rip-Off Reports for the ‘Paranormal State’ field trips.

While the Warrens’ belief in the Catholic faith is not an issue, their bigoted view of the world is extremely problematic. It’s one thing to be a Catholic but still respect the views of others, it’s quite another to be a Catholic and reject every other faith out there because ‘t’s not the one true way’ or some such nonsense.

Their problematic beliefs is one reason why ‘The Conjuring’ is so dangerous. Paganism, which is an umbrella term for a set of religious beliefs that runs the gamut from Wicca, Witchcraft, Kemeticism, Asatru, and Druidry, has often been pegged as ‘Devil Worship’ thanks to so-called ‘devout Christians’ over the years and let’s face it, the tired old Hollywood stereotypes of an ‘evil witch’ doesn’t exactly help them gain religious acceptance, either.

Christian Day, who is a Warlock, owner of three Witch shoppes, and acclaimed author of ‘The Witches’ Book of the Dead’ points out the problematic elements with Lorraine Warren in his latest Facebook post, all of which are valid.

There’s no evidence that the real Mrs. Sherman was a Witch of any kind-Chasing the Frog does a good job of laying out the facts. As for the child that supposedly perished under her care, is there any real evidence that he or she was murdered by a knitting needle? Back in the 1800s, they didn’t exactly have the greatest medical care and children were lucky to escape their toddler years unscathed by influenza and other contagious diseases.

Also, let’s face it-during the Witchcraft hysteria that popped up over the years, while there were indeed some men who were tried and accused, the majority of the accused were women. Female witches have always been the scapegoat for cruel, superstitious, and unkind neighbors and the Warrens are just perpetuating this close-minded view.

Plus, the movie links the Towne sisters, who were unjustly accused of Witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, to the movie’s ‘big bad’ and that’s extremely disrespectful. The sisters were devout Christians who were cast out of their beloved community by a hateful preacher and now their reputation is being besmirched by a hate-monger who sees demons around every corner.

No matter what your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are, everyone should respect the dead. For Pagans and Witches, who do hold the dead–especially one’s Ancestors-in high regard, the desecration of the names of both Bathsheba Sherman and Salem’s Towne sisters is a huge slap in the face. After all, thanks to the rise of paranormal investigative shows such as ‘Paranormal State’, which featured a few college kids and made it seem as if ghost hunting was easy as one, two, three, it would come to no surprise to Pagans, Witches, and Skeptics alike if the easily led desecrated the grave of poor Mrs. Sherman and perhaps monuments of the Towne sisters too, in their feverish hunt for cheap thrills.

Plus, Chasing the Frog mentions that the current owners have mild paranormal phenomena, so it does make you wonder: perhaps the hauntings have settled down because the new owners don’t go into hysterics over so-called demons and more importantly, they actually respect the dead. Would the Perrons have had such terrifying experiences if they had only acknowledged the poor souls who still lingered in that house and told the Warrens to leave? We can only speculate, but given how nonchalant Norma is about the hauntings, it’s very likely that the ghosts would have settled down eventually.

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts and think the idea of modern-day Witchcraft is hogwash, you cannot deny the negative influence of the Warrens.

Their official website states:

‘Ed Warren is a demonologist. Lorraine Warren is a trance medium. But you’d never know it if you met them on the street. They are not occultists. They are not strange. They are essentially ordinary people who happen to do highly extraordinary work. And though the Warrens have no ax to grind, their orientation is distinctly religious. For in reality, that is the only way it is possible to function in this work. Because that which they confront are not vaporous, indistinct phantoms that simply come and go in the night. The forces they confront are religious entities that – by their own admission – exist for the sheer purpose of opposing the works of God.

Diabolical forces are formidable. These forces are eternal., and they exist today. In a world that scoffs at ghosts and laughs at the unusual, the Warrens deliver a contrary message. That message is this: The fairy tale is true. The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.’

This limited and quite frankly, bigoted attitude towards the paranormal, religion, and Witchcraft is what makes the Warrens so dangerous and their influence in Hollywood so despicable. There is no room for many religions in the eyes of the Warrens: you are either a Christian or condemned to hell. This type of intolerant religious fundamentalism has spawned hatred of those who are LGBT, the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc and that’s not good.

While thankfully, most Christians do not subscribe to the very close-minded views of the Warrens, their considerable influence in re-writing the narrative tale of the poor souls who were accused of Witchcraft so long ago and the intense hauntings that the Perrons lived through.

This is not the fault of the Hollywood directors, but the Warrens themselves. However, if you do decide to see the movie, please inform your more impressionable friends and family members of the real story behind ‘The Conjuring’ so that the Warren’s negative influence will eventually be diminished.


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