The true story of the Perron family - page 2
The baddest of them all – Bathsheba Sherman
The most horrid ghost in the home targeted Mrs. Perron specifically. Known as Bathsheba, the entity was thought to have been the ghost of Bathsheba Sherman, a practicing Satanist and witch who had lived in the home in the early 19th century and died there after hanging herself from a tree behind the barn. The Perrons’ were not a religious family. Weak in faith, it was theorized to be a primary factor for the particularly violent and active nature of Bathsheba’s treatment of the Perron family. Credence to this theory is strengthened when it was learned that the only previous resident not to report any odd occurrences was a local minister. Lorraine Warren explained was this was important:
“You only have your faith as your protection. I always had my faith. God protecting me allowed me to do this. At that particular time, the Perrons’ did not have religion – and it was very dangerous.”
Bathsheba was a vile, hideous creature described as having a face “similar to a desiccated bee hive” covered in cobwebs with no real human features other than vermin crawling from crevices etched into the wrinkled skin of her face. Her head, round and gray, sat “leaning off to one side” as if her neck had been broken and an evil stench permeated the room when she was present.
Bathsheba Thayer was born in 1812 in Rhode Island and married fellow Rhode Islander Judson Sherman on March 10, 1844. When alive Bathsheba had lived a life of solitude, an outcast of the community she lived in after being accused of killing her young baby as a sacrifice to Satan. The baby’s body was found to have been impaled in the head with a sharp object. Lacking evidence, the case was eventually dropped. Bathsheba was believed to have had three other children, none of whom survived past the age of four. Her children may not have been her only victims. Bathsheba was also known to have brutalized the staff often starving and beating them for minor infractions. When Bathsheba died on May 25, 1885, the coroner wrote that he had never seen anything like it – her emaciated body had eerily solidified, seemingly turned to stone.
It was easily recognized that Bathsheba had her favorites in the household. She tortured Carolyn Perron (one of the daughters, Cindy, was often a frequent target) while lusting after Mr. Perron. During their stay, equipment in the home frequently broke. Roger Perron would take the broken machinery down to the cellar to repair. While working, he often felt Bathsheba touching him, gently caressing his neck or running her hands down his back. But while longing for Mr. Perron, Bathsheba abhorred Carolyn. It was clear that Bathsheba wanted Carolyn out of the house.
An August 1977 article in the local Providence Journal described the appearance of Bathsheba:
“Mrs. Perron said she awoke before dawn one morning to find an apparition by her bed: the head of an old woman hanging off to one side over an old gray dress. There was a voice reverberating, ‘Get out. Get out. I’ll drive you out with death and gloom.’”
In the beginning, Bathsheba’s treatment of Carolyn was merely “cruel”. Carolyn would be pinched, slapped, or have objects thrown about her. Her greatest fear, fire, was soon discovered by the entity and used repeatedly to strike terror in her as Bathsheba banged torches against her bed while demanding that she leave the home immediately.
As time progressed, the attacks grew harsher. In one instance, Carolyn was lying on the couch when she felt a sharp pain in the calf of her leg. She examined her leg and found a large, bleeding puncture wound that looked “as if a large sewing needle had impaled her skin”. Later, after threats failed to motivate Carolyn to leave, Bathsheba took a different tack and attempted to invade Carolyn from within. Believing that Carolyn had been possessed, the Perrons’ called in psychic investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to assist them.
Ed and Lorraine Warren are often thought of as “the original paranormal investigators”. For decades they had helped investigate hauntings and demonic possessions across the country. In many of their cases, they were able to convince the Vatican to provide exorcisms of the spirits that they found. The Perrons’ heard of the Warrens after one of their many public speaking engagements and pleaded with them to help save their mother. By this time, it was believed that Bathsheba has physically possessed Carolyn Perron, an assessment that Ed Warren could not disagree with.
Daughter Andrea Perron remembered the night the exorcism took plae:
“The night I thought I saw my mother die was the most terrifying night of all. She spoke in a voice we had never heard before and a power not of this world threw her twenty feet into another room.”
Unfortunately, the true story of the Perron family’s haunting ended differently than The Conjuring movie portrayed. In reality, the Warrens were not successful in ridding the Perron family of their hell-bent tormentors. Carolyn Perron recalled that “dreadful night” and explained that even though the Warrens’ intentions were good, they essentially found that things “got worse around them”. As the situation spun out of control, Roger Perron demanded that the Warrens leave the premises immediately.
Perron's Harrisville Haunted houseThe Perrons’ soon learned that every occupant (with the exception of a local minister and his family) of the old Arnold Estate had reported supernatural phenomena on the homestead. In fact, the owner just prior to the Perrons’ had hired a contractor to renovate the house. The contractor had been busily renovating the home when he suddenly stopped work and fled. It was reported that he had left the home screaming leaving behind his tools and his car. The owners never moved in and the home sat vacant for several years before the Perrons’ discovered it was on the market.
Despite their unfortunate circumstances, financial constraints kept the Perrons’ rooted in place for 10 long years. Unable to flee, they endured the inconvenience of the “friendly” spirits and the torture the malevolent ghosts bestowed upon them. Finally, in 1980, at the insistence of Carolyn, the Perrons’ were financially able to vacate the home. They moved to Georgia.
Ed Warren died in 2006, but Lorraine Warren is still actively investigating paranormal cases. She runs the private Occult Museum in the back of her house in Monroe, Connecticut, with the help of her son-in-law, Tony Spera. Admission is open to the public (with prior reservations) with a small charge for admittance.
Andrea Perron wrote a book of their experiences in the home, House of Darkness House of Light. She tours the country giving lectures and recollections of her time in the haunted home.
According to Andrea Perron, the current owner, Norma Sutcliffe, who purchased the home in 1983, stated that she, her husband Gerry, and various visitors to the home have had paranormal experiences in the farmhouse, including the door banging in the front hall, sounds of people talking in another room, the sounds of footsteps scurrying around the house, and one odd instance when her husband’s chair began vibrating in the study room. They claim to have also witnessed a glowing blue light “shoot across the bedroom”, “fog” floating through the rooms of the home, and vibrations in the walls so intense they felt the house was going to come apart. Several visitors to their home have independently reported seeing an elderly woman, hair in a bun, moving silently throughout the house.