Cory and Jennifer Heinzen of Mexico bought the 1736 Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired the movie “The Conjuring” last month. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous, but at the same time, that’s what I’m there for,” Cory said of staying overnight by himself in the house. Submitted photo

A Mexico couple bought the famously haunted Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired “The Conjuring” movie — and Cory Heinzen says doors started opening by themselves on day one.

“We had doors opening, footsteps and knocks,” Heinzen, 40, said Friday. “I’ve had a hard time staying there by myself. I don’t have the feeling of anything evil, (but) it’s very busy. You can tell there’s a lot of things going on in the house.”

In the 1970s, the Perron family with five daughters lived in the Harrisville house, which was built in 1736.

Whatever lived there with them, they claimed, “was playful at first, but then it started to become more sinister, more dark,” Heinzen said. “Physical attacks, mystery illnesses.”

That prompted an investigation by Ed and Lorraine Warren, famous Connecticut paranormal investigators, whose experiences inspired the 2013 horror movie.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the Warrens,” Heinzen said. “It’s just like a piece of paranormal history, this house.”


They hope to fix it up, preserve and tell its history, and open it up to visitors and investigators later this year.

“This whole journey has been both scary — for many reasons other than paranormal — and exciting all at once,” Jennifer Heinzen said. “I love that we have the opportunity to share the home with others.”

It’s been an unofficial attraction, with Norma Sutcliff, from whom the Heinzens bought the home, suing Warner Bros. in 2015 because of all the trespassing and curiosity-seekers after the movie’s release, according to a CBS News story.

Cory Heinzen has been a paranormal investigator for about 10 years, hitting a bucket list of sites,  including Pennhurst Asylum and Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

He said he grew up in Western Maine “fascinated in all aspects of the weird, from ghosts to aliens,” but never had any experiences until a battlefield study in 2002 while in the Marine Corps.

He and other Marines slept overnight in the wide-open fields of the Fredericksburg Battlefield in Virginia, planning to walk through Civil War military maneuvers by the North and South the next morning.


“(Seeing) what we would have done differently, basically learning from past experiences,” he said. “At about 2 o’clock in the morning, we heard gunfire and screaming and cannon fire, but nobody saw anything. The next morning when the tour guide came out, ‘Oh, yeah, it happens quite often.'”

Heinzen first saw the infamous Rhode Island farmhouse last summer after joining friend and paranormal investigator Bill Brock at the Ocean State ParaCon. They met Andrea Perron, who has written a trilogy about her experiences in the house.

A few months ago, he saw it for sale in an online forum.

Four fireplaces, four bedrooms and maybe a few unseen guests? The 1736 farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, inspired the horror movie “The Conjuring.” Submitted photo

“We immediately fell in love with it,” Heinzen said. “Eight-and-a-half acres, a river in the back and a pond, it’s so serene down there, never mind the story behind the house, it’s a beautiful home. (Jennifer) honestly was more excited than I was, I think.”

They closed on the sale June 21. Heinzen, who retired from the military, plans to travel there and stay regularly to oversee an extensive restoration.

“My first reaction to the whole thing was like, ‘No way, you’re going to own ‘The Conjuring’ house!’ said Brock of Brunswick. “I was just blown away. It’s kind of like the new Amityville House. It is, to me, the pinnacle of haunted locations because you have the people who experienced these things still alive and they can still talk about it, they can still tell you the stories of what happened there.”

He plans to spend time there this summer with, well, a few reservations.

“It makes me a little nervous for my own safety and it also makes me concerned for his as well,” Brock said. “We’re kind of opening ourselves up to the unknown.”

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