By CAROLYN MOREAU Courant Staff Writer
Monroe Resident Investigated N.Y. Case That -The Amityville Horror’ Film Was Based On
August 24, 2006
Ed Warren, who along with his wife pursued the unusual career of ghost hunter and whose cases included what would become the basis for “The Amityville Horror,” died wednesday at his home in Monroe. He was 79.
Warren firmly believed in ghosts, demons and other unworldly creatures – and in helping people deal with these unwanted visitations. He would answer the phone at all hours to counsel panicked homeowners from across the country, who couldn’t find anyone else to advise them when their furniture started flying. “Most people snicker,” said Tony Spera of New Milford, who is the Warrens’ son-in-law. “But if it happens to you and you know it is real, it is frightening to have your bed shaking in the middle of the night, or have the covers suddenly pulled off you.”
Warren is also survived by his wife, Lorraine; a daughter, Judy Spera; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. During their 61-year marriage and partnership, the Warrens investigated more than 10,000 suspected hauntings in the u.S. and abroad in Japan, Australia and Europe. They believed they were expelling ghosts who stubbornly remained earthbound and evil spirits from another world who had never been alive. In return, all the Warrens asked was for their expenses to be covered, Spera said.
While the Warrens didn’t ask for compensation for their ghost busting, they made a living on the college lecture circuit talking about the supernatural. Their most famous investigation – and most requested lecture – was the reported psychic disturbances at a house in Amityville, N.Y., where a family was brutally murdered in 1974. The Warrens were consultants for the movie “The Amityville Horror.”
The Warrens wrote 10 books on the supernatural. Two of the books were made into TV movies, “The Demon Murder Case” and “The Haunted.”
Ed Warren grew up in Bridgeport in a house he believed was haunted. While he regularly confronted dark forces, he considered it a duty to warn the public about the dangers of playing with the occult, Spera said. “Seven out of eight of their cases would start with people playing with a Ouija board,” Spera said. “The spirit does not have to come right away. It can come after dark to get you.” Warren was also a religious demonologist and an expert on satanic cults, Spera said.
When he wasn’t investigating the paranormal, Warren liked visiting forests and other natural places and collecting rocks and gems. He was a great lover of animals and at one time kept a fox as a pet. The fox proved to be a difficult character. Warren once had to call his wife for help when he took the fox on a ride and the animal wouldn’t let him back into the car after Warren stopped at some shops, Spera said.
In the past five years, poor health kept WarJ~en housebound. In March 2001, he had gotten up at 2 a.m. to let the cat in and collapsed on the floor. Paramedics restarted his heart. He was in a coma for 11 weeks and never regained speech.
“They said at the hospital he wouldn’t make it through 24 hours,” Spera said. “He had such a strong will. He wanted to stay.”