Hot on the heels of the debut trailer for The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist comes a new revelation from Guy Lyon Playfair, one of the original investigators of the famous British ghost appearance, who says that controversial paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren were never involved in the case.
Billing itself as being ripped from the “true case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren”, the sequel to The Conjuring claims to follow the duo to Brimsdown, Enfield, England, where they proceed to investigate one of the most famous cases of poltergeist activity ever recorded. There’s only one problem: Guy Lyon Playfair, member of the Society for Psychical Research and one of the chief investigators of the Enfield Poltergeist case, says they showed up “uninvited”, stayed for only a day, and alleges that they manufactured their own paranormal evidence simply “to make money out of it.”
The claims come from a brand new interview with Darkness Radio host Dave Schrader that aired on Thursday evening. You can listen to the whole interview with Playfair here (which I highly recommend), but I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing the relevant revelation for your convenience:
Dave Schrader: Mr. Playfair, I’m sure you’re familiar with Ed and Lorraine Warren and their research and work. Have they ever worked along with the Society for Psychical Research?
Guy Lyon Playfair: No. I bumped into Ed Warren once or twice, and Lorraine… and I got the impression that Ed Warren was, well.. (laughs) fill in your own expletive. I wasn’t impressed at all. Lorraine is still living, so I’ll refrain from commenting on her, but she was very… quite pleasant when I met her.
They did turn up once, I think, at Enfield, and all I can remember is Ed Warren telling me that he could make a lot of money for me out of it. So I thought, “well thats all I need to know from you” and I got myself out of his way as soon as I could. I said was not impressed. He didn’t spend… I don’t think he went there more than once. And I did read somewhere a transcript of a lengthy interview which he’s alleged to have with one of the girls – which they couldn’t remember giving him – and it was describing all sorts of marvelous wonders which I don’t think ever happened. I think he was a complete…um… well… (laughs)… fill in whatever word…
Dave: (laughs) I understand. So you don’t feel that – and especially in the interactions you had with him – you don’t feel that maybe they had the best intentions when it came to the investigations of these cases?
Guy: No, they just wanted to make money out of it.
Dave: Okay. Did – have you heard, or in your research, have you come across any proof that Ed or Lorraine Warren had anything to do with consulting or being a part of this investigation?
Guy: Certainly not. Nobody ever mentioned them. I mean, I don’t think anybody in the family had ever heard of him until he turned up. Uninvited. And uh..
Dave: Oh, so just came out…
Guy: …he said who he was and he didn’t come again and we just sort of forgot about him.
Dave: So he came out to the site uninvited, and just showed up to try and insert himself into the story, is what you maintain?
Guy: Thats what I remember, yes.
Dave: Okay, fascinating.
Guy: It was quite brief. He was just one.. we had so many people coming and going. I mean I remember one day he did turn up. I think Lorraine was there as well – I’d also met them in Brazil. They sort of pop up all over the place. And it was just no big deal at all. I mean, I had a brief conversation with Ed at Enfield, and as I say, he was telling me how much money he’d help me make, and I politely declined his help, and I strained that that’s not what we exist for in the SPR, and that was the last time I saw him.
The claims shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who’ve taken even a cursory glance at the Enfield Poltergeist case themselves, in which there’s no real record of Ed and Lorraine’s involvement save for their own. Admittedly, as someone who grew up reading the Warrens’ books and was a big fan of the first Conjuring film, I was a little perplexed when the plot for the sequel was announced, already knowing that it was SPR who handled the entire Enfield case.
The question is: why would a studio take two paranormal investigators who worked on cases like The Amityville Horror, wrote six books, and were featured in seven others, and jam them into a story they barely earned a cameo in? Turns out, they probably don’t own the rights to their real cases.
In the wake of the original film’s box office success, Warner Bros. was subject to a lawsuit that aimed to prevent them from making any sequels. The suit came from producer Tony DeRosa-Grund’s Evergreen Media Group, who owned the rights to the “real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren” before licensing them Warner Bros.. Evergreen Media claims that ‘New Line was only granted rights on a “very limited, selection of the Case Files – i.e., less than one percent (1%) of the total number of Case Files – and the Warrens’ life stories, in exchange for a purchase price for each theatrical production or use of those select Case Files as well as a crediting and employing Mr. DeRosa-Grund as producer.” Fun fact: Evergreen also sold the rights to a Conjuring television series to Lionsgate, which opened a whole other can of worms.
According to Evergreen Media, the Warrens’ career resulted in some 8,000 “Case Files”, of which 25 were licensed as possible films. Evergreen also claims that in order to circumvent their licensing agreement, Warner Bros. simply optioned rights to The Demonologist, a 1980 book by written by Gerald Brittle about the Warrens, which included brief mentions of their “Case Files”, including one that led to the Annabelle spinoff and another in which Ed and Lorraine claim that they were present for the Enfield Poltergeist investigation. Sneaky stuff, if true.
Sneakier still, is the claim that The Conjuring 2 is from the “true case files” of the Warrens when not only can the original witnesses to the Enfield Poltergeist not recall speaking to Ed Warren, but one of the head investigators for the Society of Paranormal Research adamantly states they allegedly manufactured “marvelous wonders” to make money off their very brief, uninvited house call.
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist invites its way into theaters on June 10th. For the full interview with Guy Lyon Playfair, who spent two years actively researching the Enfield Poltergeist case with the SPR, head over to Darkness Radio.