I admit it.
I'm a sucker for a good ghost story.
The old classics: Haunting of Hill House, The House on Haunted Hill, even movies like The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist give me a thrill.
Yes, I love a good ghost story.
I am also a huge fan of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
I have known about the Warren family and followed their cases since I was a young teenager.
They are (well, were - Ed has since passed) devout Christians and strong believers in the power of God's word and of His message.
They have ministered and witnessed to thousands, and have helped many of that number with hauntings. As a result, Ed and Lorraine Warren have turned many people to Christ.
I think that's what I admire most about them.
There are a lot that the Warrens were and are into that I don't necessarily believe in, but I believe in what they stood for first and foremost - God and His Salvation through His son Christ.
I have studied several of Ed and Lorraine's cases - including the Lutz case, the Annabel doll case, and many others. Some of them I believe have been over-analyzed and, of course, dramatized. But a few I know beyond a shadow of a doubt are real. The Perron case is one of these.
For those that don't know the story, the Perron family moved into a farmhouse in Rhode Island in the 1970's. From the get-go, unexplained events started, eventually getting so bad that they sought help from the Warren family. After initial investigation, the Warrens discovered a demonic presence in the house, and went through the process to be approved for an exorcism of the location through the Catholic church (they are Catholics themselves). Without giving too much of the film away, I will leave it at that, although my own research into the story has shown that what the Perron family experienced was, indeed, terrifying beyond anything that most of us can imagine. To the point which some of the children (now grown) refuse to even speak of their experiences.
When I first started seeing trailers for The Conjuring, I was intrigued, but worried. I didn't want this to be "just another horror movie". I am a devout Christian, and I was hopeful (albeit a little doubtful) that they would include that part of Ed and Lorraine as it was such a prominent part of their lives and their work. I am pleased to say that they not only included that aspect, but it was a central theme in the film. At one point in time, Ed looks at the Perron father and says "Are you in church? It might not be a bad idea ..." He continued to witness to this family throughout the film (as he did in reality) about the reality of demons and Satan - and how the only power strong enough to fight them is God.
Another aspect I was hopeful for, was to see a bit of Ed and Lorraine as a partnership in life. Again, I was not disappointed. Lorraine Warren is quoted as say that her husband Ed was her, "first and only. There was no one before, and there is no one after." Their love for one another was so strong and sure - and they both attributed that to their strength in Faith. They believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that God brought them together for a purpose - they were doing God's work. Again, I was not disappointed and this was again brought about as a central theme of the movie.
The final thing that I was hopeful for was that the filmmakers would be respectful of the true story and not add too much Hollywood garbage into things. While there were a few dramatizations (as you would expect), the film pretty well stuck to what really happened. I knew that Lorraine Warren herself had consulted on the film, but what I didn't know was that Ed actually got the ball rolling on it about twenty years ago, prior to his death in 2006. Additionally, the Perron family themselves also consulted on the film. This resulted in a film that was both true-to-life and respectful of both the family involved and the story itself.
The only aspect of the film that I did not like and would have taken out was a doll named Annabelle. This doll was from a completely different case and had nothing to do with the Perron family or their story. You can read about Annabelle's story here. Why Hollywood decided to include it is beyond me. Some of the trailers actually include this doll (which, by the way is a Raggedy Ann doll, not a creepy-looking porcelain doll) which leaves one to mistakenly believe the story is around Annabelle, when it is, in fact, not.
The story surrounding this film is one that can, literally, happen to anyone. Demons are real. There is no way to get around that. They are real, and they don't want us close to God, so they will do what they can to pull us from Him when we allow it. People do get plagued by them - every day. Some just plague us in little ways - telling us lies to make us feel bad or sorry for ourselves or to interfere with work we may be doing in God's honor. But others can affect us in bigger ways - wrecking havoc on our very lives and, in some cases, putting our very souls in jeopardy.
So how does one protect themselves from such diabolical attacks?
It's simple, don't bring it into your lives.
Don't get involved with anything occult in nature.
Don't do anything that would open you up to demonic attack.
Pray often - forge a strong relationship with Christ, not just in religion, but in spirit as well.
Accept him into your heart as your personal savior, if you haven't already.
Read the bible, and immerse yourself in God's word.
If you haven't been baptized, do so - it truly helps strengthen your relationship with Christ.
Get into a good church that you love.
If you do feel that something is going on in your life, speak with your pastor or priest - they will pray with you and, if you need further help, will guide you on the biblical principals that will help you get through your situation.
As a Christian, I feel that it is important to focus solely on God and His Higher Purpose for your life. I truly feel that this is how Ed and Lorraine Warren were - they loved God and they loved People. And when Ed walked into heaven, I feel that God looked at him and said, "well done, good and faithful servant." The Warrens do something that few paranormal investigators do, and that is acknowledge the fact that there is a Higher Power and that He is the one to call on. They took the time to witness to and often pray with those they were helping. They believed that God put them on this earth to help people, and that's what they did every day. In fact, it is what Lorraine still does, every day.
So, was The Conjuring "just another horror movie"? For most that go to see it, it is. But for me, it was so much more than that. It was a story about love, faith, and the power of God.