In the small town of Southington, Connecticut, two parents seeking treatment for their son’s rare immune disease unknowingly moved into a quaint rental house that previously served as a mortuary. There, the Snedeker family experienced horrifying events that would forever change their lives.
On June 30th, 1986, Allen and Carmen Snedeker and their daughter, three sons and two nieces moved into a temporary residence located on 208 Meriden Avenue in Southington, CT. One of their sons, Philip, suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was to be treated at nearby UConn Hospital.
Due to an earlier renovation project undertaken by Darrel Kern, the home’s owner, the Snedeker family was unable to examine the basement prior to moving in. After getting settled, Carmen decided to remove the building materials that were blocking the stairway leading down into the cellar. It wasn’t until then that the mother made a startling discovery: various mortuary tools and fixtures, including scalpels, hooks, needles, arterial tubes, gurneys, a hoisting apparatus for coffins and blood drainage pit, scattered around the basement.
Alarmed by what she had seen, Carmen rushed upstairs and told her husband Allen. The two of them decided to conduct some research on the house’s history. They learned the home was built in the early 1900s and was converted into a funeral parlor in 1930. The business, named Hallarahan Funeral Home, served the local community for decades.
Hauntings, paranormal investigation and rise in popularity
According to the Snedeker family, many frightening events began to unfold not long after Philip and his younger brother Bradley started sleeping in the basement (since it was much larger than the smaller rooms located upstairs). Surprisingly enough, the exact place where they slept was actually the former casket display room of Hallarahan Funeral Home.
According to website Live Science:
“The eldest son began seeing ghosts and terrifying visions. The experiences spread to other family members and got worse..”
It seems the mother, Carmen, witnessed the most activity.
One day, she was cleaning the kitchen and brought out a mop and bucket to use on the floor tile. It didn’t take long until she noticed something extremely disturbing:
“The mop water was blood red. I mean a deep, deep red. It made my skin crawl.” (A Haunting in Connecticut)
Another time, Carmen set the dining room table as usual shortly before dinner. After getting food and bringing it back to the table, she noticed all of the dishes were mysteriously gone. She later discovered the plates and bowls were back inside the cupboards:
“I thought I was losing my mind. I know I set the table but the dishes weren’t there.” (A Haunting in Connecticut)
Bradley Snedeker said while he was alone in the basement, the lights would sometimes flicker off and on even though they had no bulbs. During that short period of time when the room was dark while this was happening, he saw the silhouette of a tall figure standing in the corner.
Other family members announced they had also seen similar apparitions; one of which included a pair of peculiarly thin men. The first man had long black hair and high cheek bones. The other wore a pinstriped tuxedo and had his arms crossed, as if he had been prepared for burial (even though he was standing upright).
ChasingtheFrog.com describes how Carmen later came upon other unusual belongings, besides the embalming equipment:
“There were a couple of photos in the home, but there were many toe tags and a head tag. There were [also] personal items of the deceased.”
It was also reported that violent sexual assaults by unseen entities took place inside the house. The incidents occurred in the middle of the night while the occupants were sleeping. The victims said they would often wake up in a state of fear and were frozen in place and unable to move before being horrifically violated.
The Snedekers eventually contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of self-proclaimed ghost hunters and demonologists who gained quite a bit of notoriety from the Amityville Horror case. After the husband and wife duo arrived at the Southington home, they conducted an in-depth investigation and eventually determined the house was possessed.
A short time later, the Warrens launched a media campaign that eventually resulted in the story being featured in Ray Garton’s best-selling novel, In a Dark Place.
Read the book’s dramatic synopsis below:
“Shortly after moving into their new home, the Snedeker family is assaulted by a sinister presence that preys one-by-one on their family. Exhausting all other resources, they call up the world-renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren—who have never encountered a case as frightening as this…” (Amazon)
The story was also inspiration for the 2009 horror flick, The Haunting in Connecticut.
Skepticism of the Snedeker Haunting
The Snedekers reported they stayed in the house for a total of two years: from 1986 to 1988. This baffled some and prompted questions as to why the family didn’t move out sooner considering the dire circumstance they found themselves in.
Atlas Obscura points out some other interesting details that eventually came to light:
“…The oldest son, who besides having a drug habit, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to some of the vileness going on in the Snedeker household. In addition, during the entire time the pandemonium was in full swing, the upstairs neighbor lived without incident. Most damning is the testimony of the author hired to write the original book for the Warrens and Snedekers, Ray Garton. Garton eventually went on the record that not only was he given conflicting stories from the Snedekers, he was given directions to ignore those conflicts and sensationalize the story.”
In an interview, Garton revealed his experience after confronting Ed Warren concerning his own doubts about the legitimacy of the haunting:
“I found that the accounts of the individual Snedekers didn’t quite mesh. They couldn’t keep their stories straight. I went to Ed with this problem. ‘Oh, they’re crazy,’ he said…. ‘You’ve got some of the story — just use what works and make the rest up… Just make it up and make it scary.'” (Live Science)
The fact that the movie The Haunting in Connecticut claimed to be based on a true story (the Snedeker haunting), but instead was very “loosely” based on it, didn’t help either:
- In the film, the character Jonah, who conducted a séance to speak with the dead, was purely fictional. The writers and producers reportedly added the character to the storyline to help “explain” the supernatural events that occurred.
- Frightening dead people with carved writing in their skin were also inserted into the movie’s plot to increase the scare factor.
- Bodies were never found in the walls of the house. They were allegedly featured in the film to symbolize the cadavers treated by Hallarahan Funeral Home and the theory that the souls of those bodies remained trapped within the residence.
- Philip obviously never burned down the house as it still stands to this day.
Additionally, the current owner, Susan Trotta-Smith, told NBC Connecticut at the time of the film’s premiere she had been living in the home for ten years and witnessed nothing out of the ordinary:
“Our house is wonderful. This is all Hollywood foolishness. The stories are all ludicrous.”
Still, some people close to the case think nefarious activity might have occurred inside the home.
According to Associated Content:
“Researchers believed that former funeral workers were guilty of necrophilia, which led to the evil presence. [It was] later reported that former workers were found guilty of the crime, although we are unable to find documentation regarding this claim.”
What do you think about the Snedeker Haunting? Leave a comment below.
Note: The home featured in this article is located on private property. Please respect the owners and do not trespass.
Main Image Credit: Try To Scare Me
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