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Tea’s Weird Week: The Conjuring: 1992 Sally Jessy Rafaël Edition

I see there’s a new Conjuring movie out, the latest addition to the “Conjuring-verse” starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as “demonologists” Ed and Lorraine Warren. Oh Hollywood, you old devil.

Before I delve more into that, let’s revisit the “Trash TV” era of daytime tabloid talk shows. In the 80s and 90s, shows like Geraldo (1987-1998), Donahue (1970-1996), The Jenny Jones Show (1991-2003), The Jerry Springer Show (1991-2018), Maury (1991-present), and The Sally Jesse Rafaël Show (1983-2002) and others were all in competition with each other.

While cruising around Google, I found an episode of The Sally Jesse Rafaël Show with Ed and Lorraine Warren as guests from 1992 and it is just hog wild. In 1992 all of the shows I listed were on daytime TV and if you wanted to grab those ratings, you best dump the idle chit chat and get down and dirty– scream at a Satanist, get your nose broken by a white supremacist, send bratty teens to boot camp, break someone’s heart or reveal that they are “not the father.”

The Warrens fit right in to this environment. In the Conjuring movies the Warrens are depicted as beautiful people that are courageous warriors fighting demons, but there are quite a lot of accounts that suggest otherwise. They’ve been accused of being grifters who fabricate, exaggerate, and exploit to sell books, movies based on their appearances, and get paid appearances. They were experts of making a mountain out of a molehill, and as such were perfect Trash TV guests.

The Warrens 1992 appearance on Sally Jessy Rafaël’s show tied in with the release of a book titled In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, which was turned in the pre-Conjuring-verse film The Haunting in Connecticut. The book is listed as being authored by the Warrens, the Snedekers (Al and Carmen), and another person I’ll talk more about in a minute. The Snedekers claim that in 1986, they moved into a home that was a former funeral home in Southington, Connecticut. The Snedekers say that their entire family witnessed supernatural events and the parents said they were sexually assaulted by ghosts or demons (incubus/succubus). They called in the Warrens, who stayed for 9 weeks or so, culminating with an exorcism that cleared the evil forces out. The case was also featured on shows like A Haunting and Paranormal Witness.

The Warrens (and the Snedekers) were not writers. The Warrens would hand notes to an author, usually a burgeoning horror novelist, so they could write a dramatic account of what happened. In the case of the Snedeker book, the Warrens hired then 29-year-old horror author Ray Garton. Garton was sent to interview the Snedekers and he says the story immediately began to fall apart.

In an interview, Garton says:

“When I found that the Snedekers couldn’t keep their individual stories straight, I went to Ed Warren and explained the problem. “They’re crazy,” he said. “All the people who come to us are crazy, that’s why they come to us. Just use what you can and make the rest up. You write scary books, right? Well, make it up and make it scary. That’s why we hired you.”

Yikes. Garton also says in the interview that “the family was a mess, but their problems were not supernatural and they weren’t going to get the kind of help they needed from the Warrens,” and that he never met the son, who much of the story revolved around. “I was allowed to talk to him briefly on the phone, but as soon as he started telling me that the things he ‘saw’ in the house went away after he’d been medicated, Carmen abruptly ended the conversation,” Garton says. The Warrens also said they had a videotape of supernatural activity– which Garton never saw because the Warrens said they lost it.

Garton finished the book, but guilt about fabricating the story led him to later speak out in several interviews. He called the book “the low point of my career.” And he says he’s not the only writer with this experience. From the same interview:

“Since writing the book, I’ve learned a lot that leaves no doubt in my mind about the fraudulence of the Warrens and the Snedekers — not that I had much doubt, anyway. I’ve talked to other writers who’ve been hired to write books for the Warrens — always horror writers, like myself — and their experiences with the Warrens have been almost identical to my own.”

With all this in mind, here is the 1992 episode of The Sally Jessy Rafaël Show titled “I Was Raped by a Ghost.” I included some notes on the program (but not on the incredible 90s fashion). A content warning, as the title implies, there is talk of alleged sexual assault by demons. Here is video of the entire episode:

0:15: Yes, the actual title for this episode was “I Was Raped by a Ghost.” Screen captions explain guests with phrases like: “Al SAYS HE WAS SODOMIZED BY A GHOST” and Al & Carmen SAY THEY WERE SEXUALLY MOLESTED BY A GHOST.

8:40: Sally Jesse: “In order to fully understand, we want you to show us what happened. We have a bed here today…” uh WHUT.

12:22: Al: “Carmen, I think I was just sodomized by this demon.”

12:40: Carmen imitates demon laughing as it takes pleasure sodomizing her, sounds like Count Chocula.

20:00: Carmen: “One night I ran down the street with Kelly, being sodomized the whole way.” I’m starting to think the Snedekers maybe just had a bad case of hemorrhoids.

21:43: Richard and other neighbors: NOT IMPRESSED, OVER IT.

28:27: This woman went on to be the most frequent poster in your neighborhood-orientated Facebook group (and also the butt of reoccurring jokes in that group).

31:54: Here’s Ed and Lorraine, promoting the book I mentioned, In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. Sally refers to them as “ghostbusters.” Ed’s opening line is “We feel through our investigation that necrophilia, abuse of the corpses occurred at the home. Not necessarily by the undertakers, it could be anyone that went in there.” Dude, what?! He doesn’t offer any proof that would back up his pretty bold claim that the neighborhood’s dearly departed were being buggered, but I would guess the source was a psychic vision by Lorraine.

33:01: Neighbors: YEAH RIGHT. Also, weird green screen of the Snedeker House behind them. Just looks weird.

34:38: And if you want to know where the party is, this guy knows.

35:40: “If you ask the gentleman sitting right over there.” Uh yeah, that gentleman might be biased– that’s the Warren’s nephew and heir apparent John Zaffis, who went on to star in the reality show Haunted Collector.

38:58: They gave Joe Nickell of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry about 3 minutes, most of it Ed shouting over him. You might think it strange that a guy who loves weird stuff and hosts a Milwaukee Paranormal Conference and leads ghost tours would not like a skeptic, but that’s not true. Nickell is a great research journalist and I’m a fan of that. He’s got good information that Warrens are liars and that’s why Ed is trying to yell over him.

41:53: Carmen: “Ghosts have no gender, I don’t think. I’m not sure, but I don’t believe they have a gender.” That might be true, but they def got something they can stick in your butt.

42:16: Sally: “The exorcism apparently worked,” on hearing that the Snedekers were no longer being haunted.

Well, there you go, I think we all learned a valuable lesson here…that demonic hauntings can PAY BIG. The Haunting in Connecticut movie made over $77 million at the box office, The Conjuring made $318 million (one of the most profitable horror films of all time) and spawned 6 sequels and spin-offs. Hey, I get it– I’ve seen maybe 4 out of 7 of these movies, and I enjoyed them– just ignore that “based on a true story” bullshit claim at the beginning of the movie.

Tea’s Weird Week Season 2 Episode 4, Thanatochemistry: My co-host Heidi Erickson interviews death professional Kelly Teague about thanatochemistry, green funerals, and the Death Cafe, Tea and Heidi talk about the upcoming Midwest Haunters Convention and weird news about squids in space, mathematical bees, watermelon crushin’ record, a strange drone attack, and the classic 2004 case of Marvin Heemeyer and his Killdozer. Plus trivia from Miss Information, original music by Android138 and we close out with a fiery track from Queen Tut, “Matador.”
Listen here! Tea’s Weird Week S2 ep04: Thanatochemistry (podbean.com)

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Check out my latest books:

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers (2019, Chicago Review Press)

Wisconsin Legends & Lore (2020, History Press)

Tea’s Weird Week Trivia: Round 1

Automotive (2)

I had a fun first round of Tea’s Weird Week Trivia this last Saturday. Congrats to Sharon who was the overall winner and Estephanie who won the Cursed Objects round and picked out a category for this week– “Famous Missing Persons Cases.” Other rounds will include the man vs animal “Animal King, Dumb,” classic “UFO Files,” and stories about “Xtreme Social Distancing.” Prizes will include books (authored by myself and others) and other weird swag. This Saturday, 5pm (central), on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos 

Here’s the questions from last week if you didn’t get a chance to play. You can get a feel for the trivia and host your own trivia session with your roommate.  Answer key is way at the bottom of the post. For this week, I am encouraging that trivia players send donations/ shop at the International Cryptozoology Museum: www.cryptozoologymuseum.com

Special thanks to American Ghost Walks to providing tickets for a prize!

(You can see the video of the trivia session and see how people did here: https://www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos/videos/511195046147212/)

Cryptozoology

1.) In the late 80s/ early 90s there were several sightings in Bishopville, South Carolina of a cryptid commonly called:

A. the Bishopville Dogma
B. the Bishopville Lizardman
C. the Bishopville Octopusman
D. the Bishopville Birdman

2.) A classic examination of cryptids is the 1970 book Strange Creatures Out of Time and Space. Who was the author?

3.) Where is the International Cryptozoology Museum located? City and state. 

4.) This Australian animal was thought to have gone extinct after the last one died in captivity at the Hobart Zoo in 1936, however cryptozoologists believe it might still be alive. You can give the scientific or common name.

5). One of the big cryptozoology stories this month are pictures circulating that purportedly show a Sasquatch peeking into a couple’s mobile home. Scott Yeoman reports that the couple smelled something he described as a mix of “rotting animal flesh, vomit and excrement” before spotting the cryptid and snapping photos of it. Which state did this happen in? Picture in comments.
A. Colorado
B. Idaho
C. Washington
D. Wyoming

Bigfoot-Window
Conspiracy Theories in the News

1.) In a Tea’s Weird Week column last month, I reported that at least 24 people had launched 2020 campaigns for Congress that follow what conspiracy belief?

A. That Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer
B. QAnon
C. Flat Earth Theory
D. 9/11 Truthers

BONUS: Which two states have the most candidates? 

2.) Alex Jones of InfoWars was issued a cease and desist by the New York attorney general for trying to sell what product he claimed would “kill the entire SARS-corona family at point blank range.” when used. Was it: 

A. A hand cream
B. Toilet paper
C. Toothpaste
D. Condoms

3.) Pour one out for “Mad Mike” Hughes, a daredevil who died when he bailed out of his homemade rocket and his parachute malfunctioned on Feb.22 outside of Barstow. What conspiracy message was written on the side of his rocket?

A. Epstein didn’t kill himself
B. Birds don’t exist
C. Trump is a Reptilian
D. Research Flat Earth

4.) Last month Trump retweeted a publication that was founded by a Chinese American spiritual movement called the Falun Gong. The publication has endorsed QAnon and other conspiracies and through sockpuppet accounts spent over 9 million dollars on pro-Trump ads. What is the name of the publication?

5.) During a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans last month a float depicted Jeffrey Epstein being strangled by what politician?

Cursed and Possessed Items

1.) Murder, car accidents, gangrene, drug overdoses, and house fires, are just a few of the stories associated with this gem that is currenly on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of National History.


2.) This Raggedy Ann doll is supposedly possessed and was kept in a glass case by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. There’s a recent movie series based on the doll. What’s the name of the doll?


3.) The Curse of the Chicago Cubs supposedly was set in place in 1945 after a tavern owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field with his smelly pet. What type of animal was it?

A. An alligator
B. A skunk
C. A billy goat
D. A pig

4. A mass produced painting popular across England in the 1980s was said to be cursed. Supposedly a series of  house fires left only the paintings behind. What did the painting feature?

A. A crying boy
B. A girl playing the violin
C. A child peeking out from a red door
D. A 3 toed sloth hang gliding with a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald in its claws

5. Zak Bagans Haunted Museum in Las Vegas allegedly has a haunted or cursed mirror that belonged to which horror icon?

A. Stephen King
B. Edgar Allan Poe
C. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
D. Vincent Price
E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History

1.) This actress known as the “Swedish Sphinx” who once said in a movie “I vant to be alone” retired in 1941 at age 36. She refused to do autographs, interviews, award shows, or fan mail and lived alone in Manhattan. 

2.) In the 1970s this musician mostly stayed at home in bed getting high and recording music known as the “Bedroom Tapes.” Though he would sometimes be spotted at night at LA clubs in his robe and slippers. 

3.) This writer had a famous novel published in 1951. After his last story was published in 1965 in the New Yorker the already reclusive author secluded himself in a cottage in New Hampshire. 

4.) After forfeiting his world champion title in 1975, this chess player became reclusive, disappearing from the public for long periods of time until he died in 2008 in Iceland. 

5.) Tristan da Cunha most remote populated place in the world, over 1300 miles from their nearest populated neighbor, located between south america and africa. A mail ship stops by only once a year.  2019 estimated population was: 

A. 99
B. 3
C. 246
D. 500

Answers below!

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

 

ANSWERS (click on highlighted answers to see more!)

Cryptozoology: 1. B. Bishopville Lizardman 2. John Keel 3. Portland, Maine 4. Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger 5. A. Colorado

Conspiracy Theories in the News: 1. B.QAnon, BONUS: California and Florida 2. C. Toothpaste 3. D. Research Flat Earth 4. The Epoch Times 5. Hillary Clinton

Cursed or Possessed Items: 1. the Hope Diamond 2. Annabelle 3. C. billy goat 4. A. a crying boy 5. E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History: 1. Greta Garbo 2. Brian Wilson 3. J.D. Salinger 4. Bobby Fischer 5. C. 246