I’m going a little rogue this month and deviating from the established schedule – we’re going to take a look at another haunting and another urban legend for maximum spookiness. The haunting we will be looking at is one that comes with tragic circumstances – a chronic and devastating illness, the uprooting of a family, and a story that inflated beyond control. What happened to the Snedeker family in 1986? Let’s explore.
In 1986, the Snedeker family – parents, along with their three sons and one daughter – were searching for a new home in Connecticut. Their oldest son had been diagnosed with and was being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and the commute was wearing on everyone. When they found a white-washed duplex in Southington for a more-than-reasonable price, they jumped at the opportunity. They didn’t think too much about why the home was going for so low – it simply felt like a much-needed break in their recent string of bad luck. They snagged the listing and moved in with their family and some nieces. The home was split up to be a duplex, so they would occupy the first floor and basement.
Shortly after moving in, they discovered some disturbing artifacts from past owners. In the basement, there were all sorts of items required for the embalming and preparation of bodies for burial. They found a gurney, a pulley system to move coffins, floor drains, toe tags, and more. The Snedekers claim that they were never told of the home’s history when moving in, despite the owner of the house disputing this.
The alleged paranormal phenomena began almost immediately after the family moved in. Items would vanish and then reappear in other rooms. Shadow figures were seen throughout the new home. There was the oppressive feeling of being watched, often accompanied by a lingering sense of dread. The oldest child apparently also began to have violent mood shifts and personality changes and began writing poetry with themes of necrophilia. He was institutionalized after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and allegedly was better when he was away from the home.
Big trigger warning for sexual assault and rape here. The mother and one niece claim to have been groped and raped by invisible spirits multiple times. The husband also reported being violently sodomized. The mother watched as mop water turned to a blood-like substance, and the smell of rotting meat was smelled throughout the house.
Aside from the vague shadow people, there were a few sightings of visual entities. The first was a male spirit with long black hair and frightening dark eyes. The second was a man with white hair and white eyes – and I feel like I need to point out the exact opposite aesthetics, there – wearing a pinstriped suit.
The Snedekers reached out to everyone possible, hoping to find someone that would help them. And because this is Connecticut in the 80s, the Warrens were contacted. They agreed to investigate the home and took residence there with a handful of other investigators for a few weeks. They claimed to experience everything the Snedeker family had and more. They were slapped, tripped, punched, and pushed around. They also claimed that an employee of the funeral parlor (some sources claim it was an undertaker, other accounts do not specify) was sexually assaulting the bodies that came through the home. I can find no historical documents or contemporary news sources to corroborate this claim. Eventually, they came to the conclusion that the home was infested with demons and needed to be exorcised. The house was allegedly “cleansed” of all evil entities after the exorcism.
During the investigation into the phenomena, some information about the oldest Snedeker son came to light. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and had a drug addiction. I want to make it clear that I don’t bring this up to cast aspersions on his character or claim that he is in some way less of a person because of his mental illness or issues with addiction. However, I do believe that mental illness and addiction and the methods used to cope with those things can explain some of the mood and personality shifts that were attributed to the paranormal in this case.
Additionally, it’s important to note that this house was a duplex. That means there was another resident in the home. While the Snedeker family lived at the house, there was another resident living on the upper floor. When interviewed regarding the paranormal claims, they said they had never experienced anything out of the ordinary. While it is possible that whatever entity terrorized the Snedeker family contained itself to the basement and the first floor, it seems unlikely that the upstairs neighbor wouldn’t have heard a thing.
The Warrens, still believing in the story despite the conflicting information, pushed to publish the story as a book. They teamed up with author Ray Garton, who would work with the Warrens and Snedekers to write the manuscript that would become In a Dark Place. Since the publication of the book, Garton has come forward with claims that the Snedekers had conflicting stories regarding the phenomena experienced, and the family members continually undermined and presented contradictory information to each other. Garton took the issue to Ed Warren, who brushed the concerns off, allegedly stating that the family was “crazy” and that Garton should just “make the story up” and to just be sure to make it scary – which insinuates that Ed Warren simply wanted the money from the book, not the truth of the story.
We will never know what truly happened to the Snedeker family in the 1980s. It could have been demons. Could have been ghosts. It could have been a cry for help from a distressed and disturbed young man. It could have been a hoax. Or it could have been some mixture of any of the above. I want to end, however, on a reminder that the house itself is just a house. A house that people still live in – so be respectful and don’t trespass.