The 2009 horror film, The Haunting in Connecticut, originated in a string of truth. However, box offices did not reap the benefit of said truths as many critics and moviegoers were not impressed with the retelling of the 1980s paranormal account of the Snedeker family. If for nothing else, The Haunting in Connecticut may have helped to increase the Vatican’s need for new and certified exorcists, as the Pope has made claim to a supernatural, satanic spike in spiritual activity over the last few years.
The movie takes place in 1987 with mother,Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen); sons, Matthew (Kyle Gallner) and Billy (Ty Wood); Matt’s cousin, Wendy (Amanda Crew); and father, Peter (Martin Donovan), renting a new home in order to keep cancer-fighting Matthew close to a hospital for treatments. The family soon discovers secrets about their new home, including its past use as a funeral home, and they begin to experience paranormal activity which leaves them terrified for their lives. Although the film is based on a real accounting of such a haunting, many who paid to see the film were not impressed with the story, the graphics, or even the concept of the movie. It may have been moderately successful at the box office, but the most intriguing part of this film’s existence is, in part, its addition to Pope Francis’ claim that supernatural forces, as seen in movies such as The Haunting in Connecticut, are on the rise.
The Pope issued a decree requesting new candidates be inducted into a program, fashioned by the Vatican, to increase the number of certified exorcists around the globe. In May 2014, the Vatican sponsored the ninth annual Exorcism and Prayer for Liberation Conference. Among the many priests and nuns in attendance, many doctors, psychiatrists, and even criminologists were present in an effort, the Catholic Church says, to fight these evil forces with a “multi-disciplinary” approach.
Pope Francis himself gave lecture and teaching on the ministry of exorcism, and has since been labeled a modern pope with old-school point of views. The Washington Post noted that the teachings of Pope Francis are the oldest of any other pope since Paul VI, who carried the mantel through the 60s and 70s. In a press release, it was stated that the conference itself was not a course to actually become exorcists, but merely provide the educational tools needed for men and women of the cloth to aid the public and support families who may experience supernatural attack. It is no wonder that films like The Haunting in Connecticut are helping to increase the Vatican’s need for more exorcists, especially when such films are based on true (however controversial) accounts.
Conference organizers reported that despite 250 priests being trained as exorcists within Italy alone, many other exorcists are needed to help fight this spiritual battle. Father Cesar Truqui, a Swiss priest and trained exorcist, told The Telegraph that one-third of the calls received in any Rome diocese are for the request of a trained minister of exorcism.
Although there are many skeptics who say that the Church, and all therein, are full of hogwash, other religious followers have taken the news from the Vatican to heart. Many have ceased to watch horror films like The Haunting in Connecticut, believing they could be unwittingly letting in evil spirits which could corrupt their homes and lives. The Haunting in Connecticut and films similar to it which tell a story based on true supernatural, satanic, and/or paranormal experiences, may be the very types of films to help increase the Vatican’s claimed need for new and experienced exorcists. However, whether or not the army of demon-fighting priests needed will come forth has yet to be determined. What people do know is that horror films are not going anywhere and, apparently, neither are those who believe them to be true.
Written by Danyol Jaye
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
Daily Mail- Vatican to train army of exorcists to deal with rising number of ‘demonic possessions’
The Huffington Post- Exorcism Conference At Vatican Addresses The Need For More Demon-Fighting Priests
Chasing The Frog- The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Feature Photo Courtesy of George Redgrave’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License