The story began following floods linked to a hurricane named Agnes. Jack and Janet Smurl, along with their children, Heather, Shannon, Dawn and Carin, had to decide to leave their home in 1973 and move to a semi-detached house in a suburb of Pittson, Pennsylvania, purchased by Jack’s parents: John and Mary. In this two-part house, the Smurl family then moved to the left side of the pavilion while Jack’s parents moved to the right side. However, as the house is old, Jack and Janet decided to do some landscaping work in order to “modernize” and make it more practical.
It was a year later, in 1974, that the paranormal phenomena began gradually. Especially this time when a dark spot would have appeared inexplicably on a carpet in the house. They would have tried with all their might to clean it up, but the task always came back. Or this time the bathroom toilets and sink would have been covered with scratches, even though they were new. Also, the eldest daughter reportedly saw transparent shapes hanging above her bed. Just like one day, the TV would have started to catch fire on its own. Then it was the turn of the water pipes to start leaking, without explanation because once again, even if they were repaired, they would have ended up leaking again.
But it was in 1977 that the phenomena began to worsen. The radio would have turned on and off by itself, the toilet flushed by itself, the drawers would have opened and closed by themselves, footsteps would have been heard on the stairs and a very violent smell of death would have been felt throughout the house. Jack would have started to feel a hand stroking or grazing him. It was then that the house became colder and colder.
Meanwhile, Janet gave birth to two little girls, and the situation in the house was getting worse and worse. One day, while standing in the kitchen, Janet reportedly saw a silhouette draw before her hallucinated eyes, a black shadow that froze her blood. On several occasions, when she was alone in the house, she said she heard her name being spoken, no matter how much she looked around the house, she never found the culprit.
Jack’s parents said they regularly heard insults and screams from Jack and Janet’s side of the house. They thought at the time that the couple was in trouble. But the day Mary, Jack’s mother, saw the dark entity seen by her daughter-in-law before, she realized that nothing was rational anymore. Worse still, she understood that they were not beneficial entities.
One day, the suspended fan (old light fixture) broke off and landed a few metres from the then 7-year-old Shannon. Janet woke up several times in a state of levitation. On another occasion, it would have been a violent physical assault that threw her out of the marital bed, while Jack was completely paralyzed. Then it would have been Shannon’s turn again to be dragged out of her room and found paralyzed with fear at the bottom of the stairs. Even the family dog, an adorable German shepherd named Simon, would have been in a state of levitation!
On a daily basis, scratches or rales (loud and hoarse breathing) were reported, especially in the walls. And then one evening, while Jack had fallen asleep in the living room in front of the TV, he would have suddenly woken up by a new paralysis that threw him to the ground, and he would have seen a deformed old woman standing on him to rape him. According to him, sometimes she appeared old, sometimes young, with red eyes and yellow gums.
Janet then decided to call on the Warren couple.
The couple explained that 4 entities were haunting the house, including a man who appeared in the shadows (who would have murdered his wife and lover before being hanged by the crowd a century earlier), an old woman, a powerful demon but also a force they could not channel, or even the other media that intervened in the story.
The couple also investigated outside to obtain testimonies from neighbours who had witnessed the events and indeed, when the couple was not in the house, they themselves would have heard screams, screams or growls coming from Smurl’s house.
Ed decided to contact Father McKenna, an exorcist mandated by the Vatican and already having proven himself with the Warren family. This one tried an exorcism in the house. But the effect would not have been as good as expected, worse still, the phenomena only increased. Moreover, during the exorcism, PVE (electronic voice phenomenon) of insults against the Warren were heard. During the same exorcism, Ed would have felt strangled by a demonic force. He had to recover from the attack for several days.
Janet reported that she had been sexually assaulted by the shadow she had already seen. Also, one of the two twins, Carin, fell suddenly ill and almost died as a result of this unexplainable infection. As for Dawn, the second twin, she was also reportedly sexually assaulted by the entity. Janet and her mother-in-law reportedly saw traces of blows, bites and stings all over her body.
The demons of the Smurl family constantly haunted the family and followed them wherever they went, both at work and camping, depending on the family.
Father McKenna tried a second exorcism several months later, in vain. The church then decided not to try anything further for the Smurl family, as rumours of false activities were heard. Indeed, despite witnesses seeing the activities, many thought it was a tactic to sell the house, following the family’s financial difficulties.
Janet explained that she could no longer tolerate the phenomena and harassment of the entities, which had only increased since Father McKenna’s exorcism. She then decided to contact the press, hoping that the church would move for a new exorcism. What a good idea she had, the journalists began to harass them, but also the neighbours.
The family then decided to contact with Lorraine Warren’s advice a medium named Mary Alice Rinkman. The following testimony from this same medium would have corroborated the Warren family’s testimony. The diocese would then have agreed to help the family following the evidence gathered by the medium. The Warren couple prepared a third exorcism with the help of several priests and a group of parishioners to form a prayer egregore.
Meanwhile, Ed Warren contacted the writer Robert Curran to write about the demonic history of the Smurls.
The exorcism was successful, at least, no phenomenon would have been felt. The Smurl family could finally breathe. Finally, only 3 months later, one evening, Jack saw the shadow reappearing before him, according to what he reported. He would have taken a cross to pray to the Lord in the hope that it was only an isolated incident, but the harmful entities had a completely different plan, and the hauntings started again.
A fourth and final exorcism took place, but exhausted by ten years of fighting against fierce entities, the family decided to leave the area. Thereafter, the Smurls were never again victims of haunting phenomena, and the new person who lived in the house following the Smurls’ move in 1988, declared that no supernatural things came to light.