Since the first books I edited in 2012 were paranormal nonfiction, I guess it was only a matter of time before I posted a review of this nature. Many people around the world are familiar with Ed and Lorraine Warren, whether it is by reputation or from The Conjuring movie series. The book The Haunted offers first-hand accounts of hauntings that took place in a small town in Pennsylvania between 1974 and 1989.
The events that took place in the small town of West Pittston began in a duplex on Chase Street that John and Mary Smurl bought in autumn of 1973. The couple moved in on one side of the duplex while their son and his wife moved into the other unit with their children. It wasn’t until about a year later that all of the Smurls began experiencing paranormal phenomena. It started off as small annoyances more than anything else—annoyances that could be explained by rational means. Soon, though, other things began to happen that could not be explained away by faulty wiring or one’s imagination.
When Ed and Lorraine Warren come into the picture and meet the Smurls, they are taken aback because of how devoutly Catholic the Smurls are. Hauntings don’t typically take place in a home filled with God’s love according to the Warrens, and certainly not when there hasn’t been any provocation. With time, the hauntings intensify, and it is clear that whatever is antagonizing this family has no plans to leave them alone.
We are given much insight into the characters’ personalities in this book. Readers learn that the Smurls are god-fearing, rule-abiding folks who live quiet lives. Embarrassed and distraught by what is happening in their home, the Smurls soon learn that others in their neighborhood are experiencing strange occurrences in their homes as well. This book includes interviews with these neighbors; some give their names while others prefer to remain anonymous.
It’s impossible to know for sure whether the paranormal events in this book are factual or not. Readers will come to sympathize with the Smurls, and, with this said, it’s hard to imagine that the Smurls and their neighbors would play such a long game that ultimately changes their lives, and not for the better.