The owners of Rhode Island’s most famous haunted house are looking to conjure up some buyers, according to a Wall Street Journal feature published on Thursday.
The 8.5-acre estate has a fascinating history stretching back to King Philip’s War; however, the home was launched into the spotlight with “The Conjuring,” a 2013 film that remixed the real-life experiences of the Perron family who owned the home in the 1970s. Despite its reputation, paranormal investigators Jenn and Cory Heinzen jumped at the chance to purchase the home for $439,000 in 2019.
“We bought the house hoping to share it with the world and I feel like we have done a great job starting that,” Ms. Heinzen told the Journal of her and her husband’s successful business renting the home to fellow paranormal enthusiasts. “I’m looking for someone who will continue to run the business as we’ve started it.”
The Heinzens said they were aware of the home’s horrifying past, which includes violent spirits who attempted to harm and even murder members of the Perron family, who recounted their experiences in a book. With that, the couple moved into the home cautiously, living in one room for four months so their house guests could get used to their presence.
“It was a sign of respect for the spirits, letting them get used to us instead of barging in,” Mr. Heinzen said.
The couple said they’ve continued to treat the spirits as co-owners, with them asking permission to complete $50,000 in renovations to the home and nearby barn, where the couple lives. They also asked for permission to turn the main home into a short-term rental for paranormal investigators and enthusiasts, which is fully booked through 2022.
“It’s the land that’s stigmatized, not the house itself,” Mr. Heinzen said of their positive experience living there. “There’s no noise or light contamination. It’s peaceful to sit out on the back porch and have a nice evening listening to the brook and the animals.”
Listing agents Benjamin Kean and Ben Guglielmi of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty said the home has a unique allure and is worth every penny of the $1.2 million asking price. “We have something really special, not only a part of paranormal history but also a part of Hollywood history,” Kean told WSJ. “Not many houses are going to give you that package.”
In a phone call with Inman, Guglielmi said he’s known the owners for over a year and helped them think about the logistics of transforming the home into a short-term rental and visitors’ attraction.
“We engaged the current owners about a year ago, when they were sort of just dipping their toes in the water, as it were, about the idea of selling, and simultaneously sort of considering getting a business going with the house,” he said. “I sort of maintained a rapport with the owners since then.”
“At this point, they’ve established a very sort of steady, successful business with the house doing tours and events and overnights and stuff like that,” he added. “They feel like they’re ready to sort of pass the baton on to someone who’s, ideally presumably sort of like-minded and share their pursuits and passions.”
Guglielmi said the listing has already drawn a few serious buyers, thanks, in part, to the Wall Street Journal feature. “It has been a roller coaster,” he said. “Virtually, every sort of media outlet now has reached out to us. We’ve got a lot of attention and we’re engaged with a couple of prospective buyers at this point.”
The process of finding serious buyers is just as important as weeding out the looky-loos, he said, since there are plenty of horror film fanatics looking for their chance to step into “The Conjuring” home. Buyers are required to provide proof of funds and sign a nondisclosure agreement to tour the home, which Guglielmi said is to protect the owners.
“We’re sort of building the plane while we fly with this one,” he said of the listing process. “We kind of anticipated that a lot of just horror movie junkies would come out of the woodwork and, and just want to see the house, which is why we put in the MLS listing, please don’t pull into the driveway, don’t disrupt the owners.”
Guglielmi said the opportunity to sell a haunted home is rare and it takes plenty of creativity and logistics.” This is really one of the things that I love about real estate — you could list just the standard, triple-decker multifamily in Providence one day, and then listing something like this the very next day,” he said. “It’s just so varied.”
“Inevitably, I think the right buyer will be someone likely outside of Rhode Island with an interest in capitalizing on this business that the current owners have started and share this sort of passion for the paranormal,” he added.