Connecticut Haunted house was once congressman's Chris Murphy's home
By Peter Urban
WASHINGTON -- Although he claims to just hate, hate horror flicks, Rep. Chris Murphy is anxious to see "The Haunting in Connecticut" that opens Friday.
The spooky house, you see, was once his home.
"I lived there from December 1996 until the summer of 1998," Murphy, D-5, confessed Wednesday.
The movie, which stars Virginia Madsen, is based on what the film promoter claims is "a chilling true story" that charts one family's terrifying, real-life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural.
In 1987, a family moved into a long empty house on Meriden Avenue, in Southington, that had been a funeral home dating to the 1920s and almost immediately began experiencing "strange sounds, changes in temperature and the appearance of mysterious figures." With the help of famed demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, of Monroe, the family uncovered the terrible secrets lurking in the house and confronted, according to the movie promoter, "the most shocking evil spirits ever seen in an American haunting."
Fresh out of Williams College, Murphy moved into a second-floor apartment in that very house with two childhood friends -- unaware of its haunted past. They'd found the apartment through a newspaper advertisement.
"The rent was pretty cheap and it was gorgeous. There were hardwood floors and lots of space," Murphy recalled.
The trio thought nothing of the two large stone pillars in the front yard or the massive parking lot out back, but soon found out that the building was once a funeral home.
"A plumber came by the second day we were there and was looking around and saying 'Wow, I've never been in the haunted house before,'" he said.
"We were floored, but I don't think any of us were predisposed to believe the story," Murphy said. "None of us looked too hard for the ghosts." Indeed, Murphy said that the second floor had always been an apartment even when the funeral home operated out of the first floor and basement. They also heard from a previous tenant who claimed the ghost story was fiction and made up by the family as a rouse to get out of paying rent they owed.
"We loved that apartment. It was beautiful and the landlord was very nice. I've got nothing but good things to say about 208 Meriden Avenue," Murphy said. "I am a ghost skeptic. And, if I wasn't before living in that house I am now."
His housemates -- Darren Coyle and Rob Herron, who have since moved out of state -- did have one minor scare.
They went to New Haven to listen to a talk given by the Warrens and asked them about the Southington house.
"The only advice they gave was that we should get out of the house immediately. That's the only thing that spooked us," Murphy said.
Murphy has already watched the movie trailer and expects that the film will take great liberties with reality.
"The movie departs from the actual story pretty quickly," he said. "The house in the movie looks nothing like the real house."
Still, Murphy plans to buy a ticket.
"I hate horror movies, but I feel an obligation to go see this movie," he said.