Seven Horrific Hauntings Based on True Events
The Entity (1981)
The Entity is based on the story of Doris Bither. This is a sad story, paranormal involvement or not. On August 22, 1974, a paranormal investigation was opened on Bither and her family at 11547 Braddock Drive, Culver City, California. By the time the investigation was launched, the house was a dump, having been condemned by the city twice, and Bither herself was a disaster, covered in bruises. She had four children she was living with, a 6-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 10, 13 and 16, with whom she had a volatile relationship. Bither claimed the house was haunted, and the children, as well as other individuals outside the home, corroborated her story.
Bither informed the investigators that not only were spirits inhabiting her home, they were abusing her, physically and sexually. Now, Bither had a history of abuse by her parents and several men throughout her life, as well as a pretty rip-roaring case of alcoholism that may have contributed to the fact that she was experiencing such extreme visions. However, investigators were able to document some paranormal activity, the obligatory orbs et al, as well as a greenish, coiling mist which apparently formed the shape of a muscular man's torso. Unfortunately, nothing but the orbs and a light arc were captured on film.
The Entity follows the story of Carla Moran, who is based on Bither. Barbara Hershey plays the role, which does include the history of abuse but doesn't get into some of the other dark places in Bither's life. The Entity, however, does feature the spectral rape of which Bither claimed she was a victim. Certainly a unique and disturbing ghost story.
An American Haunting (2005)
Although it took a pounding by critics and audience members alike, and crapped the bed at the box office, An American Haunting definitely belongs on this list. The film is based on the book The Bell Witch: An American Haunting by Brent Monahan.
The Bell Witch legend revolves around the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee, and it's one of the most widely recognized cases of American poltergeist activity. The Bell Witch legend was also among the inspirations for The Blair Witch Project. In the late 1800's the Bell family reported paranormal experiences. The incidents started with noises in the walls but grew to include strange sounds and people experiencing the sensation of being pinched, slapped, objects being thrown and the spirit (apparently named Kate) loudly cursing the family.
Most of the activity occurred around Betsy Bell, the family's youngest daughter and apparently worsened after she became engaged to Joshua Gardner. Debunkers of the legend contest that a local schoolteacher, Richard Powell, jealous of Betsy's fiancé, was responsible for the haunting, trying to scare Gardner away so he could have Betsy to himself. Now that's romantic.
An American Haunting is centered around the Bell Witch legend but has a tie-in to modern times that involves a troubled girl and sexual abuse that was perpetrated upon her and (according to the film) Betsy Bell as well. In this case the film certainly gets a bit more brutal than the legend.