Janet and Jack Smurl moved into their West Pittston, Pennsylvania duplex in 1973. In 1986, newspapers reported that the family had endured 18 months of unrelenting torture from a “demonic horde.” Two exorcisms had failed to cleanse the house of its evil, the family claimed, and everyone – including their German Shepherd – was under physical and mental attack.
Hardly surprising, famed psychic investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren agreed to consult on the case. After a lengthy (and highly publicized) investigation, Ed Warren said he had accumulated evidence revealing the existence of a “powerful, intangible, invisible force.”
Crowds in the hundreds clogged streets as both the spiritual and skeptical tried to get a look at the Luzerne County home. Newspapers across the country carried the Smurls’ story making the home ever more famous. Janet Smurl expressed discomfort about the publicity saying the demon didn’t like it.
By late August 1986, Ed Warren was telling reporters that Jack Smurl had been sexually assaulted by a “succubus” inhabiting the residence.
Two weeks later came the headline that many observers were likely expecting: Jack Smurl was in negotiation with a Hollywood production company to sell the rights to his story. St. Martin’s Press announced in November 1986 that it was publishing a book about the Smurl haunting. In 1991 the TV movie debuted. Among the writers credited were Jack and Janet Smurl and Ed and Lorraine Warren. By the time of the film’s release, however, the Smurls had moved out – and the new resident claimed to have no unusual experiences while living in the home.