From the fire on the set of The Exorcism to all of the strange happenings surrounding those involved with the production of Poltergeist there is a long and strange history between horror movies and real life freaky occurrences. It turns out that The Conjuring franchise can now be added to this legacy, because lead actress Vera Farmiga has actually experienced two unexplainable incidents since starting work on the series.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of being a part of a small group of film journalists invited to visit the set of director James Wan’s The Conjuring 2, and it was while interviewing Vera Farmiga about her part in the upcoming sequel that she divulged details about two horror film-esque events that she has experienced since becoming part of the growing franchise. One occurred during pre-production on The Conjuring, and one happened right at the end of filming… but they’re connected incidents as both happen to involve a series of three scratch marks.
The First IncidentVera Farmiga’s first creepy experience surrounding The Conjuring happened when she was originally considering signing on to the first movie a few years ago. She was just starting to look into the experiences of Lorraine Warren and talk with James Wan about the project when something pretty scary happened:
The strangest occurrence for me personally, on the first one, was the day I had a creative conversation with James Wan. I had just been researching Lorraine. I wasn’t familiar with her, and so before our phone call, I was on the computer, and I had closed it. We had our conversation. At that point I was just smitten with James. I said, ‘If Patrick Wilson is in…' - because I knew at the time he had also been offered a role – ‘…then I’m in.’ I just wanted to be sure that Patrick was going to be my partner. So we agreed, and then we said goodbye, and I opened the computer screen and there were three digital claw marks, from the upper right diagonal to the lower left.
So Vera Farmiga was on her laptop, closed it to have a phone conversation about The Conjuring, and discovered three claw-like marks when she opened the device up again. Pretty freaky, right? Well, it actually isn’t half as messed up as the second chapter to this little story…
The Second IncidentVera Farmiga’s second unexplained experience came a few months later – literally on the day that she completed work on The Conjuring. She returned home to upstate New York, and when she woke up the next day she discovered what she describes as "three claw mark bruises across [her] thigh."
It wasn’t incredibly painful. It might have felt like a bruise… It was these three, very distinct, what looks like claw marks, that long nails or long fingertips, like thin fingertips could make. But it didn’t hurt and I texted to James and I can’t even remember his response.
The actress actually had a photograph of the claw marks that she showed to us on her phone – and I will admit that they were pretty creepy. She even added that she had a very peaceful sleep the night before, having been happy to be "home sweet home," which only made the occurrence more random and freaky. She did mention that the claw marks on her laptop and on her thigh weren’t exactly the same – as the ones on the computer were much thicker, but it’s still the kind of experience that you’d think would make her reconsider being a part of The Conjuring 2.
Funny enough, though, it was actually what Vera Farmiga learned from her experience in Loraine Warren’s skin that allowed her to stay strong after the incident. She knew that there were two ways to think about what happened, and she chose to stand up to it:
I woke up with that, and I knew I had a choice to give into the fear, and it’s like mental gymnastics. You just really gird up mentally, and you just don’t accept that. There’s evidence there, but I was adamant about not feeling fear. It’s emotional armor. You just learn; you figure it out. You figure how to build it around yourself, even though there’s clear evidence of some strangeness that’s occurred. My husband did not do that to me. I did not scratch some mosquito bite… It’s inexplicable.
So when you go see The Conjuring 2 in theaters this July, if you wind up being really impressed by the authenticity in Vera Farmiga’s performance, you’ll know exactly why.