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You may remember a time back in September 2015 when reports circulated around the internet saying that a real life exorcist had been hired to bless the set of director James Wan’s new movie, The Conjuring 2. Given that the film is all about paranormal investigation, most probably wrote this story off as a silly promotional stunt – but what you may not know is that the upcoming sequel was actually filmed on a notoriously haunted stage on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California.
It was visiting the set of The Conjuring 2 last fall with a small group of other film reporters that we first learned this interesting bit of trivia about the movie. We didn’t actually experience any kind of paranormal phenomena ourselves - touring around a recreation of the council house of the notorious Enfield Poltergeist story and talking with the stars of the project – but unit publicist James Ferrera filled us in on all the details about the mysterious Stage 4. One example had occurred just a few days previous, when James Wan’s frequent collaborator Leigh Whannell stopped by for a visit.
Leigh came to set the other day to visit James, and when Leigh was on set some Insidious photos that he had shot showed up on his iPad - and they’re not on his computer and weren’t on his iPad, and he can’t get them off. I’ve been trying to help him this morning to get them off. I’m like, ‘Plug it in, go to Preview, you can delete from there,’ and then they don’t show up when you plug it in on Preview, but they’re on the iPad. It’s pretty weird.
Clearly that’s not the most terrifying strange occurrence ever, but evidently low-level trickery is the M.O. of the supposed ghosts that frequent Stage 4. James Ferrera told us that Johnny Matook – an individual who works with Warner Bros. security and moonlights as a ghost hunter – is convinced that that the location on the lot is haunted by former Warner Bros. employees. Fortunately, they’re they "have some fun" kind of poltergeists instead of the "possess and kill everyone in the building" kind. Said Ferrera,
[Matook] said that they’re generally benign. They’re generally playful, harmless. They like to play like practical jokes. I told him about the drilling and the hammering when no one was working and, he said, ‘Yup, that’s them. That sounds like the sort of thing that they would do.’
Obviously your own level of faith is going to determine just how much credence you give these accounts, but there is a part of me that hopes James Wan discovered more than one or two strange things in the dailies while making The Conjuring 2.