Over the years, Hollywood has produced many haunted house films, and a great number of those have been based on "real life" events. That special subgenre will soon be expanding thanks to Fox Searchlight, which has just started development on Voices Through The Trumpet - a movie adapted from a 1936 New Yorker article that appears to be the first documented haunted house case.
Deadline has the details on this newly developing project, though you can actually still read the original article on the New Yorker website (provided that you have a subscription to their archive). Screenwriter JT Petty, best known for his work in video games, is adapting the original article, which was penned by reporter Carl Carmer (he died in 1976). At this time, there doesn't appear to be a director attached, though one could see the story attracting any notable horror filmmaker.
The film will be begin in the mid-1800s in Upstate New York, where the two Fox sisters lived in the aforementioned haunted house. They were apparently in contact with the "spirit" until they were adults - but when they started disavowing the haunting, they both died mysteriously. Deadline's article suggests that Carl Carmer will be a character in the adaptation, and be portrayed investigating what actually went on at the Fox sisters' home
While this project is only starting to develop now, apparently JT Petty has already begun an intense research process. Following in Carl Carmer's footsteps, he has begun "getting involved in the mysticism and the local community" where the original story was set. Deadline adds that Petty recently worked on the script for the Splinter Cell movie that Tom Hardy is attached to star in - though at this point it's anyone's guess whether we'll see Voices Through The Trumpet before or after that film hits theaters.
The fact that this movie is being based on the first documented haunted house story is a nice hook for the marketing, but the reality is that this film is going to have to do a lot to stand out in a very crowded field. We've seen so many different kinds of hauntings portrayed on the big screen in the last few years that Voices Through The Trumpet is going to need to present something very special in order to make a case for itself. Let's not forget that Guillermo del Toro is putting out his advanced-level haunted house movie Crimson Peak later this year.
At this time, it seems that Voices Through The Trumpet is still very much in the early stages of development, so it may be a while before we hear anything about next steps (unless Fox Searchlight thinks it has a ton of potential and fast tracks it). Either way, stay tuned for more updates.