Since 2013, the movies of The Conjuring franchise have been telling the purportedly true stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s experiences as paranormal investigators. Between the two main films (The Conjuring 3 is currently in development), two Annabelle films, and a new spinoff, The Nun, due out September 7, Conjuring fans rarely have to go without a new film to quench their horror thirsts.
Despite this, we know that September feels far away, so we’ve found the best books for fans of the freaky film series. With subjects ranging from demonic possessions to haunted houses and killer dolls, these books like The Conjuring films are guaranteed to spook you. What an excellent day for an exorcism...
For fans of The Conjuring
The Conjuring is based on the real-life haunting of the Perron family home, which the Warrens investigated in the early 1970s. Yet this is far from the only instance of a family haunted by sinister forces that the Warrens investigated. In 1974, the Smurl family of Pennsylvania began experiencing strange events in their home. These events were relatively benign at first: tools went missing, stains appeared on walls, foul odors wafted through rooms. All too soon, however, their abode became a house of horrors. The Smurls were plagued by thundering noises, phantom attacks, a hoofed half-man tearing down their hallway, and a constant state of terror. The Smurls did the only thing they could think of: They called renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The source for the exorcism and possession lecture scene in The Conjuring, Satan’s Harvest is the terrifying true story of a demonic possession. In 1985, Maurice Theriault, a farmer from Massachusetts, thought he was possessed by the devil. Distressed and in need of guidance, he went to the police and his local priest, but didn’t find help until he contacted the Warrens, who brought the well-respected exorcist, Bishop Robert McKenna.
The book behind the iconic horror movie from 1973, The Exorcist was itself inspired by the real-life exorcism of Roland Doe, which took place in 1949. In Blatty’s novel, Regan, a 12-year-old girl, suddenly becomes ill, experiencing bizarre and alarming changes. The cause: demonic possession. With the help of two priests, Regan’s mother attempts to save her young daughter. Will they succeed or will the devil claim another soul? If you’ve never read the classic horror novel, there’s no time like the present for losing sleep over The Exorcist once again.
A true story sure to appeal to Conjuring fans, The Uninvited is LaChance’s account of his encounter with demons. LaChance and his three children were living in Union, Missouri when their home was invaded by hellish attackers. In this terrifying tale, LaChance recounts the havoc wreaked by the demons–ranging from putrid odors and piercing screams to the murders of animals and sexual assaults. After escaping with his children, LaChance must return to Union to save the soul of the haunted house’s next occupant.
For fans of The Conjuring 2
The Amityville Horror
The basis for the opening scenes of The Conjuring 2, The Amityville Horror is the supposedly true story of the Lutz family. Its truthfulness, like many stories associated with the Warrens, has been a source of much debate and even led to a series of lawsuits. Whether a conjured tale or all-too-real, The Amityville Horror is a terrifying and entrancing account. On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his family in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. Just over a year later, George and Kathleen Lutz moved into the house with their children. They lived in the house for 28 days before they were chased out by the unimaginable horrors they had experienced while living there.
This House is Haunted
The rest of The Conjuring 2 was inspired by the Enfield Poltergeist, one of England’s most infamous hauntings. Playfair’s book is the story of Mrs. Harper and her four children who were tormented by the poltergeist. In their small home in Enfield, England, the family began to notice strange occurrences–odd noises and shifting furniture–but soon dismissed them. As the events became more disturbing and dangerous, the Harpers’ story became one of national intrigue.
In a Dark Place
The book that inspired The Haunting in Connecticut, In a Dark Place is one of the most infamous books about one of the Warrens’ cases. The Snedeker family has just moved into a new home. Little do they know, the new home is actually an old funeral home, plagued by the ghosts of the bodies that found temporary respite there. When they fall victim to the sinister spirit’s schemes, the Snedekers turned to the Warrens in a desperate attempt to save their lives.
For fans of Annabelle
Corky Withers is a fairly unsuccessful magician, but when Fats, a ventriloquist's dummy, joins his acts, Corky’s reputation skyrockets. Corky’s change in stature comes with a price: Fats is far more than a silly little doll. Magic delves into Corky’s dark and twisted childhood and intertwines it with the sordid events of Corky’s present, creating a hair-raising tale. Magic and its ominous doll will leave you reeling just like Annabelle.
As a young child, Leon develops an unusual attachment to Pin, a ventriloquist's dummy that his father uses to teach him about anatomy. As Leon grows up, he retains his close bond with the doll. When his father attempts to take the doll from Leon, believing that Leon has developed psychosis tied to the doll, everything starts to fall apart. This pulpy tale was written by Andrew Neiderman, who ghost wrote many of the infamous V.C. Andrews books. With a villainous doll and no shortage of scares, Pin is made for fans of Annabelle.
The Sallie House Haunting
Debra Pickman, her husband, and her newborn son were briefly residents in an infamous house in Atchison, Kansas. In a shocking first-hand account, Debra recounts the time her family spent living with a ghost girl named Sallie. When reading The Sallie House Haunting you’ll be transported into the creepy house and experience life–and near death–with the malevolent spirit of a young girl. Fans of Annabelle will appreciate the similarities between the ghost’s treatment of Debra’s young son and Mia’s young daughter.
For fans of Annabelle: Creation
Amanda is a successful architect living happily with her husband. Suddenly, she finds herself overcome with the urge to hurt him. She can’t control herself or her thoughts, almost as if someone has taken control of her body. This is exactly what has happened. There’s a demon possessing Amanda, hurting her loved ones and ruining her life. Will she be able to reclaim her life? Sara Gran, one of the rising stars of the mystery and thriller world, spins an utterly terrifying tale.
Related: Scary Good Book Sales This Month
The House of Small Shadows
Catherine has a dark past and is often down on her luck. She finally gets an opportunity to start over when she’s offered a job as an antique appraiser. She begins cataloging the contents of Red House, the home of an eccentric, wealthy local man who recently passed away. His collection is full of antique dolls, creepy puppets, and morbid taxidermy. Catherine is immediately unsettled by Red House, but what’s in store is worse than she ever could have imagined.
The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters has become justly beloved for her ability to creep out readers while creating plot twists that will leave you stunned. Hundreds Hall is an estate that dates back to the 18th century. The family that has lived there for centuries is just barely holding on to their home in the days after World War II. When Dr. Faraday is asked to do a house call at the estate, he is distraught by the condition of the once grand house but quickly discovers that there are far more concerning things happening at Hundreds Hall. The death of a young girl continues to plague the house where strange, disturbing activities take place. Scrawled writing begins to appear on the walls to accompany the sinister events. There is clearly far more going on than mere child’s play.
Featured still from "The Conjuring" via Warner Bros. Pictures