Ray Garton


   Ray Garton's In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting told the story of the Snedeker family and their alleged "demonic siege." Needing to be closer to the cancer specialist treating their 14-year-old son, the Snedekers relocated to Connecticut, where they purportedly moved into a house that had once been a funeral home. Feeling their son had become possessed and their house was plagued by evil forces, the Snedekers contacted psychic investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who also were involved with the Amityville case, for help.

   In a Dark Place, published in 1992 by Villard Books, chronicled this alleged haunting, boasting it was a true story. Author Ray Garton, however, disagreed with labeling the book nonfiction, but was bound by contract to finish the book. His recollection about his experiences with the Warrens seemed to illustrate the true nature of these investigators.

Ric Osuna: How did you become involved with the self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren?
Ray Garton: My agent at the time, Lori Perkins, was the one who put me in contact with the Warrens. She got me the job of writing In A Dark Place: The Story of A True Haunting.
RO: What opinions did you have of the Warrens prior to your involvement with In a Dark Place?
RG: I had been following the exploits of the Warrens since I was a little kid. They showed up frequently in the tabloids, like the National Enquirer, and I regularly read about their activities as paranormal investigators. I've never been a big believer in ghosts or demons, but I always found their articles very entertaining, and when the opportunity arose, I was eager to work on a book with them.
RO: What was your first major conflict with the story that the Warrens and the Snedeker family revealed to you?
RG: I honestly don't remember specifically what the first problem was, only that the details of the story given to me by the family involved were not meshing. Elements of Carmen Snedeker's story clashed with elements of Al Snedeker's story, and it seemed everyone was having a problem keeping their stories straight. Frankly, I didn't notice until I had nearly finished all my interviews and began going over my notes, then I started having trouble matching up the details.
RO: How did you broach Ed Warren about the inconsistencies in this alleged haunting? And how did he respond?
RG: First, I went back to the Snedekers and asked more questions. When the details of the stories still didn't match up, I became concerned and called Ed Warren. I didn't even have to tell him which details weren't meshing, I simply pointed out to him that the stories weren't matching. Ed laughed and told me not to worry about it. He said the Snedekers were "crazy" (that was the word he used). Then he said, "All the people who come to us are crazy. Why do you think they come to us?" I was, quite literally, speechless. Without even asking for details, Ed had a solution. He reminded me that I wrote scary stories (at that time, I had written exclusively novels and short stories in the horror genre), and told me to "make it up and make it scary."
RO: What was Ed and Lorraine's reaction to your problem with labeling In a Dark Place nonfiction?
RG: I don't know what their reaction was because after Ed told me to "make it up and make it scary," I cut off all contact with them. After that, I was so angry and disgusted, I wanted nothing more to do with them, and I haven't spoken to them since.
RO: Looking back on it, how do you view your experience with In a Dark Place?
RG: At the time that it was happening, I was very upset about the whole thing. I have called it the lowest point of my writing career. But looking back on it, I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything else. They were, after all, "ghostbusters" whose exploits had been covered in tabloids, the reputations of which did not exactly have a great deal of integrity. As I pointed out earlier, I've never been a believer in ghosts or demons, so I guess I should not have expected my mind to be changed on the topic. I suppose I was somewhat naive. But it was the contempt in which Ed Warren held the Snedekers that made me so angry, and the fact that I went in expecting a solid story to already exist, one that I could simply write down in book form. In other words, I didn't expect to have to "make up" a story. As disturbing as the experience was, I did my best to write an entertaining, scary story. The book was well-received by both critics and readers, and for that I'm grateful.
RO: Did the Warrens ever mention the notorious Amityville case or did you ever ask them about Amityville or their other exploits?
RG: Yes, both Ed and Lorraine did mention Amityville in passing, but we did not discuss it in any detail.
RO: How has your opinion changed of Ed and Lorraine Warren since your involvement with them in In a Dark Place? And do you feel they are more of a detriment to families out there than a help?
RG: Prior to working with them, I found them entertaining and thought them to be, if nothing else, harmless.  Not anymore. I think the families who come to them are, to say the least, dysfunctional. I think they tend to be people who are in need of serious help, not in need of the services of ghostbusters. Ed Warren's contempt for them is despicable. If he were to approach them with any sensitivity whatsoever, he would see that their biggest problems are not supernatural, but are very real. The Warrens enable these families to sublimate those problems by nurturing their dark fantasies.

Ray Garton currently resides in Northern California with his wife, Dawn, and has authored 38 books, including: 

  • Darklings
  • Seductions
  • Live Girls
  • Invaders from Mars
  • Warlock
  • Crucifax Autumn
  • Trade Secrets
  • Methods of Madness
  • Lot Lizards
  • The New Neighbor
  • Dark Channel
  • Shackled

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