The Snedeker family had the ideal life in upstate New York when son Philip, 13, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The closest facility capable of treating childhood cancers was in Hartford, Connecticut and they began making the 300-mile round-trip five times a week for Philip’s treatment. The radiation treatment burned his skin from the inside and Carmen was afraid that the trips would kill her son as fast as the cancer. The family decided they had to move to Connecticut.
After finally hearing of a townhouse that they could rent, sight unseen, Carmen took it. Upon moving in, the house looked perfectly normal, but it wasn’t. Above every doorway was a crucifix. Finding out it was once a funeral home, the basement still had some of the mortuary equipment used to prepare the bodies for burial. Carmen didn’t want her son constantly being reminded of his own mortality and she wanted them to move out straight away, but Alan the father, reminded her that they didn’t have much of a choice. Alan returned to New York to work, leaving Carmen to get the house and all four kids settled.
Philip’s room resided in the basement as it was close to a bathroom for his recurring nausea, and she could easily hear if he needed help. The very first night in the house, Philip was awakened by someone saying his name. He went to Carmen, who had been on the phone with Alan. She reassured her son that with the way sound travels in an empty house, he had to have heard her talking to his father but Philip was already convinced that the house was evil, and wanted them to leave. A few days later Carmen noticed that the crucifix above the door, in what would have been the morgue had disappeared, yet the nail that had held it was undisturbed.
One night Philip told his mother that not only was he hearing voices, he had begun seeing things that weren’t there. Carmen chalked it up to the radiation treatment affecting his head. Philip shared the room downstairs with his brother, Brad, and one night, they both saw four figures standing in the corner near Brad’s toy robot. The toy was going crazy and all four figures turned as one and looked at the boys, making them sprint up the stairs to Carmen terrified. Carmen headed down to investigate while the boys were still beside her, scared to death and went through the entire basement but found nothing. Carmen went back into the kitchen to call the police, and discovered the crucifix over the door was now gone too. Calling a family meeting she told Philip he wasn’t to tell his younger siblings any ghost stories which may influence their current behavior in the house.
Philip then moved his bed into the embalming room, claiming he had “made a deal” which frightened a Catholic Carmen. Philip was also becoming more withdrawn and rarely smiled, feigning no interest like he normally would when his cousins Kim and Tammy Alvis came to visit.
Tammy was helping Carmen clean the house and upon tidying Philip’s room had found the journal he had started to keep. She didn’t want to invade Philip’s privacy, but she was worried, and gave the journal to Carmen. The pages were very dark, full of notes about death, murder, and killing. Something struck Carmen as odd as her oldest son was dyslexic. She had spent years trying to get him to properly write the alphabet, and here were complex words perfectly written. When she asked her son, Philip replied that “the man” helped him write.
After a few more incidents and accusations from the other children in the house about Philip scaring them, Carmen called her son’s doctor, explaining what was going on. The doctor replied that she was describing schizophrenia, and began the process of having Philip committed. That night at dinner, Carmen did her best to pretend everything was fine. She even made Philip’s favorite dinner. But the men in white didn’t even knock. They just walked into the house and carried Philip out.
Carmen had wanted to believe Philip, but every time she had investigated Philip’s stories, she hadn’t been able to prove any of it. As they put the straightjacket on her son, Philip told her that now that he was gone, they were going to come after her. Carmen did not want to believe her son would be a schizophrenic for the rest of his life so she went and sat on the stairs to Philip’s room, daring “the man” to come play with her. She sat there for hours, and nothing ever appeared. But one day when she was taking a shower, Carmen was enveloped in the shower curtain. It was tight around her face, slowly smothering her, and she couldn’t push it away. Calling for Tammy, Tammy was able to rip a hole in the curtain so her aunt could breathe. It became apparent in that moment that Philip’s prediction was coming true.
After Tammy awoke, troubled and frightened in the middle of the night, running to Carmen’s room, Carmen grabbed her Bible and noticed on her way out of her bedroom that the last crucifix in the house, the one over her bedroom door, had disappeared.
An exorcism was performed on the house after Ed and Lorraine Warren (also mentioned in The Conjuring) investigated the house and proclaimed the Snedeker house to be infested with demons. The Snedekers moved out. Racked with guilt over what she’d done to her son, Carmen got Philip out of the mental hospital. Philip understood that his mother was trying to be strong and how he understood how evil could creep inside a person, but in a later interview had said also he’d felt betrayed by what she’d done.
After 24 years, Philip’s cancer returned. He died in January of 2012.