“I came to visit and thought, ‘I have to have this house,” said Jacqueline Nuñez, the owner of the WonderGroup LLC.
Nuñez paid around $1.525 million, about 27 percent higher than the asking price of $1.2 million, said real-estate agent Benjamin Kean, of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty.
“This purchase is personal for me,” Nuñez said in an interview with the Globe. “It’s not a real-estate development. It’s around my own beliefs.”
The Heinzen family and Nuñez jointly announced the sale Thursday afternoon on Facebook Live, sitting together in the home’s “seance room,” where paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren had attempted to drive away the spirits in October 1973. The haunting of the Perron family nearly 50 years ago inspired a book written by daughter Andrea Perron, the blockbuster 2013 movie, and since then, feverish interest from ghost-hunters around the world.
Nuñez has pledged to continue the paranormal business that the Heinzens started in the farmhouse at 1677 Round Top Road. Guests will be able to continue the nightly paranormal investigations, day tours will resume, and there will be livestreamed events. The Heinzens will remain involved, she said.
“I’m proud of them, I know you are all very proud of them,” Nuñez said. “They are upstanding people with great integrity. I know I have big shoes to fill, and I intend to do it.”
The Heinzens, who are paranormal investigators from Maine, had bought the house in 2019 with the intention of opening it up for visits by paranormal researchers. Even when the pandemic hit, they were overwhelmed with visitors — including a Globe reporter — and realized the business of running a haunted house was more than they could manage.
They posted it for sale last September and said they hoped they’d find someone who would love the home as much as they do — and who would continue the business they’d started.
“We are super, super happy to have Jacqueline as the new owner,” said Jennifer Heinzen, who has a tattoo of the house.
However, one of the conditions that the Heinzens set was that the new owner not live in the house year-round, “because the energy is so powerful,” Nuñez told the Globe later. “They put it in there as protection for the buyer.”
She said she has been interested in the paranormal since she was a child, and grew up loving a good horror movie, like “The Conjuring.” The things that go bump in the night just pique her curiosity.
“I’m a deeply spiritual person. It’s a very important part of me,” Nuñez said. “I believe we are conscious beings having a human experience, and that our consciousness continues on, we are here to learn things in lifetime and help our species evolve morally and culturally. … This house is an opportunity to connect with people who’ve moved on and died, that’s the interactivity here and the engagement with the people who have passed.”
So, one random Saturday morning, she saw that the sale of The Conjuring house was trending on Google. She booked an appointment for a tour that Monday, and knew as soon as she walked across its wide wooden plank floors that she had to buy it.
“I feel very lucky that they selected me, because there were so many offers, even higher than mine,” she said.
Kean, of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty, said that there was nothing comparable to this farmhouse in Rhode Island, not with its storied history. They looked to other Hollywood haunted homes — the brownstone featured in “The Exorcist” movie, the home in “Poltergeist,” the house in “Nightmare on Elm Street” — to determine an asking price.
“I can tell you quite a few people wanted to live there, that’s what surprised us the most,” he said.
The Heinzens wanted to meet with the potential buyers, in hopes of finding someone who would cherish and care for the house. So, those who made offers but wouldn’t reveal themselves or their intentions — and those who wanted to tear it down because they thought it was evil — were rejected, he said.
The Heinzens decided to choose Nuñez. Perhaps, the house did, too.
“You cannot doubt the energy that’s in that house. The more history, the more neighbors you speak to, its undeniable what they have over there,” Kean said. “I can tell you if that house didn’t want to be sold, it wouldn’t be sold.”
Nuñez walked around her new home Thursday, her dog and two cats sniffing and wandering around, one cat yowling in the rooms. The house has an entertainment license from the town of Burrillville, though she may approach the town next year with some ideas about expanding what the house offers. Though, as someone in the zoning office joked with her, “how do you zone for a haunted house?”
She is not afraid of whatever spirits the house contains. She hasn’t yet felt anything unusual in the house, although there is plenty of time.
“I don’t believe the energy here is malevolent. Things will happen here that will startle me, but not harm me,” Nuñez said. “I look forward to experiencing things.”