Monthly Archives: May 2013

Heather O’Rourke

I am sometimes asked, “How did that girl in Poltergeist die?”  Heather O’Rourke’s death is often associated with the “Poltergeist curse,” a run of bad luck that plagued those involved with the original film for years afterwards.  However, her unfortunate death at a young age was quite earthly in nature.

Contributed by Christine White (

According to People Magazine February 15, 1988:

“It happened so fast. At 9:25 am, Monday Feb. 1, only hours after developing what appeared to be flu symptoms, Heather O’Rourke, child star of the Poltergeist horror films, was rushed from her home in Lakeside, Calif., to the hospital; she was in septic shock and cardiac arrest. An hour later she arrived by airlift, alive but in critical condition, at Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego.

There she was operated on for intestinal stenosis, an acute bowel obstruction, a congenital condition neither her mother nor stepfather had suspected. At 2:43 pm, Heather died on the operating table. She was 12 years old.”

Subsequent issues of People tell how doctors first diagnosed and treated her for Crohn’s disease. The parents sued the doctors for wrongful treatment, but I don’t know what happened to the suit.

Ed and Lorraine Warren

Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-described as a demonologist and a trance medium, respectively, were a husband and wife team who investigated paranormal activity.  They were born in the 1920s, married young, and in 1952 they founded the New England Center for Psychic Research.  They were involved in a number of high profile cases, most notably as early participants in the alleged “Amityville Horror” haunting.  The Warrens were deeply religious and most of their methods of dealing with strange phenomena were predicated upon their belief in demons.  Over the course of their career they published a number of books, traveled the lecture circuit, and participated in countless interviews, television shows, etc.  Ed Warren died in 2006 at the age of 80.  Lorraine still lives and continues her work in the paranormal field.


The Fox Sisters

The Fox sisters (Margaretta and Kate/Cathie) caused a sensation in the late 1840s, when the news broke that they could communicate with a spirit in their home in Hydesville, New York. The “spirit” communicated through rapping sounds (e.g., two raps for yes). The sisters went on to become professional mediums, and were instrumental in founding the spiritualist movement that lasted through the Victorian era and into the 1920s. Later in their lives the sisters admitted to faking the spirit raps (many researchers had been insisting all along that the noises were faked), but at least one of them took back the confession before she died. Despite this, the Fox sisters are generally considered frauds.  Their fame nonetheless paved the way for others to make a living in the field of the paranormal.