Ed Gorman, The Warrens, and Robert David Chase

Ed Gorman, The Warrens, and Robert David Chase

by Ben Boulden


The novelist Ed Gorman collaborated with demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren on four “non-fiction” books about hauntings and demons between 1987 and 1992. One – The Haunted – was made into a surprisingly good television movie.

The Haunted, by Robert Curran with Jack & Janet Smurl and Ed & Lorraine Warren, was released as a blandly designed hardcover by St. Martin’s Press in 1988. It contains an allegedly true account of the haunting of Jack and Janet Smurl in their West Pittson, Pennsylvania duplex. Kirkus called it “simplistic and clumsy, but undeniably luridly entertaining” and the dust jacket blurb claimed the Smurls were “victims of abuse – both mental and physical – by inhuman entities [threatening] their sanity, and even their lives.” Surprisingly, when the book was released, the Smurls were still living at the address were all the bad stuff happened.
      What interests me is about the book: it was ghosted by novelist Ed Gorman – a damn good writer by any measure, no matter what he wrote – and he even received an acknowledgement of his work on the copyright page:
      Special thanks and acknowledgement to Ed Gorman for his work on this book. 
      In a February 2016 email, eight months before Gorman’s death, he wrote: “[The Haunted is] a ‘non-fiction’ book about an allegedly true example [of] demonic possession.” The quotation marks around non-fiction are Ed’s, rather than mine. He added, “[the book] was ridiculous, but it made a good TV movie.” The movie Ed referenced was originally broadcast on Fox on May 6, 1991, and it is a good example of how effective a cheesy paranormal haunting flick can be. Its main players, Sally Kirkland and Jeffrey DeMunn, are terrific as the Smurls. The script is darn good, too. As of this writing, there is a low-quality print of The Haunted streaming on YouTube, which is worth searching out.
      The Haunted was Gorman’s first partnership with the Warrens, but he wrote three more “non-fiction” books with the husband-and-wife demonologists in the following years. For these three books, Ed used the pseudonym, Robert David Chase, and each was published in hardcover by St. Martin’s Press:

Ghost Hunters: True Stories from the World’s Most Famous Demonologists (1989)

Werewolf: A True Story of Demonic Possession (1991)

Graveyard: True Hauntings from an Old New England Cemetery (1992)

All of Gorman’s collaborations with the Warrens have been in print most of the years since their first publication, likely due to the Warrens’ success in Hollywood, but none, I’m sure Ed would say, are of any great literary value. But you know if Ed Gorman wrote them, they will be (at the least) entertaining.
      Gorman used his Robert David Chase pseudonym for two short stories published in the mid-1990s:

“Fathers, Inc.” (Murder for Father, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Signet, 1994. The anthology included two additional stories by Gorman: “Playground”, as by Daniel Ransom; and “Long Lonesome Roads”, by Ed Gorman [featuring Jack Dwyer].)

“The Monster Parade” (Monster Brigade 3000, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles Waugh, Ace, 1996. The anthology includes another of Gorman’s stories: “A Zombie Named Fred”, as by Jake Foster.)

Do you know of any additional titles Ed Gorman wrote as by Robert David Chase? Or do you have any insight about Gormans collaborations with the Warrens? If so, leave a comment on this post or contact me at zulu1611@yahoo.

Purchase The Haunted at Amazon
Purchase Ghost Hunters at Amazon
Purchase Werewolf at Amazon
Purchase Graveyard at Amazon


Popular Posts