‘The Demon of Brownsville Road’ to be turned into a bed and breakfast, movie
The haunting tale of a Brentwood home and a family’s fight to rid it of evil could be headed to the big screen.
And soon visitors will have the chance to spend a night inside the home at the center of the popular book, “The Demon of Brownsville Road.”
Bob Cranmer, the book’s author and a longtime politician, has spent the past several years transitioning his home at 3406 Brownsville Road into a bed and breakfast with a “Downton Abbey” feel. “The Brownsville Road House” bed and breakfast is set to open to the public around Halloween.
“It’s an experience,” Cranmer, 63, said of the house where each room has a different theme. “Our target audience is people that are looking for a convenient and really nice place to stay.”
“The Demon of Brownsville Road” chronicles the Cranmer family’s real-life experiences with evil spirits in their home. The family had experienced everything from blood-like substances on the walls of their century-old home to furniture moving on its own and paintings turning to their sides. Crucifixes were bent and rosary beads destroyed. It took faith, close work with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and a final exorcism and Mass to rid the house of evil, according to the family.
Coming off the heels of the August 2014 release of the book through New York-based Berkley/Penguin Group along with co-author Erica Manfred, Cranmer looked for a way to transition the home into a bed & breakfast.
“That book isn’t exactly a great attribute for selling your house — even though the house is clean. It’s fine. There’s no more problems…. Still, that’s an issue,” Cranmer said.
He spent the last few years buying antique furniture to fill the rooms and create a classic vibe similar to the historic drama.
“I’d really like to be Mr. Carson,” Cranmer chuckled, speaking of the butler on “Downton Abbey.”
While he’s sure that some people will want to stay at the home just because it was the center of the book — and could soon be featured in a movie — the home also is open for anyone looking for a place to stay in the Brentwood area, where there aren’t hotels.
Cranmer, who served as an Allegheny County commissioner in the 1990s, has one condition for people coming to spend the night: He doesn’t want ghost hunters or mediums to do seances.
“We worked really hard to clean that stuff out of this house and I’m not looking to reintroduce it,” he said.
The bed and breakfast will include three rooms, one of which is a two-room suite. In total, it can accommodate up to eight people.
It will be run by Cranmer’s son, Charlie, who will serve breakfast in the George Washinton dining room. In the afternoon, there will high tea for guests to enjoy.
“I love this house. I know nothing but this house,” said Charlie, 30, noting that his family experienced “unquestionable and insane” things when he was growing up in the home. But still, to him, the home is like a castle.
The entryway takes guests back to the WWII era. A sitting room off to the side provides them with a place to converse, while another room chronicles many of the highlights of Cranmer’s days as a county commissioner. A room in the rear has a 1950s-style television that still works, with a computer sitting on the table next to it.
Upstairs, one room is dedicated to the book and the famous “Blue room” where many troubles occurred. A painting on the wall pays homage to the “woman in white” who appeared in the home and is detailed in the book. Another room features more modern decor, with a nautical theme.
Nearly all of the furniture is antique.
The bed and breakfast still needs final approval from Brentwood Borough.
Its operation in the borough in a mixed-use district requires a conditional use permit, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. A public hearing on the matter will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23. Council likely will take action that evening.
Once the bed and breakfast is in operation, the home will be listed on all regular booking sites, like Travelocity, Cranmer said. A website also is being made for the bed and breakfast: brownsvilleroad house.com.
As Cranmer was working to transition the home, the popularity of the book continued to soar over the last few years. He’s continued to be asked to appear on interviews nationwide. Last spring, even, the book was even featured on television in Russia.
The home also has been featured on television programs on A&E, the SyFy Channel and the Discovery Channel.
When Cranmer was contacted by The Travel Channel for the book to be featured on a show, he realized the interest wasn’t waning. So, he called his agent in New York and suggested a movie should be made.
He received interest from Warner Bros. New Line Cinema and negotiated a deal with the company to purchase the rights.
Representatives from New Line Cinema could not be reached for comment.
Cranmer wants to ensure the integrity of the book is kept in the movie.
When asked who he would like to see play him, Cranmer said he doesn’t know, although he laughed that his kids say is “the real most interesting man in the world.”
Charlie could see Mel Gibson playing his dad.
Cranmer says he thinks the story is unique enough to become a movie.
“One, it’s all true,” he said. “It tells a complete story. It not only says what happened in the house, but kind of why it happened.”