Already famous for their paranormal investigation on the notorious Amityville case, Ed and Lorraine Warren were asked for their expertise once more. Two twenty-something’s were being haunted by a demonic doll. Sound strange? Not for the Warren’s. Now over forty years later the story of Annabelle – the cursed demonic doll has been brought to the big screen in James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring’. We look at the real story behind the Hollywood blockbuster.
The Demon Doll
In 1970, Donna a student nurse received an antique Raggedy Ann doll (image on the right shows the Raggedy Ann doll held by Lorraine Warren) from her mother as a birthday present. Taking the doll back to her small apartment which she shared with her room-mate she placed the doll on her bed and thought no more about it until a few days later. At first both woman noted that the doll had started to creep them out, but shortly after they began to notice that the doll had begun to change it’s position and eventually to move to different rooms from which it had been left while the were out.
At times Donna and her room-mate Angie would find the doll sitting crossed legged on the couch with its arms folded, other times it was found upright, standing on its feet, leaning against a chair in the dining room. Several times Donna, placing the doll on the couch before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed.
The doll not only moved but could write too. About a month into their experiences Donna and Angie began to find pencilled messages on parchment paper that read “Help Us”. The hand writing looked to belong to that of a small child.
Knowing that they must do something about the sinister doll, the room-mates contacted a medium who conducted a séance. Through the medium, Donna and Angie were contacted by Annabelle Higgins who told them her story. Annabelle was a young girl who had lived near to where the apartments were built. She was only seven years old when her lifeless body was found in the field upon which the apartment complex now stood.
Annabelle told the women that she felt comfort and safe with them and wanted to stay with them and be loved. Feeling compassion for Annabelle and her story Donna gave her permission to inhibit the doll and stay with them. They were to soon find out however, that Annabelle was not what she seemed to be.
A mutual friend of the room-mates, Lou had never been fond of the doll and had warned Donna to get rid of it. One night his warnings came true. Waking from a deep sleep, Lou found to his horror that he was completely paralysed. Upon looking down at his feet he saw the doll, Annabelle. It began to slowly glide up his leg, moved over his chest and then stopped. Within seconds the doll was strangling him. Paralysed and gasping for breath Lou, at the point of asphyxiation, blacked out. Lou awoke the next morning, certain it wasn’t a dream.
The next terrifying encounter he experienced occurred when he and Angie were alone in the flat preparing for a road trip the next day. Hearing rustling noises from Donna’s room, Lou quietly made his way to the bedroom door. He waited for the noises to stop before entering and turning on the light. The room was empty except for Annabelle whom was tossed on the floor in the corner. Lou searched the room for anything out of place. But as he got close to the doll he got the distinct impression that somebody was behind him. Spinning around he was quick to realize that nobody else was there. Then in flash he found himself grabbing for his chest, doubled over, cut and bleeding. His shirt was stained with blood and upon opening his shirt there on his chest was what looked to be 7 distinct claw marks, three vertically and four horizontally, all were hot like burns. These scratches healed almost immediately, half gone the next day, fully gone by day two.
Finally willing to believe that the spirit was not that of a young girl, Donna contacted a priest named Father Cooke who immediately contacted the Warrens. Ed and Lorraine Warren were already well known for their paranormal investigation into the notorious Amityville case. After speaking to the room-mates, Ed and Lorraine came to the conclusion that the doll itself was not in fact possessed but manipulated by an inhuman presence. Spirits do not possess inanimate objects like houses or toys, they posses people. An inhuman spirit can attach itself to a place or object and this is what occurred. This spirit manipulated the doll and created the illusion of it being alive in order to get recognition. The inhuman presence was not looking to stay attached to the doll, it was looking to posses a human host.
It first began moving the doll around the apartment by means of teleportation to arouse the occupants curiosity in hopes that they would give it recognition. By bringing a medium into the apartment to communicate with it, the inhuman demonic spirit was then able to communicate and prey on the girls emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a harmless, lost young girl with which during the séance, was then allowed permission from Donna to haunt the doll and in turn, the apartment.
The Warrens believed that the next stage of the demonic infestation phenomenon would have been complete human possession. Had these experiences lasted another 2 or 3 more weeks the spirit would have completely possessed, if not harmed or killed one or all of the occupants in the house.
At the conclusion of the investigation the Warrens felt it appropriate to have a recitation of an exorcism blessing by Father Cooke to cleanse the apartment. At Donna’s request, and as a further precaution against the phenomena ever occurring in the home again, the Warrens took the big rag doll along with them when they left. They had a special case built for Annabelle inside the Occult Museum, where she resides to this day (see image above right).
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