Most of us interested in the paranormal are very familiar with the Warrens and their work as investigators in this field. For many decades, Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated numerous hauntings, possessions, and other paranormal activity.
The married couple founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in the early 1950s, and together wrote numerous books about their investigations. Ed passed away in 2006, and Lorraine continues to operate the Occult Museum to this day.
In the 1970s, the Warrens were contacted by Father Hegan, an Episcopalian priest who told them of two nurses experiencing some malevolent paranormal activity in their home.
According to the nurses, Donna Jennings and Angie Stapleton, and Angie’s boyfriend, Lou Carlo, the paranormal activity seemed to center around a big Raggedy Ann doll the size of a small child.
Donna had received the doll from her mother, as an ornamental gift, on her previous birthday. Shortly afterwards, “the doll started to move around the apartment by itself.” When the girls would leave and return, they would find the doll in a different position, in a different spot in the house.
They would leave the doll on the bed with its arms and legs crossed only to return home to find it kneeling or sitting in a chair by the front door! Then the doll began to leave notes written in what looked to be a small child’s handwriting with a pencil on parchment paper. The notes said “HELP US” and “HELP LOU.” There was no parchment paper in the apartment, nor was there a pencil to be found.
At Christmas, the girls “found a little chocolate boot on the stereo” that seemed to have appeared out of thin air. I have to wonder if they consumed that mystical sweet treat.
Another time, a statue seemed to fly up into the air and fall on the floor.
When the girls arrived home one night to find blood on the doll’s chest, the back of her hand, and on her dress, they were frightened enough to contact a medium.
The medium related that a little seven-year-old girl had died on the property long ago. Her name was Annabelle Higgins, and she played in the area before the apartment complex was built. Annabelle wanted to stay with Donna and Angie, and live in the rag doll.
The girls didn’t think that was a problem at all, and began to call the doll Annabelle.
Lou was really upset about the doll, and felt like it had “gotten into his head.” He started to have terrible nightmares about the doll crawling into bed with him while he was sleeping, and trying to strangle him.
One evening while Lou and Angie were looking over maps for a trip, they heard noises coming from Donna’s empty room. Nobody was there, but Annabelle was “tossed on the floor in a corner.” When Lou walked toward it, something clawed his chest, leaving numerous “cuts.” The Warrens believe this is a strong indication of an inhuman presence.
The Warrens believed that the young people had been deceived by “the Father of Lies,” through the medium. They didn’t think there was ever anyone named Annabelle. The Warrens didn’t believe a ghost could have the kind of power that this entity displayed. Ed and Lorraine believed the girls had inadvertently brought a demon into their home. They also believed that the demon moved the doll around, giving it “the illusion of being alive.” The demon was actually after Donna, Angie, or Lou, wanting to possess one of their bodies.
Fortunately, the Warrens were able to help them just in the nick of time with blessings, and an exorcism performed by an Episcopal man of the cloth, Father Cooke. The Episcopal exorcism-blessing of a home consists of a seven-page document that focuses on positive energy, and the power of God.
Oh yeah, and they got rid of the doll. The Warrens kept it in Ed’s den for a while, but it kept levitating and moving around. Interestingly, a black cat would occasionally materialize around the doll.
Paranormal activity kept occurring centering around the doll, Annabelle, and the Warrens eventually placed the doll in their Warren Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, where she resides today in a wooden cabinet “holding a plain wood crucifix in her little cloth hands.
Brittle, Gerald Daniel. The Demonologist. The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Lincoln, NE: Universe, Inc. 1980.
Bielski, Ursula. There’s Something Under the Bed. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books, 2010.