The True Story of Annabelle The Demon Doll
The movie version (left) and the real Annabelle (right) flanked by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Already famous for their paranormal investigation on the notorious Amityville case, Ed and Lorraine Warren were asked for their expertise once more. Two young women 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. We look at the real story behind the Hollywood blockbuster.

In 1970, Donna a student nurse received an antique Raggedy Ann doll from her mother as a birthday present. Taking the doll back to her small apartment which she shared with her roommate she placed the doll on her bed and thought no more about it. At first, both women noted that the doll had started to creep them out, but then they began to notice that the doll had begun to change its position and then to move to different rooms from where it had been left.

Related: The Truth Behind Ed and Lorraine Warrens Most Infamous Cases

Donna and her roommate 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 and 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 penciled messages on parchment paper that read “Help Us”. The hand writing looked to belong to a small child.

The True Story of Annabelle The Demon Doll
Lorraine Warren (pictured left) carrying Annabelle to her new home in the Warren’s Occult Museum

Knowing that they must do something about the sinister doll, the roommates contacted a medium who conducted a séance. Through the medium, Donna and Angie were contacted by a spirit named Annabelle Higgins who told them her story. Annabelle explained she was a young girl who had lived near to where 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 inhabit the doll and stay with them. They were to soon find out, however, that Annabelle was not all she seemed to be.

A mutual friend of the roommates, 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. 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 and at the point of asphyxiation, he blacked out. He 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, waiting for the strange noises to stop before entering and turning on the light. He discovered the room was empty except for the doll which looked like it had been hurriedly tossed into the corner. He began to search 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 surprised to find that nobody else was there. Then in flash he found himself grabbing for his chest, doubled over and bleeding. On his chest were seven distinct claw marks, three vertically and four horizontally, all were hot like burns.

The True Story of Annabelle The Demon Doll
Present day, Lorraine Warren and ‘Annabelle’ locked in her glass case .

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 roommates, Ed and Lorraine came to the conclusion that the doll was not possessed but instead, was being manipulated by an inhuman presence using the doll to create the illusion of it being alive. The inhuman presence was not looking to stay attached to the doll, the Warren’s told the women, it was instead looking to possess a human host.

It first began moving the doll around the apartment by means of teleportation to arouse the occupant’s curiosity in hopes that they would give it recognition. By bringing a medium into the apartment to communicate with it, the demonic spirit was then able to communicate and prey on the girls emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a harmless, lost young girl. During the séance, it was given permission from Donna to inhabit the doll and in turn, the apartment and eventually the women.

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, and also harmed or killed one or all of the occupants in the house.

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At the conclusion of the investigation, the Warrens felt it appropriate to have a recitation of an exorcism blessing 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 rag doll along with them when they left. They had a special case built for Annabelle, where she resides to this day. The locked case has kept the doll from moving around, but whatever terrible entity is attached to it is still there, waiting and no doubt biding its time.

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