Who is Annabelle and why is everyone so scared of a doll?
In 2014 a new movie hit the screens. After the success of ‘The Conjuring’ based on real life famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, Annabelle was an offshoot of this series. It is one of their more well known cases which a movie studio thought ‘what a great way to make more money’ and the Annabelle movie was born. Not going to lie, I haven’t seen it because I don’t watch those kinds of movies, but my brother Glenn who is an avid horror/paranormal movie goer on this very occasion walked out of the cinema because it was apparently that bad. Before this movie, a lot of people had no idea that Annabelle was a real doll. Even though the plot had been changed and sensationalised for entertainment purposes, there is a real supposedly haunted doll called Annabelle who sits today in the Warren’s occult museum. With more 'Annabelle' movies released and in the works, here is the REAL reported story of Annabelle.
In 1970, a mother purchased a Raggedy Ann doll from the store to give to her daughter Donna for her birthday. Raggedy Ann is a hugely popular character from a series of books dating back to the 1920’s which expanded into animated features in the 1970’s. She also had a brother Raggedy Andy (strangely I haven’t heard of any haunted Andy dolls but give it time). Chances are, you have heard of Raggedy Ann. Donna wasn’t a child as you may assume. She was actually all grown up and about to graduate with a nursing degree and lived with a room mate Angie. She popped the doll on her bed and thought nothing else of it. She soon began to notice strange things happening. The doll would move on it’s own or they would leave it one room and come home to find it in a completely different room. In order to try and make sure no one was coming in to play a trick on them, they would smartly use clear sticky tape across the doors. If when the came home the tape was broken, they would establish that someone had been inside the house. The tape remained in tact. The girls also found written messages they believed were written by the doll saying ‘Help Us’ and ‘Help Lou’. (Lou was Angie's boyfriend and spent a lot of time at the apartment). What was interesting about this is that the notes were written on parchment paper. It was interesting because Donna did not own any parchment paper.
So how did Raggedy Ann become Annabelle? One night Donna found what appeared to be blood stains on the back of the dolls hands. Knowing something wasn’t right, she consulted with a medium. The medium made contact with a spirit called Annabelle Higgins. She was a young girl who had lived on the property before apartments were built. She passed when she was 7 years old and found in the field where the apartment building they lived in now stood. Annabelle told the medium she felt comfortable with the girls and wanted to stay with them and feel loved. So the girls decided to keep her and do just that. They would however find out that Annabelle was not as innocent as first thought.
Lou (Donna's boyfriend) never liked the doll. He always asked Donna to get rid of the doll but as she had an emotional attachment to the doll being a gift from her mother and thinking there was a child attached wanting love, she couldn’t get rid of it. One night Lou woke from a deep sleep in a panic. He was awake and couldn’t move his body (typical sleep paralysis symptoms). The doll was slowly crawling up his leg and ended up on his chest and supposedly began to strangle him. He blacked out whilst being unable to breathe and woke up the next morning convinced that it wasn’t a dream. On another occasion, he and his girlfriend Angie were home while Donna was at work. They were in the lounge room planning an upcoming trip. They heard weird noises coming from Donna's room. He went to investigate and saw Annabelle sitting in the corner. As he approached her, he double over in pain. It seems he suffered from 7 mysterious deep claw mark scratches on his chest which again he claims were at the hands of the Raggedy Ann doll.
Donna made the conclusion that she was not dealing with a 7 year old girl and that it must be some sort of demonic force pretending to be a child. She contacted a local priest who put her in touch with the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. After making contact, the Warren’s insisted that the doll itself was not possessed, but that a demon was manipulating it. Their theory is that a spirit cannot attach itself to an object and that a spirit could only attach itself to a person. A demon however can attach itself to an object such as the Annabelle doll. I stress again that this is their reported belief and not my own. Their thoughts were that this demon was using the doll to trick them into thinking it was an innocent child so that they would invite it into their lives where it could eventually possess one of them.
Here is Ed Warren talking about Annabelle:
At the end of their investigation, the Warren’s deemed that an exorcism of the house was needed and at Donna’s insistence she asked them to take the doll as a precaution. So they did. Apparently all sorts of things were still happening with the doll and Ed recounts that he put Annabelle on his desk where she levitated and on several occasions was found in a different room where she was left etc. The Warrens had a special protective case made to contain the demonic doll where she still sits today inside the Warren’s occult museum. Nothing more happened whilst Annabelle was contained in the protective case however Ed claims she is responsible for the death of a visitor to the museum who banged on the case asking the doll to do something to him. Ed kicked him out and warned him not to mess with Satan and the man died in a motorcycle accident on the way home. His girlfriend survived and after spending a year in hospital claimed that the motorcycle crashed while they were having a laugh about the doll.
So now that you know the reported real story behind Annabelle ( I say reported because it does seem to be a little sensationalised probably for the purpose of the Warren’s occult museum), here is the movie synopsis from IMDB for the first Annabelle movie: “A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.” As you can see it is a tad different to the reported actual story which is usually the case when it comes to movies. If there was a movie about what a real paranormal investigation of a haunted doll would be, you would be a bit bored. Watching hours of footage of a locked off camera on the doll with maybe some sort of device to detect energy next to it won’t bring in the big bucks so they have to jazz it up.
Speaking of investigations, it brings me to our favourite over the top investigator, Mr Zak Bagans. In 2017 for a Halloween special on Ghost Adventures (which nicely co incided with the opening of his haunted musuem at the time), Zak had Ed and Lorraine's Son In Law Tony Spera bring Annabelle for a very special investigation. It is the first time she has ever been investigated on television. To remove Annabelle from the case, Tony dipped his hands in holy water, put on large gloves, said some prayers and would not touch her for an extended period. The investigation could only take place on 2 conditons. That no one touched the doll, and that Tony could end the investigation at any time. During this investigation, Zak felt a strong connection with Annabelle. He was begging Tony to touch her. Tony promptly put the investigation to an end. As Tony was coming down the hallway to end the investigation, Zak of course promptly touched her foot. It was insinuated on this episode that by doing this, the entitiy that was trapped inside the Annabelle doll had now been released and possibly now with Zak (or roaming his musuem). Annabelle was returned to her musuem, but is she still haunted?
All information has been gathered from the Warren’s official website www.warrens.net
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