On the outskirts of our visible, livable reality is a whole other world, hidden beyond our realm. The land of the paranormal. The land of the mysterious. This is a notion that has long fascinated the minds of millions of people around the world. And at the forefront of these people are Ed and Lorraine Warren, who literally dedicated their lives to the cause. Ed and Lorraine Warren are among the world’s most famous paranormal researchers, lecturers and demonologists.
Ed Warren was a navy veteran who served during World War II, as well as a former police officer. He made a staggering career shift after teaching himself and learning all about demonology and the paranormal world.
Lorraine Warren claimed to be a clairvoyant medium. Clearly a match made in heaven. Together, they rose to prominence and in 1952, established the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR), the first and oldest ghost hunting group in New England, and one of the most well-known in America.
Over the span of their careers, Ed and Lorraine Warren are said to have been involved in 10,000 cases of paranormal activity. Some of these cases grew incredibly famous, so much so that their stories are behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
The Perron Family Haunting
This story begins when Roger and Carolyn Perron, along with their five children, moved into their new 200-acre home in Rhode Island in the early 1970s, unaware of the land’s gruesome past. In the early 18th century, the home was inhabited by Bathsheba Sherman and her four children. Bathsheba was always seen as an outcast, and what did not help was the death of three of her four children.
Despite the high rate of infant mortality at the time, there were mysterious circumstances surrounding her children’s deaths, marginalizing her even more from the society around her. They were insistent that she was a satanist and a witch sent to do Satan’s bidding. Eventually, Bathsheba hung herself in her own backyard. Rumors circulated that before she died, she cursed the land, spelling out bad news to anyone who called it home after her.
About 200 years later, the Perron family were plagued with paranormal, ghostly encounters. Some were insignificant, pleasant even, such as ghostly spirits entertaining and playing with the children, or helping out with household chores.
Other interactions were more sinister. Mysterious voices, furniture moving on its own, stuff like that. What’s more, the spirit of Bathsheba was supposedly jealous of the feminine presence of Carolyn Perron. The spirit would constantly target her in more menacing attacks, such as reportedly hitting her and slapping her on a number of occasions.
The Warrens were eventually called upon in 1974 to investigate the situation. Apparently, the presence of the Warrens did nothing but aggravate the spirits even further. Eventually, the Perron family’s situation became downright unlivable, and they were advised to move out.
The story of the Perron family haunting was adapted into one of Hollywood’s most well-known horror movies, The Conjuring, which was released in 2013. Warren was a consultant for the film and even made a cameo appearance.
The Amityville House: Ed & Lorraine Warren’s Most Famous Case
On a chilly November night in 1974, Ronald Defeo ran into one of the busiest bars in Amityville, New York screaming that six of his family members had been shot and murdered. Despite Ronald’s insistence that he wasn’t at home during the murders and that he only discovered the bodies before arriving at the bar, he later confessed to all six murders after the police found the murder weapon stashed in his room. After a lengthy trial, he was found guilty and was sentenced to 6 different life sentences.
13 months later, George Lutz and his wife Kathleen were delighted to be able to snag the Dutch colonial home for a mere $80,000. A catholic priest was brought in to bless the household, and was sprinkling holy water all over different rooms.
In one of the upstairs bedrooms, he claimed he heard a deep voice growl at him to get out, which he hastily did. The priest did not tell the Lutz family about the voice he heard, but warned them to not let anyone sleep in that bedroom.
From their very first night in the new house, the Lutz family claimed to experience unfamiliar and unpleasant sensations. They were fighting more than usual and the house was always cold no matter how many logs were burning in the fireplace. In addition, George and Kathleen’s daughter spent most of her time playing with an imaginary friend she called Jodie. Jodie was a red-eyed pig who could grow to the size of the house, and could also transform in shape. Jodie could not be seen by anyone unless she wanted to. Mysterious wretched smells would emanate from different locations within the house.
One time, they found hundreds of flies in the sewing room, despite it being the middle of the freezing winter. Black stains appeared on ceramic tiles. George woke up in the middle of the night on numerous occasions, once to see his wife transform before his eyes, and once he saw her levitating off the bed.
Finally, after one night of banging on the doors and walls as loud as marching bands, the Lutz family decided that they had had enough. They grabbed all the belongings they could carry and escaped the house.
The Warrens Investigate
Ed and Lorraine Warren were called in to investigate the Amityville house by Marvin Scott, a Channel 5 reporter who had worked with the Warrens previously. A team of reporters and paranormal investigators were assembled in order to probe around the house. The Lutz family refused to re-enter the house for the investigation.
During the investigation, Ed was reportedly physically pushed by an unseen spiritual entity. Lorraine also claimed that she sensed an overwhelming demonic spirit present in the house. There is also the notorious image of the spirit captured on camera – a photograph of a young child (believed to be a spirit) peering from the second floor.
During their research, it was found that the land had once belonged to a practicing dark magician. The land had also once belonged to the Shinicock Indians. They used to house the sick and mentally unstable, and many were left to die in those houses.
The Warrens concluded that the death and suffering that this land had witnessed left it with a mountain of very dark and negative energy, which in turn acted like a powerful magnet for demonic spirits. The Warrens retrieved many of the Lutz family’s belongings.
The Amityville house haunting was the inspiration behind the famous Amityville movies franchise, which is seemingly unending.
Raggedy Ann Doll
The infamous case of the Raggedy Ann doll is one of the most well-known paranormal cases in history, not the least because of the fact that the story was used as the premise for the hit 2014 horror film, ‘Annabelle’.
The story begins in 1970, when a student nurse was given the red-haired Raggedy Ann doll as a gift from her father. The girl and her roommate quickly began noticing some strange and sinister things happening around the doll.
The doll would frequently change positions or even rooms without anyone so much as picking it up. This soon escalated into the doll leaving messages on paper or on its own dress. Eventually, the doll got more violent.
The doll’s attacks, it seems, were concentrated on the roommate’s fiancee. He claims he woke up one night paralyzed and unable to move, with the doll strangling him. Another time, he said that he walked into a dark room, and felt the doll attack him. When he opened the light, he found bloody scratch marks on his stomach and the doll was on the floor. Eventually, the girl and her roommate were freaked out enough to ask for help. They called in a psychic medium.
The medium told them that the doll was possessed by the spirit of a 7-year-old deceased girl named Annabelle Higgins, who had lost her life in the same spot many years before. Ed and Lorraine Warren eventually got involved and confirmed to the girl and her roommate that there was in fact a paranormal spirit possessing the doll. The Raggedy Ann doll has been on display in the Warrens’ Occult Museum back in Connecticut.
A Legacy Worth Protecting
Of course, not everyone is a believer of the cause that the Warrens dedicated themselves to. Skeptics disregarded their life’s work as simple folklore or legends. Many academics and scientists engaged with the Warrens, and even took tours of their Connecticut Occult Museum, but were left unsatisfied and unimpressed.
Many criticized them, at best calling them ‘meaningless ghost-story tellers’. At worst, they were labeled ‘dangerous frauds’. Regardless of what you think of the Warrens, there is no doubt they have lived long and colorful lives, with many places visited and many stories to tell.
Ed Warren died back in 2006 at the age of 79. His wife, now 91, has since retired, save for the rare media appearance. Their legacy is being continued by their son-and-law, Tony Spera.