Ed and Lorraine Warren: Paranormal Partners in Crime

Ed and Lorraine Warren: Paranormal Partners in Crime

Turning our calendars to October means many things. The season is beginning to change, the leaves are falling and festive times have already commenced. With events like Homecoming and Fall Fest, I think it’s time we turn our attention to October’s main attraction, Halloween!

Like many, I am a Halloween/horror movie fanatic, whether it be stop motion like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or fictional horror like in Jordan Peele’s “Us”. The only difference between films like those and the ones I am going to discuss is that the events that take place, as well as the people involved, are real. 

Now I obviously want you to take that last statement with a grain of salt. Almost everything produced as a motion picture is going to be exaggerated in some way. That being said, I thought I would dissect the mother and father of all things spooky and paranormal, Edward, better known as, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

 The couple is known for their expertise and extensive knowledge of the dead and everything occult. Ed is a demonologist, as well as an author while Lorraine is the star of the show as she is a medium, which is someone who mediates as well as communicates between spirits of the dead and the living. She also refers to herself as a clairvoyant, which is someone who holds the supernatural capability to glimpse into the future and perceive events that have yet to be. The couple decides to combine their unique skills and became one of, if not the most well-known paranormal investigative duo.

Because the couple has tackled so many iconic mysteries and the cinematic universe that surrounds these horrors is so dense, I thought it would flow best if I looked into some of their most well-known cases and their movie adaptations to compare how accurate the directors, producers, and cast got to the original happenings. Without further ado, here is the reality versus the “reelity” of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

  • “The Conjuring” (2013)

  This cinematic experience is based on the real-life events and experiences of the Perron Family. In the early 1970s, parents Carolyn and Roger moved to Rhode Island with their five beautiful daughters, Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. 

The horrors seen on the silver screen are accurate to the events depicted by the family to public officials. On the rustic 200-acre property of 1677 Round Top Road in Burrillville, Rhode Island, the happenings started out small, almost unnoticeable. Furniture was moved around and things were put out of place. It wasn’t too long before the events progressively got more and more severe. 

While conducting some research about the house’s history, Caroyln discovered that it had been a home passed through eight generations. Most past residents of the 1677 House passed under mysterious or tragic causes. Many cases of drowning occurred in the nearby creek, most of the deceased being children. One individual was murdered and a couple hung themselves in the attic. 

Carolyn attests that the spirit depicted in the film, Bathsheba, is one hundred percent real and one hundred percent a threat. The oldest daughter, Andrea was interviewed for an article written by Katie Serena, in it she states her thoughts on why the demonic spirit took such an interest in attacking her mother. 

“Whoever the spirit was, she perceived herself to be mistress of the house and she resented the competition my mother posed for that position.” This corroborates the story shown in the film as Bathsheba possessed Carolyn. At one point she is speaking in tongues and levitating, despite being tied down to a chair. 

Worrying about his wife’s mental stability and the safety of his family, Roger makes the decision to move once the family was financially stable in 1980. To which their horrors finally ended.

  • “The Conjuring 2” (2016)

The Enfield Poltergeist is a story as real as any. Many believed this was a hoax but Ed and Lorraine can vouch for the paranormal occurrences that took place in Enfield, London in 1977. The Hodgson family consists of Peggy, the matriarch, daughters Margaret and Janet, and sons Johnny, and Billy. 

The family lived on 284 Green Street and unlike the spirit in the Perron case, the main target of activity was eleven-year-old Janet. Reports were made of the preteen entering trance-like states, in which she completely blacks out and becomes extremely vicious. She was even spotted by family members floating above her bed, as well as across the room. 

No strings, no tricks, a true phenomenon. At first, the family said they did not feel that the presence wanted to hurt them. If anything it almost felt like it wanted to be part of the family. During the eighteen months in which these paranormal happenings occurred more than thirty individuals witnessed strange events.

Drawers and cabinets were slammed open and shut. In one instance a rocking chair moved four feet across the room without explanation. Finally in 1978 Lorraine and Ed Warren came to the home and concluded this presence was not friendly, but in fact demonic. The spirit who was speaking through Janet was named Bill Wilkins, a man who previously resided at 284 Green st. 

Initially, the family thought Wilkins despised the idea of this new family living in his home but after more investigation, the Warrens were able to determine that Wilkins was not the actual demonic spirit at play here, but simply a vessel for another, much stronger spirit to speak through. The truly demonic spirit that the Warrens initially found in the Hodgson house was named Valak. A spirit we will later see in the case of “The Nun”.

  • “The Conjuring” The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021)

In the film that finished The Conjuring trilogy, Ed and Lorraine are called to a murder trial against nineteen-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson. In Brookefield, Connecticut 1981, Arne was charged with stabbing and killing his landlord. 

When taken to court he uttered the words, “The Devil made me do it”, these words astonished the courtroom. Making history as the first case to use possession as a reason for innocence. Prior to the homicide, Arne had no record of violent or criminal behavior. 

When the Warrens were first contacted, it was to actually observe the behaviors of an eleven-year-old boy, David Glatzel. Coincidentally, this little boy was the brother of Arne Johnson’s fiancée, Debbie Glatzel. It was believed that David had a learning disability, but in actuality, Lorraine believes he was in the early stages of demonic possession. 

In an interview featuring the demonology duo, Ed claims that once the spirit took over David, it would take four, almost five men to hold him down. His strength was supernatural. One second you would look at the boy and his eyes would gleam with the wonder and innocence any child would. But the next thing you knew, a dark, heavy presence overpowers him, taking full control. 

Aggravated by the strain this possession had been put on his fiancée’s brother, Arne challenges the devil. Taunting it saying, “Take me on! Leave my little buddy alone!”, a statement which would quickly turn the spirit’s attention away from David, and towards Arne. In total there were six priests involved with the continual exorcisms. 

These events were so terrifying that three of the priests who were actually treated, ordained, and studied in Rome, through the Vatican were petrified. The Warrens’ pleaded that Arne was an absolute gentleman incapable of these acts. Ed even stated in the previously mentioned interview that if you were to have a son you would hope he turned out to be like Arne. 

Lorraine says that he was always so well-spoken and well-manners, addressing them always as Mr. and Mrs. Warren. This occurrence was one of the most interesting cases I have ever read, as it was one of the first cases to ever introduce the Devil into a courtroom. 

Ed claimed that the justice system has far too long accepted the existence of God when swearing witnesses in, and now it’s time for them to accept the existence of the Devil. Despite the Warrens’ best efforts, as well as those of Arne’s loved ones, the court found him guilty of first-degree manslaughter.

 On November 24, 1981, Arne Johnson was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison. He was released five years later in 1986 for good behavior.

  • “Annabelle” (2014)

This story is one of, if not my absolute FAVORITE of all the Ed and Lorraine Warren files. Annabelle the doll is such a likely happening for any child. As kids, we fill our rooms with comfort toys, during the day they don’t seem too scary. But once we shut off our lights and their blank button eyes are staring at you, you probably won’t feel very comforted anymore.

 One thing that this film got completely wrong was the look of the doll itself. This choice was made because the directors felt the vision of a porcelain doll being possessed is far more hair-raising than the actual Annabelle doll which actually resembles Raggedy Ann. This film by far was unlike any of the other adaptations of the Warren cases as this one is not even closely related to the source.

 The actual case of the haunted Annabelle doll started with a mother and daughter. Now, this isn’t the mother and daughter relationship you are probably picturing. Instead, these are the events that accurately surround the case. In 1970 a nursing student named Donna received a Raggedy Ann doll from her mother on her 28th birthday. Donna and her roommate, Angie, began to notice the doll moving from where Donna initially placed her. 

One eerie instance was when Donna left Annabelle in the living room, only to later find the doll inside her bedroom, despite the door being shut. Scared by these strange occurrences Donna and Angie call over a random medium (not the Warrens). The medium said that the spirit speaking through the doll was a young girl named Annabelle Higgins. 

Annabelle’s body had apparently been discovered in the same location as the building in which Donna and Angie lived. Because of her naïvety, Donna took the spirit in, thinking it needed comfort. She invited the spirit to stay. But soon after, Annabelle became unhinged. The roommates, as well as Angie’s boyfriend, Lou, recall accounts of Annabelle becoming violent. 

One day, before hitting the road for a couples getaway, Lou and Angie heard banging from Donna’s room, as if someone were in a fight. Concerned with the commotion they check on the noise. Inside sat nothing but the doll. Just before Lou could pick up the doll to place it back on Donna’s bed, he was struck with sudden pain. His shirt was blood-soaked, and underneath were four defined scratches. 

After this incident, Ed and Lorraine were called to the scene. When they arrived on scene, Ed even remembers seeing the doll stained with blood. Donna, Angie, Lou, and Annabelle sat down with the Warrens to begin a thorough investigation. Quickly the Warrens were able to determine that the doll was not in fact being manipulated by a young girl, but it was being used as a means of communication by an inhuman demonic force. 

It was not friendly, and it did not like them. Terrified by this news, Donna begged the Warrens to take the doll away. Lorraine did. To this today, the doll resides in The Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. The box used to hold Annabelle was specially made for her, the wood used in its construction was soaked in holy water. 

The Warren Occult Museum is actually the old Warren home, and alongside Annabelle are various other trinkets and mementos from the paranormal past. Including a music box from the Perron family home. All in all, compared to the other case to film adaptations, this story is the most heavily modified, Hollywood-influenced version of a truly chilling case.

  • “The Nun” (2018)

Now is the time for our grand finale. As previously mentioned, there is a demon that the Warrens have often faced. That demon’s name is Valak. This creature has been seen in various other forms of entertainment, such as in issue seven of the comic book series of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (different spelling, spelling Volac, still derived from the same entity). 

Valak was initially using Bill Wilkins, a man who previously resided in the Hodgson’s home to terrorize the family before Lorraine concluded the actual demonic force was indeed Valak. Valak (spelling permits depending on the culture) in mythology is referred to as, the Great President of Hell, ruling over thirty legions. 

This demon threatened Lorraine on many occasions, following her from the Enfield Excorsism through the remainder of her life. In this film, it speaks of a completely fictional story. As for the entity that is Valak, I have already spoken about its actions in the analysis of “The Conjuring 2”.

Thank you all for reading, and hopefully, these Halloweeny headlines put you in a spooky mood! Now, remember, check your candy for blades, don’t get possessed, and stay spooky Hounds!