“Annabelle,” is also based on a true story. If the supernatural film’s chilling trailer didn’t adequately scare you, here are nine freaky facts about the Annabelle doll and its related 1970 haunting
According to claims originating from Ed and Lorraine Warren, a student nurse was given the raggey Ann doll in 1970, but after the doll behaved strangely, a psychic medium told the student the doll was inhabited by the spirit of a dead girl named “Annabelle Higgins”. Supposedly, the student nurse and her roommate first tried to accept and nurture the spirit-possessed doll, but eventually became frightened by the doll’s malicious behavior and contacted the Warrens, who removed the doll to their museum after pronouncing it “demonically possessed”.
Texas State University assistant professor of religious studies Joseph Laycock says most skeptics have dismissed the Warrens’ museum as “full of off-the-shelf Halloween junk, dolls and toys, books you could buy at any bookstore”. Laycock calls the Annabelle legend an “interesting case study in the relationship between pop culture and paranormal folklore” and speculates that the demonic doll trope popularized by films such as Child’s Play, Dolly Dearest, and The Conjuring likely emerged from early legends surrounding Robert the Doll as well as a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Living Doll”. Laycock suggests that “the idea of demonically-possessed dolls allows modern demonologists to find supernatural evil in the most banal and domestic of places.”
Commenting on publicity for the Warrens’ occult museum coinciding with the film release of The Conjuring, science writer Sharon A. Hill said that many of the myths and legends surrounding the Warrens have “seemingly been of their own doing” and that many people may have difficulty “separating the Warrens from their Hollywood portrayal”. Hill criticized sensational press coverage of the Warrens’ occult museum and its Annabelle doll. She said, “Like real-life Ed Warren, real-life Annabelle is actually far less impressive.” Of the supernatural claims made about Annabelle by Ed Warren, Hill said, “We have nothing but Ed’s word for this, and also for the history and origins of the objects in the museum
1. The Doll Is Real
The real Annabelle does exist. Currently residing in the Warren Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, the doll is encased in a wooden enclosure, complete with a Holy cross and a sign saying, “Warning: Do Not Touch.” Contradictory to the porcelain Annabelle doll in the film, the real doll was an antique Raggedy Ann.
2. She Was A Birthday Gift
Unlike the film, which depicts a husband and wife owning Annabelle, the original doll reportedly belonged to a nursing student named Donna. The doll, gifted to her by her mother in the 1970s ahead of her 28-year birthday, was purchased at a second-hand Raggedy Ann store. After a few days of owning the doll, Donna’s roommate, Angie, was the first one to notice the doll was “strange.”
3. It Could Move On Its Own
Shortly after being gifted the doll, Donna and Angie noticed she would slightly change positions throughout the day, such as crossing her arms and legs. Over time, they claim she started to move to different locations in their home. “Several times Donna, placing the doll on the coach before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed,” said the Warrens.
4. … And Write Messages
Despite having no parchment paper in their home, the girls would find pencil-written notes from Annabelle throughout their apartment. The Warrens claim that the doll would write “Help Us” in what appeared to be the hand writing of a small child.
5. The Spirit Of Annabelle Higgins
After months of living with the moving doll, and believing the incidents may have all been the results of break-ins, Donna came home one night to find that Annabelle had blood on her hands and chest. Frightened, the roommates contacted a medium to help solve the mystery. During a séance a medium discovered a spirit named Annabelle Higgins, a 7-year-old girl who died on the property. Donna and Angie gave Annabelle permission to inhabit their doll after the spirit told the medium it felt comfortable living with the girls.
6. Attack On Lou
Donna and Angie’s friend Lou was reportedly attacked by Annabelle on several occasions. After expressing his distaste for the “evil” doll, he awoke one night to find her “slowly gilding up his leg” before moving onto his chest and “strangling” him. Lou, who at first believed the ordeal was a bad dream, claims to have blacked out from the strangulation. The next day, Lou entered his friend’s apartment only to hear strange noises coming from Donna’s room. While searching the home for a possible break in, he felt a presence behind him and was soon after cut and left with “7 distinct claw marks” on his chest. The scratches, despite causing him to double over in pain, healed almost immediately. Lou’s injuries caused Donna to finally believe in the doll’s evil nature. After contacting a priest to help her with the matter, Donna was later directed to speak with the Warrens
7. The Warrens Arrive
The Warrens, known for eradicating the evil in the Amityville Horror home and the Conjuring hauntings, were also involved in the Annabelle case. The couple, apparently replaced by a priest in the film, found the doll was not possessed but manipulated by an inhuman spirit who created the illusion that the doll was alive. The Warrens said the spirit, who only pretended to be a young girl in order to con Donna and Angie, was ultimately looking to possess a human body. In order to stupor the spirits attempt, the Warrens had the apartment exorcised by a priest and took the doll with them home to Connecticut.
8. The Spirit Lives On
The Warrens claim that the doll continued to exhibit haunted behavior while in their care, reportedly levitating. Despite being kept in a facility outside their home, they said that the doll was known to reappear in different areas of their abode.
9. Responsible For Deaths?
The Warren says the spirit has tormented several individuals who have came in counter with the doll. A priest who visited the Warren’s home and insulted Annabelle, telling her “you can’t hurt anyone,” was reportedly involved in a near-fatal car crash after the visit. Two of the Occult museum visitors, a couple, reportedly crashed their motorcycle after poking fun at the doll’s abilities. The man, said to have slammed on Annabelle’s case, died instantly after crashing into a tree in route home from the museum. His girlfriend survived but was hospitalized for a year after the crash.