The movie Poltergeist terrified us with a sinister clown that sprang to life and attacked a young child from under his bed one stormy evening. Child’s Play introduced us to Chucky, an evil doll looking for a human soul to possess. These are just a couple of examples of Hollywood inspired horror flicks meant to tap into our psyche and feed our fearful fascination with the supernatural specifically for entertainment purposes. But the story of Annabell, the Raggedy Ann doll, was anything but entertaining for two young nursing students and their friend terrorized by this purportedly real-life haunted doll.
Ed and Lorraine Warren are well-documented paranormal investigators specializing in demonology. The case of Annabell, the haunted doll, was one of their more famous documented investigations from the early 1970’s. The doll has since been locked up in a glass case at the Warren Occult Museum in Connecticut in an effort to prevent it from harming other potential unsuspecting victims.
Annabell’s story started out as a benevolent one but escalated into something far more sinister. A Raggedy Ann doll that was given as a novelty birthday gift by a mother to her young college age daughter would become a real life nightmare. Donna had been attending nursing school and, at the time, was sharing a small apartment with a fellow student by the name of Angie. Neither one of the girls had any clue as to what was in store for them when Annabell entered their lives.
Within a few days of bringing Annabell into their home the two young women began to notice strange occurrences that would defy logic. The doll’s creepy aura was not lost on them as they struggled to understand what was happening around them. Whenever they would return to the apartment they would notice that the doll was not in the same spot as they had left it. That was how it had begun.
Quickly the strange experiences began to escalate. The women reported finding the doll poised in odd positions such as standing against a chair or sitting with legs and arms crossed in a different spot when they would return home. They became quite uneasy when they noticed parchments of paper unlike anything either one of them had seen with strange scribblings on them similar to that a child would make. Their claims were that the scribblings said such things as ‘Help us’ or ‘Help Lou.’
Strange, unexplainable experiences that would frighten the soul out of most people apparently did not elicit the same response from the two nursing students. That is, until one particularly terrifying day. In that moment Donna had returned home to discover Annabell sitting upon her bed with what appeared to be droplets of blood on her chest and the back of her hands. That had been the last horrifying straw. At that point it had become perfectly clear to Donna that she needed to seek professional help and so she turned to the guidance of a medium.
The medium performed a seance and concluded that the spirit residing in the doll was that of a seven year old girl named Annabell. According to the medium the little girl had once resided on the property before the apartments had been built and had suffered a tragic death in the wooded area surrounding the building. The exact nature of that death was apparently shrouded in mystery. This revelation that the occupant of the doll was a young girl that had met an unfortunate fate drew sympathy from the young women. They decided to invite the spirit to stay and would allow her to continue to inhabit the doll. According to Ed and Lorraine Warren who later joined the investigation this was one of their greatest mistakes.
One of the women had a close friend by the name of Lou who visited with them quite often at the apartment. He had expressed his discomfort and unease with the doll Annabell from the very beginning. His experiences with Annabell would indeed be the most terrifying of them all. Whenever Lou stayed over at the apartment he was met with reoccuring nightmares that he was convinced were not nightmares at all. The vivid nature of his dreams had him convinced that the doll was evil and seeking to do him great harm. He expressed this concern openly with the young women.
Then it happened unexpectedly one day. Lou and Angie were preparing for a trip. The strange sounds emanating from other areas of the apartment immediately caught their attention. Fearful their was an intruder lurking about the apartment Lou went to check it out. Entering Donna’s room he discovered the doll lying on the floor in the corner of the room. Turning around fearing someone was behind him Lou was suddenly hit with a great pain that tore into his chest. Blood began to soak through his shirt and when he removed it there were reportedly seven bloody claw marks embedded in the flesh on his chest.
Fearful that they were being hunted by a demon not a benevolent spirit Lou and Donna decided to contact an Episcopal priest by the name of Father Hegan. Father Hegan turned the case over to Ed and Lorraine Warren. After their investigation the Warrens concluded that a spirit had attached itself to the doll and was looking to possess a human host. A ritual was performed to bless the house and remove the spirit. As a precautionary measure the Warrens took Annabell with them to prevent any further problems for the trio.
The Warrens themselves describe eerie happenings with the doll. They claim that their car was experiencing severe mechanical difficulty that bordered on disaster. The brakes would fail, it would stall at very dangerous moments, and the power steering would fail most often when they were rounding dangerous curves. The sense of hatred felt in the vehicle was reportedly suffocating. At one point Ed was forced to pull over and douse the doll with holy water upon which they claim the vehicular problems ceased for the remainder of the drive home.
Ed reported witnessing levitation of the doll while it was seated in a chair. They recounted that the doll would move from room to room similar to what Donna, Angie, and Lou had described. The only difference was that Annabell had not physically attacked either Ed or Lorraine…yet. To prevent further problems concerning the doll the Warrens had a glass case specially made for Annabell. She currently resides within that case at The Warren Occult Museum in Connecticut. There are still reports of the doll changing positions inside the case. Unsuspecting visitors have reported growls emanating from the doll as they stroll by.
Whether you are a believer or a skeptic there is no denying that Annabell has a strangely evocative and spine-tingling story behind her induction into The Warren Occult Museum. Perhaps these experiences can be explained away with simple rational or scientific explanations. Perhaps they cannot. Either way the mysterious story of Annabell the Haunted Doll continues to fascinate us to this day. Happy Hunting!