People with any passing interest in the paranormal will be aware of the names Ed and Lorraine Warren, their activities, and their “museum of the occult” which is located in the basement of their home in Connecticut. The Warrens are the focus of a lot of media attention currently, as a result of the film adaptation of one of their cases in James Wan’s horror film “The Conjuring” released in 2013.
Many of those who worked with the Warrens have balked at Ed and Lorraine’s portrayal on the big screen. Whether they were actually helping the families whose homes they investigated remains a matter of opinion, but few can argue that the portrayal of Ed, who passed away in 2006, as a lantern-jawed hero was somewhat removed from the truth.
An article in The Daily Beast’s travel section, dated 7/3/14, perfectly captures the difficultly many have separating the Warrens from their Hollywood portrayal. The article is headed with a large striking picture of the allegedly haunted/possessed doll “Annabel” as seen below.
The article goes on to state:
Fans of the 2013 horror film The Conjuring may be familiar with the doll, which plays a central role.
This is dead give away that reporter didn’t actually visit the museum. If she had, she would realize that, like real-life Ed Warren, real-life Annabel is actually far less impressive. In fact, without prompting, fans of the film may struggle to recognize this Raggedy Ann doll, pictured below with Lorraine Warren, as Annabel, the figure which caused so much terror in the film:
The situation is further muddied when we consider there was a great deal of myth and legend surrounding the Warrens before Hollywood worked its magic on their story. Much of this has seemingly been of their own doing. For example Ed is quoted in the article:
“Many of the objects in this room here have had dire effects on people,” Ed told a tour in the mid-’90s. “People have been maimed and killed.”
Of course we have nothing but Ed’s word for this, and also for the history and origins of the objects in the museum. In an episode of the MonsterTalk podcast, entitled “The Warren Omission” host, Blake Smith, recalls a documentary in which Ed presents one of these dire objects to the crew saying:
“That’s one of the original Books of Shadows, which was written in the medieval days. This one here is translated into English. Just the reading of that book has had terrible results for many people. This is not a book that anyone should ever buy, a book of shadows. It goes into incantations and devils and demons and rituals.”
As Blake points out, the book in question was not a “book of shadows” as Ed claims, but a copy of the “Simon Necronomicon” an infamous literary hoax, published by Avon books and Bantam at various periods since the 1970’s and available to this day in high-street bookstores.
“His museum of demonic, possessed items was full of off-the-shelf Halloween junk, dolls and toys, books you could buy at any bookstore and in this case, one which wasn’t even close to being what he was representing it to be.”
Sounds like a visit to the Warren’s museum may be a disappointment.
The difficulty in sifting the truth of the Warrens from the Hollywood portrayal, and their self portrayal will only become more pronounced as time progresses. The upcoming release of “The Conjuring 2” which is set to revolve around the Enfield poltergeist debacle, a case that none of involved want to have rehashed, and one that the Warrens weren’t even significantly involved in!