The Warrens: Sorting the truth from the Hollywood myth

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.

The media tends to miss important side notes on the Warrens.

Real life Ed Warren

Real life Ed Warren

ed hollywood
The Hollywood make-over (ignore the feet)








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.


©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

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:

real anna

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.

Blake continues:

“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!

Ah, Hollyweird.

Lorraine Warren says she’s never going back to the Amityville | Doubtful News.

  13 comments for “The Warrens: Sorting the truth from the Hollywood myth

  1. Pangs
    July 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    In “My Amityville Horror”, a documentary that purports to give Daniel Lutz’s version of events, Lorraine Warren shows off a piece of wood she claims is a confirmed piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on.

    The Warrens’ involvement is as sure a sign that shenanigans are afoot as you can get.

  2. Blargh
    July 4, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    There’s another informative (though sadly transcript-less) MonsterTalk episode involving the Warrens, where author Ray Garton talks about his collaboration with them: August 10th: A Connecticut Haunting in a Keen Author’s Court

    “I consider this the low point of my career – and I wrote the novelization to the movie “Good Burger”, so…”

    (Oh, and thanks Sharon for introducing me to that podcast. :))

  3. July 4, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    I’d recommend that. Very interesting. And sad. Felt bad for the guy to have to grow up with that.

  4. July 4, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    That’s a brilliant episode. Ray Garton also spoke about his experiences with the Warrens on the Irreligiosophy podcast (, be wary playing that around the kids, quite a lot of bad language.

  5. Tracy
    July 4, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    The “piece of the true cross” seems to be a common Catholic delusion. I read Beware The Night (the basis for the film Deliver Us From Evil) and that guy is another conservative Catholic with such a “relic”….plus he is a true believer in the Warrens. I don’t know how I made it through the damn book, it was so full of bullshit. Hopefully the movie will skip most of the religious crap, and just concentrate on the fake demon possessions.

  6. busterggi
    July 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Still more entertaining than any creationism museum.

    And, for me, a much shorter drive.

  7. July 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    The only cursed thing at the Creation Museum is the Ark project!

  8. H.K. Fauskanger
    July 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Think positive. After Ken Ham goes bankrupt, skeptics can take over the “Ark” (i.e., the oddly-shaped and oversized barn) and reinvent it as the Museum of Creationist and Occultist Follies.

    Annabel the not-so-spooky doll clearly deserves her own wing.

  9. July 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Visit the museum with Lorraine. Only $129 a ticket.
    Warrenology – Lecture and Museum tour

    Pass. There’s plenty of loopy stuff that doesn’t put more money into their pockets.

  10. Tribeca Mike
    July 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    “That’s one of the original Books of Shadows, which was written in the medieval days.” Considering that the Medieval Period spanned a thousand years of European history, that’s some mighty precise dating. /s

  11. Tribeca Mike
    July 7, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    No doubt they’ll claim that Annabel’s wing is haunted by Raggedy Andy, I mean a ghost named Andrew.

  12. Rich
    July 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    That *is* a great episode! I think it’s there that Garton quotes Ed Warren saying of Carmen Snedeker, “oh, she’s nuts. All the people that come to us are nuts.” He exposes the Warrens as a really peculiar mixture of shamelessly exploitative, gullible and deluded.

    (Thanks for that Irreligiosophy link, too, I’ll have to have a listen to it.)

  13. Kel_Solaar
    July 11, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    After listening to the audio book ‘The Demonologist’ I’m under the impression that Ed Warren doesn’t know too much about the esoteric/occult/non-Christian. He seems able to insert a few falasies to fill in the gaps though!

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