Ed and Lorraine Warren, known as the Warrens were paranormal investigators who investigated some of the most haunted locations in the US from the 1960s to 2000s. Recently the Conjuring movie franchise has significantly increased there popularity due to its success of the franchise. However are their paranormal cases such as the ones depicted in the Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Amityville Horror, and A Haunting in Connecticut, real? Yes of course they are. However, the producers do take creative liberty when telling the stories. Before we go into the top 5 Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren paranormal cases let’s discuss who they are.
Ed and Lorraine Warren History
The Warrens also known as Ed and Lorraine Warren are American paranormal investigators and authors. Edward Warren (September 7, 1926 – August 23, 2006), or Ed was a World War II United States Navy veteran and a former police officer. He would later become a self-taught demonologist, author, and lecturer. His wife Lorraine Warren (January 31, 1927 – April 18, 2019) was a psychic/clairvoyant and a light trance medium who worked closely with her husband. As a Husband / Wife team, these two paranormal investigators investigated some of the most notorious hauntings in the 20th century.
In 1952, the Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR), the oldest ghost-hunting group in New England. They authored numerous books about the paranormal and about their private investigations which documented their various encounters with paranormal activity. They claimed to have investigated over 10,000 cases during their career. However, it should be noted that multiple sources estimate the real number of Warren paranormal cases to be in the hundreds. According to the Warrens, the N.E.S.P.R. utilizes a variety of individuals, including medical doctors, researchers, police officers, nurses, college students, and members of the clergy in its investigations. In the mid-1970s, the Warrens also performed paranormal investigations at the Welles House in PA, which is still believed to be haunted by a demon.
The Warrens were responsible for training several demonologists including Dave Considine, Lou Gentile, and their nephew John Zaffis.
Ed and Lorraine Warren Top 5 Paranormal Cases
Annabelle the Doll
According to claims originating from Ed and Lorraine Warren, a student nurse was given the Raggedy 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 Ed and Lorraine Warren, 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 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 Ed and Lorraine Warren Occult Museum coinciding with the film release of The Conjuring, science writer Sharon A. Hill said that much 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, commenting that “like real-life Ed Warren, real-life Annabelle is far less impressive.” Of the supernatural claims made about Annabelle by Ed Warren, Hill observed, “we have nothing but Ed’s word for this, and also for the history and origins of the objects in the museum”
Perron Family – The Conjuring
In 1971, Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed that the Harrisville, Rhode Island, home of the Perron family was haunted by a witch who lived there in the early 19th century. According to the Warrens, Bathsheba Sherman cursed the land so that whoever lived there somehow died. The story is the subject of the 2013 film, The Conjuring. Lorraine Warren was a consultant to the production and appeared in a cameo role in the film.
Devil in Connecticut
The Trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the Devil Made Me Do It Case, is the first known court case in the United States in which the defense sought to prove innocence based upon the defendant’s claim of demonic possession and denial of personal responsibility for the crime. On November 24, 1981, in Brookfield, Connecticut, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the killing of his landlord, Alan Bono.
According to testimony by the Glatzel family, 11-year-old David Glatzel had allegedly played host to the demon that forced Johnson to kill Bono. After witnessing several increasingly ominous occurrences involving David, the family, exhausted and terrified, decided to enlist the aid of self-described demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (noted for their investigation into the famed Amityville Haunting) in a last-ditch effort to “cure” David. The Glatzel family, along with the Warrens, then proceeded to have David exorcized by several Catholic priests.
The process continued for several days, concluding when, according to those present, a demon fled the child’s body and took up residence within Johnson. Several months later, Johnson killed his landlord during a heated conversation. His defense lawyer argued in court that he was possessed, but the judge ruled that such a defense could never be proven and was therefore infeasible in a court of law.
Johnson was subsequently convicted, though he only served five years of a 10- to 20-year sentence. The trial attracted media attention from around the world and has obtained a level of notoriety due to numerous depictions of the events in literature and television. The Devil in Connecticut is also being featured in the movie the Conjuring 3.
The Smurls claimed that beginning in 1974, their double-block home located at 328 Chase Street in the city of West Pittston, Pennsylvania was disturbed by a demon that caused loud noises and bad odors, threw their dog into a wall, shook their mattress, pushed one of their daughters down a flight of stairs, and physically and sexually assaulted Jack on several occasions.
In 1986, the family brought in a pair of demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. According to Ed Warren, the demon that inhabited the Smurls home was “very powerful” and it shook mirrors and furniture after they tried to persuade it to leave by playing religious music and praying. Warren claimed he felt a drop in temperature and saw a “dark mass” form in the home, and the demon once left a message on a mirror telling him to “get out”. After months of investigation, Warren alleged that he had many audiotapes containing knocking and rapping caused by the demon.
Paul Kurtz, the State University of New York at Buffalo philosophy professor and then chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal said the Warrens weren’t objective, independent, or impartial investigators and characterized the Smurls’ claims as “a hoax, a charade, a ghost story.” Kurtz said that the Smurls’ claims were possibly due to delusions, hallucinations, or brain impairment, and advised that they submit themselves to psychiatric and psychological examinations. According to The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Smurl told a reporter he had “surgery to remove water from his brain in 1983 because he had been experiencing short-term memory loss due to a case of meningitis in his youth.” Allentown psychologist Robert Gordon commented that “people often look at demonology to explain many tensions that they experience as individuals and within their families”.
Spokespeople for the Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Scranton said they were unsure what might be causing the disturbances. St. Bonaventure University theology professor Alphonsus Trabold, OFM, said there might be other “less demonic” explanations. The home was blessed by several priests who said they saw “no harmful activity while on the property.” Janet Smurl claimed an unidentified priest performed three “unsuccessful” exorcisms, and that the demon avoided the rites by “moving between the double-block home” and following the family to other locations. In 1986, a priest from the local diocese spent two nights at the Smurl home and said “nothing unusual happened” during his stay there.
In 1986, the Smurls told the press they were tired of the constant bombardment of reporters and TV cameras; however within a few months, The Haunted, a paperback version of their story authored by Scranton newspaper writer Robert Curran was released by St. Martin’s Press. The book was criticized by reviewers such as Times Leader staff writer Joseph Marusak who wrote, “Robert Curran forsakes the principles of his trade to give readers a one-sided account of what did or didn’t occur over several years in Jack and Janet Smurl’s former home”. Reviewer Mary Beth Gehrman wrote that the book was poorly written, adding that “it is hard to conceive of a supposedly sophisticated objective and (as far as I know, at least until now) credible reporter like Curran taking their story seriously given the complete lack of any empirical or physical evidence to support it.”
Also in 1986, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in West Pittston, Rev. Joseph Adonizio, said the Smurls felt that after intense prayers, “things are back to normal.” In 1987, Janet Smurl told reporters that they still heard knocking and saw shadows. After the Smurl family moved to Wilkes-Barre, Debra Owens moved into the former Smurl home in 1988 and told reporters she “never encountered anything supernatural while living there.”
On the night of March 6, 1976, the Amityville horror house is investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, with a crew from the television station Channel 5 New York and reporter Michael Linder of WNEW-FM. During the investigation, Gene Campbell took a series of infrared time-lapse photographs.
One of the images allegedly showed a “demonic boy” with glowing eyes who was standing at the foot of a staircase. The picture did not emerge into the public domain until 1979 when George and Kathy Lutz and Rod Steiger appeared on The Merv Griffin Show to promote the release of the first film. 112 Ocean Avenue was also investigated by the parapsychologist Hans Holzer. The Warrens and Holzer have suggested that malevolent spirits occupy the house due to its history.