THE BASEMENT’S WORLD OF THE WEIRD: The True Story of Annabelle
Annabelle is an allegedly haunted Raggedy Ann doll, housed in the (now closed) occult museum of the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Annabelle was moved there after supposed hauntings in 1970. Though unassuming in her appearance and looking nothing like the doll used in the movie, the real Annabelle is probably creepier simply because she’s not scary looking. When you think of Raggedy Ann, you think of being a child and the innocence that comes with it.
According to Ed and Lorraine Warren, the demonologists that worked on the case, the doll is responsible for one fatal motorcycle accident, two near-death experiences and a string of paranormal activity that lasted more than thirty years. Though Ed died in 2006 and Lorraine in 2019, they were adamant that the warnings on Annabelle’s display case should be heeded at all costs.
The original story says that the Annabelle doll was given as a gift in 1970 or so to a nurse named Donna from her mother. She loved the gift so much that she displayed it in her apartment, shared with another nurse named Angie. Early on everything was fine in the apartment, with Annabelle sitting on the living room sofa. As time went on though, they noticed that Annabelle seemed to move around the room, with no help from the roommates.
There would be times where Donna would leave for work, with Annabelle sitting in her regular spot on the couch. When she would get home in the afternoon, the doll would be found in her bedroom, with the door shut. According to both Donna and Angie, they then started to find notes around the apartment that would say “Help Me.” These notes were even written on parchment paper, that neither of the roommates kept in the house.
Sometimes they found the doll with its legs crossed and its arms folded, while on other occasions it was found standing on its feet, leaning against a dining room chair. They even discovered it kneeling on a chair, which was strange because if they tried to make the doll kneel on its own, it would fall over. It couldn’t kneel.
Angie’s boyfriend said that he was in the apartment one afternoon, while Donna was out, and he heard a sound in her bedroom, like someone was in there. When he checked he found that no one was there but that Annabelle was lying face down on the ground. He then suddenly felt a sharp pain on his chest and when he looked down, he found bloody claw marks running across it. Two days later the marks were gone, with no sign of ever being attacked.
One day, Donna, came home from work to find what looked like blood on the back of the doll’s hand and three drops of blood on its chest. There was no explanation for how the red substance had gotten there.
After the attack and finding what looked like blood on the doll, a medium was invited to the house to help figure out what was going on. A séance was held, and the medium said that the doll was inhabited by the spirit of Annabelle Higgins, a seven-year-old girl whose body had been discovered years before their apartment building had been built. The medium also claimed that the spirit in the doll was not a bad one, and that she just wanted to be loved. Donna and Angie then gave Annabelle permission to stay in the doll and live with them.
It wasn’t long until Donna came to the realization that the spirit might not be all that innocent. She contacted an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan, who contacted a superior, Father Cooke, who immediately got in touch with Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens convinced Father Cooke to perform an exorcism on the apartment to cleanse the home. He also blessed the individuals who were there. At Donna’s request, the Warrens took the Raggedy Ann Doll with them when they departed. It has been in their possession ever since.
Ed Warren believes that the doll has been responsible for at least one death. During a video tour of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, Ed pointed out the Raggedy Ann doll in its case, “Many of the objects in this room here have had dire effects on people. People have been maimed, have been killed. People have wound up in mental institutions because of many of the things that are right in this building here. You have the voodoo dolls, you have the Raggedy Ann Doll, which was responsible for the death of a young man who came in here one time, who challenged the doll to do its worst and it did.”
The young man had apparently come to The Occult Museum on his motorcycle with his girlfriend for a tour. As Ed Warren was giving the tour, the young man started to mock the doll and while doing so, he ran up and began tapping on the glass of the case that the doll is enclosed in. He challenged the doll to put scratches on him like it had supposedly done to Angie’s boyfriend. Ed kicked the young man out of the museum. Approximately three hours later, the young man died when he lost control of his motorcycle and hit a tree. His girlfriend survived but remained hospitalized for over a year.
Annabelle is still in the Warrens’ Museum in Monroe, CT. Unfortunately, due to zoning laws, the museum is closed to the public, and has been since 2014. This includes private tours. On occasion the museum’s curator, Tony Spera, displays the doll, along with other artifacts from the museum at conventions such as The Warrens’ Seekers of the Supernatural Paracon.
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