Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famous ghost hunters and demonologists.
In case you haven’t heard of Ed and Lorraine Warren, they became America’s most famous ghost hunters and demonologists following their involvement in the investigation of the 1970s haunting known as “The Amityville Horror,” which became the basis of a sensational book and movie.
Over time, their further investigations have become the stuff of paranormal legend.
Years before movie-going audiences were terrified by recent films based on them like “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle,” I met the Warrens. It’s a fun story I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time.
Here’s how it happened.
In 1999, I moved into an apartment on the third floor of an old house in the Boston area, not far from Harvard Square.
I never saw objects floating in mid-air or heard creepy voices telling me to get out, but shortly after moving in, I began to notice something that made me wonder if the place might be haunted.
As a lifelong New Englander who was raised Irish Catholic, I’m automatically prone to superstition, but I had never experienced anything like this before and haven’t since.
The living room was connected to the rest of the apartment by two doorways, one led to the dining room, the other led to the main hallway. At some point, I began to notice that when I was sitting in the living room and not paying attention, it seemed like someone was standing in the doorway to the hall. The effect would cause me to turn and look at the doorway once I noticed it, only to find it empty.
Despite the fact that this happened repeatedly, I ignored it. Until other people who visited, and who had no prior knowledge of what I had experienced, started saying the same thing.
It was not scary or threatening, it just seemed like an effect of light and peripheral vision. I started referring to it as “the ghost at the door.”
Eventually, someone in my social circle suggested that I should try to contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, and I did.
Back then, the Warrens had a very basic website that included a generic contact email address. I sent a brief message which was short on details, asking if I could get their thoughts on a possible haunting.
Within a day, I got a response from the guy who managed their website. He emailed their phone number and said, “Mike, Call the Warrens.”
I called them that night.
Lorraine answered the phone, and after a quick explanation of who I was, how I got their phone number and why I was calling, she passed the phone to Ed. He asked me a few questions about the figure that seemed to appear in my doorway and said, “Oh, that’s just someone who’s hanging around.”
He went on to explain his belief that there are two types of hauntings. One is the ghost of a human being, which lingers in a place for any number of reasons and is harmless. The other is a non-human spiritual entity, which is demonic and therefore malevolent and dangerous.
After I thanked Ed for hearing my story and offering his opinion, he handed the phone back to Lorraine. She said that they were holding a meeting in a few days at their house in Connecticut with some of their associates, and invited me to attend.
The following weekend, I drove down to Connecticut and met Ed and Lorraine Warren at their home.
The thing I found most striking about them upon meeting them in person was how, for lack of a better word, “normal” they seemed. They looked, dressed, and behaved like a sweet older couple who could be your neighbors. They just happened to make their living investigating and lecturing about demonic hauntings. The normalcy with which they treated the subject matter somehow made it even creepier.
Back then, if you wanted to learn about the Warrens and their investigations, you were better off reading books. Today, there are countless articles and videos on the internet and not all of them are positive.
The Warrens have been accused of being fakes, charlatans, and hoaxers. I’m not in a position to verify any of these claims or to disprove them, but I will tell you this. The Warrens believed it. Ghosts, hauntings, demons, possessions, they believed it all.
Their casual attitude on the subject only made them seem more in earnest.
At the end of my visit, I was given a chance to walk through their museum, which was located in a large shed behind the house that contained artifacts they collected over the years. The most notable display was the real “Annabelle” doll, which supposedly terrorized three nursing students and has become the basis for another series of horror films.
Unlike the one presented in movies, the real Annabelle is a “Raggedy Ann” doll. The Warrens kept it locked in a glass case. True story or not, Annabelle is pure nightmare fuel.
Paranormal Investigator Lorraine Warren holding the real Annabelle doll pic.twitter.com/EdPrqk3Zim
— 41 Strange (@41Strange) October 5, 2019
This, seriously, is the “real” Annabelle doll pic.twitter.com/la4Y5Go8NI
— Michael Clear (@MichaelClear) October 17, 2019
I thanked the Warrens and headed home. I found them to be very friendly, gracious and honest people. I came to them asking questions and they took me seriously without ever asking for anything in return. I should note that they made their living by giving lectures and never charged anyone for their investigations.
I met them one more time, a year or two later, when I attended a lecture they gave at a college in the Boston area. I never saw them or spoke to them after that, but I do think of them sometimes. Ed Warren died in 2006 and Lorraine Warren died in April of 2019.
They were a fascinating couple and I am thankful that I had an opportunity to meet them.
Maybe that was the purpose of “the ghost at the door” all along.
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