In 1970 a mother purchased an antique Raggedy Ann Doll from a hobby store. The doll was a present for her daughter Donna on her birthday. Donna, at the time, was a student in college, preparing to graduate with her nursing degree and resided in a tiny apartment with her room mate Anngie (a nurse as well). Pleased with the doll Donna placed it on her bed as a decoration and didn’t give it a second thought until a few days later. With in that time both Donna and Angie noticed that there appeared to be something very strange and creepy about the doll. The doll apparently moved on its own, relatively unnoticeable movements at first, like a change in position, but as time passed the movement became more noticeable. Donna and Angie would come home to find the doll in a completely different room from which they had left it . Sometimes the doll would be found crossed legged on the couch with its arms folded , other times it was found upright, standing on its feet, leaning against a chair in the dining room. Several times Donna, placing the doll on the couch before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed.
Annabelle the doll not only moved but could write too. About a month into their experiences Donna and Angie began to find penciled messages on parchment paper that read “Help Us” and “Help Lou”. The hand writing looked to belong to that of a small child. The creepy part about the messages was not the wording but the way they were written. At the time Donna had never kept parchment paper, on which the notes were written, in the house, so where did it come from?
One night Donna came home to find the doll had moved again, this time it was on her bed. Donna had come to find that this was typical of the doll but some how she knew this time it was different, something wasn’t right. A sense of fear came over her when she inspected the doll and saw what looked like blood drops on the back of its hands and its chest. Seemingly, from no where, a liquidy red substance had appeared on the doll. Scared and desperate Donna and Angie decide it was time to seek expert advice.
Not knowing where to turn they contacted a medium and a seance was held. Donna was then introduced to the spirit of Annabelle Higgins. related the story of Annabelle to both Donna and Angie. Annabelle was a young girl that resided on the property before the apartments were built, they were “happy times”. She was a young girl of only seven years old when her lifeless body was found in the field upon which the apartment complex now stands.
The spirit related to the medium that she felt comfort with Donna and Angie and wanted to stay with them and be loved. Feeling compassion for Annabell and her story Donna gave her permission to inhibit the doll and stay with them. They were to soon find out however, that Annabelle was not what she
appeared to be. This was no ordinary case and definitely no ordinary doll.
Lou was friends with Donna and Angie and had been with them since the day the doll arrived. Lou had never been fond of the doll and on several occasions warned Donna that it was evil and to get rid it of it. Donna had a compassionate tie to the doll and not giving much credence to Lou’s’ feelings kept it. Donnas’ decision, it turns out, was a terrible mistake.
Lou awoke one night from a deep sleep and in panic. Once again he had a reoccurring bad dream. Only this time somehow, something seemed different. It was as though he was awake but couldn’t move. He looked around the room but couldn’t discern anything out of the ordinary and then it happened. Looking down toward his feet he saw the doll, Annabelle. It began to slowly glide up his leg, moved over his chest and then stopped. Within seconds the doll was strangling him. Paralyzed and gasping for breath Lou, at the point of asphyxiation, blacked out. Lou awoke the next morning, certain it wasn’t a dream, Lou was determined to rid himself of that doll and the spirit that possessed it. Lou, however, would have one more terrifying experience with Annabelle.
Preparing for a road trip the next day Lou and Angie were reading over maps alone in her apartment. The apartment seemed eerily quiet. Suddenly, rustling sounds coming from Donnas room aroused fear that someone had possibly broken into the apartment. Lou determined to figure out who or what it was quietly made his way to the bedroom door. He waited for the noises to stop before entering and turning on the light. The room was empty except for Annabelle whom was tossed on the floor in the corner.
Lou scoured the room for forced entry but nothing was out of place. But as he got close to the doll he got the distinct impression that somebody was behind him. Spinning around he was quick to realize that nobody else was there.
Then in flash he found himself grabbing for his chest, doubled over, cut and bleeding. His shirt was stained with blood and upon opening his shirt there on his chest was what looked to be 7 distinct claw marks, three vertically and four horizontally, all were hot like burns. These scratches healed almost immediately, half gone the next day, fully gone by day two.
Donna finally was willing to believe the spirit in the house was not that of a young girl but inhuman and demonic in nature. After Lou’s’ experiences Donna felt it was time to seek real expert advice and contacted an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan. Father Hegan felt it was a spiritual matter and felt he needed to contact a higher authority in the church, so he contacted Father Cooke who immediately contacted the Warrens.
Ed and Lorraine Warren immediately took interest in the case and contacted Donna concerning the doll. The Warrens, after speaking with Donna, Angie, and Lou came to the immediate conclusion that the doll itself was not in fact possessed but manipulated by an inhuman presence. Spirits do not Possess inanimate objects like houses or toys, they posses people. An inhuman spirit can attach itself to a place or object and this is what occurred in the Annabelle case. This spirit manipulated the doll and created the illusion of it being alive in order to get recognition. Truly, the spirit was not looking to stay attached to the doll, it was looking to posses a human host.
The spirit or in this case an inhuman demonic spirit, was essentially in the infestation stage of the phenomenon. It first began moving the doll around the apartment by means of teleportation to arouse the occupants curiosity in hopes that they would give it recognition.Then predictably the mistake of bringing a medium into the apartment to communicate with it. The inhuman spirit now able to communicate through the medium, preyed on the girls emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a rather harmless, lost young girl with which during the seance, was allowed permission from Donna to haunt the apartment. Insofar as demonic is a negative spirit, it then set about causing patently negative phenomena to occur; it aroused fear through the weird movements of that doll, it brought about the materialization of disturbing handwritten notes, the symbolic drops of blood on the doll, and ultimately it even attacked Lou leaving behind the symbolic mark of the beast. The next stage of the infestation phenomenon would have been complete human possession. Had these experiences lasted another 2 or 3 more weeks the spirit would have completely possessed, if not harmed or killed one or all of the occupants in the house.
At the conclusion of the investigation the Warrens felt it appropriate to have a recitation of an exorcism blessing by Father Cooke to cleanse the apartment. “The Episcopal blessing of the home is a wordy, seven page document that is distinctly positive in nature. Rather than specifically expelling evil entities from the dwelling, the emphasis is instead directed toward filling the home with the power of the positive and of God.” (Ed Warren). At Donna’s request, and as a further precaution against the phenomena ever occurring in the home again, the Warrens took the big rag doll along with them when they left.
Father Cooke although uncomfortable with his role as an exorcist agreed to perform the seven page rite of exorcism a doctrine he receited throughout the apartment at which point the Warrens were confident the entity would no longer reside there. They agreed to take the rag doll back home with them. Upon leaving Ed placed the doll in the back seat and agreed he would not take the interstate in the event the inhuman spirit still resided with the doll.
His suspicions were all to correct in no time the Warrens felt themselves as a the object of a vicious hatred. Then at each dangerous curve the car swerved and stalled with every corner causing the power steering and brakes to fail. Repeatedly the car verged on collision. Ed reached into the back seat into his black bag and took out a vial of holy water and doused the doll making the sign of the cross over it. The disturbances stopped immediately and the Warren’s arrived safely home.
After the Warrens arrived home, Ed sat the doll in a chair next to his desk. The doll levitated a number of times in the beginning, then it seemed to fall inert. During the ensuing weeks, however, it began showing up in various rooms of the house. When the Warrens were away and had the doll locked up in the outer office building, they would often return to find it sitting comfortably upstairs in Ed’s easy chair when they opened the main front door. The doll also showed a hatred for clergymen who came to the house.
In one instance FatherJason Bradford a catholic exorcist came to the house. Upon seeing the doll seated in the chair he picked it up and said ” Your just a ragdoll Annabelle, you can’t hurt anyone”, and tossed the doll back in the chair at which point Ed exclaimed “That’s one thing you better not say.” Upon leaving an hour later Lorraine pleaded to the priest to please be careful driving and to call her when he arrived home. Lorraine discerned tragedy for this young priest but he had to go his way. A few hours later Father Jason called Lorraine and explained that his brakes had failed as he entered a busy intersection. He was a involved in a near fatal accident destroying his vehicle. This was just one of many such events that occurred over the next few years.
The Warrens had a special case built for Annabelle inside the Occult Museum, where she resides to this day. Since the case was built Annabelle no longer appeared to move but she is thought to be responsible for the death of a young man who came to the museum on motorcycle with his girlfriend. The young man after hearing Ed’s account of the doll, defiantly went up and began to bang on the case insisting that if the doll can put scratches on people then he wanted to also be scratched, Ed said to the young man “Son you need to leave” and put him out of the building