The real story behind Annabelle

Annabelle at the Warren's Occult Museum
Passing an antique store in 1970, Donna’s mother couldn’t resist buying the large rag doll with round button eyes as a birthday gift for her college-aged daughter. Donna loved the doll, displaying it prominently in her bedroom of the apartment she shared with fellow nursing student, Angie. Days later, the women noticed something peculiar about the doll. After making her bed each morning, Donna would place the doll – legs straight out and arms to the sides – on her bed, when she returned in the evening, the legs and arms would be positioned differently. Limbs would cross or the doll’s arms would be folded in its lap. 

A week or so passed, and each day the doll would change its position from how it was left in the morning. Donna tested the doll by purposefully placing the limbs in crossed positions to see if they’d be in a similar state when she returned.  Not only did she find the arms and legs uncrossed, the doll would be found hunched over or knocked to one side. 

Eventually, the girls found the doll making a break for it in the front room; returning home one night, Donna and Angie discovered the doll sitting in a chair near the front door – kneeling. Other times, they would find it sitting on the sofa, and probably hogging the remote control. 

The doll started to leave notes around the apartment. Written in pencil on parchment paper, of which they had neither in the house, they found messages pleading for help, “HELP US” and “HELP LOU” were scrawled in childlike handwriting across the yellowed paper.

Thinking the doll and its antics were the trick being played on them by someone able to access their apartment, Donna and Angie began to mark positions on the doors and windows to track anyone coming into the room. Never finding evidence of a person entering the apartment, they began to get scared. 

One night, the women found blood on the back of the doll’s soft cloth hand – and three drops of blood on its chest. They decided to contact a medium to see if she could find an explanation for the odd occurrences surrounding the doll. The psychic told them a young girl had died on the property when it was simply fields to run in and no buildings had swallowed her playground in concrete. The girl’s name was Annabelle Higgins and was seven-years-old. Annabelle had decided she’d liked the rag doll and felt the students were able to relate to her, the psychic continued, so she had possessed the doll to be near them. The women called the doll Annabelle from that moment on and treated the expressionless toy as if it were a child. They felt it was no longer a plaything – it was a child in need of love. 

Lou, a friend of Angie and Donna’s, had never felt comfortable around the doll. While he couldn’t place why he’d rather be in a separate room from Annabelle, it turned out he should have listened to his instincts. Napping on the couch in their front room, Lou dreamed of the doll. Feeling himself wake up he looked around the room and then saw Annabelle at his feet. The doll began to climb up his legs, moving over his chest until it reached his neck. In his dream, he saw the soft arms touch either side of his throat and the horror of himself being strangled by the rag doll. Waking in terror, he knew the doll had to go. 

Later, while preparing for a trip the next day, Lou was alone in the apartment with Angie. Hearing noises coming from Donna’s bedroom, Lou suspected they’d finally catch whatever had been playing with the doll and discover who was behind the tricks on his friends. Quietly opening the door to the room, Lou saw nothing was out of place, except that instead of being in her normal place on top of the bed, Annabelle was lying crumpled in a corner. As he walked further into the room and closer to the doll, he felt a dark presence behind him. Spinning around to face the attacker, Lou fell to the ground as Angie ran in to find her friend bleeding. Peeling away the material of his shirt, they found seven claw-like marks on his chest, the scratches burning like fire into his flesh. Remarkably, the wounds healed completely within a day or two but they knew they needed help to deal with whatever had possessed the doll. 

Donna contacted the Episcopal Church who suggested they contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, the founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research. Ed, a demonologist, and Lorraine, a trance medium, were intrigued by the case and ready to help. After discussing Annabelle’s history with Donna and Angie, the Warrens determined that the doll was demonically possessed and not a simple haunting. They felt whatever had taken control of the doll had done so by emotional manipulation of the girls by telling them, via the medium, that it was the spirit of a child locked inside, thus giving the demon a way to enter the apartment. Feeling that Donna and Angie were in danger, the Warrens requested to take the doll away from the house for their own safety.  

On way home, the Warrens had a tussle with their back seat driver. The car stalled or swerved on curves, making the journey dangerous. Finally, Ed Warren removed a vial of holy water from his bag, sprinkling it liberally over the possessed doll in the back seat. The rest of the drive home was uneventful. At their home, Annabelle sat in a chair next to Ed’s desk though would often move to different rooms in the house, and even levitating when it first arrived. 

A special case was built for the doll and it moved to the Warren’s Occult Museum where she has remained quiet ever since. Or has she? The doll may be to blame for the death of a visitor to the museum. Hearing the story of Lou’s experiences with Annabelle, a young man taunted the doll by asking it to scratch him and banging on its case. Escorted from the museum with a warning to respect what he doesn’t understand, the visitor and his girlfriend left on his motorcycle for home. Not long after leaving the Occult Museum, the young man was the victim of an accident as his motorcycle ran off the road and hit a tree, killing him instantly.

No comments: