If you’ve seen the Hollywood horror films, The Conjuring or Annabelle, then you’re probably aware of Ed and Lorraine Warren. But I’m willing to bet that some, if not most, are generally unfamiliar with their work and past. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met Lorraine Warren a few times (I actually went with her and some neighbors to see The Conjuring when it was released) because my boyfriend’s friend (we’ll call him Jake, for the sake of privacy) lives next door to Lorraine.
Yes, he lives next door to the Museum of the Occult.
(The above video shows a tour of the Museum. The quality is bad, but they tell an interesting story about the Annabelle doll.)
Their website is extremely outdated and hard to read with the black background and flashy graphics, so I’ll copy their bio for you here:
For over fifty years now, Ed and Lorraine Warren have been considered America’s preeminent experts on the subject of spirits and demonology. Even more important perhaps, is the fact that they have also been the very same people for the past fifty years whom religious authorities have repeatedly called in to control some of the most profane outbreaks of diabolical phenomena in the country. Cases where priests become possessed. Cases where people are physically attacked. Cases where unworldly entities manifest and then preside. Cases where time is violated and the physical environment is completely rearranged. Cases where spirits don’t just haunt a house, they visibly tear it apart.
Ed and Lorraine Warren have dedicated their lives to this work, and they share the wisdom they have gained during their extraordinary career in this field. The work they perform is remarkable. And you can be certain, after all this time, they know things that are completely astounding. The cases they divulge will shock you; yet it is the significance of what they say that will actually floor you. Moreover, the Warrens don’t mince words. They know what they’re talking about. They have seen it. They have done it. The Warrens reveal both the methods and the motives behind spirit activity; indeed they reveal what really breaks the peace in haunted houses, and precisely what it means to you. Both now and forever.
Ed Warren is a demonologist. Lorraine Warren is a trance medium. But you’d never know it if you met them on the street. They are not occultists. They are not strange. They are essentially ordinary people who happen to do highly extraordinary work. And though the Warrens have no ax to grind, their orientation is distinctly religious. For in reality, that is the only way it is possible to function in this work. Because that which they confront are not vaporous, indistinct phantoms that simply come and go in the night. The forces they confront are religious entities that – by their own admission – exist for the sheer purpose of opposing the works of God.
Ed passed away a few years ago and now Lorraine lives in the house with a Catholic priest and her pet rooster, Einstein. I personally have not toured the museum, and probably never will. I’m not necessarily the strongest believer, but I’d rather not interfere with things that I don’t understand. I can tell you, however, that the Annabelle depicted in The Conjuring and Annabelle looks nothing like the real Annabelle doll (shocking, huh?).
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lorraine a few times, though I don’t know her as well as my boyfriend and Jake. During the summer, when we would hang out on Jake’s back deck, Lorraine would stop by to say hi and always offer us pizza or brownies.
It’s true that Lorraine is nothing like you’d expect. She’s somewhat grandmotherly with badass style (she’s always wearing earrings that I’m envious of). I remember one encounter that truly proved her charm.
Jake and my boyfriend were skating in the street and I was sitting on the front stoop, drinking tea. Lorraine saw us and made her way over to say hi and offer us some food. We talked for a while and she told us about the work she was doing for Yale.
At some point, Lorraine took notice of my boyfriend’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard shirt. She looked at it thoughtfully. “Old Dirty Bastard,” she said. Her eyes glazed over with distant rememberings. She smiled at us, and quipped, “I knew one of those once.”
She winked and we all laughed. We explained who Ol’ Dirty Bastard was and why my boyfriend was wearing the shirt. She then offered to buy us a pizza. We declined as we always do. Why? I’ll never know. Maybe we thought it was polite, but looking back, I think she wanted some company. I also regret not getting to pick her brain, not necessarily about the occult, but about life. Maybe the next time I’m out there.
The last time I saw Lorraine, she was surrounded by loving friends, family, and neighbors. We all went to see The Conjuring together. It was fun and Lorraine herself has a cameo in the film. A true superstar, that woman.
If you live on the East Coast, Lorraine presents filmed exorcisms in the CT area around Halloween. You can follow the events here.
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