The Real Annabelle Is Actually a Raggedy Ann Doll — and It's Terrifying
June of 2019 marked the release of Annabelle Comes Home, which is a spinoff of the first Annabelle movie and, technically, yet another entry into The Conjuring universe that revolves around famed paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren. In its Hollywood context, the Annabelle doll first appears in 2013's The Conjuring (but, sadly, not in The Conjuring 2) as a pretty gnarly little object with some quite impressive drag queen eyebrows. What you might not know is that the doll has been totally creeped up for the big screen, and, in actuality, is just a vintage Raggedy Ann doll. Believe what you will, but the real-life Ed and Lorraine Warren have a full account of Annabelle on their official website, and it's one hell of a haunting tale.
1. The Beginning
According to the Warrens, the story of the Annabelle doll began in 1970 when a woman purchased an antique Raggedy Ann doll from a hobby store. The doll was a gift for her daughter Donna, who had just graduated from college. Within a few days, the doll began to move. At first, it just made slight changes in position, but the doll eventually began moving to entirely different rooms.
Things quickly escalated. Donna would find parchment paper with notes scribbled on it. They would say things like "Help us" in childish writing. When Donna found blood inexplicably dripping out of the doll, she called a medium.
According to the medium, they were dealing with the spirit of a little girl named Annabelle Higgins. Apparently, young Annabelle had lived on the property before it became Donna's apartment building. She was found dead at just 7 years old. She wanted to be kept and loved by Donna and her roommate.
2. The Haunting
Donna had a friend named Lou who faced Annabelle's wrath the most. Lou apparently was not a huge fan of the doll and repeatedly told Donna that it was evil. One night, he said he spotted the doll at the foot of his bed. It floated up from his feet and began to strangle him. He blacked out from the oxygen deprivation and didn't wake up until the next morning.
In another instance, Lou believed that someone had broken into the apartment but only found the doll in Donna's room. When he turned his back, he suffered scratches that yielded seven burning claw marks. At this point, Donna decided to seek expert help. She tried to contact a member of the church but was quickly referred to the Warrens.
3. The Warrens' Involvement
After a local priest put them in touch with Donna, Ed and Lorraine conducted an investigation and quickly decided that the doll was not attached to the spirit of a little girl at all. In fact, in the Warrens' expert opinion, a violent demonic entity was using the doll as a conduit. Since demons can't possess inanimate objects, this spirit had hoped to hang around long enough to possess one of the occupants of the apartment. The Warrens decided to exorcise the apartment and take Annabelle home with them.
Even on the way home, the Warrens claimed that the entity became hateful and angry. They almost swerved into multiple accidents, their brakes and power steering failed, and their car completely stalled out. After Ed Warren splashed the doll with holy water, things quieted down.
The next few weeks yielded more of the same for the Warrens. Annabelle would appear to levitate or switch rooms. Even after locking her away in their office, she would move to the living room. At one point, they hired a Catholic exorcist who verbally and physically assaulted the doll and got into a serious car accident shortly thereafter. Eventually, the Warrens had a special case made for Annabelle, and she's remained there ever since.
The cool thing is, 2013's The Conjuring pays homage to this story. In the first scene, we meet the women who have been dealing with the terrible wrath of Annabelle. They are being interviewed by Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The couple decides take her home and lock her in her case. Of course, she does some really intense stuff from there, but we'll leave all that to the movies.