The Story of the Possessed Raggedy Ann Doll, Annabelle
There are some downright freakishly scary things that reside in this world. Some are well-known and some are not. Whether you believe in the supernatural or you don't, many reported cases of paranormal activity still seem to intrigue and mystify. Hauntings are most usually related to places, houses, or cemeteries, and sometimes even people, but what if an object other than these is reportedly haunted? Say a supposedly simple, benign doll, for instance. Would you believe it was true?
A Possessed Doll
Annabelle was the focus of a case that got the attention of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. They became interested in Annabelle in the early 1970s. This episode in their career was included in the book The Demonologist by Gerald Brittle about the Warrens.
It has been stated that this is one of the most unusual cases of a possessed object on record.
This is Annabelle's story:
In 1970, a mother, doting on her only daughter, purchased a Raggedy Ann doll from an antique store. The cute red-headed little doll was a present for her daughter Donna. Donna was, at that time, residing with her roommate Angie in a small apartment and preparing to graduate from college. Thinking nothing more of the doll than that it was a sign of her mother's affection, she placed the doll on her bed in her room and basically forgot about it.
As time passed, both Angie and Donna noticed an air of strangeness about the doll. Apparently, the doll would move. These were relatively subtle movements at first, like a change in position, but as time passed, the movements became more noticeable. The doll was even found once standing upright, leaning against a chair with its legs crossed. After a while, the doll was said to have actually changed rooms! It would be left in the living room before Donna left for work and upon returning, it would be found on her bed, in her room. A moving doll? Very strange indeed.
More Than Just Moving
About a month later, Donna began to find what she thought were penciled messages. They appeared to be written in the handwriting of a small child, scribbled and almost illegible, on parchment paper. It could be seen that the messages clearly stated "Help Us" or "Help Lou." Donna was uncertain of exactly who the "us" was. Apparently, Donna had never kept that type of paper in the house either. So where did the paper come from? Could it have been conjured by the doll itself? Could a doll possibly be writing messages? If so, how?
Who Was Annabelle, Really?
Donna came home one night to find the doll had moved once again. Only this time Donna felt as though something was off. A menacing presence seemed to emulate from the doll, and she had the deepest urge to inspect it for some reason. What she found would haunt her forever.
The doll had blood on it. Blood or what seemed to be blood. A liquid-like red substance appeared on both the back of its hands and its chest. Now completely scared and desperate for help, Donna decided it was time to seek an expert. Something was going on, and she wanted answers.
Determined to get to the bottom of things, Donna decided to contact a medium. The medium agreed, and a séance was held. Apparently, there was in fact a spirit taking up residence in the doll, and her name was Annabelle Higgins. From what the medium could determine, Annabelle Higgins was a young girl of only seven when her lifeless body was found in the field upon which the apartment complex now stands. The details of her death never came to light. The so-called spirit basically took up residence in the doll and wanted to stay. Seeing no harm in it and feeling sorry for what the spirit had experienced in life, Donna agreed. The true nature of this entity had yet to be revealed.
Lou, a friend of Donna's, was less than thrilled with the doll. On numerous occasions, Lou warned Angie that the doll felt threatening and sinister. Something was off, and Lou knew it. Lou's dislike of the doll was well-known. He would have more than one terrifying experience with Annabelle. Here is the story of Lou's experience as related by the Warrens themselves:
"Lou awoke one night from a deep sleep and in panic. Once again he had a reccuring 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 Donna's 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 seven distinct claw marks, three vertical and four horizontal. All were hot like burns. These scratches healed almost immediately; half-gone the next day and fully gone by day two. ("Annabelle, The Curse Of The Devil Doll." Warrens.net, 2010)
Had the entity finally revealed it's true purpose and nature? Usually, claw marks in a paranormal situation relate to a demonic entity. Demonic entities usually lead to cases of possession. The doll may be just a temporary anchor to the physical world. Possession of a human body may be its true intent. A human possession would make it almost impossible for the demon to be extricated from our world, making the interaction between the spiritual and physical worlds much easier to manipulate.
Due to the nature of Lou's experiences, the doll was no longer believed to be a docile spirit, but inhuman and demonic in nature. Donna decided to contact a priest. Bringing in the big guns seemed like the best way to go. Father Hegan was the priest they contacted. With his help, their case was referred to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
"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 possess 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 possess a human host.
The spirit, or in this case 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 a medium was brought into the apartment to communicate with it. The inhuman spirit now able to communicate through the medium and preyed on the girls' emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a rather harmless, lost young girl. During the seance it was allowed permission to haunt the apartment. Insofar as a demon is a negative spirit, it then set about causing patently negative phenomena to occur; it aroused fear through the doll's weird movements, brought about the materialization of disturbing handwritten notes, created symbolic drops of blood on the doll, and ultimately 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 two or three more weeks, the spirit would have completely possessed, if not harmed or killed, one or all of the occupants in the house." ("Annabelle, The Curse Of The Devil Doll." Warrens.net, 2010)
An actual exorcism was conducted on the doll before they left, hoping it would rid Annabelle of the infectious demon. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, Ed and Loraine decided the best course of action to prevent the spirit from doing further harm was to relieve Donna of its presence and take the doll home with them. They weren't completely sure if the doll had been exorcised of the entity.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Should you ever want to visit the famous Annabelle, she can be found at the Warren Occult Museum in Moodus, Connecticut. The museum is run by Lorraine Warren, the famous paranormal investigator, and now frequent guest on the television show Paranormal State. Warren relates that Annabell still moves about occasionally and is still known to make growling noises at unsuspecting visitors.
© 2009 Elizabeth