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Annabelle: History vs. Hollywood

Starring Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Ward Horton

Questioning the Story:

How does the Annabelle movie relate to The Conjuring?

The Annabelle movie is a spin-off/prequel to The Conjuring. Other than in the opening scene, it doesn't feature any of the human characters from The Conjuring. It instead focuses on the backstory of the doll that was in the possession of paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) in The Conjuring movie. The story includes a fictionalized explanation of how a demon became attached to the doll. It also somewhat reveals how the doll came to be named after a deceased young girl named Annabelle, though the 2017 prequel Annabelle: Creation clarifies this further. Lorraine Warren is pictured below with the real Annabelle doll.

Left: Lorraine Warren holds the real Annabelle doll outside of her home in Connecticut in the 1970s. Right: Lorraine poses next to the doll inside the Warrens' Occult Museum in more recent years.

Was the real Annabelle doll a vintage porcelain doll?

No. As indicated in the photos below, the real Annabelle doll was actually a normal-looking Raggedy Ann Doll, not the creepy-looking porcelain doll seen in the Annabelle movie and The Conjuring.

The real Annabelle doll (right) was actually a Raggedy Ann Doll, not the porcelain doll shown in the Annabelle movie (left).

Did a husband really give the Annabelle doll to his pregnant wife as a present?

No. In the Annabelle movie, husband John Form (Eric Laden) gives the doll to his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) as a present. Through our research into the Annabelle true story, we learned that John and Mia Form are fictional characters. The real Annabelle doll was given as a birthday present by a mother to her daughter, Donna, a nursing student who was turning 28. Donna's mother purchased the Raggedy Ann Doll from a hobby store in 1970. Given the style of the real doll, it was most likely purchased new since that particular Raggedy Ann Doll with the calico dress does not predate the 1970s. Most of the Annabelle movie focuses on the vintage doll's existence prior to Donna's mother purchasing it at the hobby store, offering a fictional account of how the demon could have entered and stayed with the doll. Donna, her roommate Angie, and Angie's fiancé Lou are depicted at the beginning of the movie telling demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren about their experiences with the doll.

John Form (Ward Horton) and his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are entirely fictional characters.

Were the previous owners of the doll really attacked by members of a satanic cult?

No. As we investigated the Annabelle true story, we discovered that the doll's former owners, nursing students Donna and Angie, had never been attacked by members of a satanic cult who intruded into their home and subsequently passed a malevolent entity into the doll. This part of the movie is pure fiction, which takes place in 1969, the year before Donna comes into possession of the doll (which was likely purchased new). It was created to provide a fictionalized explanation as to how the demonic spirit became attached to the doll. In real life, the spirit pretends to be that of an innocent young girl named Annabelle, who supposedly died when she was still a child. This correlates more with what happens in the prequel Annabelle: Creation.

The Annabelle movie's satanic intruders (top) are pure fiction, as is the method by which the demonic spirit is passed into the doll via a drop of blood (bottom) from dying intruder Annabelle Higgins.

Did the owners really try to unsuccessfully throw away the doll?

No. In the movie, husband John Form (Eric Laden) puts the doll in the trash before the couple moves, but his wife Mia later discovers it while unpacking one of the moving boxes. According to the real Annabelle doll story, the owners never tried to throw away the doll. Their home had never been broken into by satanic intruders who passed a demon into the doll, nor had the paranormal activity associated with the doll ever gotten bad enough that they wanted to throw the doll away prior to passing it along to researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Did they find the real Annabelle doll in different positions and rooms?

According to the Warrens' story, Donna, the nursing student who shared a tiny apartment with her roommate Angie, a fellow nurse, would come home to find that the doll had shifted positions. At first, its movements were subtle and confined to the bed where Donna had left the doll. However, in time the movements became more noticeable. Donna and Angie began to discover the doll in different rooms than they had left it. It would even appear back in Donna's room with the door shut. Sometimes they found the doll with its legs crossed and its arms folded, while on other occasions it was found standing on its feet, leaning against a dining room chair. They even discovered it kneeling on a chair, which was strange because if they tried to make the doll kneel on its own, it would fall over. It couldn't kneel.

Like in the movie, the owner is said to have discovered the doll in different positions and rooms. However, the owner was a nursing student who lived with a roommate, not a pregnant married couple.

How long had the paranormal activity surrounding the Annabelle doll been going on?

As stated in The Demonologist book, strange activity involving the real Annabelle doll had been going on for about a year before paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren became involved in the case and eventually took the doll into their possession. Ed and Lorraine's meeting with the doll's owner, her roommate, and her roommate's fiancé is depicted at the beginning of both the The Conjuring and Annabelle.

Did the Annabelle doll leave messages?

Yes. According to the story told by Ed and Lorraine Warren, a former owner of the Annabelle doll, Donna, claimed that she would come home to find penciled messages written in childlike writing on parchment paper. The messages read "Help Us" and "Help Lou" (Lou was Donna's roommate Angie's fiancé and had been staying with them). What made the messages even more strange was that Donna did not have parchment paper in the apartment and had no idea where it came from.

Like what is shown in The Conjuring movie, the real Annabelle doll supposedly left messages on scraps of parchment paper. In real life, they were said to have been written in pencil, not crayon.

Did blood appear on the Annabelle doll?

Yes, at least according to the Warrens' story, it did. Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren claim that the doll's original owner, Donna, a nursing student, came home from work to find what looked like blood on the back of the doll's hand and three drops of blood on its chest. There was no explanation for how the red substance had gotten there. This event is what prompted the doll's owner, Donna, to contact a medium for help. In a somewhat unrelated event in the Annabelle movie, we see blood from a dying cult member drip into the doll's eye socket (pictured earlier).

Did the owner of the doll ever contact a medium and have a séance?

Yes. Although there is no medium or séance depicted in the movie, according to the Annabelle doll true story, as told by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the doll's owner, Donna, contacted a medium after noticing that three drops of blood had mysteriously appeared on the doll's chest and more blood was on the back of the doll's hand. The medium became involved 4-6 weeks after the paranormal activity first began.

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The medium held a séance and introduced Donna and her roommate Angie to the spirit of Annabelle, a seven-year-old girl who had played in the fields that existed where Donna and Angie's apartment complex now stood. Apparently, Annabelle's lifeless body had been discovered in the fields. Out of compassion, Donna and Angie permitted the spirit that they thought was that of Annabelle to stay with them and possess the doll.

It should be noted here that the above version of the story, which is presented in The Demonologist book and is currently featured on the website of paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren, differs from the version of the story told by Ed Warren in a 1980s video tour of his Occult Museum. In the video, Ed states that the medium told Donna that Annabelle had died in an automobile accident outside Donna and Angie's apartment. Ed states that Annabelle was six, not seven. During the video, he also says that the Raggedy Ann Doll was given to Donna by her mother as a Christmas present, not a birthday present as The Demonologist book states. Are these contradictions enough to raise doubt with regard to the authenticity of the Warrens' story?

Did the demon attached to the Annabelle doll really start a kitchen fire?

No. The Annabelle movie true story reveals no evidence that the possessed doll was ever responsible for starting a kitchen fire. In fact, the entire sequence involving the fire is fictional. The demon never caused a stove to turn on, resulting in a bag of stove top popcorn to overcook and explode into flames. At the same time, the doll's owner never injured her finger on a sewing machine. The demon also never dragged the owner across the floor back toward the fire.

The demon attached to the Annabelle doll never started a kitchen fire.

Has the real Annabelle doll inflicted physical harm on anyone?

Yes, but not to the degree shown in the movie. A man named Lou was the fiancé of Donna's roommate Angie and had been staying with them since the doll had arrived. Lou wasn't fond of the doll and warned Donna that it was evil. One night, Lou awoke suddenly from a deep sleep and realized that he was unable to move. He saw the Annabelle doll at his feet and watched as it slowly glided up his leg and over his chest. Before he knew it, the doll had begun to strangle him until he blacked out. He woke up the next morning certain that his experience wasn't a dream.

On a later occasion, Lou and Angie were studying maps to prepare for a trip Lou was embarking on the next day when they heard rustling noises coming from Donna's room. Lou approached the closed door and waited for the noises to stop before entering. He turned on the light and saw Annabelle laying on the floor in a corner. He walked over to the doll, but as he did, he began to sense that someone was behind him. He spun around but no one was there. In an instant, he found himself doubled over, grabbing his chest, which was now bleeding. Upon inspection, he discovered seven claw-like scratches on his chest (four horizontal and three vertical) that were hot like burns. The scratches healed rapidly and were fully gone in two days.

Is Alfre Woodard's character, Evelyn, based on a real person?

No. In the movie, John and Mia's neighbor, Evelyn (Alfre Woodard), owns a local bookstore where Mia looks for books on ghosts. Evelyn is an entirely fictional character. Furthermore, no one ever sacrificed themselves in order to offer their soul to the demon that was supposedly controlling the doll.

Alfre Woodard's character, Evelyn, is entirely fictional. No one ever sacrificed themselves to give their soul to the demon.

Have there been any deaths associated with the real Annabelle doll?

Paranormal researcher Ed Warren believes that the doll has been responsible for at least one death. During a video tour of Ed and Lorraine Warren's Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, Ed pointed out the Raggedy Ann doll in its case, "Many of the objects in this room here have had dire effects on people. People have been maimed, have been killed. People have wound up in mental institutions because of many of the things that are right in this building here. You have the voodoo dolls, you have the Raggedy Ann Doll, which was responsible for the death of a young man who came in here one time, who challenged the doll to do its worst and it did."

The young man had apparently come to The Occult Museum on his motorcycle with his girlfriend for a tour. As Ed Warren was giving the tour, the young man started to mock the doll and while doing so, he ran up and began tapping on the glass of the case that the doll is enclosed in. He challenged the doll to put scratches on him like it had supposedly done in the past to a man named Lou, who had been friends with the doll's former owner, Donna. Ed kicked the young man out of the museum. Approximately three hours later, the young man died when he lost control of his motorcycle and hit a tree. His girlfriend survived but remained hospitalized for over a year. -Warrens Occult Museum Tour

Actor Patrick Wilson (left), who portrayed Ed Warren in the 2013 movie The Conjuring, poses with the real Annabelle doll. Right: The real Ed Warren is pictured admiring the cursed doll in the 1970s.

Can I visit the real Annabelle doll?

Yes. As stated at the end of the movie, the actual doll is located in Ed and Lorraine Warren's Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. At present, tours of the Warrens' Occult Museum are limited and are only being given via an intimate event called Warrenology. To learn more, head over to the Warrens' website.

Was the spirit of a dead seven-year-old girl named Annabelle really linked to the doll?

According to the Warrens, Donna, who owned the doll, along with her roommate Angie, contacted a medium who held a séance with the doll present. "The woman had told them, the medium, that there was a spirit of a seven-year-old child in the doll by the name of Annabelle," says Ed Warren, "who had been killed outside of their apartment house in an automobile accident. Well, there was such a child, but God does not allow a child's spirit to go into a doll. This was a devil, a demon, inside the doll, which was impersonating the spirit of a child" (Seekers of the Supernatural).

Unlike the movie, the doll's owner never saw what appeared to be the ghost of a different seven-year-old girl named Annabelle Higgins, who in the film grows up to start a satanic cult. In the 2017 prequel, we learn that Annabelle Higgins is actually the fictional orphan Janice, who became possessed by the demon attached to the doll. Janice escaped, was adopted by the Higgins family, and changed her name to Annabelle after the doll, which in turn was named Annabelle after the doll maker's daughter, who died at age seven when she was hit by a car.

How did paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren end up in possession of the Annabelle doll?

According to the Annabelle true story, after the demon that was attached to the doll inflicted physical harm upon Donna's roommate's fiancé Lou, it was then that Donna, the doll's owner, came to the realization that the spirit might not be all that innocent. Donna contacted an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan, who contacted a superior, Father Cooke, who immediately got in touch with paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens convinced Father Cooke to perform an exorcism on the apartment in order to cleanse the home. He also blessed the individuals who were there. At Donna's request, the Warrens took the Raggedy Ann Doll with them when they departed. It has been in their possession ever since.

Are there any other cases of haunted dolls?

Yes. If you've ever visited Key West, Florida, then you're probably aware of one of the more well-known haunted dolls, Robert the Doll, which was the inspiration for Chucky from the horror movie Child's Play (pictured below). As the story goes, the doll had been given to Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto in 1906 by a Bahamian servant who worked for the Otto family. The servant was skilled in voodoo and black magic and was reported to have been displeased with the family.

Young Eugene became inseparable from his doll, which he named Robert, after himself. His parents could often overhear Eugene talking to the doll. They assumed Eugene was changing his voice to make the doll talk back, but eventually they suspected that the doll was actually speaking. Over the years, passersby reported seeing the doll move from window to window. The family caught glimpses of Robert the Doll running from room to room, and others claim it emitted a terrifying giggle. When Eugene's parents heard loud noises from his bedroom during the night, they would enter only to hear Eugene say, "Robert did it!"

The possessed Good Guys doll Chucky (left) from the horror movie Child's Play was inspired by Robert the Doll (right). However, Robert was far less diabolical than Chucky and never killed anybody.

I had the privilege of seeing Robert the Doll (above, right) in person during a 2011 trip to Key West. He is housed in a glass case in the Fort East Martello Museum. Hundreds of fan-written letters adorn the wall next to Robert, and before taking a picture, you are instructed to ask Robert for permission. Learn more about the doll via this short Robert the Doll Documentary.

Annabelle Doll Footage, Backstory & Related Videos

Learn more about the real Annabelle doll and the alleged true story by watching the videos below. View a tour of Ed and Lorraine Warren's Occult Museum where the doll is currently located. Also, watch a prank for inspiration on how to create an Annabelle costume, and then view instructions on how to apply Annabelle doll makeup.

 Ed and Lorraine Warren Occult Museum Tour Featuring Annabelle

In this episode of a program titled Seekers of the Supernatural, paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren describe some of the items in their Occult Museum, including the Raggedy Ann Doll that inspired the doll in the Annabelle movie. "That's probably the worst thing we have in this whole museum," says Ed Warren.

 Annabelle Doll Documentary

The host of this segment visits the Warren's Occult Museum to see the real Annabelle doll. The documentary-style segment from CT Style features the host explaining the doll's backstory. The paranormal activity surrounding the doll is touched upon, including it switching positions. Accidents related to the doll are also discussed.

 Robert the Doll Documentary

This short Robert the Doll documentary examines the haunted doll that resides in Key West. The doll, which is dressed as an early 20th century naval officer, was given to artist Robert Eugene Otto by a displeased Bahamian servant who was skilled in black magic. Robert the Doll became the inspiration for the evil doll Chucky from the movie Child's Play.

 Annabelle Halloween Costume Prank

To help promote the Annabelle movie, this prank was set up featuring someone wearing an Annabelle doll Halloween costume. It took place at Canada's 20th annual Fan Expo convention in Toronto, Ontario, which sees more than 80,000 visitors. New Line Cinema's Annabelle movie was showcased within Rue Morgue Magazine's 'Festival of Fear' via a clever prank. Fans pose next to what they think is merely a fake representation of the possessed Annabelle doll. They quickly realize that the doll they are posing next to isn't fake at all. It wouldn't be all that difficult to recreate the prank with an Annabelle Halloween costume, a rocking chair, and a large box or a wooden frame to construct the doll's case. It would be a great way to scare unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

 Annabelle Doll Costume Makeup Instructions

British makeup artist Charlie Short provides Annabelle makeup instructions via a video tutorial. Charlie instructs viewers on the proper makeup to use and offers step-by-step instructions on how to apply it so you look like the possessed porcelain doll from the Annabelle movie. If you attempt to follow the Annabelle doll costume makeup instructions, send us your pictures and we'll post them on our Facebook page.

 Annabelle Movie Teaser Trailer

This Conjuring spin-off finds a husband (Ward Horton) giving a doll to his pregnant wife, portrayed by Annabelle Wallis (yes, the actress's name is also Annabelle), to help complete her collection. After a home invasion, they discover that Annabelle the Doll has introduced an unspeakable evil into their home. Watch the Annabelle movie teaser trailer for a glimpse at the horror that ensues shortly after the doll arrives. Annabelle was inspired by a real-life Raggedy Ann Doll.

 Annabelle Movie Trailer

Here is the official Annabelle movie trailer for the horror movie spin-off about the doll featured in The Conjuring. The actual doll exists locked up in an occult museum in Connecticut—supposedly visited twice a month by a priest who blesses her. The movie's plot involves a husband, John Form, who has found the perfect gift for his pregnant wife, Mia—an exquisite, rare vintage doll in a breathtaking white wedding dress. But Mia's delight with her new doll Annabelle doesn't last long, as an unspeakable evil possesses the doll following a violent home invasion by members of a satanic cult.

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