Ed And Lorraine Warren: The Real Story Behind The Conjuring Movie Universe

Ed and Lorraine Warren are two the most famous paranormal investigators of all-time. They began studying the “things that go bump in the night” in 1952 and rose to fame in the ’70s after participating in a “psychic slumber party” at the infamous Amityville house. Their most famous investigation though was that of the Perron family, which laid the basis for The Conjuring. The film created a shared universe of horror films all related to the Warrens– now it’s time to separate the facts from the fiction. Don’t read this article with the lights off!

The Passing Of A Legend

lorraine warren the conjuring paranormal investigator
HAxelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
HAxelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

At 92-years-old, Lorraine Warren passed away in 2019, joining her husband Ed in the afterlife they spent their lives investigating. Vera Farmiga, who played Lorraine in The Conjuring, wrote, “I was so blessed to have known her and am honored to portray her… Love you, Lorraine. You’re waltzing with Ed now.”

While they were still alive, the Warrens investigated countless reported hauntings. There have been 17 movies made about their cases, with The Conjuring being the most lucrative. Now, these films honor the lives of two of the greatest paranormal investigators the field has ever known.

A Real Haunting Inspired The Conjuring

lorraine warren conjuring real haunting perron family
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

In 1971, the Perron family moved into a cursed house. Bathsheba Sherman lived in the house in the 1800s and supposedly practiced witchcraft. When she died, she put an evil spell on the property that would cause harm to anyone who lived there.

Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the haunting, including the demonic possession of the family’s children; Andrea, Christine, April, Nancy, and Cindy. James Wan loosely based The Conjuring on this event, using the files that the Warren’s kept to guide his way.

Annabelle Is Real, But Doesn’t Look Like You Would Think

lorraine warren annabelle doll real life conjuring
Reddit
Reddit

One of the scariest haunted possessions that Ed and Lorraine introduced the world to is Annabelle. In The Conjuring and Annabelle, the doll looks absolutely terrifying. In the real world, as seen here, she’s much less intimidating.

Annabelle might not look dangerous, but she’s not a doll you want to cross. The Warren’s first investigated her after a nurse bought her at a hobby shop. The Warren’s confirmed that demons had taken up residence in her, and brought her back to their haunted museum. Annabelle now lives there, on display in a glass case.

The Haunted Museum

ed and lorraine warren haunted museum annabelle the conjuring
Reddit
Reddit

In the 1980s, with 30 years of investigations under their belts, Ed and Lorraine Warren decided to open a museum. Inside, among the hundreds of haunted items, there’s a real vampire’s coffin and a demon-summoning mirror.

If you want to visit the museum and give yourself nightmares, you’ll need to plan a trip to Monroe, Connecticut. Once there, you’ll find The Warren Occult Museum located in the basement of the Warren home. To make sure that no evil follows visitors after they leave, a priest blesses the museum once a month.

The Climactic Exorcism In The Conjuring Was Movie Magic

ed warren exorcism the conjuring fact vs fiction
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring shook audiences with its exorcism-filled climax. Unfortunately for truth seekers, that frightening scene was made-up for the movie. When asked whether Ed performed the exorcism, Lorraine Warren squashed the idea.

She said that Ed would never perform an exorcism by himself. Only priests perform the cleansing ritual, and Ed wasn’t a priest. The possession was real though. Andrea Perron still remembers when she was 11-years-old and saw her mother begin speaking a demonic language and levitate while performing a seance.

Annabelle Is A Work Of Pure Fiction

annabelle conjuring possessed doll warrens movie made up
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

When The Conjuring became a massive hit, James Wan decided to not only make a sequel, but also a spin-off. Annabelle tells the backstory of the haunted doll, just not the real backstory. The entire movie is a work of fiction.

The truth is that no one knows exactly how the doll became haunted. All Ed and Lorraine Warren were ever able to figure out was that “Annabelle” was the name of the spirit possessing the doll. The rest is movie magic.

The Real Annabelle Doesn’t Like Visitors

annabelle conjuring victim motorcycle
Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images
Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Even though the Warren’s museum is blessed monthly, Annabelle has still been able to effect at least one person. Lorraine admits that there was a couple visiting the museum once who banged on the doll’s glass display and laughed at her.

After they were kicked out by Ed, the man lost control of his motorcycle and hit a tree. This scary event hasn’t made it into any of The Conjuring movies yet, but the franchise isn’t slowing down and there’s still plenty of time.

The Amityville Horror Is Based On Warren Case File

warren case the amityville horror
Dimension Films
Dimension Films

Although it’s not a part of The Conjuring universe, The Amityville Horror is also based on a case file by Ed and Lorraine Warren. There’s even a quick mention of the haunting in The Conjuring 2.

In the early ’70s, a family moved into the Amityville house and quickly moved out a month later fearing for their safety. After the incident, stories sprung up that the family had seen shapes and there was paranormal activity happening. In 1979, the entire haunting was revealed to be a hoax, although the reputations of the Warren’s wasn’t hurt.

The Conjuring 2 Is Based In “Fact”

the conjuring 2 lorraine warren
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

The haunting that takes place in The Conjuring 2 is like its predecessor, based on a real haunting. The Enfield Haunting is one of the most well-known hauntings ever, and the movie stuck to recorded history to unravel its chilling tale.

One scene in the movie shows Janet Hodgson speaking in the voice of Bill Wilkins. This came from recorded video evidence. The family also claims to have witnessed their children levitating. The Warren’s involvement in the case, however, is up for debate.

Separating Fact From Fiction

the conjuring two enfield haunting evidence faked
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

While the Hodgson’s stand by the Enfield haunting, they have admitted to fabricating some of the evidence. Janet Hodgson believes that a small amount of evidence needed to be faked, because weird things don’t happen on cue. There were so many people at her house that she didn’t want anyone to leave disappointed.

Janet also confirmed one big lie The Conjuring 2 told. Ed and Lorraine Warren weren’t invited to investigate, and when they did show up, they only stayed one day.

Annabelle: Creation Is Even More Made Up Than Annabelle

annabelle creation warrens conjuring movies
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle was huge hit when it came out, and as you already know it was a work of pure fiction. When James Wan decided to make a sequel, he chose to go even further into the evil doll’s past.

With no Warren case files to work from, Wan and his team continued to create a fake back story for Annabelle. This time, audiences finally learned how the little porcelain terror was created. A third Annabelle film is scheduled for release in 2019.

Lorraine Warren Described The Nun To James Wan

the nun conjuring 2 warren case files
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

The main antagonist in The Conjuring 2 is a demon named Valak who takes the form of The Nun. Wan got the idea to use evil priestess after Lorraine Warren described a similar entity that haunted her house.

Valak itself is a real demon mentioned in books on the devil from the 14th century. Wan mixed parts of the real demon’s story with that of Warren’s special specter to come up with one of The Conjuring universe’s most terrifying villains.

The Warrens Investigated A Werewolf Once

southend werewolf ed and lorraine warren
Twitter
Twitter

“The Southend Werewolf” is one of the most unusual case files in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s collection. They took the investigation after being called out to Essex, England, where Bill Ramsey claimed he was possessed by a wolf shaped demon.

When the Warrens returned home, they invited Ramsey to Boston to help him. He had been in and out the hospital with symptoms including curled fingers, inhuman strength, hunched shoulders and growling. At their home, Bishop Robert McKenna performed an exorcism on Ramsey.

The Conjuring 3 Might Get Hairy

warren case files werewolf conjuring 3
Nancy Rivera/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Nancy Rivera/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A third Conjuring film is currently in the works, and James Wan might be taking inspiration for it from the Southend Werewolf case. Speaking about the possibilities, he said, “Maybe we can go and do it like a classic American Werewolf in London style. That would be awesome!”

Wan also said he does not want the third film to be another haunted house film. The good news for him is that with so many case files to choose from, changing the setting shouldn’t be hard.

The Devil Made Me Do It

lorraine warren trial arne cheyenne johnson
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

In 1981, Ed and Lorraine Warren made history when they helped a man on trial for manslaughter use “the devil made me do it” as his defense. The man, Arne Cheyenne Johnson, supposedly was overtaken by a demon after it was exorcised from his fiance’s younger brother.

Before the exorcism, the Warren’s sat down with the boy. During the interview, Lorraine said she saw a black mist form around him. After he was treated by a priest, he returned to normal. Arne then claimed he had become possessed and committed his crime as a result. The jury found him guilty.

The Haunting In Connecticut Is Another Warren File Turned Movie

the haunting in connecticut warren case file
Lionsgate
Lionsgate

The Haunting in Connecticut is not a part of The Conjuring universe, but like The Amityville Horror is based on a Warren case file. Ed and Lorraine Warren took the case after learning a family’s son was seeing ghosts.

The home, it turned out, used to be a funeral home, and the Warrens informed the family that was why there were so many ghosts. The family lived in the house for two years before finally moving out. The film adaptation of the case file was released in 2009.

Is Annabelle A Hoax?

annabelle conjuring lorraine warren doll hoax
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Annabelle is one of the most highly contested haunted possessions Ed and Lorraine Warren own. While many believe that doll is dangerous, others believe the Warrens made up the haunting. There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is that there is nothing known about Annabelle outside of what the Warrens have recorded. The second reason is that the story of the doll matches up surprisingly well with a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone. In it, Annabelle gives a doll to her daughter, only to see the doll come to life and cause mischief.

The Warrens Were Deeply Religious

lorraine warren religious beliefs
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Ed and Lorraine Warren were a deeply religious couple. When they took on cases, one of their requirements was that their clients share the same religious beliefs. They believed that the stronger a person’s faith was, the easier it would be to fight back evil spirits.

Not all paranormal investigators in the field are devoutly religious. Many are actually skeptics looking for reasons to believe. Ed and Lorraine always believed, and knew that they could use that power to help those in scary situations.

Lorraine Said Ed Talked To Her After He Passed

ed and lorraine warren conjuring
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

After Ed Warren passed away, Lorraine told her step son that he still appeared and spoke to her. He told Patch, “Once while investigating a case of demonic activity alone after Ed passed she felt his hand grab and hold her hand while she was in the house.”

Spera shared another story about Ed’s spirit whistling in the kitchen. It spooked the owner of a house. When he told Lorraine, she said, “Well, I guess Ed got here before I did.”

Ed Studied Demons

ed and lorraine warren demonology
Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Ed and Lorraine Warren worked together, but had different jobs in the field. Lorraine specialized in “spirit activity,” while Ed knew everything about demons. This ability to identify spirits and demons proved incredibly fruitful in their ghost hunting career.

In an interview, Lorraine explained how the relationship worked. She revealed that most of the spirits they dealt with her human, but some were much scarier, “My husband was a demonologist, so we had a lot. But there are more human spirits. There are far more human spirits.”