The Strangest Cases Ed And Lorraine Warren Ever Worked, According To The Warrens Themselves

February 12, 2023 People's Tonight 1873 views

Patrick Thornton

Vote up the Warren cases most likely to give you the creeps.

If you look into the most notorious cases of hauntings, possessions, and paranormal phenomena in the last 50 years, you’ll probably find out they were investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren. A WWII Navy veteran and police officer, Ed Warren believed in the supernatural from an early age, having grown up in a reportedly haunted house. Lorraine, who grew up just blocks from Ed, demonstrated psychic abilities in early childhood, being able to see auras around the nuns at her Catholic school.

Ed and Lorraine began dating when they were both 16, and they married two years later. Ed eventually began studying demonology and founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952. The Warrens would go on to investigate hundreds of cases related to hauntings and demonic possession. After Ed passed in 2006, Lorraine served as a consultant for The Conjuring movie franchise, which is based on the cases she and Ed investigated together.

With Lorraine’s passing in April 2019, many are looking back on the legacy left by the couple and their contributions to ghost hunting and demonology. Below are some of the most famous, and terrifying, cases the Warrens investigated. And who better to comment on the details than the Warrens themselves?

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• Photo: Altor / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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Annabelle The Haunted Doll

Despite what Hollywood interpretations would have you believe, the real Annabelle was an antique rag doll that any child might own. Perhaps the innocent nature of the doll makes the case surrounding it all the more unsettling. The doll had been given to a young woman named Donna, who began to notice the doll moving throughout her apartment. Donna’s roommate, Angie, also noticed Annabelle moving, and the two called in a medium, who said the spirit of a young girl was attached to the doll. Lou, a friend of Donna and Angie, thought there was something evil about the doll, but the medium insisted the young girl’s spirit felt safe with Donna and Angie. Lou awakened from a deep sleep one night to find Annabelle crawling onto this bed and attempting to strangle him. As Annabelle became increasingly aggressive, Donna and Angie called in the Warrens to investigate the case.

The Warrens confirmed a demon was manipulating Annabelle, and that the demon would have taken a human as its host within two to three weeks based on the stages of demonic possession. An exorcism was performed on the doll, and the Warrens proceeded to take it back to their home in Connecticut. Once in the Warrens’ care, Annabelle began moving about their house, even after being put in a locked room. The Warrens eventually had a special case made for Annabelle that featured three crosses, and had holy water in the wood stain. Annabelle became part of the Warrens’ occult museum. During a tour of the museum, Lorraine pointed to Annabelle and said, “This is the worst thing in here,” and refused to look directly at the doll.

Annabelle is sometimes said to move in her case. One man reportedly perished in a motorcycle accident shortly after visiting the Warrens’ museum and mocking Annabelle.

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• • • Photo: The Conjuring / Warner Bros.

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The Perron Family Haunting

Before the Warrens investigated the Smurl family or the Amityville case, they made a series of trips to Harrisville, RI, where the Perron family was being terrorized by increasingly powerful evil spirits. Carolyn and Roger Perron purchased the 14-room, 18th century farmhouse in 1971 to raise their five daughters, and they wrote off initial paranormal activity as the quirks of an old home.

However, as activity escalated, Carolyn researched the home and discovered it had been in the same family for generations and was the site of a possible slaying as well as multiple hangings in the attic. It had also reportedly been home to a woman named Bathsheba Sherman, who was said to have been a practicing Satanist and child slayer. As the haunting grew stronger, the Perrons would smell rotting flesh and levitate in their beds.

Lorraine and Ed conducted a seance that quickly turned dangerous when Carolyn became possessed by an evil spirit. One of Carolyn’s daughters remembers her mother speaking in tongues, levitating from her chair, and being thrown across the room. Roger asked the Warrens to leave and never come back. Reflecting on the case years later, Lorraine recalled, “I knew the house was haunted. All I had to do was walk in it. We just had to find the source.” The case would later be combined with the haunting of Annabelle the Doll as the plot of the 2013 film The Conjuring, on which Lorraine was a consultant.

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• • Photo: The Haunting in Connecticut / Lionsgate

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The Haunting In Connecticut

The case of the Snedeker Family Haunting began in 1986, when Carmen and Al Snedeker rented a home in Southington, CT. They moved in order to be close to a hospital at which the family’s oldest son was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The house seemed perfect for the family until move-in day, when they discovered it had been a funeral home, and the basement bedroom reserved for their two sons had been part of the mortuary. The family began hearing voices, and the children saw apparitions throughout the house. The family even reported being physically attacked by demonic forces. Without the option to move due to financial constraints, the family contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren for support.

The Warrens spent many nights at the Snedeker home and confirmed the hauntings. Ed even watched as the lift mechanism that brought caskets from the basement to the main floor moved on its own. Lorraine vividly remembered the first time she entered the house stating: “As soon as I walked into the first room… it was just an overwhelming bad feeling… I had a feeling of fear.”

The Catholic Church performed an exorcism on the house at the Warrens’ request, and no other families have reported paranormal activity. Lorraine also noted the 2009 film, The Haunting in Connecticut, exaggerated some aspects of the case. Lorraine added two scientists stayed with her and Ed during a nighttime investigation because they were skeptical, only to flee the home in the middle of the night.

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• • Photo: BrownieCharles99 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

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The Amityville Horror

In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz fled their home in Amityville, NY, claiming there were demonic entities in the home. Only a year earlier, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo had been charged with slaying his parents and four siblings in the home while they slept, testifying that he had been possessed by a demon. After the Lutzes’ traumatic experience, Ed and Lorraine Warren were called in to investigate the credibility of these demonic forces. With a full camera crew in tow, the Warrens investigated the large Dutch Colonial home, and said they experienced the evil firsthand.

Ed was reportedly pushed in the basement, the site of demonic activity, while saying prayers. Lorraine felt ill in the house and sensed a demonic presence. The image of a young boy was also captured on film, although no children were present at the time. Ed considered the photo as proof of a haunting, and he believed it to be the spirit of one of the DeFeo children. In an interview years later, Ed stated their experience in the house was “much more horrific” than the book or film.

There is evidence the site of the Amityville house had been a Native American burial ground, and a man who practiced dark arts also lived on the property, and he was subsequently buried there.

When asked about the Amityville case decades later, Lorraine said: “It was absolutely horrible… I don’t even like to talk about it. I will never go in the Amityville house ever again.”

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• • Photo: Graymalkin Media

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The Smurl Family Haunting

Jack and Janet Smurl spent years dealing with an increasingly powerful supernatural force before the Warrens came to investigate in 1985. The Smurl case is unique because it spanned over a decade, and the hauntings affected the entire family – though Jack seemed to be the primary target. The haunting in the family’s Pennsylvania duplex began with disembodied voices and rappings on the wall but soon turned into full-fledged attacks on the family. Jack and Janet both said they levitated off their beds one night, and Jack reported he was assaulted multiple times by an evil spirit known as a succubus. The family dog was also attacked, and a chandelier fell and nearly took the life of one of the Smurl children, despite the fixture being bolted into a support beam.

As the Warrens made their way through the home, Lorraine came to the conclusion there were four evil spirits, including a powerful demon. “There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that what this family was experiencing was sheer terror being brought about through the ghost syndrome,” Lorraine said after her first visit to the Smurl home.

It took four exorcisms to fully weaken and vanquish the evil spirits, and the Smurls reported no paranormal activity after the fourth exorcism.

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• • Photo: Bantam Books

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The Devil Made Me Do It

Sometimes known as the Demon Murder Case, the “Devil Made Me Do It” case involved the demonic possession of a young boy. The Warrens were initially called in to investigate when 11-year-old David Glatzel began showing signs of demonic possession. As Lorraine described in an interview, one minute David would be intently drawing at the kitchen table, and in the next moment he “was no longer an 11-year-old boy.” Lorraine saw a black mist form next to David, indicating the presence of a demon. Ed and Lorraine called in the Catholic Church. A team of six priests, including three from the Vatican, performed an exorcism on David. Although the demon did leave David’s body, something is said to have gone terribly wrong.

Arne Cheyenne Johnson was the boyfriend of David’s older sister, Debbie, and considered by those around him to be the All-American boy. He was present for David’s exorcism, and he challenged the demon to leave David’s body and come into his own. According to Johnson and the Warrens, the demon did just that. “When you challenge the demonic, it doesn’t act at that particular given time… it waits until you are the most vulnerable, and then it strikes,” Lorraine said of the incident.

It was shortly after the exorcism that Johnson fatally stabbed Alan Bono, Debbie’s boss and landlord, during a heated argument. Johnson said the demon forced him to commit the crime. Johnson was eventually convicted of manslaughter and served time in prison. Lorraine Warren later consulted on a book adaptation of the case, The Devil in Connecticut.

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• • Photo: The Conjuring 2 / Warner Bros.

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The Enfield Poltergeist

From 1977-79, the Enfield Poltergeist was an active case in England that captured massive media attention. The Hodgson family, who rented their home in Enfield, reported large pieces of furniture moving on their own. The mother, Peggy, even called the police, and one officer reported seeing a small table slide across the floor. In fact, more than 30 visitors to the home reported poltergeist activity, which included moving furniture, rappings, and voices. Peggy’s adolescent daughters, Margaret and Janet, seemed to be the target, often going into trances and speaking in guttural voices. The Enfield Poltergeist case is unique because of the extensive video footage taken in the home during the prolonged investigation.

This case holds the distinction of being the Warrens’ first major investigation after Amityville. However, they were not as involved in the case as the film adaptation, The Conjuring 2, suggests. Ed did say of the case, “Those who deal with the supernatural day in and day out know the phenomena are there – there’s no doubt about it.”

In reference to the video footage taken inside the Hodgson home, Ed noted, “Now, you couldn’t record the dangerous, threatening atmosphere inside that little house. But you could film the levitations, teleportations, and dematerializations of people and objects that were happening there – not to mention the many hundreds of hours of tape recordings made of these spirit voices speaking out loud in the rooms.” Although skeptics say the case was a hoax, the Warrens stood by their findings of paranormal activity.

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• • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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The Borley Rectory Haunting

Although the infamous Borley Rectory burned down decades before the Warrens came to investigate, the neighboring Borley Church still stands, and the church is said to be a site of paranormal activity. The original Borley Rectory was reportedly built on the site of an old monastery, where a nun was buried alive in the walls of the building after attempting to run off with a monk. The subsequent hauntings were made famous by Harry Price, one of the first paranormal investigators, who documented a long series of phenomena that remains a matter of debate.

Ed had been interested in the case since reading Harry Price’s famous book, The Most Haunted House In England, while serving in the Navy during WWII. Beginning in 1976, the Warrens made over two dozen trips to the site of the Borley Rectory and Church. Lorraine described their first visit to Borley as a “phenomenal” experience.

She explained that during the visit, a skeptical reporter began feeling ill and couldn’t breathe. Later that night, Lorraine and the reporter listened to a tape recording of the event, where a disembodied female voice could be heard saying, “Hit him, hit him,” repeatedly. Lorraine theorized it could have been the spirit of the nun who had been buried alive. The Warrens also reported they captured a ghost photo of a monk inside the church during one of their many investigations.

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• • Photo: 2112guy / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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The White Lady Of Union Cemetery

The White Lady of Union Cemetery is probably one of the most famous hauntings in Connecticut lore, with multiple reports of drivers seeing a woman in white wandering through the cemetery and walking along the highway. One man even claimed he saw the White Lady standing in the road while a male apparition appeared next to him inside his car. The man, Rod Vecsey, even appeared on television with the Warrens to discuss his encounter.

Ed himself became so obsessed with the haunting he went on stakeouts in the cemetery for seven nights straight in order to see the White Lady with his own eyes. “I could hear what sounded like a woman weeping,” Ed said in an interview. “I could see all these ghost lights forming into a figure.”

He said that figure became the White Lady, but that other shadow ghosts appeared around her as he got closer, and that the whole ordeal was caught on video. The video was never released to the public, but Ed noted it was a moment he’d waited his whole life to witness.

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• • Photo: Graymalkin Media

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The Southend Werewolf

Bill Ramsey knew he was different at age 9 when, after a cold chill came over him, he became so filled with rage he ripped a fence post out of the ground and began to chew it. All he could think about in the moment were wolves. Ramsey’s childhood outburst seemed like an isolated incident until the mid-1980s, when he began growling, baring his teeth, and biting people – including cops.

Medical tests showed nothing wrong with Ramsey either physically or mentally. It seemed like there was no way to help him. Enter Ed and Lorraine Warren.

The Warrens were visiting London when Lorraine saw Ramsey’s case discussed on a television program. She remembered thinking at the time, “Something inside of me… told me I could help him.” Lorraine confessed that she took solving the case to an extreme, buying expensive film footage of Ramsey, while Ed thought the case was outlandish. “A werewolf in London… who would believe it?” he stated in a later interview.

Lorraine believed Ramsey was possessed by a demon, which caused him to behave like a werewolf. The Warrens were able to convince Ramsey to undergo an exorcism, which was filmed, and showed Ramsey exhibiting wolf-like behavior. Both the Warrens and Ramsey believed the 1989 exorcism to be successful, as Ramsey never exhibited the aberrant behavior again.

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