Before there were Ghost Brothers and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, there were the Warrens. Here’s what the famous couple had to say on life, love, and demonbusting.
Long before there were ghost busters (of any description), The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Regan Macneil and televised paranormal investigation crews by the dozens, there were the Warrens, a deeply spiritual couple who spent their lives investigating homes for paranormal activity.
The couple are known today in connection with the blockbuster The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 and are also connected historically with the allegedly possessed doll, Annabelle. They also investigated the infamous Amityville Horror house on Long Island.
But their roots go back much farther than contemporary movie-making, much-touted urban legend and myth.
The Early Years: A Match Made in Paranormal Research
Husband-and-wife team Lorraine and the late Ed Warren married during World War II at just 17 years of age (Ed’s birthday was Sept. 7, 1926 and Lorraine was born Jan 31, 1927).
The couple often said they sensed something in common even before they discussed their then-unconventional experiences with the paranormal during their courtship. But once they opened up, the combination sparked what would become a worldwide career occupation for thousands.
It didn’t take long for the inseparable pair to combine their mutual sensitivity to the supernatural and join forces against potential unearthly evil (something the couple often said may have brought them together): in 1952 the couple formed the New England Society for Psychic Research.
Today, the organization is the oldest ghost-hunting operation in New England and has inspired similar research across the globe.
But interest in the paranormal went farther back than that for the pair and began before they even met.
According to the late Ed Warren (d. 2006), the Warren family grew up “in a haunted house” where incorporeal footsteps, banging and pounding could regularly be heard.
Admonished by his policeman father that there was “a logical reason” for the sounds, young Ed agreed – but to him, that logical reason was the existence of spirits.
He confirmed this himself with his first early form of amateur ghost hunting: “My family would all go to bed and just around 2 to 3 o’clock in the morning…I would hear the closet door beginning to open up,” Warren later told reporters.
Inside the closet, he would “…start to see a light beginning to form and it would morph into like a ball shape.” The face of an “old woman” would then appear in the ball.
The odd occurrences continued for years inside the house and sparked a firm belief in and fascination with the paranormal, Ed would later reveal.
The First Ghost Hunts
Frustrated by his family’s refusal to address the odd issues head-on, Ed took things a step further when, as a teen, he met Lorraine.
The two felt an instant connection and opened up to one another about their mutual interest in – and experiences with – the paranormal.
Lorraine, herself psychically sensitive since childhood, agreed with Ed to pursue their interest, but on an unofficial basis at first – and by going around via the back door, in a manner of speaking.
They began by finding out what houses in the area were reported to be haunted.
“(In those early married years) we were just kids [and] nobody was just going to let us in[to their homes],” Ed would later reveal on the couple’s website. So the two devised a way to broach the subject with tentative homeowners.
Ed, an artist, “would do a really nice sketch of the house with ghosts coming out of it, and I’d give it to Lorraine,” Ed recalled later. “(Lorraine would) go knock on the door and…she’d say, ‘Oh, my husband loves to sketch and paint haunted houses and he made this.’”
This provided the opening for the homeowners to tell their story, if they wished. Many times, according to the couple, it worked.
A Reputation…and An Occupation
Before long, the couple had built a reputation for sensing the spiritual. Eventually, rather than having to knock on doors, people came to them – by the dozens and, over the years, hundreds.
It all began in 1962, when the couple uncovered the spirit of a little girl who identified herself as “Cynthia” in a reportedly haunted home. The Warrens helped the spirit to move on.
A new mission was born, Lorraine would later recall. It morphed from simply communicating with spirits to helping them cross over to the other side…and then to exorcising demons.
The couple, devoutly Catholic, relied on their faith to protect them during such events, and Lorraine discovered that she was a trance medium through which spirits could communicate.
“Just An Ordinary Couple”
The Warrens quickly gained notoriety, visiting the famous Amityville “Horror” house in New York, heading up the much-publicized Perron home exorcism and even confiscating the Annabelle doll (the movie was entirely fabricated, though the Warrens were asked for input) and spiriting it away to their museum.
But they never lost touch with their earthier side, according to friends and family.
“They (were) essentially ordinary people who happen(ed) to do highly extraordinary work,” their website modestly claims.
A list of the most famous cases the Warrens were involved in can be found here.
Lorraine Warren Today
In the highly dramatized The Conjuring, Lorraine Warren suffered terribly from her contacts with the darker elements and even fainted, with not-so-subtle references to the toll the work took on her, but the real Lorraine is now 90 years old and said to be in good health.
However, she has retired from ghost hunting to enjoy her twilight years. She has given interviews as late as 2016, still with her understanding yet down-to-earth personality and frank advice.
The legacy of the Warrens can be seen in thousands of ghost hunting and paranormal research societies across the globe today.
Reprinted from beyondthesixthsense.wordpress.org