The Annabelle movie is based on a true story, but of course the paranormal events depicted in the film about a possessed doll were exaggerated to make it as frightening as possible. The creepy doll's look was also changed, but you could argue that the real Annabelle "vessel" is far more terrifying.
The doll that's featured in the horror movie is a hideous toy with zombie-colored skin, bad makeup, and a twisted smile. She looks like a cross between an American Girl doll, Chucky, a creepy clown, and Regan from The Exorcist.
After taking one glance at Annabelle, you experience a "burn it with fire!" reaction -- it's obvious that the terrifying toy is possessed by something evil. This isn't the case with the real Annabelle.
Yahoo! Movies recently talked to Lorraine Warren, the "trance medium" who encountered Annabelle many years ago. The doll was first featured in The Conjuring, which is based on another case Warren investigated with her late husband Ed. According to Connecticut Magazine, the Warrens are a famous paranormal investigative team who have also looked into the events depicted in The Amityville Horror and The Haunting in Connecticut.
Warren learned about Annabelle in the 1970s after being contacted by two nursing students and their friend. The group claimed that they were being haunted by a possessed doll that mysteriously moved around their apartment, and they said that a psychic had told them that the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle was responsible for this terrifying Toy Story.
Lorraine Warren and her husband didn't agree with this theory, however -- they believed that the doll was actually possessed by a demonic spirit.
You might be surprised to learn that the real Annabelle doll was just a large Raggedy Ann rag doll. Because the toy is so innocent-looking, this almost makes the true story more frightening than the film.
According to Warren, The Conjuring director James Wan decided to change the doll's look because Raggedy Ann is trademarked. Warren said that she likes the creepy doll, and she's glad that the Annabelle movie won't scare kids from playing with Raggedy Ann dolls. However, a Raggedy Ann doll was used when the Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum featured the Annabelle story.
Warren is still in possession of the possessed Raggedy Ann doll, and she explained why she kept it.
"It would be quite careless on my part to get rid of it. As explained in The Conjuring, getting rid of the doll would only get rid of the vessel, not the evil that resides within the doll. At least as it sits, we know where it resides. It isn't out into the world causing harm to others. We have a Catholic priest who performs a binding prayer around the doll which acts as a blockade."
The doll also started writing messages asking for help in the handwriting of a child. These messages were written on parchment paper even though Donna and Angie didn't keep any parchment paper in their apartment. Things got even weirder when the doll appeared to bleed.
The girls realized that the Raggedy Ann doll was dangerous when it tried to strangle their friend Lou in his sleep. He thought he was having a nightmare, but he woke up with claw marks on his chest. You wouldn't think that a soft rag doll would be able to scratch someone.
Ed and Lorraine Warren determined that an "inhuman demonic spirit" was attached to the doll and that this spirit was looking for a human host. They believe that the evil spirit pretended to be a young girl named Annabelle during its encounter with the psychic, and this made Donna and Angie think that the spirit was harmless.
According to the Warrens' website, the spirit dubbed "Annabelle" would have possessed one of the humans in the house and possibly killed all of them if it had been allowed to stay. The Warrens asked a priest to recite "an exorcism blessing" to "cleanse the apartment," and they took the Raggedy Ann doll with them when they left. They believe that the demonic spirit is still attached to the doll and that it's responsible for at least one death.
"The Warrens had a special case built for Annabelle inside the Occult Museum, where she resides to this day. Since the case was built Annabelle no longer appeared to move but she is thought to be responsible for the death of a young man who came to the museum on motorcycle with his girlfriend. The young man after hearing Ed's account of the doll, defiantly went up and began to bang on the case insisting that if the doll can put scratches on people then he wanted to also be scratched… On the way home the young man and his girlfriend were laughing and making fun of the doll when he lost control of his motorcycle and went head on into a tree, the young man was killed instantly but his girlfriend survived and was hospitalized for over a year."
What do you think of the true story behind the movie Annabelle? If you want to investigate yourself, be sure to visit Annabelle at the Warrens' Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.
[Image credits: Warrens' Occult Museum, New Line Cinema, Roadtrippers]