Mollie Chambers

With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to dive deeper into one of my favorite paranormal stories — the story of Annabelle.

I was first introduced to Annabelle through her role in The Conjuring movies. While Annabelle made only a brief appearance in “The Conjuring,” she was so memorable that there were later three more movies made about her.

Annabelle is a demonic doll that allegedly terrorized a young nursing student and her roommate in the past. The doll’s actions got so out of control that the women sought out the help of demonologists Ed and Lorraine who took ownership of Annabelle.

While Annabelle is now locked in the basement of the late Ed and Lorraine Warren, her existence alone still gives myself, and seemingly many others, the creeps.

The Real-Life Annabelle

After diving deeper into Annabelle’s origins, I was shocked to discover that the doll featured in the conjuring universe looks nothing like the real-life doll.

In the movies, Annabelle is depicted as a vintage porcelain doll with childlike features. However, the real-life Annabelle doll is a Raggedy Ann doll. I must admit most of Annabelle’s creepiness comes from her appearance in the movie. However, I do still find the real-life Annabelle doll terrifying.

Annabelle’s Reign of Terror

Annabelle began as a Raggedy Ann doll given to a woman named Donna as a birthday gift from her mother in 1970. Donna kept the doll on her bed in the apartment she shared with her roommate Angie. However, after a few weeks of having the doll, the roommates began to notice strange things happening.

The first red flag the women noticed was the positioning of the doll.

Donna arrived home from work several days in a row to find Annabelle positioned differently than how she was left. At first these occurrences seemed like nothing, and both Angie and Donna brushed them off. That was until one day when Donna came home to find Annabelle in different room of the house than she had been left in. After this occurrence, the roommates began to grow weary of Annabelle.

Donna and Angie were not the only ones that sensed something strange about Annabelle. Their close friend Lou urged that they get rid of Annabelle after insisting that the doll gave him a bad feeling. A few days after Lou’s confession, Donna found pieces of paper lying around the apartment will the messages “Help us” and “Help Lou” written on them. Even after these occurrences Donna decided to keep Annabelle.

Donna and Angie did not take action against Annabelle’s behaviors until one day when they discovered drops of what appeared to be blood on her hands. After this, Angie and Donna contacted a medium.

The medium told the women that the spirit of a 7 year-old girl named Annabelle was living inside the doll. The medium believed that the body of the girl had been discovered near Donna and Angie’s apartment before it was built.

The medium insisted that Donna and Angie had made the girl feel loved and welcomed in their home. After hearing this, Donna felt bad for the girl and gave her permission to live inside the doll.

Finding out that Donna gave a spirit permission to live inside her doll was the most shocking part of this story. I know Donna could not help Annabelle’s presence in her life at first, however after a while she became an enabler for Annabelle.

Ed and Lorraine Warren

After allowing Annabelle’s spirit to over-take their apartment, even stranger occurrences began to take place.

One night, Lou was staying over at Donna and Angie’s home when he woke up in a state of sleep paralysis. He then watched Annabelle crawl up his leg and begin to strangle him.

On another occasion, Lou and Angie heard loud noises coming from Donna’s room. Upon entering the room, they found Annabelle laying on the floor. Lou approached the doll and then suddenly doubled over in pain. His shirt was instantly covered in blood and he opened it to reveal large scratch marks.

After this occurrence, Donna contacted a priest who directed them to demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens told Donna that the Annabelle was not possessed, it was instead being manipulated by a demonic spirit.

After realizing how dangerous her doll was, Donna asked the Warrens to remove it from her home. However, the Warrens taking ownership of Annabelle appeared to anger the spirit. On the drive home with Annabelle, the Warrens claimed that their car kept swerving and the breaks would randomly fail.

The demonic spirit behind Annabelle attempted to continue its hauntings — even inside the Warren’s home. Things got so out of hand that the Warren’s custom made a glass box for the doll and kept her in their basement. This is where Annabelle is still housed to this day.

Overall, Annabelle’s impact on the world is impressive. I’m amazed by how a scary story from the ‘70s has turned into such a big deal. Whether or not you believe in the origins of Annabelle, “The Conjuring” series is still a great binge for the Halloween season.

Mollie Chambers is a sophomore majoring in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at mollcham@vols.utk.edu.

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