Annabelle: the story of a sinister doll and its Hollywood success (6 photos)

7 December 2023

Unlike many sinister movie characters, the spirit-possessed Annabelle doll was not invented in Hollywood. At first she became the character of an urban legend - and only then her image was transferred to the big screen.

The story of the Annabelle doll is full of secrets and fear. Initially, it was nothing more than a Raggedy Ann doll - a popular children's toy with a mane of red yarn and a triangular nose. However, in the 1970s, this seemingly harmless toy became the center of a supernatural saga that captivated paranormal enthusiasts and terrified ordinary people.

Legend has it that in the 1970s, a student named Donna received Raggedy Annie as a gift from her mother. Soon strange things began to happen: in the room where the doll was, doors and windows spontaneously opened and closed, the doll suddenly found itself not where it had been left, and in a different position, blood stains appeared on its clothes, and notes for help appeared nearby. Donna and her neighbor Angie turned to a medium, who told them that the doll was possessed by the spirit of its deceased former owner, a seven-year-old girl named Annabelle Higgins.

Famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were invited to exorcise the spirit. They studied the doll and realized that it was possessed by a demon, which could only be exorcised with the help of a priest and an exorcism ritual.

Lorraine and Ed Warren, 1980. (Photo: Russell McPhedran/Fairfax Media/Getty Images)

After the events described allegedly occurred, the Warrens took the doll to their museum, the Warren Museum of Occultism, where it was kept as an exhibit, securely protected by a display case.

The urban legend of the Annabelle doll was adopted by Hollywood and became the basis for films.

Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle 3, The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 and The Conjuring 3: By the Will of the Devil. Lorraine Warren was involved as a consultant in the production of these films.

It is important to distinguish the real Annabelle doll from its Hollywood counterpart. The real Annabelle is very far from the porcelain figurine depicted in the movies.

Annabelle doll at the Hollywood Museum Celebrates 30th Anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs event, 2021. (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

It must be said that in general the entire history of the Annabelle doll is inextricably linked with the Warrens. Ed, a World War II veteran, and Lorraine, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant, were pioneers in the field of paranormal investigation. They worked with people who came to them after experiencing unexplained phenomena. Their clients included the Perron family (best known for The Conjuring franchise) and the Lutz family, who lived in the Amityville Horror House.

Faced with the story of the Annabelle doll, the couple believed the toy to be a conductor of an evil spirit. Their intervention marked the beginning of the Annabelle doll's fame in the world of the supernatural.

The Warren Museum of the Occult in Connecticut once housed a doll encased in a glass box, supposedly to contain its evil energies. Visitors flocked to see Annabelle, an artifact of paranormal curiosities, and often felt a sense of eerie unease. The museum served as a testament to the Warrens' work, although it has since been closed to visitors.

Dolls Raggedy Annie and her brother Raggedy Andy. (Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Over the years, Annabelle's image has undergone a radical transformation. Initially perceived as a harmless children's doll, she gradually turned into a spirit-possessed evil entity. This image was fixed in cinema.

Annabelle Comes Home doll at London MCM Comic Con 2019. (Photo: Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

Hollywood played a key role in turning the Annabelle doll into a global horror icon. Her appearance in The Conjuring and subsequent films - Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and Annabelle Comes Home - cemented the doll's place in the pantheon of horror characters and introduced the creepy legend to a wider audience.

Annabelle doll at the Perron family home (The Conjuring) in Harrisville, Rhod Island, 2020. (Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)

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