A lot of people are afraid of dolls. One of my oldest friends always made me put a sheet over my shelf of porcelain dolls when she came for a sleepover because she was too afraid to look at them. It’s not an uncommon distaste among those who watch horror movies, or even those who don’t.
And for anyone who’s seen the Annabelle movies, it’s quite clear why.
It’s pretty common for horror movies to begin with script scrawling across the screen, noting that the movie is based upon real events. Directors use it to up the fear or general sense of dread in the movie, and in many cases—certainly my own, at least when I first started watching horror—it works. The more horror you watch, though, the less of an effect those warnings have on you. And really, not that many of them are actually true, or if they are, they’re so loosely based on real events they might as well be entirely made up.
Annabelle, however, is a very real doll, and while The Conjuring series has taken several liberties with her story, they don’t stray far.
The Warrens first encountered the Annabelle doll when they were contacted about three friends experiencing some trouble. They were being terrorized by what they insisted was a possessed doll one of them owned.
One of the friends, Donna, had been gifted the Annabelle doll—which was a Raggedy Ann Doll—by her mother, who had bought it from an antique shop. Donna and her roommate Angie noticed weird things about the doll almost immediately. They reported that it was not just intensely creepy, but it also seemed to move around on its own. Sometimes they would even come home and find it in a completely different room than where they’d left it.
It was also known to move positions, such as standing up when they’d left it sitting down, and it even left them notes saying things such as “help us” and “help Lou”. But things soon escalated, and that was when the Warrens were called in.
The third friend, Lou, was particularly bothered by the doll, and often beseeched Donna to just get rid of it, citing that he really felt that something malevolent was going on. However, Donna had grown attached to the doll, and refused.
Before calling the Warrens, Donna and Angie reached out to a medium. The medium told them that the doll was being haunted by a young girl named Annabelle, who used to live on the property that existed before the apartment complex was built. She died there, and had remained ever since. Through the medium, she told the girls that she felt a sense of comfort and family with them, and that she only wanted to stay and be loved. This appealed to the girls’ compassionate sides, and they invited Annabelle to possess the doll and remain with them forever.
This was, of course, a horrible mistake.
The doll’s actions escalated once again, this time in the form of extreme aggression, particularly targeted towards Lou. He would wake up in the middle of the night to Annabelle in his bed with him, or on top of him and strangling him. One night he even woke up with vicious scratch marks on his body, though they had mysteriously vanished by morning.
Once the Warrens arrived, they conducted an investigation and informed the girls and Lou that “Annabelle” was in fact, not a little girl possessing the doll, but a demonic presence that used the doll as a conduit in the hopes of possessing Donna, Angie, or Lou. And they’d invited it into their lives.
Thankfully, the Warrens had arrived just in time, and Ed and Lorraine took Annabelle off their hands. They had a priest—Father Cooke—cleanse the apartment before leaving and taking the doll with them. However, the violence and havoc this not-so-innocent Raggedy Ann brought with her was far from over.
While the Warrens were driving—intentionally avoiding the interstate so as to avoid any accidents courtesy of Annabelle—they discovered that the doll was still, despite the blessing from Father Cooke, frighteningly powerful. As they drove, Annabelle repeatedly tried to force the car off the road, or into trees, or into some form of accident or another.
The Warrens did make it home safely, but Annabelle just continued to do the same things she’d done with Donna, Angie, and Lou. She moved easily from room to room, even moving beyond locked doors.
At one point, an exorcist—Father Jason Bratford—came to the house, took one look at Annabelle, and dismissed her power. He shouted that she was just a ragdoll, and couldn’t harm anyone, and then threw her into Ed’s chair.
Later, Father Jason called Lorraine to tell her that he had been involved in a horrible car accident while driving home. He lived, but his vehicle was completely totaled. It turned out that his brakes had failed. Even more eerie, was that he reported having seen Annabelle in the backseat just before he crashed.
After this, the Warrens constructed a case specifically for Annabelle so that her evil would be contained, and she’d no longer be able to hurt anyone. They had it built out of wood and glass, and she remains to this day, in that case, within their Occult Museum. Annabelle doesn’t move anymore, now that she’s trapped in the case, but it would seem she’s still something no one should trifle with.
Upon visiting the Warrens’ museum, and hearing the story of Annabelle, a young man and his girlfriend walked up to Annabelle’s case. The man banged on the glass, inviting Annabelle to prove she really could scratch people, by scratching him. Ed threw the man and his girlfriend out, but the damage was already done. On the way home from the museum, they continued to make fun of Annabelle, before their motorcycle crashed into a tree, killing the boy and hospitalizing the girlfriend for over a year.
Most people now know to respect Annabelle and her power, even if they don’t totally believe. But then again, how could anyone visit the museum, hear these stories, and not believe?
What about you? Do you believe the Annabelle doll is really cursed, or do you think it’s just as series of problems and coincidences explained away by something else? Feel free to drop a comment below, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!
For the previously written post about Annabelle, see “Annabelle Comes Home: A Review”.
Maggie Kendall spent the first fifteen years of her life furiously avoiding all things horror, but then her friend forced her to watch Paranormal Activity, and there’s been no turning back. She still checks the bathroom mirror for Bloody Mary before getting in the shower.