Real story behind haunted doll Annabelle

Real Story Behind Haunted Doll Annabelle

7 min

That little harmless doll you saw in a girls hand looked so cute. What someone told you that a doll can be dangerous? You say scary dolls are only parts of movies? You think real life dolls are all cute and pink and beautiful? You’ll have to think again after you read what we have to tell you here.

Annabelle The Haunted Doll

The case of Annabelle was part of the popular paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s study during the early 1970’s. You can read about it in the book The Demonologist. Quite possibly one of the weirdest case of a demon possession on record.

This is the story of the terrifying raggedy doll Annabelle.

In 1970, a mother wanted to buy her daughter Donna a gift as a birthday present. So she went to a hobby store and bought an antique Raggedy Ann Doll. Donna was a college student, studying for a nursing degree. She lived in a tiny apartment with Angie who was also a nursing student. She was happy with the gift and kept it on her bed for decoration. She didn’t pay it much attention, until she and Angie started to feel weird and creepy about the doll. The doll was moving on its own, unnoticeable at first but as time passed it became obvious. The girls would return home and find that the doll was in a completely different room from where they had left it. Sometimes they found the doll, arms folded, crossed legged, on the couch, at other times it was standing up in the dining room, leaning against a chair. Many times Donna would deliberately leave the doll on the couch before leaving and when she returned the doll was on her bed, the door closed.

Real Story behind Haunted Doll Annabell
Loraine Warren Holding Annabelle

The Message

The doll didn’t just move, it could write too. Around a month after Donna’s birthday, they began to find messages written with pencil on parchment that read “HELP US” and “HELP LOU”, scribbled like a child would. The creepy thing was that before this there was no parchment paper in the house. Nobody knew where it came from.

The Medium

On certain night Donna went home to find that the doll had moved again. The doll was on her bed, she had become used to it, as used to something like this as someone can get, but she felt that this time something was different; she felt anxious. She took the doll and inspected it. Her anxiety turned to fear when she found red spots, like blood, on the back of the dolls hands and chest. This was it; they couldn’t take it anymore; they had to seek help.

Confused and desperate they called for a Medium to hold a séance. The spirit that came forward was that of Annabelle Higgins. Annabelle told her story to the girls through the medium. There were fields in the place where their apartment currently stood. Annabelle was a seven year old when her body was found in these fields. The spirit told them that she felt comfortable around Donna and Angie and wanted to live them. That was the reason why she possessed the doll. Feeling compassionate for Annabelle they let her stay with them. But they would soon find out that Annabelle wasn’t what she seemed to be.


Donna and Angie had a friend named Lou. He had known them since the day the doll was received. Lou had always disliked the doll and would often warn Donna to get rid of it because he felt that it was evil. But Donna wouldn’t listen; she liked the doll and kept it. It was a terrible decision.

Lou woke up from a nightmare one night. He had had the same nightmare for quite some time. This time, however something was different about it. It didn’t feel like a dream, he couldn’t move, he looked about the room, everything was normal and then it happened. When he looked down towards his feet, he saw Annabelle, the doll, slowly crawling up his legs. It climbed on his chest and stopped. In a flash the doll was strangling him. Paralyzed and out of breath, Lou blacked out. He woke up next morning, convinced that it wasn’t a dream, he was determined to get rid of the doll and Annabelle’s spirit in it. Annabelle, however wasn’t done with Lou.

Angie and Lou were looking over maps to plan for a road trip the next dat. They were alone in the silent apartment. Rustling sounds came from Donna’s room, they thought someone had broken in. Scared and confused, Lou went to find out where the sound was coming from. He crept near the door and waited for the noise to stop, before he opened the door and turned the light on. He found nothing unusual except that Annabelle was lying in a corner on the floor. It looked like someone had tossed her there. Lou searched the room for signs of forced entry but everything seemed fine. He went to pick up the doll but as soon as he got close he felt a presence behind him. He turned, there was no one there. Before he could feel relief he found himself gripping his chest, doubled up. He was bleeding from what looked like claw marks on his chest.

Real Story behind Haunted Doll Annabell
Annabelle at Museum

Paranormal Investigation: The Warrens

Donna was finally realizing that the spirit of Annabelle wasn’t a little girl but something much more evil. After Lou’s experiences Donna knew she needed some real help from someone experienced in the paranormal. She went to an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan. Father Hegan referred them to Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Ed and Lorraine took an interest in the case as soon as they heard about it and contacted Donna. After studying the case facts for hours the Warrens came to the conclusion that the doll was not possessed but haunted as spirits cannot possess objects, they only possess people. A spirits latches onto objects, usually houses but this time it was it had attached itself to a doll. The spirit was clever and moved the doll to create the illusion of the doll being possessed. It clearly didn’t want to stay attached to a doll but was looking for a human host.

The spirit was demonic, and was at th e infestation stage. The spirit teleported the doll around the house, hoping to rouse the suspicion of the inhabitants. He wanted them to call a medium so he could communicate with them. They fell for it. He used the medium to play with girls’ feelings, told them a false story, pretending to be a little girl. He managed to get the permission of the girls to haunt the apartment. Demonic spirits tend to make negative things happen. It moved the doll around to scare the girls, it dwelt on the dear. It materialized the notes and left the blood on the doll, and ultimately attacked Lou. The next stage for it would have been complete human possession. In another couple of weeks the spirit would have possessed the occupants, or worse, killed them.

At the end of the investigation the Warrens felt that an exorcism was necessary to cleanse the apartment. “The Episcopal blessing of the home is a wordy, seven page document that is distinctly positive in nature. Rather than specifically expelling evil entities from the dwelling, the emphasis is instead directed toward filling the home with the power of the positive and of God.” (Ed Warren). On Donna’s request the, as a precaution against further phenomena occurring, the Warrens took the doll with them and left.

When the Warrens got to their home, Ed set the doll on a chair besides his desk. In the beginning, the doll levitated a few times, then it did nothing. In the following weeks, the doll appeared in different rooms. Even when the Warrens locked it up in the outer office building before going out, the doll would return upstairs, sitting in Ed’s easy chair. It seemed to be repeating the pattern in Donna’s house but the Warrens were never physically harmed.

Terrified? There are so many stories you still need to read. Stay tuned to this column for more haunted stories from around the world!

Nishit Jariwala
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