Paranormal Partners in Crime: Who Were Ed and Lorraine Warren?
Before Ghostbusters, Ghost Hunters, or even the 1977 classic In Search Of, you couldn’t tiptoe through a creaky haunted house in the Northeast US without bumping into the Warrens. They were the original ghost-hunting power couple; the legendary duo of the paranormal world.
Before Hollywood transformed their tales of the supernatural into box office hits, Ed and Lorraine Warren had already established a reputation for themselves as paranormal investigators by exploring cases of hauntings and the unexplained.
Edward Warren Miney was born on September 7, 1926, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and had a childhood that was anything but ordinary. It was at the age of five that Ed Warren had his first encounter with the supernatural.
Just three blocks away from Ed’s home lived Lorraine Moran, born on January 31, 1927. Her early life was marked by a Catholic upbringing and a journey into the realm of clairvoyance. It was at the age of 12 when Lorraine would discover her peculiar gift, one deemed sinful by her family.
Ed and Lorraine meet
In June 1943, Ed would cross paths with Lorraine. It was at that moment that Lorraine knew they were destined to spend the rest of their lives together. And did they, with a bond that would last over half a century!
On May 22, 1945, Ed and Lorraine exchanged vows, and on January 11, 1946, they welcomed their daughter Judy Warren into the world.
A growing paranormal portfolio
Suffice it to say, Ed, a self-proclaimed demonologist, and Lorraine Warren, a trance medium and clairvoyant, were far from an ordinary couple. In fact, the Warrens claimed to have taken on close to 10,000 paranormal investigations.
In 1952, they founded the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR), one of New England’s oldest ghost-hunting groups.
Over the years, they meticulously documented their spine-tingling experiences, collecting interviews, eerie audio and hair-raising video recordings. And, of course, the many occult artefacts tied to paranormal activity.
The Most Famous Cases Investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren
The Annabelle Doll (1970)
Ah, the infamous Annabelle doll. You’ve certainly heard of her! She’s a Raggedy Ann doll claimed to be haunted by a spirit named Annabelle Higgins.
Initially given to a young nurse named Donna by her mother, the doll became the focal point of a terrifying series of events. Donna and her roommate noticed the doll frequently changing positions and found eerie notes reading “help me” in a child’s handwriting.
The doll would eventually fall into the hands of the Warrens, who believed the doll harboured a malevolent, demonic spirit.
Today, the doll remains locked in a glass case in the Warren’s Occult Museum with the sign “WARNING. POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN.”
The Amityville Horror (1975)
The Amityville Horror surrounding the Lutz family was perhaps the Warren’s most famous case.
They had moved into a seemingly idyllic suburban home, unaware of the gruesome events that had transpired there just a year before when Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six family members.
During the first 28 days of their stay, George and Kathy Lutz claimed a host of paranormal activity plagued them, from swarms of flies and disturbing entities to even witnessing family members levitating.
The Warrens were called in to cleanse the house, with a local TV crew accompanying them.
The Perron Family (1974)
If you’ve watched The Conjuring movie, then you’ll likely recognise this eerie case. It began when Roger and Carolyn Perron moved their five daughters into a sprawling 200-acre farmhouse, oblivious to its dark history.
Tragic deaths occurred within its walls, and it didn’t take long for the Perron family to sense a malevolent presence lingering in the home.
In 1974, the Perrons reached out to Ed and Lorraine for help, but their intervention seemed to intensify the haunting, eventually leading Roger Perron to ask them to leave.
The Snedeker House (1986)
Imagine moving into a house, only to uncover one of the most chilling secrets. This is exactly what happened to Carmen and Al Snedeker when they rented a home in Southington, Connecticut.
Upon exploring their new home, they stumbled upon mortuary tools in the basement. This was no cosy abode, but a former funeral parlour – and it appeared that many of the former “clients” never truly departed.
Unsettling events began to unfold. The air carried the unmistakable stench of decaying flesh, and the tap water occasionally ran an eerie shade of blood-red. They even claimed that their eldest son began experiencing haunting visions.
The Smurl Haunting (1974)
The Smurl haunting is as nightmarish as it gets, and it seems haunted houses have a penchant for appearing “seemingly ordinary”.
In 1974, Jack and Janet Smurl moved into a – you guessed it – a seemingly ordinary house in West Pittston, Pennsylvania. Little did they know that their new home held a malevolent entity unlike any other.
The haunting escalated when the Smurls claimed that the demon had thrown their German Shepherd into a wall, bitten Jack’s ear, and even pushed one of their daughters down a flight of stairs.
But it was only 12 years later that the Smurl family, desperate for help, contacted the Warrens who confirmed the haunting. Ed Warren himself reported witnessing a sinister “dark mass” within the house.
Arne Cheyenne Johnson – ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ (1981)
The Brookfield paranormal trial of 1981, later inspiring The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. centred around Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who was accused of brutally murdering his landlord, Alan Bono.
What made this trial exceptional was Johnson’s defence – he claimed he was under demonic possession at the time. This marked the first instance of such a defence in American legal history.
Ed and Lorraine spent considerable time with Johnson’s family, finding compelling evidence of paranormal influence. But, despite their efforts, the judge ultimately dismissed the demonic possession theory, sentencing Johnson to 10–20 years, of which he served five.
Where Are The Warrens Now?
Both Ed and Lorraine Warren have since passed away, Ed Warren in 2006 and Lorraine Warren in 2019. But their legacy lives on, not only through the history of their paranormal investigations but through their daughter Judy and son-in-law, Tony Spera.
With over 30 years of experience working alongside Lorraine and Ed, Spera now serves as the Director of the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR) and the head curator of the Warren Occult Museum. He continues to actively investigate demonic activity, preserving the legacy and artefacts of the Warren family.
What are the most famous movies based on the Warrens?
The most famous movies based on the Warren’s paranormal cases include:
- The Amityville Horror (1979)
- The Haunted (1991)
- The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
- The Conjuring movies (2013-2021)
- Annabelle (2014)
In the world of paranormal investigations, Ed and Lorraine Warren were the real deal long before Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga portrayed them in The Conjuring. Forget the Hollywood portrayals; these two were out there investigating the spookiest stuff way before it was trendy!
The reality is, we may never know the true Warrens, but one thing’s for sure: they left an undeniable mark on the paranormal scene.