As her daughter’s 28th birthday approached, one American mother looked out for a unique and special gift to give her favorite child. Nothing too expensive, but something that showed she had chosen with care.
Spotting an antique Raggedy Ann one day, the mother knew at once that she had found the ideal present. Harking back to childhood days she knew her daughter would find the traditional doll both sweet and quaint.
Before long the little ragdoll found herself ensconced on daughter Donna’s bed in the tiny apartment she shared with a fellow student nurse, Angie.
Of course, the daughter loved her gift and the story should have ended there. There was just one problem, though, Donna’s mother had unwittingly gifted her daughter, Annabelle the possessed doll.
A terrible nightmare was about to unfold, one that would only end when the doll was safely locked away by a pair of paranormal investigators.
Almost immediately, Donna and Angie began to be unnerved by the doll who they both found a little creepy. Donna became convinced that the doll was moving around her bedroom while she was away.
Returning to her room in the evening she would discover that the doll had moved position. Her arms and legs were crossed and uncrossed or she was discovered standing up when she had been left lying down.
On one occasion the little ragdoll was discovered kneeling upon a chair, a feat which proved physically impossible to recreate.
After initially putting down the doll’s movements down to an over active imagination, both young women had to admit that something truly bizarre was going on.
Increasingly, they would arrive home from work to discover the doll had moved from room to room in the apartment, yet the apartment had remained empty all day and all of its doors were closed.
Things took on an even stranger turn when tiny pieces of parchment paper began to appear around their home. The writing on the paper appeared to have been written in a childlike hand and included messages such as ‘Help us’ or ‘Help Lou’.
Lou it transpired, was the fiancée of Angie. He often stayed over in the apartment and was later to become the focus of Annabelle’s anger.
Not quite believing what was taking place in her apartment and reluctant to destroy or give away her mother’s gift, Donna was eventually forced to take action when she discovered blood on the hands and chest of the little doll.
When no reasonable explanation could be found for the blood, Donna and Angie concluded that the source must be paranormal and resorted to drastic measures.
Turning to a psychic medium the two young women held a séance in the apartment. During the séance, the medium invoked the spirit of a seven-year-old child, Annabelle Higgins.
Annabelle had played on the plot of land where the apartment had once stood. Tragically, she had been killed young, run down by a car whilst playing nearby.
According to the psychic, she was essentially a harmless spirit who had chosen to occupy the ragdoll, possibly because she wanted to be close to the two young women.
Assured that she meant them no harm and pitying the poor dead child, Donna and Angie decided to keep the doll in their apartment, a decision they were both later to regret.
Lou, Angie’s fiancée, was the third person who unofficially occupied the apartment. Unlike the two women, he felt no fondness for or compassion towards the Raggedy Ann.
In fact, it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say that Lou hated it!
He warned both women that far from being occupied by a childish spirit, Annabelle was evil and malevolent and they should be very wary around the doll.
Lou should have taken his own advice…
One day when Donna was at work, Lou heard rustling noises coming from her room. Approaching the bedroom cautiously, he quietly opened the door and turned on the lights.
The little ragdoll was lying on the floor in the corner. As he walked over to Annabelle, he sensed that something was behind him. Turning quickly around he discovered that nobody was there.
Suddenly, feeling a sharp pain Lou discovered that he had been scratched and blood was pouring from his chest, opening his shirt he could see a clear and very distinct claw mark.
Unfortunately, Lou’s experience didn’t end there. Sleeping alone in the apartment one night he awoke with a start. Disorientated he looked down at his feet to see Annabelle, slowly moving up his body.
Paralyzed with fear he could do nothing to throw off the doll. Creeping gradually, she eventually reached his neck and began to strangle him. Eventually, Lou blacked out, unconscious.
The next morning he awoke but was convinced that he had not experienced a nightmare. It was time for Annabelle to go.
Ed and Lorraine Warren
In desperation, the three friends turned to an Episcopalian priest and asked him to perform an exorcism on the doll.
Realizing that this case wasn’t entirely within his remit he called in Ed and Lorraine Warren, two paranormal investigators, to support him.
Almost immediately the Warrens realized that it was not the innocent spirit of a child but an evil demon that was occupying the Raggedy Ann doll.
The aim of the demon was to possess the soul of Donna and the ragdoll was merely the means to an end.
While the priest exorcised the small apartment, the Warren’s removed the doll from the home. During their trip home, their car repeatedly broke down, the power steering failed and they suffered numerous punctures.
Eventually, they were forced to sprinkle Annabelle with holy water before continuing their journey in safety.
It wasn’t long before Annabelle settled into her new home and returned to her old tricks. She began to move about their home and at one stage was discovered levitating above a desk.
When a priest visited their home and dared to scoff at Annabelle’s supposed abilities, he was the victim of a terrible automobile accident on his way home and only just survived.
The Warren’s decided that Annabel had caused enough damage and suffering and resolved to stop her hurting anybody else.
Warren’s Occult Museum
The Warren’s solution to the problem of Annabelle was to lock her in a cabinet and put her on display in their occult museum.
Displayed with a sign ‘Warning positively do not open’ she attracts thousands of visitors intrigued by her history.
Despite the warning there are still those foolhardy enough to provoke and tease the embittered spirit daring her to do her worst.
Some visitors have reported that Annabelle has nodded at them when they approach the case.
Others who have taunted Annabelle for being locked in her cabinet have suffered automobile accidents on their way home. At least one of these accidents has been fatal.
The Warren’s themselves believe that despite being exorcised a lingering evil still occupies Annabelle.
What started out as an innocuous Raggedy Ann doll bought as a birthday present has become one of the most famous if not infamous dolls in the world. Annabelle, the possessed doll has even become the subject of a major Hollywood movie.
Now residing securely in a museum dedicated to the occult, some have suggested that her story is merely an elaborate hoax, fabricated to attract visitors.
But looking at this innocent little ragdoll in her cabinet, you can’t quite shake the feeling that she is just itching to get out of that cabinet and wreak havoc.
So would you grant her wish and release Annabelle once more onto an unsuspecting world, I know I wouldn’t.