Historical story

Ed and Lorraine Warrens - presence, possession and… deception

Last updated:2022-07-25

Ed and Lorraine Warren were once considered outstanding specialists in the field of demonology, possession and haunting. Even representatives of the Church used the experience of the spouses. However, for several years their methods and the authenticity of their actions have been raising more and more doubts. Is historical documentation enough to make you believe what is beyond reason?

Box-office series of films, hundreds of articles, profits in the millions, and still lively questions related to the sphere of spirit and religion, as well as ... media strategy - because it should be noted that the Warrens have gone down in history as experts not only in paranormal matters, but also self-promotion who built their lives on controversy.

A famous couple in the 1970s was engaged in researching all sorts of supernatural phenomena. Ed Warren (1926–2006) was for a time the only secular demonologist recognized by the Vatican, while Lorraine (1927–2019) allegedly possessed the gift of clairvoyance , thanks to which she acted as a medium with the world of ghosts.

Excerpt from the poster for the movie "Presence 2" based on the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren

Increased interest in magic and occultism, the emergence of various religious sects (e.g. the apocalyptic Temple of the People), fascination with movements related to New Age philosophy - this is the reality in which they operate. As they mentioned, at that time para-scientific texts, brochures, but also symbolic items related to magic could be purchased in almost every drugstore. These artifacts have become part of pop culture. In such an atmosphere, revelations about paranormal activity and murderers out of this world fell on fertile ground.

The Curse of Amityville

The Warrens' first high-profile case was the crime committed by Butch DeFeo, who shot his parents and four younger siblings in cold blood in November 1974. The gruesome events at the DeFeo home in Amityville captured the imagination. The new tenants of the house - the Lutz family - were quickly convinced of it.

Today, the site of this terrifying spectacle of evil has become an object of worship for all those fascinated by the terror of pop culture. Suffice it to say that the book "The Amityville Horror" by Jay Anson, in which the author describes the Lutzes' memories of an almost month-long stay in a haunted mansion, immediately conquered the bestseller lists. And it got a couple of demonologists interested in this topic.

A house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, allegedly possessed by the spirits of a murdered family.

The couple always emphasized the spiritual dimension of the tragedy, but in their investigations they used not only devotional items, but also the benefits of technology. Their experiment to prove that the house at 112 Ocean Avenue was indeed cursed was to conduct a nightly spiritualist session using objects intended for religious practice - but the whole thing was recorded on a tape recorder and cameras. It's just that not many people saw these videos later.

The Warrens explained this by the fact that most people are susceptible to demonic forces, and therefore - in order to reduce the risk of possession - they cannot distribute the material. Such a strategy was, of course, controversial. The famous married couple, along with their sympathizers, also had fierce critics who called them cheaters.

Demonic documentation - false or chronicle of miracles?

Hundreds of oral reports, memories of witnesses, relatives, and finally television interviews and anecdotes. But how do you judge the truthfulness of the evidence that a pair of demonologists have been gathering over the years? The Warrens immortalized the effects of their work using infrared photos, which were supposed to testify to the interference of supernatural forces. Only that such a method carries not so much the risk of error, but even the possibility of deliberate manipulation.

The extensive documentation relating to the alleged paranormal phenomena could be falsified, as noted by Professor Steven Novella of the Yale Medical Academy, among others. Scientists studying the Warren phenomenon point out that the explanation of nocturnal haunts is often so-called hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations. A chronicle of miracles can, therefore, actually be the wealth of counterfeiters.

Much of the evidence gathered by the Warrens, including the demonic Anabelle, the world's spookiest doll, and the Ouija board that was used to summon spirits, are exhibited at the Warren Occult Museum. It was these artifacts that inspired the creation of the horror series "Presence" by James Wan, as well as the horror film "The Nun". And as you know, pop culture has its own rules, giving fiction the hallmarks of authenticity.

A story to decode

Determining what is true in this story, and what is a distortion or simple manipulation is difficult, perhaps impossible today. The fact remains that the Warrens had (and still have) an enormous influence on popular culture, which relates not only to specific testimony but also to the very spirit of an era marked by a fascination with occultism and magic.

Rich documentation is not always enough to make you believe what is beyond reason. Nor is it a place to settle the dispute over what is mystical and what is rational. The Warren legacy lives on in the legends, however, and the demonologists' marriage archives may contain more than one secret to decode ...


  1. Haunts. True Stories , Robert David Chase, Replika publishing house, 2019.
  2. Demonologists. Ed and Lorraine Warren , Gerald Brittle, Esprit publishing house, 2016.