The Scary (True?) Story Behind The Season's Scariest Movie

annabelle_embed1Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema.
Though David Fincher's Gone Girl got all the headlines this past weekend, the number two movie was Annabelle, a $7 million spin-off from last year's masterful The Conjuring that has left many — including members of One Direction — swearing to never again enter an American Girl store.
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The prequel tells the story of the demonic doll glimpsed in the trophy room of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who are mentioned — but not present — in the film. But, that hasn't stopped them from chiming in on the story's veracity.
According to the Warrens' official website (warning: it automatically plays a spooky recording of a little girl singing and looks to be haunted by the spirit of Geocities), the true story behind the possessed plaything is far scarier than the events portrayed in the film.
The movie basically goes like this: After killing a young couple, a Manson family-style cultist commits suicide. Her blood drips into an already creepy-looking doll's eye socket, and it becomes inhabited by both her spirit and murderous intent.
annabelle_embed2Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema.
In the Warrens' telling, the doll is an adorable antique Raggedy Ann purchased by a mom for her daughter, Donna, as a graduation present from nursing school. Donna and her roommate, Angie, almost immediately noticed that the doll seemed to move by itself — finding it cross-legged, relaxing on a couch in another room. And, it also seemed to be writing notes in a child's handwriting on parchment paper. The notes read: "Help Us" and "Help Lou."
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When the women discovered what appeared to be blood on the doll's hands and chest, they contacted a medium who held a seance and contacted the spirit of a seven-year-old girl, Annabelle Higgins, who died on the site of their apartment building. The medium claimed that Annabelle felt at home with the girls, who gave the spirit their permission to inhabit the vintage Raggedy Ann.
But, it turns out that Annabelle was not a friendly ghost. Lou, a friend of the pair, was creeped out by the doll from day one and told Donna to ditch it. The feelings were apparently mutual. One night, he awoke to find the doll strangling him and blacked out. The next day, Lou entered Donna's room and found the doll on the floor and was attacked — his shirt was covered in blood and on his chest were "seven distinct claw marks, three vertically and four horizontally, all were hot like burns."
The women finally decided to take the doll's handwritten advice and help Lou. They called in a professional — an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan — who contacted the Warrens and performed an exorcism, because spirits can only possess people. It's demons that inhabit inanimate objects.
The apartment was cleansed, and the Warrens took the doll for good measure. But, on the way home, the car went out of control and almost collided before Ed Warren grabbed some holy water and doused the doll. Once they got it home, it was still up to no good, wandering around the house, levitating, and displaying "a hatred for clergymen."
The doll is now safely ensconced in a glass case in the Warrens' Occult Museum. You can visit, but you'd be wise not to taunt it.
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