A Brief History
On October 3, 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures releases Annabelle, a film about a haunted doll, to theaters. The movie is a prequel to 2013’s award-winning The Conjuring. Both films concern alleged, real-life hauntings associated with the famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Yet, to what extent are they actually based on real events? Please read this spoiler-filled article to find out!
A new article on the website History vs Hollywood provides quite a bit of information on the film’s purported inspiration from a historical event. Key points for those interested in a briefer read will be summarized here. Readers who would like more details are encouraged to click on the link.
Overall, one gets the impression that the divergence from reality for the cinematic depiction of the Annabelle doll is not as bad as it was for The Quiet Ones (please click on this film’s title to find out how much Hollywood can stretch a claim that something was based on real-life events). Nevertheless, Annabelle is still a significant departure from what (actually) may have happened!
Perhaps most notably, the actual Annabelle doll that inspired the movie looks nothing like the doll that appears in the film. Somehow a Raggedy Ann doll was deemed not sufficiently creepy enough and has instead been replaced by a porcelain doll. If the titular doll does not even remotely resemble its real-world counterpart, you can imagine that from there things will only continue to veer off from what might have occurred historically.
Indeed, the story also takes many liberties. The doll was not actually given to a man’s pregnant wife as a gift as the film depicts, nor were the doll’s former owners the victims of wicked occultists. The real doll did not start a kitchen fire either. Instead, the doll was given by a mother to her daughter whose experiences, while frightening, never approached the horrifying levels shown in the movie.
So, what was real, or rather allegedly real? Well, just as is dramatized in the film, the real-life Annabelle doll did change positions on its own as reported by its owners and also left cryptic and unsettling messages. The film similarly accurately recreates the claims about blood appearing on the doll and the revelation that the spirit of a deceased child named Annabelle (of course…) possessed the infamous doll.
Elsewhere, the film blurs the line between reality and fiction. For example, while the doll’s “victims” do claim to have been physically harmed by it, these assaults did not go quite as far as what audiences will see exaggerated in the cinematic take on the incident. The Warrens do believe that the doll managed to cause at least one death, but whether the doll was in fact responsible is debatable and cannot be proven.
Therefore, as far as history goes, this film is no documentary, but as with The Conjuring, it is a fun and thrilling fictional take on the paranormal.
As for one final note, Annabelle is actually NOT the only infamous real-life haunted doll that has inspired disturbing films. Arguably even more famous is Robert the Doll, the inspiration for Chucky in the Child’s Play series. Robert ranks number one on the following video:
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you believe dolls can be haunted? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For another event that happened on October 3, please also read the History and Headlines article: “1+9 Foods You Cannot Believe Other People Eat.”
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For more information, please read…
Brittle, Gerald. The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren (The Paranormal Investigators Featured in the Film “The Conjuring”). Graymalkin Media, 2013.
We also encourage you to see the film, just as John Carroll University’s Paranormal Research Group has already done as seen below as we wear our masks that we acquired for attending a special preview screening: