Yesterday afternoon, New Line Cinema dropped the first teaser trailer for their upcoming spin-off/prequel to last summer’s horrific hit, The Conjuring. While very few details about the film are known, it is said to tell the story of how the creepy doll came to be “possessed”, and how it ended up in the hands of the young college students and eventually in the Warrens’ basement at the beginning of the earlier film.
The new film is set for release on October 3rd, 2014, and you can check out the trailer below :
While the teaser has some creepy, stylish elements and the film will most likely prove to be an entertaining time, it seems that the Hollywood version of the story is getting further away from the documented case of what actually happened.
Although no one can ever say for sure what really inhabited the doll (if anything), the story of the original case is just as fascinating, without any Hollywood embellishments.
In fact, the trailer above even contradicts the fictional history of Annabelle, as presented to us in The Conjuring. It appears to be the origin of how the doll came to be possessed, even though Patrick Wilson told us that the doll was never possessed by a human.
So, yeah, the trailer above is a bit baffling, but we will reserve judgement until October.
In the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the real world history of this case. First of all, the real “Annabelle” doll has a much different appearance than the one in the films. In fact, she was a Raggedy Ann doll, based on the writings of Johnny Gruelle, which were very popular in the early 20th century.
Lorraine Warren with “Annabelle”.
Although the opening sequence to The Conjuring claims it took place in 1968, the documented case occurred in the summer of 1970, when a mother purchased an antique Raggedy Ann doll from a hobby store. The doll was meant as a birthday gift to her daughter, Donna, a nursing student who resided with a room-mate named Angie in a small apartment.
Happy with her gift, Donna placed the doll on her bed and didn’t give much thought to it until the pair started to notice strange things concerning the doll. It appeared to move around and switch positions, crossing and uncrossing it’s legs and arms when no one was around. As time passed, the occurrences became more common and increasingly bold.
The girls would come home to find the doll in a completely different room than it was left in. Sometimes they would find it standing upright in the kitchen, or with it’s legs crossed on the couch, awaiting their return. Donna began placing the doll face down on the couch before leaving for her studies, only to return to find it back in her room on the bed with the door closed.
After about a month of these strange happenings Donna and Angie began to find cryptic messages, in pencil on parchment paper, by what looked to be the hand-writing of a small child. The messages said “Help us” and “Help Lou”.
The Lou in question was a friend of the roomies, and not a fan of Donna’s creepy doll. He urged her several times to get rid of the doll, but as it was a gift from her mother, Donna wanted to keep it because of her sentimental attachment.
One night Donna came home to find that the doll had moved again, and this time it was covered in what appeared to be blood. Feeling more frightened than ever, the girls contacted a medium and held a seance. The medium claimed to have picked up the story of “Annabelle”, a young girl who had lived and died on the property years previous, before the apartments had even been built. The medium told the girls that the spirit of the young girl had found comfort with them, and wanted only to live among them and be loved. Convinced by the sad story of the young girl who had left the earthly plane too soon, the girls then invited “Annabelle” to inhabit the doll and stay with them.
Which turned out to not be such a great idea…
Their friend Lou was the victim of the first physical manifestation of what the girls had unwittingly invited into their home. One night while awakened from a deep sleep, Lou found himself unable to move in the bed. He claims that the doll was in the bed with him and slowly moved up his body and began to strangle him with it’s little doll hands, while he was paralyzed.
His friends dismissed it as a dream, but Lou was convinced that something evil was lurking within the doll, and on another night his suspicions were confirmed. Lou and Angie were alone in the apartment, making plans for a rod trip the next day when they heard a rustling noise coming from Donna’s room. Lou found the room empty of intruders, but spied the doll tossed on the floor in the corner. He made his way to the doll, and had a distinct feeling that someone was behind him. He turned around to see no one there, but a moment later he claims that his chest was slashed by seven claw marks, three vertically and four horizontally. The cuts were burning and bleeding, but reportedly healed fully within the next two days.
At this point, the students were put in contact with the Warrens, who quickly took an interest in the case. As portrayed in The Conjuring, Ed and Lorraine Warren quickly concluded that the doll was not “possessed”, but rather being manipulated by a demonic presence.
The Warrens had an exorcism performed at the apartment, and agreed to take the doll into custody as it were, and have imprisoned the suspected conduit in a glass case for the past decades.
Despite the doll’s lock-up, there have been subsequent incidents thought to have been caused by “Anabelle”.
But, in reality, it is just a silly old rag doll, right?
Ed Warren believes otherwise, and says only, “Do not challenge evil. No man is more powerful than Satan.”
Okay, okay, I take it back!