Edward “Ed” Warren Miney (September 7, 1926 – August 23, 2006) and Lorraine Rita Warren (née Moran, born January 31, 1927) were American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. Edward was a World War II United States Navy veteran and former police officer who became a self-taught demonologist, author, and lecturer. His wife Lorraine is a professed clairvoyant and a light trance medium who worked closely with her husband.
In 1952, the Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research, the oldest ghost hunting group in New England. They are the authors of numerous books about the paranormal and about their private investigations into various reports of paranormal activity. They claimed to have investigated over 10,000 cases during their career. The Warrens were among the very first investigators in the controversial Amityville haunting. According to the Warrens, the N.E.S.P.R. utilizes a variety of individuals, including medical doctors, researchers, police officers, nurses, college students and members of the clergy in its investigations.
The Warrens were responsible for training several demonologists including Dave Considine, Lou Gentile, and their nephew John Zaffis. In addition to investigations, Lorraine runs The Warren’s Occult Museum in the back of her house in Monroe, Connecticut with the help of her son-in-law, Tony Spera.
The Warrens are best known for their involvement in 1976, in the Amityville Horror case in which New York couple George and Kathy Lutz claimed that their house was haunted by a violent, demonic presence so intense that it eventually drove them out of their home. The Amityville Horror Conspiracy authors Stephen and Roxanne Kaplan characterized the case as a “hoax”. Lorraine Warren told a reporter for The Express-Times newspaper that the Amityville Horror was not a hoax. The reported haunting was the basis for the 1977 book The Amityville Horror and 1979 and 2005 movies of the same name.
In 1981, Arne Johnson was accused of killing his landlord, Alan Bono. Ed and Lorraine Warren had been called prior to the killing to deal with the alleged demonic possession of the younger brother of Johnson’s fiancée. The Warrens subsequently claimed that Johnson was also possessed. At trial, Johnson attempted to plead Not Guilty by Reason of Demonic Possession, but was unsuccessful with his plea. The case was described in the 1983 book The Devil in Connecticut by Gerald Brittle.
In 1991, the Warrens book Werewolf: The True Story of Demonic Possession was published in which they claim to have exorcised a “werewolf demon.”
According to the Warrens, in 1970, two roommates claimed their Raggedy Ann doll was possessed by the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins. The Warrens took the doll, telling the roommates it was “being manipulated by an inhuman presence”, and put it on display at the family’s “Occult Museum”. The 2014 film Annabelle directed by John R. Leonetti is loosely based on the story.
Pennsylvania residents Jack and Janet Smurl reported their home was disturbed by various supernatural phenomena, including sounds, smells and apparitions. The Warrens became involved and claimed that the Smurl home was occupied by three minor spirits and also a demon that allegedly sexually assaulted Jack and Janet Smurl. The Smurls’ version of their story was the subject of a 1986 paperback titled The Haunted and a 1991 made-for-TV movie of the same name directed by Robert Mandel.
In 1971, the Warrens claimed that the Harrisville, Rhode Island, home of the Perron family was haunted by a witch who lived there in the early 19th century. According to the Warrens, Bathsheba Sherman cursed the land so that whoever lived there somehow died. The story is the subject of the 2013 film, The Conjuring. Lorraine Warren was a consultant to the production and appeared in a cameo role in the film. A reporter for USA Today covered the film’s supposed grounding in facts sympathetically.
The current owner of the home has collected her own research and that of several investigators with whom she has worked refuting the stories of witchcraft and tragic deaths at the home.
The Warrens believed that the cemetery was haunted by a “white lady” ghost.
The Haunting in Connecticut
In 1986, Ed and Lorraine Warren arrived and proclaimed the Snedeker house, a former funeral home, to be infested with demons. The case was featured in the 1992 book In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. A TV movie that later became part of the Discovery Channel series A Haunting was produced in 2002 and a film very loosely based on the events, directed by Peter Cornwell, was released in 2009.
The Enfield Poltergeist
In 1977, Ed and Lorraine Warren visited a home in Enfield, England that was allegedly haunted by a poltergeist. This case was awarded a lot of media coverage at the time and is considered to be a hoax by many. The case was featured in a 2015 Sky Atlantic series The Enfield Haunting starring Timothy Spall. It will also be the subject of the 2016 sequel to James Wan’s The Conjuring.
The Warrens’ most famous case, the Amityville Horror, has been questioned by critics. According to Benjamin Radford, the story was “refuted by eyewitnesses, investigations and forensic evidence”. In 1979, lawyer William Weber reportedly stated that he, Jay Anson and the occupants “invented” the horror story “over many bottles of wine”.
Horror author Ray Garton, who wrote an account of the alleged haunting of the Snedeker family in Southington, Connecticut, later called into question the veracity of the accounts contained in his book, saying: “The family involved, which was going through some serious problems like alcoholism and drug addiction, could not keep their story straight, and I became very frustrated; it’s hard writing a non-fiction book when all the people involved are telling you different stories.”