11 Things You Need To Know About Legendary Paranormal Investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren
Legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are the focus of the all-new documentary Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, premiering this Labor Day. Their work has inspired Hollywood blockbusters, but how much do you really know about the couple and the infamous hauntings they investigated?
In honor of the new documentary, here are 11 things you need to know about the Warrens. Read on to find out about how they rose to fame, Ed’s near-death experience and the time they received reinforcements from a future pope (yeah, you read that right). Don't miss the premiere of Devil's Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren Mon., Sept. 7 at 9|8c.
1. Ed and Lorraine Warren’s paranormal investigations served as the inspiration behind one of the most iconic horror movie franchises: The Conjuring series.
The series began in 2013 with the release of The Conjuring, which earned more than $300 million at the box office. Since then, the series has expanded to include the films The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle Comes Home, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorena with more films in production.
2. Both Ed and Lorraine’s interest in the paranormal started early.
As a boy, Ed grew up in a house he believed was haunted. Lorraine began to notice her clairvoyant abilities at a young age as well. As a child, Ed recalled doors opening on their own, and strange lights starting to form in his house. Lorraine recalled her first experiences around nine. She remembered seeing auras around people but assumed this was normal.
3. Ed Warren had a near-death experience while serving in the Navy during World War II.
Ed entered the Navy on his 17th birthday. A few months later, the ship Ed was on collided with an oil tanker in the North Atlantic. A fire erupted, and all of the men on the ship had to jump overboard. As Ed was in the icy water, he prayed for help and was soon rescued. After that experience, he returned home and asked Lorraine to marry him.
4. Ed Warren was a fine arts painter. The couple used his painting skills as a way to gain entry into houses they wanted to investigate.
They would research houses they believed to be haunted, then drive to the house. After Ed painted the house, he would hand the painting to Lorraine. She would knock on the door and offer the homeowners the painting as their ticket into the house. Once she struck up a conversation with the homeowner, they would learn more about the property and hauntings. This process was how their investigative career began.
Devil's Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren Preview 01:07
5. The Warrens tried to rule out all logical or physical explanations before agreeing to take a case.
They did not just take anyone’s word when they said they were experiencing paranormal activity. Ed would go to the scene and use every avenue available to him to rule out all logical explanations before moving forward with the case.
6. The first case that garnered media attention occurred in their hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1974 – more than 20 years after Ed and Lorraine began their work.
The Warren’s family friend and psychic Mary Pascarella contacted them and informed the Warrens of the paranormal activity local Bridgeport residents Jerry and Laura Goodin were experiencing. Once news got out about the poltergeist affecting the house on Lindley Street, crowds began to form outside the house. This was the first case where the Warrens experienced such a large media presence as they tried to conduct their work.
7. Ed and Lorraine were both devout Roman Catholics – and Ed was eventually recognized as the only Catholic lay expert on demonology.
Their devout faith included an inherent belief in the supernatural and a world beyond. The Warrens worked closely with the Catholic church during multiple exorcisms and their faith played an important part in their investigations.
8. Ed and Lorraine gained popularity in the mainstream media, and even appeared on popular television shows, including The Merv Griffin Show, The Tom Snyder Show, A Haunting, and Scariest Places on Earth.
As their notoriety grew, the Warrens expanded their audiences through media appearances, speaking engagements and college lecture tours all in an attempt to prove that the devil was real. The Warrens continued to make television appearances throughout their career, and Lorraine even had a cameo in The Conjuring.
9. While the Warrens gained popularity, they also gained critics. In an effort to prove her abilities were not faked, Lorraine underwent scientific testing by parapsychologists at UCLA.
The team of scientists that examined Lorraine was led by Dr. Thelma Moss. After extensive studies, they determined Lorraine was a “light trance medium.”
10. The Warrens encountered a succubus during the paranormal investigation of Jack and Janet Smurl.
While investigating the Smurl family, Ed determined the entity that was haunting them was a succubus, a specific name given to a demon that primarily attacks males. Other notable investigations include the Perron family’s house in Harrisville, Rhode Island, and Annabelle, a demonically possessed Raggedy Ann doll gifted to a nursing student. The Perron family’s story served as the inspiration for The Conjuring, and the story of the doll Annabelle became a trilogy within The Conjuring universe.
11. When the Warrens’ efforts to remove the succubus from the Smurl’s house failed, they received reinforcements from a future pope – Pope Benedict XVI.
At the time of the Smurl Haunting, Pope Benedict XVI was known as Cardinal Ratzinger. The Warrens contacted the Catholic church and described the haunting happening at the Smurl household. Cardinal Ratzigner assigned an Exorcist from the Catholic church who went to the house and performed a ritual of exorcism, the Ritual Romano.