Warren, Ed (1926–2006), and Lorraine (1927– ) American Demonologists and Ghost investigators. Ed and Lorraine Warren, husband and wife, were involved in thousands of instances of spirit identification, Hauntings, and Demonic spirit oppression and Possession of both people and property. They acted as consultants on some of America’s most famous paranormal cases, most notably the SMURL Haunting in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s, and the “Amityville Horror” of the Lutz family on Long Island in the 1970s. After more than 50 years of investigations, the Warrens retired. During his lifetime, Ed Warren achieved the rare distinction of being a layperson recognized as a Demonologist by the Catholic Church. Both Ed and Lorraine were born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but did not meet until they were teenagers. Ed was born on September 7, 1926; his father was a state trooper and a devout Catholic and enrolled Ed in parochial school. The Warren family lived in a big, old house rented out by a spinster landlady who did not approve of dogs or children, always throwing things at them in annoyance. Ed was five when the landlady passed away, and he saw his first APPARITION when she materialized in his bedroom closet a few days later, as sour as she had been in life. His father always told Ed that there must be a logical explanation for the paranormal behavior his son experienced, but the elder Warren never produced one. Young Ed would choose to stay outside in freezing or rainy weather rather than be in the house alone. One of Ed’s supernatural visitors was a nun, his father’s sister. She foretold that Ed would consult with priests but not become one, which was true in his role as a Demonologist. The Warrens finally moved out of the old place when Ed was 12. Although he had come to terms with the spirits there, his exposure to the paranormal just fueled his desire for more investigation and confrontation. Three blocks away, Lorraine Rita Moran was born on January 31, 1927, to an affluent Irish family. She attended Laurelton Hall, a Catholic girls’ school in nearby Milford, and it was while at school that young Lorraine, age 12, discovered that her gift of Clairvoyance was not a sixth sense for everyone else. On Arbor Day that year, the nuns had organized a tree-planting, and as soon as the sapling was set in the ground Lorraine began staring at the sky, seeing the tree in its full-grown splendor. The nuns considered her psychic ability to be sinful and packed her off to a weekend retreat of prayer and silence. At age 16, Ed met Lorraine while working at the Colonial Theater in Bridgeport. On his 17th birthday on September 7, 1943, Ed enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served with the armed guard aboard a Merchant Marine vessel. He and Lorraine married on May 22, 1945. They were both 18. Their only child, Judy, was six months old before Ed left the navy. After the war, Ed attended the Perry Art School, affiliated with Yale, but left to travel s s s sW around New England painting landscapes and searching for haunted houses. His favourite pastime was to hear of a haunted house in a community, paint a portrait of the home, and give it to the house’s owners. He also earned income from his paintings. But what Ed particularly liked was to be invited inside the haunted house by its owners and allowed to look around. Eventually Ed’s experiences as a ghost hunter and the wealth of information he had collected led the Warrens away from itinerant art to the full-time pursuit of paranormal consultation. Frequently, they had been the only ones in whom the frightened owners of a haunted house had confi ded about the strange occurrences happening there; more and more, the Warrens found themselves giving advice and consolation to not only the homeowners but interested strangers. Finding that the negative energy associated with teenagers and young adults attracted spirit activity, the Warrens began giving lectures at colleges to encourage their listeners to avoid unwittingly inviting trouble into their lives. In 1969, an exhibit of Ed’s artwork got the attention of media and a literary agent, which significantly boosted his career. The Warrens amassed a large archive of detailed interviews and reports from afflicted families and from other investigators; photographs; audio and video recordings of paranormal activity, including the voices of the spirits; an Occult Museum of spirit-infested clothing, dolls, and other objects, and myriad letters of gratitude from government officials, clergy, and ordinary people for the couple’s intervention in horrible, unbelievably evil situations. From their research, they identified different types of spirits requiring different remedies. They investigated throughout America and abroad. After an invitation to investigate a site, the Warrens arranged a visit as quickly as possible. Once at the site, they usually split up, with Ed conducting careful and thorough interviews of all people involved and Lorraine walking the house to see if she could discern spirit activity through her sixth sense. Lorraine usually detected spirit presence almost immediately and knew also if the spirits were earthbound—human Ghosts or Apparitions—or inhuman, Demonic influences. Earthbound spirits usually remain in a place because their death was so sudden, tragic, or violent that their last moments overpower their desire to go on to the Other Side or else they do not realize or accept that they are dead. These spirits, often associated with old houses and graveyards, may manifest as annoying habits (knocking, running faucets, movement of small objects) or as lighted balls or mists. If a witness to such activity recognizes facial features, the ghost has become an apparition, according to the Warrens. Inhuman, Demonic influences, however, are not earthbound and do not require human energy or light for manifestation. Evil incarnations, they attempt to overpower their victims through a regimen of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. The Warrens stressed that God does not let evil visit humans, but that humans must in some way invite the malevolence into their lives: by toying with the supernatural (conjuring, TALKING BOARDS; Séances, black Witchcraft, and Satanic rituals); by sinking into negative, depressive states; or by obsession with a person or place. Ed refers to these “permissions” as the Law of Invitation and the Law of Attraction. Once allowed to enter, the Demonic takes control in three stages: infestation, oppression, and possession. In severe circumstances, the final outcome could be death. Infestation: During this first phase, Ed and Lorraine said the Demon’s goal is to create chaos and fear. When conducting an investigation of possible Demonic activity, the Warrens often heard the victims recount the same methods to inspire terror: knocks on the door, usually in threes (to mock the Trinity) or in sixes (double three), with no one there; scratching sounds on doors or within walls; hot or cold spots; rooms that just feel “creepy”; sounds of baby animals in pain; whisperings; knocks that become pounding on the walls or roof; plumbing that doesn’t turn off; appliances that go on or off without help; andLevitation of small objects. Too often such behaviors are attributed to Poltergeist activity, especially if there are teenagers in the home or are dismissed out of hand as an overactive imagination. Another mistake in this early stage is disbelief by friends, clergy, or family members, leaving the victim frustrated and turning to a medium to evaluate the phenomena, because the Demonic can manipulate the medium’s sensitivity. Oppression: Once fear has taken hold, the second assault is total domination of the victim’s will, either through a horrendous bombardment of external terrors or through an internal psychological breakdown. The parlor tricks of infestation magnify to become blood-curdling screams, heavy breathing and footsteps, knockings, Rappings, and poundings, hellish moans and inhuman voices through televisions or telephones, putrid and disgusting Smells, like sulfur, rotting flesh, and
excrement, extremes of hot and cold, often following in succession, Levitation of people or large objects and furniture, and finally Materializations of a black form that personifi es evil. Internally, the Demonic causes the victim to believe he or she (mostly she) is insane. There are dramatic personality changes and mood swings and deep depression. Arguments erupt frequently, as well as the use of foul or obscene language. Possession: At this point, if there has been no intervention on the part of the victim—no blessing, no Exorcism, no prayers or demands that the Demonic depart—then the victim stands at risk for total sublimation of his body and soul to the inhuman evil. Demons speak through the possessed, foul fluids and odors emanate from the body, and often the victim doesn’t even resemble his or her former appearance. Proudly, the Demon gloats over his ability to control the possessed much as a puppeteer manipulates the marionette. The Demon goes so far as to claim victory over God. 514 Warren, Ed and Lorraine But if the afflicted person or family can get help— whether from their local clergy, the Warrens, or some other accredited Demonologists—then the hope exists that the Demonic presence can be banished through a process of blessings, prayers, exorcisms, and basically sympathy and understanding of the terrible price exacted by such a siege. Ed and Lorraine stressed that fighting evil is a religious process; the most important first step in avoiding evil is belief in some God or Creator, whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, or whatever. Secondly, exorcism must be performed by a priest specifically designated as an exorcist by the bishop. Since belief in Satan is hard to reconcile with modern-day science and technology, many parishes have no one trained as an exorcist and may be unwilling to even consider such a position. There are too few exorcists for what the Warrens and some in the church hierarchy believe is a growing problem. As a Demonologist, Ed Warren helped identify the manifestations of Demonic infestation, oppression, and possession so that trained exorcists could work to rid the victim of evil influence. There is a great deal of proof required before an exorcism can take place, and for Catholic exorcists, three days of fasting and prayer may precede the administration of the rite. The Warrens also believe that helping the afflicted through support, blessing, and prayer is part of their calling. They did not perform exorcisms themselves, but worked with exorcists, fearing the transference of inhuman spirits to themselves. Ed and Lorraine strongly warned against anyone trying to exorcize who is not trained. The Warrens estimated that they investigated over 8,000 cases in over 50 years of work. Some of these investigations have been sensational, such as “Annabelle,” in which spirits infested a large Raggedy Ann doll claiming to be the ghost of a little girl; the Donovan case, which stemmed from the teenage daughter’s invitation for infestation through her Ouija board; the identification of a ghost at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Lorraine’s efforts for the spirit to pass on to the Other Side; the study of cemeteries and how they are gathering points for spirits; and the Smurl haunting, in which a family living in a duplex in West Pittston endured Demonic activity for over 10 years without ever learning why. The house was finally successfully exorcized in 1989 by direct Vatican intercession. The most famous and controversial case the Warrens encountered was the possession of the Lutz home in Amityville, Long Island, New York (see AMITYVILLE CASE). Ed and Lorraine were two of only nine individuals asked to consult on the legitimacy of Demonic activity in the house. Both Warrens firmly believe the possession of the Lutz home was authentic. There has been much speculation that the “horror” was embellished, but Ed did not think that the Lutzes could have made up some of the terrible things that happened in their home. Besides their Demonology rescue work, lectures, and guidance of supernatural tours, the Warrens cofounded the New England Society for Psychic Research. They also wrote 10 books based on their experiences: Deliver Us From Evil; The Demonologist (a classic text); The Devil in Connecticut; The Haunted (based on the Smurl case); Werewolf; Satan’s Harvest; The Ghost Hunters; In a Dark Place; Graveyard; and Ghost Tracks. The Haunted was released as a film in 1991 and the made-for-television movie The Demon Murder Case (1983) was based on The Devil in Connecticut. On March 26, 2001, Ed Warren collapsed due to heart problems after a trip to Japan to assist in Buddhist exorcism techniques. He was hospitalized for a year and was in a coma for several months. He spent the next four years under the care of Lorraine, who was at his side when he passed away from natural causes on August 23, 2006. He was buried with full military honors. Lorraine continued their work with her son-in-law, Tony Spera, and also in collaboration with various paranormal investigators. Ed’s nephew, John Zaffis, of Stratford, Connecticut, works as a paranormal researcher and Demonologist (he also investigated cases for the Warrens) and founded the Paranormal and Demonology Research Society of New England in 1998.
- Brittle, Gerald Daniel. The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Lincoln, Nebr.: An Authors Guild BackinPrint.com Edition, 2002.
- New England Society for, Psychic Research. Official Web site of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Available online. URL: https:// www.warrens.net. Downloaded January 18, 2006.
- Smith, D. R. “An Interview with the Ghost, Hunter: Ed Warren.” Left Field-Paranormal Studies & Investigations. Available online. URL: www.leftfield-psi.net/ghosts/warren. html. Downloaded January 18, 2006.
- Warren, Ed and Lorraine with Robert David Chase. Ghost Hunters. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1989.