At Lurking Beyond, we love haunted dolls. Well, we love to be absolutely terrified of them.
There’s something so creepy about dolls to begin with. It might be an Uncanny Valley thing–dolls look almost, but not quite, like real people and that’s unsettling. We examined the strange economy of selling haunted dolls on eBay last year, a task that gave this writer nightmares for over a week.
Until relatively recently, Chucky was the most famous haunted doll. But that title now belongs to Annabelle, the deeply sinister haunted artifact that inspired the a horror franchise.
In the Conjuring cinematic universe, Annabelle is a possessed doll that wreaks havoc on a nice family until paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren arrive to save them. The film was so successful that it spawned a series of prequels about the origin of the doll: Annabelle (2014), Annabelle: Creation (2017), and Annabelle Comes Home (2019).
The Warrens were real paranormal researchers who involved themselves in a number of high-profile cases, including the Amityville Horror. They investigated the original Annabelle in the 1970s. The doll was not the ghoulish porcelain creation featured in the films but a classic Raggedy Ann doll.
Honestly, that looks like Pennywise in drag. I’m not surprised people were scared of it.
The doll belonged to a college student who claimed that it exhibited strange and unnatural behavior. According to Joseph Laycock, a professor at Texas State University, the original tale was likely inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone that featured a haunted doll and a character named Annabelle.
The filmmakers behind The Conjuring weren’t able to use the Raggedy Ann likeness because of copyright issues. If you look closely, you’ll find the doll in director James Wan’s other films, including Aquaman and Shazam. It’s like a little Easter egg, but terrifying.
Annabelle made headlines this week as it was briefly reported that she had “escaped.” The original doll lives at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, which is now owned by the deceased couple’s son-in-law, Tony Spera.
The doll is kept in a glass case with multiple warnings not to open or touch any part of her prison… I mean, display.
The reports of her escape, however, were greatly exaggerated.
Tony Spera filmed a quick video to reassure everyone that Annabelle was still right where she was supposed to be.
“Annabelle’s alive… Well, I shouldn’t say alive. Annabelle is here in all of her infamous glory. She never left the museum,” Spera said.
The rumor likely started because of a poorly translated interview with actress Annabelle Wallis, who talked about running to escape danger in a film with Tom Cruise.
However, Warner Bros released what might be the best piece of quarantine content at the beginning of August, showing the Annabelle doll hanging out on the studio lot. You definitely want to watch that video below: