Who Are The Warrens? – A Brief History of Their Involvement With The Paranormal
Ed and Lorraine Warren are often called the pioneers of paranormal research and are one of the most recognizable faces in para-celebrity circles. The following is what I have been able to uncover, and glean from my research in regards to them. This is not meant to be a complete biography, but should give the casual reader a better idea of who they are.
Ed and Lorraine began their paranormal adventures when Ed dropped out of art school claiming he could paint better than the instructors. Together, the young couple hit the road and Ed painted houses he thought were haunted, with ghosts and goblins sketched flying out of the windows. Lorraine would then take these paintings and knock on the doors of the houses and try to sell them to the owners. Some were painted on canvas, others on dinner plates and some even simply sketched out on paper.
That was the extent of their education in the paranormal. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have a parapsychology degree, are not trained to perform exorcisms, do not hold any related degree or accreditation that would help them in researching the paranormal that we could find.
Lorraine's smooth talking would soon get Ed and herself into these haunted homes. Ed was fascinated by ghosts, however Lorraine was skeptical. But together, they soon found out that the public likes a good ghost story and started “investigating” haunted locations in their neighborhood.
All of their early work was all about ghosts and hauntings. There was no mention of demons, vampires or werewolves. That was, until, a hugely successful horror movie blasted into the psyche of every American. The Exorcist brought scares and provided a tale that demons really do exist and can wreak terrible injustices to the innocent. The public was fascinated and scared.
From that moment on, every ghost, or haunted house that The Warrens came into contact with was deemed infested with demons. Ed now proclaimed himself to be a professional Demonologist and together with a good marketing and publicity plan his notoriety excelled.
Lorraine was left in the shadows so seemingly instantly she became a self-proclaimed psychic able to feel and see the dead. She labelled herself a “trance-medium”. This, allegedly happened instantaneously when visiting a haunted home.
Both Ed and Lorraine possessed great charm and personality and it is often stated that the families really believed they were there to help. The media thrived on the sensationalistic couple and their exploits and when the Amityville Haunting was exposed on television and in print, the couple were there for an investigation.
Ed claimed the Amityville House full of demons, and went on to embellish the stories he was told about the haunting. As it turned out, and is widely accepted among parapsychologists The Amityville Haunting was a hoax, but that did not stop Ed and Lorraine Warren from exploiting the fame they now possessed. Everyone who was involved with The Amityville House knew it was a hoax and paranormal researchers such as Dr. Kaplan and news reporters from ABC News exposed it. But The Warrens were already in over their heads. They had already claimed the house to be the most haunted, the most demonic; the most terrifying. They could not retract their own statements because that would expose them as frauds. So they kept the story alive.
The media continued focusing on The Warrens who are said to have investigated over 10,000 cases but others in the field started asking: Where is the evidence?
Ed claimed to have photos and video of ghosts and demons but all of his evidence has been debunked. The most sensationalistic photos and video never seem to surface, as the video is misplaced, destroyed, accidentally erased, etc. etc.) and Ed always directed those who questioned his evidence to his own backyard Occult Museum.
Over the course of decades, The Warrens collected “haunted” and “demonic” items that they displayed in a museum located at their property. Some of the items were collected from homeowners and others were given to them, while still yet, some are claimed to be bought from yard sales.
The Occult Museum is like a hodge-podge of occult material mixed in with cheap Halloween novelties and anyone serious about such a topic in my opinion would not only find the museum offensive but immature.
Ed warned people not to touch anything in the museum and claimed one person did touch his demonic-possessed Raggedy-Ann Doll and on his drive home died in a motorcycle accident. The story has never been verified.
Others have visited the museum and have purposely touched nearly every object in the museum, to have no encounters of the demonic-sort, nor have an ill-fated future.
Among the pieces at the museum are photographic “evidence” of ghosts including what Ed referred to as “Ghost Globules”. These are simply what we know today as Orbs, a naturally occurring anomaly on film caused by dust, moisture, pollen etc. Even ghosthunters know that Orbs are not evidence of the paranormal.
Ed and Lorraine began holding weekly meetings which they charged participants to hear their stories of the paranormal and they also hit the lecture circuit to further their quest for fame.
When a story broke on the news about a “Werewolf” in London, Ed and Lorraine were sent by producers to “investigate”. The National Inquirer and Weekly World News said the Werewolf-man lifted police officers in the air and flung them 50 yards! Police reported none of this. Of course, Ed diagnosed the mentally-ill man to be possessed by a demon and he was brought to the United States for an exorcism.
During this exorcism Lorraine claimed that the man grew fangs, his muscles on his shoulders and back grew and that his fingers grew larger with pointed fingernails. Even his ears grew out long and pointy! She described a Hollywood description of the Werewolf in transition, the kind we have seen in the then popular movie, An American Werewolf in London.
Bishop McKenna performed the exorcism and said that nothing of the sort happened. He went on to say that The Warrens often sensationalized the work that he performed against his wishes.
And that is exactly what The Warrens did.
What have they contributed to the field of study? What peer reviewed articles, papers and works have they contributed?
Who have they helped?
Ed passed away in 2006 but one can still get up and personal with Ed and Lorraine Warren by visiting the house and museum. For $109 US, one can have dinner with Lorraine and visit the museum and then take a walk to the cemetery to see Ed's grave.
Sadly, many people take them up on this offer because The Warrens offer pseudo-celebrity status to those who take photos at their house and with Lorraine.
Often ghost hunters and ghost hunting groups who do no more than cosplay their favourite television ghosthunting program showcase these photos as evidence of their paranormal stature. They neglect any research or scientific study, and much like their paranormal heroes, delight in their Facebook-fame.
These same individuals will no doubt dismiss this entire article as they have met Lorraine and she is “such a sweet lady” and on that, we must agree – she does seem old and sweet. But she does not offer anything to the study, nor did her late husband Ed.
Instead she offers her celebrity-status to those who would like to gain a similar position such as the likes of Ryan Buell of the PRS. Others use her status to prop up their commercial ventures such as paranormal documentaries and their often entertaining, yet unrealistic, horror films.
If we were to study World War II, we would not use Tom Hanks as a source, nor would we use Brad Pitt. The Warrens at best, in my opinion, are entertainers playing a role, nothing more.
John Savoie April 2013
For further information you can have a look at their Wiki entry, but even that is considered very problematic and controversial as you will see at the top of the page.