Paranormal research has steadily gained more mainstream acknowledgement since the 1970s, following the release of books and films such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, the latter of which was supposedly based on a true story. And while there is a serious science fueling supernatural exploration, many organizations such as the those featured in the numerous “ghost investigator” reality TV shows – groups that are primarily concerned with entertainment and brand-building, compelling them to fabricate evidence in order to get ratings – give genuine researchers a bad name.
Perhaps the forbears to this conglomeration approach are Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-described demonologists whose names have been attached to some of the most well-known paranormal cases in the latter half of the 20th century. Lorraine claims to be a psychic who can communicate with spirits. Since her husband’s death in 2006, she has worked as a psychic consultant on various TV shows and she has maintained The Occult Museum in Connecticut, featuring artifacts from some of their cases. Many people swear they are “the real deal” – in particular devout Christians; according to Ed Warren, one has to believe in God in order to understand the couple’s research. But other writers and skeptics have discovered outright fabrications in their claims.
Below are some of the Warrens’ most famous cases, and the thorough debunking they’ve undergone. Let’s find out the real stories behind The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, Annabelle, and more.
Note: The intention of this list is not to question the existence of supernatural entities, nor to assert that the families investigated by the Warrens are also frauds or in any way co-conspirators of hoaxes. Moreover – because who doesn’t love a good ghost story – it is the Warrens’ intertwining of Catholicism into their own folklore that make them highly questionable figures, because they aren’t only preying upon people’s fears, they’re also preying upon their faith.