There’s things that happen in a person’s life that are so scorched in the memory and burned into the heart that there’s no forgetting them. ~John Boyne
Fall has always been my favorite time of the year, especially Halloween. It’s also that time when all the ghosts and ghouls come out, especially on the big screen, but this one freaked me out. For a few weeks now, the movie Annabelle has been advertising. With the repeats of the advertisement, I had a weird feeling I’ve heard that story before, except I didn’t recollect the doll in the movie, just the name Annabelle and the story of a possessed doll. Weird right?
With every advertisement and the mention the possessed Annabelle doll, my memory kept flickering to the past but couldn’t quite place it. Then, it seemed like every time I searched the web using my iPhone or iPad, a pop up ad would appear with the face of this creepy doll, promoting the movie. Let me tell you, it ALWAYS scared the crap out of me! One, because it was the face of a creepy doll and two, I knew this story was familiar and it was haunting me. Again, the doll’s face I didn’t recognize, yet the name Annabelle I knew. I know, I sound like I was being hypersensitive to the ads, but they did feel like they were following me and I couldn’t shake the feeling I knew Annabelle. What the heck?
As a kid, I did have a few dolls, mostly Barbie but I wasn’t one of those girls who kept them long, nor did I drag them around everywhere. I had a blanket for that, which I won’t get into now, perhaps in time I’ll share the story of my banky (blanket). So it’s not like baby dolls resonate with me or bring back childhood memories. (Not like my blanket) Why was I connecting with Annabelle?
Then, out of the blue it hit me. I finally remembered the story I heard years ago. I had to ask Nicole to confirm it and I was right! While the commercial played its thirty second clip, my memory surfaced bringing with it a face of the person who told me the story, Lorraine Warren! She’s the director of The New England Society for Psychic Research, and better known for her involvement in the Amityville horror case. How in the world do I know her and why was she telling me the story of Annabelle?
There’s a very good explanation, my sister! For years, my sister followed the Paranormal State crew around to the haunted places. Let me step back to explain, Paranormal State was a paranormal reality television show on A&E. The show’s stars were the members of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) Paranormal Research Society. No joke! A bunch of Penn State students created this club for dealing with creepy things. I guess being a Penn State Alumna and a fan of all things haunted, Nicole’s interest found its home.
This group of ghost hunters traveled all around the United States conjuring up spirits. Sometimes, they would hold seminars and give talks regarding their latest scary encounters and tell their ghost stories. Naturally, Nicole followed the group on Facebook and Twitter and attended these events, sometimes dragging me along. How could I resist an excuse to travel?
One trip I took with Nicole was to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado in October of 2009. Yes, the very hotel where the master of horror wrote The Shining, which I did get to see his room where he wrote the thriller, coincidentally our room was right beside it.
On a side note, the movie wasn’t actually shot at that location, but Dumb and Dumber was! At least that’s what they told us when we toured the hotel.
Anyway, it was a fun trip, which included a Halloween party and bunch of paranormal seminars, which I did find some interest, but not like Nicole. That’s when I first met Lorraine Warren and heard the story of Annabelle. I must admit, I was quite intrigued and creeped out at the same time. On that very trip, I also met Father Bob Bailey from the Prasesidium Sancte Michele Arcangelo (The Praesidium of Warriors of St. Michael). They are a group of trained priests who perform exorcisms and deal with demonic activity. I know it sounds like a joke, but it’s true! My CCD teacher informed our class a few years ago that the Catholic church was in the process of training additional priests to deal with the increase of demonic activity around the world. Every diocese is to have one of these trained priests stationed on location to deal with any of these special cases. It’s very real and I feel we need it. After all, a perfectly normal man doesn’t just one day become possessed and start eating the face off of a homeless man for nothing, in the middle of a street, in the middle of the day. I believe crazy events like this happen more than we are aware and demons are the root cause for these unusual and extreme inhuman cases. www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/29/victim-in-face-chewing-attack-identified-as-cops-recount-goriest-crime
After my introduction of the paranormal gang, which all the attendees seemed to know each other for their shared interest and traveling together, I was requested by Nicole to meet her in Gettysburg, a year or two later for another weekend of spook fun.
Knowing I love Gettysburg, I couldn’t resist joining Nicole, not to mention Gettysburg isn’t that far from my house. Deciding I didn’t want an entire weekend of chasing vapor around, I thought I’d take Kyle for an educational mini vacation. Plus, it was an opportunity for Kyle to spend some time with his Aunt Nikki. Ghostly Encounter in the Hallway
While we were there taking in the sights of all things historical, Nicole wanted to meet up with us occasionally. I distinctly remember one of those meetings we met my sister. That Friday night after we got in, we met Nicole at an old house of some sort. It was very brisk outside while we waited in line in the dark with others of ghostly interests.
On another side note, someone in front of us in line was smoking and the smoke kept blowing in our direction. Poor Kyle, who has always suffered congestion and sinus issues, was coughing a little just getting over being sick. Naturally, the toxic air seemed to head directly for his nose. I know we were outside, but it still doesn’t take away the pollutants. I’ve never hid my disgust for smoking, and Kyle is clearly aware of my feelings for the repulsive habit. He also knows that smoke assists in making him sick and isn’t good for his little lungs. As we stood there, Kyle tattled on these strangers, “Aunt Heather their smoking! Tell them they can’t smoke around me.” Yep, that’s my little man, stand up for yourself and call a spade a spade. I was not happy about the smoke choking me either, so instead of making a scene, I moved us out of direct contact until it was our turn to enter the house. Nicole took one for the team and kept our place in line.
Once we got inside, I fully understood what it was we were waiting to see, evil objects. Yes, it was a room or two (I can’t remember) of all sorts of objects laid out on tables with signs asking ‘Do Not Touch’. Each object had a story associated with it, some kind of story of evil or possession. I wasn’t liking Kyle, only about nine or so, exposed to evil like this, but now he was intrigued and wanted to stay. Did I mention it was warmer in there than waiting for my sister outside?
One of the hosts of the event was Lorraine! We meet again! Not that she knew who I was, for I was just a person in the crowd but I remember her very clearly from Colorado. This time her story of Annabelle was different, this time she actually brought the possessed Annabelle doll! Yes, the real Raggedy Ann doll! (Not the doll they portrayed in the movie) At first blush, the doll did seem very creepy. Then, add the story to it, and total scary!
While inside, they asked that no one touch anything for fear of spirits attaching to someone. They informed us prior to handling any of these objects, they would wash their hands in holy water and a priest was present to offer blessings. Kyle being Kyle and ALWAYS following the rules, was very careful not to come close to anything, not that I would have allowed it to happen. Although, at one point, as I was reaching over a few items to point to something or examine an item closer, and Kyle instantly grabbed my arm and yelled, “No Aunt Heather!” He took me a little off guard and almost shifted me off balance, where I would have fallen directly on the table of strange objects. That’s my little man, always caring for his Aunt Heather! Like I’ve always told him, “We do look out for each other because we are a team”.
So what is the story of Annabelle? Below is a part of the story taken directly from the Warren website. If you want the full story visit this website. It’s really quite eery and unsettling. www.warrens.net/Annabelle.html
In 1970 a mother purchased an antique Raggedy Ann Doll from a hobby store. The doll was a present for her daughter Donna on her birthday. Donna, at the time, was a student in college, preparing to graduate with her nursing degree and resided in a tiny apartment with her room mate Anngie (a nurse as well). Pleased with the doll Donna placed it on her bed as a decoration and didn’t give it a second thought until a few days later. With in that time both Donna and Angie noticed that there appeared to be something very strange and creepy about the doll. The doll apparently moved on its own, relatively unnoticeable movements at first, like a change in position, but as time passed the movement became more noticeable. Donna and Angie would come home to find the doll in a completely different room from which they had left it . Sometimes the doll would be found crossed legged on the couch with its arms folded , other times it was found upright, standing on its feet, leaning against a chair in the dining room. Several times Donna, placing the doll on the couch before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed.