Before shows like Ghost Adventures captivated audiences, and long before "ghost hunters" started posting creepy videos on social media, there was Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Ed Warren was a former police officer and self-described demonologist, and Lorraine claimed to be a psychic who could communicate with spirits. Together, the Warrens' names have been attached to some of the best-known paranormal cases in the latter half of the 20th century. The couple even opened an occult museum in their Connecticut home, featuring artifacts from their most famous cases.
While many people believe in the Warrens wholeheartedly, a fair number of paranormal investigators and skeptics have questioned the legitimacy of the couple's findings. Here are some of Ed and Lorraine Warren's most controversial cases in their decades-long career.
'The Devil Made Me Do It' Case Resulted In A Lawsuit Against Lorraine WarrenPhoto: The Conjuring 3 / Warner Bros.
Arne Cheyenne Johnson was arrested and tried for killing his landlord, Alan Bono in 1981. Johnson's defense argued he was not in control of his actions due to demonic possession. Prior to Bono's murder, Johnson's fiancée, Debbie Glatzel, had an 11-year-old brother named David who allegedly began showing signs of demonic possession, and Glatzel called on the Warrens to help.
Ed and Lorraine brought in priests and performed "three lower exorcisms." Ed Warren noted that at one point, there were "43 demons" inside David. While the priests involved denied any exorcisms had actually transpired in the Glatzel home, David began to improve, especially after receiving counseling and moving to a private school.
Johnson was not so lucky, as a few of the alleged demons exorcised from David's body entered his. He reportedly began growling and hissing, as well as slipping into on-and-off "trances" for a period of months before killing Bono with a five-inch pocket knife. The "Devil Made Me Do It" plea was unsuccessful, and Johnson eventually went to prison for his crime.
In 2007, Carl Glatzel, David's older brother, attempted to sue Lorraine Warren and Gerald Brittle, authors of The Devil in Connecticut, for unspecified damages. As part of his suit, Glatzel claims his family was manipulated by the Warrens and that they and Brittle "concocted a phony story about demons in an attempt to get rich and famous at [the Glatzels'] expense."
- Photo: The Conjuring 2 / Warner Bros.
The events of the Enfield Poltergeist case began in August 1977, shortly after the Warrens investigated the Amityville haunting. The case centered mostly around 11-year-old Janet Hodgson, who was allegedly tormented and possessed by a poltergeist. The evil spirit was responsible for knocking sounds, strange voices, growling, levitation, and throwing objects across the room. The story became a media sensation and led to numerous investigations of Janet, her sister Peggy, and their home.
Over the years, the haunting's authenticity has come into question, partly because much of the paranormal activity occurred when only Peggy and Janet were present. Audio recordings and photographs taken during nearly two years of investigations have also been scrutinized. Even Janet herself admitted to fabricating a small portion of the events that took place in the home.
As for the Warrens' part in the investigation, they played only a small role in the case, despite the events depicted in The Conjuring 2. Apparently, the Warrens were initially denied access to the house and ended up only staying for one day, even though they cite it as one of their most famous cases.
The Warrens Were Accused Of Having 'No Credentials' While Investigating The Smurl HauntingVideo: YouTube
In 1986, Janet and Jack Smurl reported demonic entities were terrorizing them in their home. The Warrens were called in to investigate the demonic activity, which included Jack's account of being assaulted by one of the demons. In an interview with a local news outlet, Ed said that the demonic entity was "powerful, intangible and very dangerous." However, not everyone was willing to accept the Smurls' and Warrens' statements.
Paul Kurtz, a philosophy professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo, drew connections between the Smurls and the Lutz family in the Amityville case. Kurtz said of the Warrens, "They have no credentials in the scientific or parapsychological communities," and further added, "There is no explanation for the Smurl house, but I wouldn't simply assume it is a haunting... It seems to us that a great-to-do has been made about it, and we wonder if it's like the Amityville horror hoax, which was based on imagination rather than an actual haunting."
Even members of the clergy, brought in for the usual blessings and exorcisms, reported "nothing unusual" happening there. The Warrens, however, never wavered in their belief that the Smurl home was severely haunted.
There's No Public Documentation Of The Warrens' Alleged Werewolf ExorcismVideo: YouTube
Alongside Catholic bishops and retired police officers, Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed that they exorcized the angry spirit of a werewolf from a man named Bill Ramsey, who would reportedly turn into a "wolfman." Previously, Ramsey had been arrested for accosting officers, which he attributed to a werewolf demon overtaking him.
Lorraine claimed that she saw Ramsey's case on TV while she and Ed were visiting England, and she felt she could help Ramsey. She even stated that she had a video of Ramsey transforming, but she has never released this video to the public. The Warrens went so far as to bring Ramsey back to Connecticut so they could perform an exorcism alongside Bishop Robert McKenna, who was reportedly experienced in exorcising spirits.
The Warrens eventually detailed the case in their book, Werewolf: A True Story of Demonic Possession, which one review noted contained no actual documentation of the case.