Inside The Warren Museum, Ed And Lorraine Warren’s Peculiar Collection Of Occult Artifacts

Published June 10, 2024
Updated June 11, 2024

Before its sudden closure in 2019, the Warren Museum showcased a litany of curious relics obtained during the couple’s paranormal investigations, ranging from the real-life Annabelle doll to cursed necklaces to human skulls.

Warren Museum

TCD / Prod.DB / Alamy Stock PhotoLorraine and Ed Warren, the famous yet controversial paranormal investigators who inspired The Conjuring.

For fans of the paranormal, Ed and Lorraine Warren likely need no introduction. For years, the Warrens were the world’s most famous paranormal investigators, digging into a range of alleged hauntings with their New England Society for Psychic Research. And many of the “cursed” artifacts they investigated are now stored at the Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.

Beginning in 1952, the museum operated as a spooky exhibition for all things paranormal. While the Warrens’ prize possession was the original “Annabelle” doll that inspired “The Conjuring” franchise, their collection featured a wide range of creepy curiosities, including a copy of the Necronomicon (the Book of the Dead), a piano that allegedly played itself, and the “Pearls of Death,” a cursed necklace said to strangle anyone who wears it.

The museum officially closed in 2019 after Lorraine Warren’s death. But thanks to the modern magic of photography, we can still see what odd sorts of relics the Warren Museum once displayed.

Warren Occult Museum Exterior
Books On Werewolves
Artifacts Used In Black Magic
Annabelle In Her Case
Inside The Warren Museum, Ed And Lorraine Warren’s Peculiar Collection Of Occult Artifacts
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The New England Society For Psychic Research

1952 was a big year for Ed and Lorraine Warren. That year, the (in)famous demonologists founded the New England Society for Psychic Research — and their very own Occult Museum, in the basement of their house and base of operations.

From here, the Warrens claimed to have investigated more than 10,000 paranormal events, often cooperating with professionals such as doctors, nurses, researchers, and police. Over the years, they covered a number of high-profile cases, including the Amityville Horror, the "Devil Made Me Do It" case, and the Perron family hauntings that inspired The Conjuring.

While they reportedly never charged clients for their paranormal work, they did make a profit through writing books, making public appearances, and selling the rights to their stories for film and television productions.

Meanwhile, the Warrens came into the possession of a variety of objects with allegedly haunted backgrounds. The most famous of these was, of course, a purportedly cursed doll named Annabelle.

Items In The Warren Museum Collection

Unlike the Annabelle from The Conjuring franchise — which looks so horrifying one wonders why anyone would ever purchase it — the real-life Annabelle is rather innocuous.

A three-foot-tall Raggedy Ann doll, this artifact likely wouldn't have stood out in the museum if not for the fact that it was stored in a holy box, alongside a piece of paper that read: "WARNING. POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN." According to the Warrens, the doll moved on its own and attacked multiple people in the 1970s.

As CT Insider detailed, before the Warren Occult Museum closed for good, the museum also exhibited memorabilia from another of the Warrens' most famous cases — one that inspired The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.

One such artifact was a small toy dinosaur that had belonged to 11-year-old David Glatzel. In 1980, David was allegedly possessed by a demon inhabiting the doll. His sister's boyfriend, Arne Cheyenne Johnson, then reportedly challenged the demon to leave David and enter him instead — apparently prompting Johnson to stab and kill his landlord in what became known as the "Devil Made Me Do It" case.

The Warrens claimed that the toy levitated on its own during the haunting and at one point told the Glatzel family, "You're all going to die."

The Warren Museum also contained objects like a satanic idol said to have been found in the woods of Sandy Hook around 1991, a human skull, and a creepy "shadow doll," which was adorned with bird feathers and a real human tooth.

According to the Warrens' son-in-law Tony Spera, who took charge of the museum after the Warrens died, shadow dolls were "made specifically for harm" in curse rituals. He clarified, however, that Ed Warren originally purchased this particular doll from an antique store.

Can You Visit The Warren Museum?

Unfortunately, you would be hard-pressed to try and see any of these items today.

The Warren Museum temporarily closed in 2018 due to zoning issues, and after Lorraine Warren's death in 2019, it seemed as if that closure would be permanent. Some of the museum's artifacts, however, have made the rounds at various paranormal conventions and events in the years since.

But even in its heyday, visiting the museum was not as simple as one might expect.

When the museum was still operational, various online users complained about the steep fees required to enter it. Interested parties reportedly needed to book in advance online to tour the museum. One Yelp reviewer claimed that a six-person minimum was required to visit, at $75 a person.

Others complained about paying for a "dinner with Annabelle" experience in 2016 that involved a buffet, video clips of the Warrens, and the presentation of the cursed Annabelle doll from "The Conjuring" case, but no access to the museum itself.

All of this may seem par for the course, but it does go to illustrate the larger issue surrounding the Warrens.

Lorraine Warren Sensing Spirits

Russell McPhedran/Fairfax Media via Getty ImagesLorraine Warren claimed she could sense spirits — and one of her techniques involved laying back on a bed.

While the couple touted themselves as paranormal investigators fighting the good fight against ghosts, demons, and Satan himself, the truth is that many of their exploits were greatly exaggerated or fabricated altogether.

And the Warren Museum stood as yet another example of the Warrens' uncanny ability to monetize the paranormal.

The Controversies Surrounding Ed And Lorraine Warren

The Warrens made their claim to fame investigating several high-profile cases, including the Amityville murders and the Enfield haunting.

In the case of the former, the Warrens helped the Lutz family propagate the story of the Amityville house's alleged haunting, selling the world on the idea that demons had influenced Ronald DeFeo Jr. to kill his family there in 1974.

Per a 2023 Vox report, however, nearly everyone involved in the "Amityville haunting" has confirmed that the story was invented to help the Lutzes get rich — except the Lutzes themselves and the Warrens. But why would the Warrens, who presented themselves as reputable experts, defend such a hoax?

Well, as it turns out, the Warrens weren't exactly in the clear themselves.

In fact, Ray Garton, who worked with the Warrens on a book about the Snedeker family that would go on to inspire The Haunting in Connecticut, reportedly once claimed in an interview with Horror Bound magazine that the Warrens knew the case was a hoax. What's more, they allegedly instructed Garton to invent details he believed might help sell the story.

"As I gathered all the necessary information for the book," Garton said, "I found that the accounts of the individual Snedekers didn't quite mesh. They just couldn't keep their stories straight. I went to Ed with this problem. 'Oh, they're crazy,' he said. 'Everybody who comes to us is crazy. Otherwise why would they come to us? You've got some of the story — just use what works and make the rest up.'"

The Warrens were also heavily criticized for their involvement in Arne Johnson's case, which took place during the Satanic Panic, and their subsequent book about the incident, The Devil in Connecticut. In 2007, David Glatzel's older brother Carl even sued the Warrens, claiming they'd spread "complete lies" about his family and "concocted a phony story about demons in an attempt to get rich and famous at our expense."

Warrens And David Glatzel

NetflixThe Warrens with David Glatzel, the young boy who was allegedly possessed by a demon.

In fact, nearly every major case involving the Warrens was later thoroughly debunked.

And that's not to mention Ed Warren's alleged relationship with a woman named Judith Penney. In recent years, Penney has claimed to have lived with the Warrens for a time and had a sexual relationship with Ed — with Lorraine's consent — beginning when she was just 15 years old.

These allegations certainly conflict with the image the Warrens built for themselves as devout Catholics dedicated to thwarting evil forces. Much like the artifacts displayed in the Warren Museum, the Warrens were not quite what they seemed.

After learning about the Warren Museum, see our gallery of 33 of the world's most disturbing museum artifacts. Or, read about Valak, the demon who inspired The Nun.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Maggie Donahue
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Cite This Article
Harvey, Austin. "Inside The Warren Museum, Ed And Lorraine Warren’s Peculiar Collection Of Occult Artifacts.", June 10, 2024, Accessed June 21, 2024.