If you have even a passing interest in the occult, the horror genre, or even popular culture, you know the names Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed was a demonologist and ordained exorcist by the Catholic church. Lorraine was a psychic medium. Together, they worked on countless paranormal investigations and founded the New England Society for Psychic Research.
Their work inspired some of the most popular horror movies of my lifetime. They investigated the Amityville House, Annabelle, the Perron family, and countless others.
Throughout their lives, they faced plenty of backlash. They were called frauds, of course they were. And I’m not here to say that the work they did is real. I’m also not here to say it’s not real. What I can say is this. Some questions are unanswered either way you see things. But I’ve seen too much in my own life to discount that there might be at least a grain of truth.
As I said though, that’s not the point. The point is that we cannot stop talking about them. And I’m here to talk about why.
It would be easy to say it’s the popular films based on their work that have put the Warrens firmly in our pop culture. But that doesn’t answer the base question. Why are these films so popular to start with? Well, for the same reason the Warrens themselves are.
To start with, Ed and Lorraine are attainable heroes. They’re not superpowered. They’re not sharpshooters or assassins trained from childhood to kill. While you could argue that Lorraine is a medium, lots of people consider that a skill you can learn. So while we might have a hard time seeing ourselves in Black Widow or Captain America, we can easily see ourselves in Ed and Lorraine.
And we want to see ourselves there, too. Because the stories they tell are inspiring. The family in Amityville survived a living hell, as did the Perrons. The nurse who owned Annabelle was freed of her. The Warrens went up against the forces of Hell itself, and more often than not, they won.
Finally, The Warrens continue to be popular because they were fighting against fears we all have.
I’m not saying that we all fear having a demonic presence in our home. But we’re all a little afraid of something coming into our home that might hurt us. We’re afraid of a good deal, often. The house that seems too cheap is often cursed with a bad foundation or a leaking roof. The lovely doll we got at a second-hand store is carrying lice or its stitching is falling apart.
To a lesser extent, I think we’re all afraid of mental illness. And demonic possession can be seen as a metaphor for mental illness.
There are those among us who want to do horrible things. They want to poison aspirin, shoot up elementary schools, lure people into dark places and slaughter them. All of this points to a broken, sad mind. And often we don’t get satisfying answers to why these people did what they did.
It’s really hard to see the humanity in the hands of the man holding the gun. And yet often, so often, we hear from friends and family members. They say that these monsters in man’s form were not monsters. Of course, they weren’t. We hear the same thing about most serial killers. They were nice people, good people.
Until they weren’t.
It’s easy to see how someone might suspect a demonic force at play. Maybe, it’s even better that way. Who wants to think a human being could do something like that.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Ed and Lorraine Warren. And I want to hear what you think about them? Do you love them, hate them? Let us know in the comments.
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