Blockbuster Horror Franchise Heroes Are Complete Frauds

By Robert Scucci | Updated

the conjuring franchise

The Conjuring franchise, centering on the life and times of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, is the highest-grossing horror franchise of all time as of this writing. But if you dig beneath the franchise’s cinematic surface, the most sinister thing about it isn’t the haunted dolls or demonic possessions, but rather how grossly exaggerated the real-life events depicted in the films were before Hollywood ever got involved. Not only did the James Wan-created cinematic universe take a number of creative liberties, which is par for the course when it comes to big-budget blockbusters, Ed and Lorraine Warren’s involvement in many of the cases depicted in the films were significantly embellished for dramatic effect.

Ed And Lorraine Warren And The Conjuring Franchise

the conjuring franchise ed and Lorraine Warren Patrick Wilson Vera Farmiga

As a Connecticut native who heard countless stories about Ed and Lorraine Warren throughout my life, I was absolutely thrilled when The Conjuring came out in 2013. The Warrens were, and still are, a big deal, and I have to give them credit for devoting their lives to investigating and attempting to explain various hauntings across New England (and the world).

In fact, one of the first things that my friends and I did when we got our drivers licenses was take a trip to Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut because it was only 20 minutes away from where we lived and we wanted to see the “White Lady,” who the real Ed Warren famously claimed to have captured on film.

Creative Liberties Were Taken

The conjuring franchise

The Conjuring franchise, which sees Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga portraying Ed and Lorraine Warren, is a fantastic collection of fictional stories that has rightfully earned $2.1 billion at the global box office. However, if you look into the real-life events that inspired the films, the stories don’t hold up under scrutiny.

The most egregious example of exaggeration in the franchise can be found in The Conjuring 2, which centers on what’s now known as the Enfield poltergeist. While parapsychologists like Guy Lyon Playfair have reason to believe that the Enfield poltergeist case was a legitimate haunting, he has also gone on record stating that the children involved in the case were having fun by pulling pranks on the investigators who came and went.

As for the Warren’s involvement in the case, Brian Andrew Dunning, a famed skeptic, alleges that their visit was brief and that Ed Warren was mostly concerned with “writing books and selling movie rights.”

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville horror

This claim is further corroborated by Joe Nickell of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). Nickell confidently stated that Ed and Lorraine Warren were known to greatly embellish stories to generate publicity and capitalize on these supposed demonic possession cases that were depicted in the Conjuring franchise.

Looking back to the Amityville hauntings that occurred in 1975, which inspired The Amityville Horror novel and subsequent film series, similar suspicion is raised. The most telling piece of evidence in regard to the Amityville hauntings comes from Ronald DeFeo Jr.’s defense attorney, William Weber, who alleges that the horror story that inspired the novel was conceived while drinking “many bottles of wine” with author Jay Anson and other “eyewitnesses” who were occupying the house.

The Real-Life Annabelle


If you’re a Connecticut native like me, you may have actually seen the Annabelle doll that Ed and Lorraine Warren had locked up in their Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, which was open to the public until Lorraine Warren passed away in 2019.

While the casing that houses the real-life Annabelle doll does have the “positively do not open” warning that’s seen in Annabelle, you may be shocked and disappointed to learn that the doll is nothing more than an oversized Raggedy Ann doll, and not the porcelain monstrosity found within the Conjuring Franchise. While I don’t necessarily have the authority to assert whether the real doll is in fact possessed by an evil spirit, it’s safe to say that the actual artifact isn’t all that frightening when you see it in person.

Credit Where It’s Due

Lorraine Warren Vera Farmiga the Conjuring franchise

As a horror fan, and somebody who’s familiar with Ed and Lorraine Warren, I still love the Conjuring franchise as a work of fiction. What’s more, I have a lot of respect for the Warrens for devoting their lives to trying to make sense of the afterlife in the capacity that they did.

But behind the supposed possessions and Lorraine Warren’s claims of clairvoyance, there was a burning desire to capitalize on these claims that undermines their work in ways that I wish I didn’t know about.