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50 Years of Ghost Hunting and Research With the Warrens

Ed and Lorraine Warren with their dog, Gizmo.
Ed and Lorraine Warren with their dog, Gizmo.

On the afternoon of August 23, 2006, Ed Warren passed away with Lorraine by his side. would like to express our deepest sympathy to Lorraine and all of the many friends and family of the Warrens.

Interview By Jeff Belanger
Photographs by Shannon Hicks

Spirits, hauntings, vampires, werewolves, demons and devils are all part of the Halloween traditionbut for Ed and Lorraine Warren of Monroe, CT it's been their living for almost 50 years. I caught up to the Warrens at their Occult Museum in Monroe recently and talked with Ed Warren about where the Warrens met, their religious and spiritual beliefs and how they became the world-renowned ghostbusters that they are today.

Since 1952 the Warrens have been the directors of the New England Society for Psychic Research and to date they have investigated over 4,000 hauntings. The goal of the N.S.P.R. has been to share information with other groups who are investigating the same type of phenomenon and to help people are plagued by the supernatural.

The Warrens were the psychic investigators for the Amityville house and they also wrote a book called The Haunted based on a Pennsylvania family who came under diabolical possessionthe book was made into a TV movie on Fox and according to Ed Warren the movie takes no dramatic license, it was portrayed very accurately.

A few years ago Cardinal O'Conner of New York had publicly stated that three cases of diabolical possession going on at the time and that exorcism was going to be performed. The news media jumped on it and it was the Warrens who investigated all three cases.

Ed Warren is one of 7 religious demonologists, the other six are all priests and Ed is the only lay demonologist in the country. Ed acquired the title by his work with the church.

How the Warrens Got Started
Ed Warren grew up in a haunted house from the time he was five until he was 12. My father, who was a police officer at the time would say, Ed, there's a logical reason for everything that happens in this house, but he never came up with that logical reason. I'll give you an example:

My family would go to bed and just around two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning, many times I would hear the closet door opening up. I'd look into that closet and see darkness, then I'd start to see a light starting to form and it went into like a ball shape sort of like a basketball and then I'd see a face in that ballthey call that a ghost globuleI didn't know what it was then. It was the face of an old lady, and she was not looking pleasantthe ball came out into my bedroom and I could hear footsteps and heavy breathing, the room became icy cold, that's a psychic coldand I'm saying to myself, There's a logical reason for all of this, but by that time I was out of the bed and right between my mother and father in their bed.

When Ed was 16 years-old he worked as an usher at the Colonial Theatre in Bridegport and it was there that he met Lorraine. Lorraine and her mother used to come every Wednesday night, Ed remembered. So I'd see her coming in and we started talking and became friends. I was 16 at the time and she was 16, one night I walked her home and asked her for a dateand that's how it started.

Ed Warren went into the Navy on his seventeenth birthday and four months later, after his ship sank in the North Atlantic he was home for 30-day survivor's leave. It was during that leave that the two were married.

When Ed returned after the World War II he and Lorraine had a daughter and Ed went to Perry Art school which is a subsidiary of Yale for about two years. I got fed up with that, Ed said. I told Lorraine one day, You know, I can paint better than these instructors. What they're teaching me is a lot of Geometry and a lot of nonsense that I don't need for painting. I said, We'll have some fun.

I bought this car for $15 dollars which I still have in the yard. It's a 1933 Chevy Eagledeluxe. The guy gave me two wheels with it. I had to pay him off on timefive dollars a week. I said to Lorraine, You know, if we go up to the new areas where they're opening up for tourists like Massachusetts, Vermont, New HampshireI'll bet I can take a bunch of my paintings and put them out there when people are walking by and we'll sell some.

And the Warrens did have fun, We were making a fantastic living, selling the paintings for fabulous pricesthree dollars, four dollars. But you've got to remember one thing, hot dogs were a dime, hamburgers were a dime, the theater was a quarter, gas was 18 cents a gallon. So, when you made five dollars on a painting, you were doing pretty good.

It was through painting that the Warrens began their ghost investigation. If Ed heard of any place that claimed to be haunted, whether a haunted house, a haunted location he would drag Lorraine to check it out. Oh Ed, there are no such things as ghosts, Lorraine would tell him. Ed reminded Lorraine of his early days at his haunted house in Bridgeport and Lorraine would go.

But, the way the Warrens got into the haunted houses is especially interesting, We were just kids nobody was just going to let us in, we were curiosity seekerswe were not the directors of the New England Society for Psychic Research.

So, I'd go out in the middle of the road where they could all see me and I'd start to sketch the house and you'd see the curtains going back and forth What's this kid doing? they would be thinking.

I would do a really nice sketch of the house with ghosts coming out of it and everything and give it to Lorraine and she'd go knock on the door and with her Irish personality she'd say, Oh, my husband loves to sketch and paint haunted houses and he made this for you. I made it special for them.

So it was through the paintings that the Warrens got themselves into these haunted houses. And then they would talk with the homeowners one-on-one. Basically, Ed just wanted to see if the same things happened to those families that happened to his family.

A possessed doll from the Warren's Occult Museum.
A possessed doll from the Warren's Occult Museum.

Spirits and the Investigations
Ed Warren:
If you look at a fan and it's standing still, you can see the propellers very easily. But, if that fan starts up you can't see anythingit's invisible. Spirits are on that different vibrational field. They're all around us right now but you can't see them. But if you were like Lorraine, you could see them clairvisually, hear them claiaudioally.

I can't. And it wouldn't pay for me to do that because as an investigator people would think I'm a little odd seeing ghosts flying around when they couldn't see anything. So, I have to see it, I have to feel it, I have to hear it, I have to record it before I accept it.

But, mediums and clairvoyants are very necessary to us because they tell us immediately if something is there. I wouldn't knowI could go into a building for a month and not know if there is something really there. I could interview the people, and maybe through my knowledge I could tell if something is there, but the clairvoyant is the draw. The spirits are drawn to a medium/clairvoyant like a moth is drawn to a flame.

Many times we use three or four clairvoyants in one place. We take them into a house one-at-a-time, they don't know where they're going, what the case is about, etc. And if they all tell me the same thing, that they see a woman spirit in a certain room or a man or a child, then I know that we're on the right track.

I do think scientifically, we do have scientists working with us, and I think theologically and scientifically. There are organizations of atheists, so-called skeptical investigators that say, There is no proof scientifically that God exists, that spirits exist that miracles occur.

That's ridiculous, there's all kinds of proof. In [the Occult Museum] we have hundreds of items, we have thousands of cases between here and the other buildings out there that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the supernatural exists and the pre-to-natural exists. When I say `pre-to-natural' I'm talking about negative and `supernatural' is positive.

We have filmed the white Lady of Easton. We have filmed poltergeists, attacks on people, ghosts and we have taken many pictures of ghosts.

We work with any clergy that their religion teaches love of God and love of your fellow man. We are not stupid enough to think that because we are Catholics that we are the only religion savedthat's what the problem is with Ireland is todayand a lot of other places. We work with all people of all faiths.

We have thousands of pictures of ghosts. And I'm not talking about filmy ectoplasmic type material, I'm talking about spirits that are as clear as you and I. You ask us for evidence, we'll give you that evidence.

We proved in a court of law in 1989 that a woman and her young child driven out of her house by ghosts. She lived in Hebron, Connecticut. We went into Rockville court and we won the case. The Realtor that leased her the house was suing her for $2,000. She begged us to go into the house and to get some evidence that would prove that there really were ghosts.

Now, you don't walk into a court of law and saw, Well judge, there was ghosts there.You have to have evidence. In any court of law they use photographs, recordings and credible witnesses as evidencethat's what we use. We won the case, we set a precedent here in the United States.

Scientists would say, you didn't prove a thing, because you didn't take that ghost and put it in a bottle so we can open him up and examine him. That's stupid. They're saying that scientifically that you have to prove that God exists, that ghosts exist, there is no such thing you can't get scientific in a supernatural world.

So, if we can prove in a court of law that ghosts exist and haunted houses exist I think that's good enough for anyone.

A headstone used as a satanic altar as seen in the Warren's Occult Museum.
A headstone used as a satanic altar as seen in the Occult Museum.

The New England Society For Psychic Research
The New England Society for Psychic was founded in 1952 and the goal at first was to simply investigate hauntings. Then, around 1965 the Warrens went into a home where the spirit of a little girl named Cynthia and they listened to the little child coming through a deep-trance medium and she was looking for her mother. Ed thought to himself, This is horrible, this little child is earth-bound. She's looking for her mother constantly day in and day out. How do I help this child?

It was no longer just experiencing the hauntings, now the Warrens wanted to help. The question arose as to where to get the knowledge to help anybody in spirit? Well, who delves into the supernatural? Priests, clergyman, rabbis. Ed started interviewing dozens and dozens of clergyman of all faiths, and would ask them If somebody called you from your parish and said there was a ghost in the house what would you do?

Some said, I tell them to go see a psychiatrist. Others said, I'd go to the house and I'd bless it. If the blessing didn't work I'd say a mass, and if the mass didn't work I'd perform the right of exorcism. But many Catholic priests interviewed didn't even believe there's a devil. And yet all of this material is part of Catholicism's' teaching. It is in the bible, within every ten words you have a psychic word: apparition, ghost, devil, demon, evilit's all in the bible, everything we talk about.

The N.E.S.P.R. work is based in religion but also uses science. People have said to the Warrens, Oh God, you go into a house and you look for devils. And Ed's response, Your damn right I look for devils, and I look for everything else to. And I have the scientists with me and they're looking for something else and we get together and we talk and straighten the whole thing out. Nobody can bring us into a house and fool us. You couldn't tell us that your house is haunted and get away with it because I'm the biggest skeptic going. I have to see it, I have to hear it and I have to feel it with the pysical sense.

Medical doctors, researchers, police officers, nurses, college student and house wives are all dedicated members who volunteer their services. The N.E.S.P.R. does not charge for their services and only asks for expenses to be covered.

The Skeptics
People have said, Ed Warren hides behind his beliefs of Catholicism, but he claims he uses them, he doesn't hide behind anything. And I know that [Biblical beliefs] are fact because I've seen and I've heard and I've felt all the things that it talks about.

People have called Ed Warren an eccentric because he believes in devils and demons, Of course I do, he replies. I learned about them as a child and proved they exist as a manbeyond a shadow of a doubt. If you don't want to call them devils and demons call them evilI don't care what you call them. Religions are man-made, but spirituality isn't.

From the day's that I went into a haunted house I always wanted media people with me and people condemned me for that. They said, Ed Warren wants to be written up in newspapers, he wants to have books and movies. He wants to be exposed to the public. You're damn right I do. My whole thought is expose the devil and expose evil. A skeptical public is the best protection that evil has, and I'm going to make sure that I expose that evil anyway I can. People tell us that we get a lot of money for what we are doing here, our money comes very hard through these books and lectures. We don't get any easy money and the money we get we deserve and we don't charge for our services. But if you want us to come to Arizona, we are going to ask you for expenses.

The Occult Museum
The Occult museum is a collection of artifacts, books, pictures, masks, idols located at the Warrens home in Monroe. Tours are available for $12.50 each and by appointment. The tour takes about two hours.

Ed Warren: In the Occult museum, there are things that are so dangerous that just in touching them you could be very badly affected. They are the opposite of what you would touch in a church, a holy relic, a cross a statue, the statue, the crosses and relics have been blessed. When a priests blesses a relic or a statue, what he does is to project the vibrations of holiness into the molecular structure of that item.

Things in the museum were used in black witchcraft, magic, sorcery, cursesjust the opposite was done. There are many Halloween-type masksdon't let that fool you. This is a smoke screen that sorcerers, Satanist, black witches projectthat they're fools. They're not fools at all.

Local Hauntings
The White Lady of Easton has been seen by dozens of people for more than 50 years. Ed Warren has the White Lady on film, she is often seen around the Union cemetery by Route 59 in Easton.

Ed parked his van in Union cemetery and waited with his video recorder. The white lady did materialize and in fact within the last month some local police officers have also caught the White Lady on film.

Ed first recorded the White Lady on September 1, 1990 at 2:40 a.m. The only light was a street light which was 50 yards from where I was sitting, Ed recalled. I heard a woman weeping and I looked out and saw hundreds of ghost lights floating around and forming into a figure of a woman. I couldn't make out facial features but I could see she had long, dark hair and she was dressed in white.

I started to walk towards her and she disappeared. You never walk towards the ghost, you let the ghost come to you because you can change the molecular and magnetic field when a ghost is materializing.

The Warrens receive anywhere from six to 12 phone calls a day from around the country and around the world from people looking for help. They regularly give lectures locally and they have published several books on their research and different cases. To find out more about the New England Society for Psychic Research write to P.O. box 748, Farmington, CT 06034 or visit To contact the Warrens write to P.O. Box 41 Monroe, CT 06468.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014