The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Learning from Annabelle: The Stupidity of Demon “Experts”

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In Monroe, Connecticut, a man with serious issues has got himself a little museum that is dedicated to the occult. If it’s demonic, he’s got it. This fellow looks around for physical objects associated with demonic horror stories, then he adds them to his collection. When his museum was one of the starring features in a television show, he proudly claimed that his little house of horrors was perhaps the most haunted place on earth.  Is that supposed to be a good thing?

Inside of this little museum there is a large Raggedy Ann doll named Annabelle. The museum’s proprietor keeps the doll locked up in a glass case that has a large sign warning visitors not to open the case. On the museum’s website, the proprietor posts the story behind Annabelle, and it’s a story that is filled with important lessons for us today. So let’s see what we can learn from this story of how two non-Christian girls handled the challenges of demonic harassment.

In 1970 a mother purchased an antique Raggedy Ann Doll from a hobby store. The doll was a present for her daughter Donna on her birthday. Donna, at the time, was a student in college, preparing to graduate with her nursing degree and resided in a tiny apartment with her roommate Angie (a nurse as well). Pleased with the doll Donna placed it on her bed as a decoration and didn’t give it a second thought until a few days later. Within that time both Donna and Angie noticed that there appeared to be something very strange and creepy about the doll. The doll apparently moved on its own, relatively unnoticeable movements at first, like a change in position, but as time passed the movement became more noticeable. Donna and Angie would come home to find the doll in a completely different room from which they had left it. Sometimes the doll would be found crossed legged on the couch with its arms folded, other times it was found upright, standing on its feet, leaning against a chair in the dining room. Several times Donna, placing the doll on the couch before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed.

It’s a very simple thing for demons to manipulate matter in our physical world—this is the first lesson that we want to learn. And when something physically impossible happens, it takes us a while to believe it is real. At first the girls in this story think someone is pranking them—perhaps their friend Lou. So they set up their own subtle burglar alarms—doing things like putting a bit of tape on the window that would break if anyone came through it in their absence. But their traps don’t work—there is no sign of anyone pranking them. Meanwhile, the doll continued to be creepy.

Annabelle the doll not only moved but could write too. About a month into their experiences Donna and Angie began to find penciled messages on parchment paper that read “Help Us” and “Help Lou.” The handwriting looked to belong to that of a small child. The creepy part about the messages was not the wording but the way they were written. At the time Donna had never kept parchment paper, on which the notes were written, in the house, so where did it come from?

Demons can not only manipulate matter, they can cause things to materialize as well. Causing bits of strange paper to appear was a perfect way to creep these girls out. By now we’re wondering why these girls haven’t gotten rid of the doll. It’s been a month. Is anyone still having fun?

One night Donna came home to find the doll had moved again, this time it was on her bed. Donna had come to find that this was typical of the doll but somehow she knew this time it was different, something wasn’t right. A sense of fear came over her when she inspected the doll and saw what looked like blood drops on the back of its hands and its chest. Seemingly, from nowhere, a red liquid substance had appeared on the doll. Scared and desperate Donna and Angie decide it was time to seek expert advice.

First we have desperate notes, now we have faux blood. These are strong symbols of fear for humans, which is why this demon is choosing them. Notice how the girls now decide to seek expert advice. What would you do in their place? Hopefully you wouldn’t choose the kind of expert they chose.

Not knowing where to turn they contacted a medium and a seance was held. Donna was then introduced to the spirit of Annabelle Higgins. The medium related the story of Annabelle to both Donna and Angie. Annabelle was a young girl that resided on the property before the apartments were built, they were “happy times”. She was a young girl of only seven years old when her lifeless body was found in the field upon which the apartment complex now stands.

The spirit related to the medium that she felt comfort with Donna and Angie and wanted to stay with them and be loved. Feeling compassion for Annabelle and her story, Donna gave her permission to inhabit the doll and stay with them.

Here we see a major blunder being made. You don’t call in a demon worshiper to help you with your demon problems. Mediums are humans who intentionally seek out relationships with supernatural beings other than God. Many believe they are channeling the spirits of dead people, when in reality they are channeling demons (see Seances, Mediums & Ghosts). This situation is unfolding exactly how the resident demon wants it to. The medium is like putty in his hands—he can get her to believe and relay any sob story that he comes up with.

Notice how the demon now switches tactics. First he was luring the girls in by their curiosity, now he plays on their nurturing instincts. What’s more tragic then some story of a little girl murdered in a field? Notice the classic ghost story elements: a shocking death, an innocent victim, and a common locale. Demons love to set up shop where there is a historical account of people being cruel to each other. If there is no such account, they just make something up. At this point, the demon has the girls eating out of his hand. He’s coaxing them closer to him by trying to make them feel special and chosen by the dead Annabelle. They are the ones Annabelle feels safe with—gee, what a compliment.

Lou was friends with Donna and Angie and had been with them since the day the doll arrived. Lou had never been fond of the doll and on several occasions warned Donna that it was evil and to get rid it of it. But Donna had a compassionate tie to the doll and, not giving much credence to Lou’s feelings, she kept it. Donna’s decision, it turns out, was a terrible mistake.

Lou has good instincts. Donna, not so much. A while later, the scoffing Lou has an extremely disturbing dream.

It was as though Lou was awake but couldn’t move. He looked around the room but couldn’t discern anything out of the ordinary and then it happened. Looking down toward his feet, he saw the doll, Annabelle. It began to slowly glide up his leg, moved over his chest and then stopped. Within seconds the doll was strangling him! Paralyzed and gasping for breath Lou, at the point of asphyxiation, blacked out. When he awoke the next morning, certain it hadn’t been a dream, Lou was determined to rid himself of that doll and the spirit that possessed it.

Notice how everyone is assuming the doll is possessed. Well, no, the doll is just a handy prop for a free floating demon. The waking nightmare Lou has is a good demonstration of how easy it is for demons to plant terrifying images into our minds, as well as manipulate our flesh. The demon undoubtedly wanted to kill Lou for two reasons: he wasn’t playing along with the Annabelle game, and he was a great candidate for Hell. Demons want us to die, plain and simple. Choking the life out of Lou before he’d had a chance to submit to God would have been a real score—but the Holy Spirit intervened. He’s decided that Lou will still have more time.

The next day, Lou and Angie are alone in the apartment when they hear the sound of rustling from Donna’s room. Was someone breaking into the apartment? Lou goes to check it out. No one’s there but the doll, which is now sitting in the corner.

Lou scoured the room for signs of forced entry, but nothing was out of place. But as he got close to the doll, he got the distinct impression that somebody was behind him. Spinning around he was quick to realize that nobody else was there. Then in flash he found himself grabbing for his chest, doubled over, cut and bleeding. His shirt was stained with blood and when he opened his shirt, there on his chest was what looked to be 7 distinct claw marks: three vertically and four horizontally.  All of the cuts felt hot like burns. The scratches healed almost immediately.  They were half gone the next day, and fully gone by day two.

The creepy crawly sensation of another presence in the room—that’s a favorite ploy of demons. They manufacture the nervous sensation in your body, then they whisper an explanation into your brain which you automatically accept because it makes logical sense.

Now once again this demon gets permission to physically harm Lou, but notice how the injuries quickly fade out—not quite what he was hoping for. Demonic healings have a reputation of being very short lived as well. Demons have real power, but their power is extremely limited and its application is always being controlled by God.

Donna finally was willing to believe the spirit in the house was not that of a young girl but inhuman and demonic in nature. After Lou’s experiences Donna felt it was time to seek real expert advice and contacted an Episcopal priest named Father Hegan. Father Hegan felt it was a spiritual matter and felt he needed to contact a higher authority in the church, so he contacted Father Cooke who immediately contacted the Warrens.

Calling on a priest sounds like a good move. This priest clearly feels in over his head so he calls on a higher ranking priest. Okay, fine. But then the higher ranking priest calls on the nutty couple who maintain the museum of occult trophies…what in the world? We’re back to calling on the servants of Satan to help with getting rid of Satan. What is wrong with these priests? It’s like they don’t know who God even is.

Ed and Lorraine Warren immediately took interest in the case and contacted Donna concerning the doll.

Well of course they did—it will make a juicy new prop for their museum.

The Warrens, after speaking with Donna, Angie, and Lou came to the immediate conclusion that the doll itself was not in fact possessed but manipulated by an inhuman presence. Spirits do not possess inanimate objects like houses or toys, they possess people. An inhuman spirit can attach itself to a place or object and this is what occurred in the Annabelle case. This spirit manipulated the doll and created the illusion of it being alive in order to get recognition. Truly, the spirit was not looking to stay attached to the doll, it was looking to possess a human host.

At least these people show some signs of intelligence, although this bit about demons attaching themselves to things is taking it too far. Demons don’t have to attach themselves to things, they can just keep manipulating the same object and we’ll decide they’re permanently stuck to it because we are foolish.

The spirit or in this case an inhuman demonic spirit, was essentially in the infestation stage of the phenomenon. It first began moving the doll around the apartment by means of teleportation to arouse the occupants’ curiosity in hopes that they would give it recognition. Then, predictably, the mistake of bringing a medium into the apartment to communicate with it. The inhuman spirit now able to communicate through the medium, preyed on the girls’ emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a rather harmless, lost young girl which during the séance, was allowed permission from Donna to haunt the apartment. Insofar as demonic is a negative spirit, it then set about causing patently negative phenomena to occur; it aroused fear through the weird movements of that doll, it brought about the materialization of disturbing handwritten notes, the symbolic drops of blood on the doll, and ultimately it even attacked Lou leaving behind the symbolic mark of the beast.

So this is an “expert’s” analysis? It’s interesting how they think bringing in the medium was a mistake (which it was), but they fail to think their occult museum is a mistake. So…it’s okay to exalt demons, build shrines to them and encourage others to interact with them, but it’s foolish to contact a medium? Hm…

Notice how the Warren’s analysis of this situation implies that not all spirits are negative and demonic.  They seem to feel there are other “good” spirits drifting about who might have had better house manners.  That’s a bunch of rubbish, as is the reference to Lou’s scratches being a mark of the beast.

The next stage of the infestation phenomenon would have been complete human possession. Had these experiences lasted another 2 or 3 weeks, the spirit would have completely possessed, if not harmed or killed, one or all of the occupants in the house.

The Warrens seem to feel it’s fine for them to take the doll on to their museum because…why? They’re immune to being possessed? What the Warrens fail to see is that they are doing Satan a great service running their little house of horrors. Why would demons want to possess such loyal servants? That might just upset them and cause them to shut down their museum. No, it’s far better to keep this couple deluded into thinking they are some kind of spirit-pacifying experts.

At the conclusion of the investigation the Warrens felt it appropriate to have a recitation of an exorcism blessing by Father Cooke to cleanse the apartment. “The Episcopal blessing of the home is a wordy, seven page document that is distinctly positive in nature. Rather than specifically expelling evil entities from the dwelling, the emphasis is instead directed toward filling the home with the power of the positive and of God.” (Ed Warren).

And here we go with the magic tricks. Read some long chapter out of a book that will make God fill the room. Really?? And this is expert advice? Yet how many Christians today resort to charms and trinkets to protect themselves from the powers of darkness instead of relying on God Himself?  Notice how the Warrens associate God with all things positive, and demons with all things negative, when the truth is that God is the Creator of both good and evil.  And notice how no one is bothering to seek God’s advice in this matter, they’re just whipping out an Episcopal spell book which Father Cooke can use to tell God what to do.

At Donna’s request, and as a further precaution against the phenomena ever occurring in the home again, the Warrens took the big rag doll along with them when they left.

Right. And because the demon is superglued to the doll, obviously it has no choice but to leave with the Warrens. Are you seeing the idiocy on display here? First we get a priest to cast a good spell over the apartment by pumping God’s holy Aura into the place. Then the Warrens drag the demon away by its physical leash, which in this case is some oversized doll.

Father Cooke, although uncomfortable with his role as an exorcist, agreed to perform the seven page rite of exorcism.  He recited the doctrine throughout the apartment, at which point the Warrens were confident the entity would no longer reside there.

Father Cooke is smart to be uncomfortable because he is obviously not receiving any authorization from God to start chanting from his useless book. God doesn’t tell us to boss Him around with our stupid man-invented rituals. And assurance from the spiritually blind Warrens that all is safe again is beyond worthless.  This whole routine is nothing more than humans acting like sorcerers who are engaging in spell wars.  Notice how confident the Warrens are that humans can control where demons can go just by chanting magic words.  As for God, He’s just Someone we suck positive auras out of now and then.

The Warrens agreed to take the rag doll back home with them. Upon leaving, Ed placed the doll in the back seat and agreed he would not take the interstate in the event the inhuman spirit still resided with the doll.

Well, smart Ed. Because demons can only kill people when they drive on interstates.

Ed’s suspicions were all too correct.  In no time, the Warrens felt themselves as the object of a vicious hatred. Then, at each dangerous curve, the car swerved and stalled with every corner, causing the power steering and brakes to fail. Repeatedly the car verged on collision. Ed reached into the back seat into his black bag and took out a vial of holy water and doused the doll making the sign of the cross over it. The disturbances stopped immediately and the Warren’s arrived safely home.

Ah yes, the holy water. Now here’s a real crock. A guy who makes a career out of exalting demons thinks he actually has God’s essence trapped in a vial of water. Can we get any stupider? Oh, but as soon as the holy water came out, the disturbances stopped, so obviously that water was potent stuff, right? Wrong. Demons are just encouraging Ed to keep putting his faith in powerless material objects. As long as Ed thinks he can hold the supernatural at bay with a little water, he’ll never be motivated to submit to God.

This is a very important principle to understand: demons love giving us the illusion that we actually have power over them. They encourage us to think we can control them, bind them, and drive them off with physical objects. It’s all so ludicrous, but as long as we’re busy with the toys, we’ll never get around to the serious work of submitting to our Creators.

Though the demons put on a dramatic display on the ride home, they don’t really want to kill Ed.  He’s much too useful to them.  He’s a five star publicity agent.  No, the jerking around of the car was just adding more drama to the story Ed would tell later on.  Plus, creating a crisis gave Ed a reason to break out the holy water that he keeps handy, and thus reconfirm his delusional belief that demons are intimidated by drops of liquid.

After the Warrens arrived home, Ed sat the doll in a chair next to his desk. The doll levitated a number of times in the beginning, then it seemed to fall inert. During the ensuing weeks, however, it began showing up in various rooms of the house. When the Warrens were away and had the doll locked up in the outer office building, they would often return to find it sitting comfortably upstairs in Ed’s easy chair when they opened the main front door. The doll also showed a hatred for clergymen who came to the house.

We have to wonder why clergymen are visiting this house in the first place. Don’t be fooled by the dramatic reactions demons fly into around Christians—this is often just more games. Demons want us to think we can intimidate them with our great faith. They certainly wouldn’t have found the two bumbling priests in this story to be much of a threat. Any priest who calls up the demon loving couple down the road for advice…wow…

In one instance Father Jason Bradford, a Catholic exorcist, came to the house. Upon seeing the doll seated in the chair he picked it up and said ” Your just a rag doll Annabelle, you can’t hurt anyone.” The he tossed the doll back on the chair, at which point Ed exclaimed, “That’s one thing you better not say!” Upon leaving an hour later, Lorraine Warren pleaded to the priest to please be careful driving and to call her when he arrived home. Lorraine discerned tragedy for this young priest but he had to go his way. A few hours later, Father Jason called Lorraine and explained that his brakes had failed as he entered a busy intersection. He was a involved in a near fatal accident destroying his vehicle. This was just one of many such events that occurred over the next few years.

The message we’re supposed to be getting here is clear: mess with the demon’s doll, pay the consequences. Notice who is being exalted in this tale: demons, not God. In fact, the not-so-subtle hint is that demons can trump God whenever they want.

Notice how Lorraine “discerned” tragedy for the priest. What’s really happening is the demon is telling Lorraine what he wishes he could do to the priest—but demons can’t see into the future, so it’s all just wishful thinking until God signs off on some actual damage.

Notice how useful Ed and Lorraine are being to the demons. While posing as “experts” in their field, they’re really just being used to advertise and promote the demonic world.

The Warrens had a special case built for Annabelle inside the Occult Museum, where she resides to this day.

Here is the big score for the demon: he now has his iconic doll enshrined in a case and everyone who visits the museum can ooh and aah over the powers of darkness.  Way to go, Ed.

Since the case was built, Annabelle no longer appeared to move but she is thought to be responsible for the death of a young man who came to the museum on motorcycle with his girlfriend. The young man, after hearing Ed’s account of the doll, defiantly went up and began to bang on the case insisting that if the doll can put scratches on people then he wanted to also be scratched. Ed said to the young man, “Son you need to leave,” and put him out of the building.

Notice how the Warrens are swift to come to the defense of their gods. Mock the demons, and you’re asked to leave. Of course the young man and his girlfriend crash their motorcycle into a tree on their way home. The man dies, the girl is in a hospital over a year. Thanks to the influence of the Warrens, the girl probably believes mocking the doll was what killed her boyfriend. Another score for demons.

Ed warns you to not challenge evil, for no man is more powerful than Satan.

Men might not be more powerful than Satan, but Satan is like a fleck of lint compared to God. Why isn’t God mentioned anywhere in this account? Why are the Warrens choosing to maintain a shrine to such limited power when they could be glorifying Almighty Power? The unfortunate answer is that far too often, humans find demons far more intriguing than God. We’d rather toy with them, visit shrines to them, and read creepy stories about their deeds on the internet than spend our time focusing on the real Lords of this universe: Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

A new horror movie was released in 2014 about a seriously ugly possessed doll who wreaks havoc in the lives of her owners. Guess what her name was? Annabelle. Coincidence? Not hardly. Thanks to folks like the Warrens, demons are getting worldwide coverage over the stunts they’ve pulled and the toys they’ve used. As the stories are circulated around the internet, the same idiotic rules are being rehearsed over and over again. As a discerning Christian, you need to be very cautious when you come across accounts like the one we’ve reviewed in this post. You need to be on guard against the extremely misguided beliefs it is trying to get you to accept, such as the following:

  • There is supernatural power in props like holy water and religious texts.
  • God can be controlled by the actions of humans.
  • The best way to pacify demons is to exalt them in public.
  • Anyone who has a history of dealing with demons can be trusted to give you sound spiritual advice.

REAL LIFE

Okay, so what if you start coming down with a case of the demonic heebie-jeebies? What if stuff starts moving around in your house or you find yourself dealing with some creepy presence? What do you do? Call in the experts? Goodness, no. Turning to foolish mortals in your time of crisis isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to cut out the middlemen and go directly to God. Pray and ask Him for guidance. Also Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you through the experience. Remember that the Gods who created demons are in absolute control of all demonic activities. You never have to call God to come onto the scene—He is already there. If you want real help, you need to stop with all the toys and games and magic rituals and get serious about pleasing your Creators in your own life.

There’s nothing a priest can do for you that you can’t do for yourself. God wants total submission from you. He wants reverence, dependency and trust. He can and will use demons to drive you towards deeper levels of these things. Pleasing God is the goal you need to focus on when you start having demon problems—not figuring out which rain dance or brand of holy water will make your creepy companions disappear.

Life is not a Harry Potter movie in which human beings can flaunt their mastery over the supernatural realms. Humans don’t have mastery over anything. We’re all just sitting ducks. The only reason we’re not all dead by now is that God is protecting both the saved and the unsaved 24/7. Do we thank Him for His tireless defense of us? Do we honor Him? No, we insult Him by trying to boss Him around with stupid prayers and then blatantly denying the fact that He is already with us by asking Him to come to our aid. We chase after spiritual morons and their foul movies which glorify demons and make a mockery out of God’s power. How many Christians are in attendance whenever some juicy new demon-centered horror movie comes out? How many Christians are playing Ouija and attending séances? How many Christians are calling themselves “mighty intercessors” and “prayer warriors” and boasting about their ability to bind things in the supernatural realm? How many Christians are barging into situations where they are uninvited and unauthorized to be? How many Christians boast about their “gift of discernment” and make money off of charging other Christians to “discern” what demonic curse has a grip on their household? Far too many of our practices in the Church today are just rip offs of sorcery and witchcraft. While we shun the occult as evil, we zealously promote our own version of it by promoting things like generational curses, demonic strongholds, and Holy Spirit slayings. It’s rubbish, all of it, and God is not amused with our constant mockery of His power. If you really want help with demons, you need to submit to the Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as the Supreme Authorities that They are. But if you’re just playing games and trying to use the reality of supernatural beings to make a name for yourself in Christendom, then you deserve whatever form of discipline that God dishes up. Ed Warren was right when he warned us that no man is more powerful than Satan. But clearly a stronger, more personal dose of Satan is what Ed and many Christians will need before they’ll stop obsessing over God’s demons.

FURTHER READING:
Spiritual Warfare in the Church: Delusions vs. Truth
The Irresistible Lure of Supernatural Power
Ouija Works! (But is that a good thing?)
Witches & Warlocks vs. the Holy Spirit
Demons in the End Times: Understanding Possession & Exorcism
Is getting drunk in the Spirit worth an eternal hangover?
Exorcism Q&A

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