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Rafterman

New Monstertalk: The Warren Omission

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From the Amityville Horror, a Haunting in Connecticut, and the Conjuring, Monstertalk takes a critical look at the Warrens and their involvement in some of the biggest paranormal stories from the last 40 years.

Sorry, did I say "involvement in", I meant to say "creation of" some of the biggest paranormal stories in the past 40 years.

Enjoy the podcast and the episode notes.

http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/13/10/16/

WAS THE STORY OF The Conjuring the true story of how Ed and Lorraine Warren fought demonic forces in Rhode Island? In this special episode of MonsterTalk, we hear a different side to the story of America’s first family of ghost hunting. Features interviews with investigators Joe Nickell and Steven Novella.

Dr. Steven Novella is a neurologist and notable skeptical activist, a founder of the New England Skeptics Society, and the host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.

Dr. Joe Nickell is a researcher and scientific paranormal investigator, and author of numerous books and articles related to the field.

Ray Garton is an author of many horror books, including In a Dark Place, the novel based on the allegedly real-life events behind The Haunting in Connecticut. He has distanced himself from that marketing approach, and now says that he had to make up much of the story at the behest of the Warrens.

Marvin Scott is a senior reporter for WPIX, New York. He brought the Warrens to the site of The Amityville Horror and says that nothing noteworthy took place. Ed and Lorraine claim that it was one of the most traumatic events in their lives. (We interviewed Martin Scott but the resulting audio was too poor for inclusion in the episode.)

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I read a book by the Warrens, years ago. I enjoyed it at first, until I realized that every spirit they encountered turned out to be demonic. Then I believed they were sincere but highly biased fanatics.

As time went on, I heard more and more about them, until finally I realized that Ed, at least, was a conscious fraud. Lorraine I've been on the fence about, as to whether she was a sincere kook or just as consciously fraudulent as her husband. Learning either would not surprise me.

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I read a book by the Warrens, years ago. I enjoyed it at first, until I realized that every spirit they encountered turned out to be demonic. Then I believed they were sincere but highly biased fanatics.

As time went on, I heard more and more about them, until finally I realized that Ed, at least, was a conscious fraud. Lorraine I've been on the fence about, as to whether she was a sincere kook or just as consciously fraudulent as her husband. Learning either would not surprise me.

That's touched on in the podcast. Multiple ghost hunting groups spun off from the Warrens over the years and many were left with a very bad taste in their mouths from their dealings with them.

But isn't it odd how they're still held up as the kind and queen of ghost/demon hunting in popular culture?

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I just wrote about the house/family involved in The Conjuring for my blog. Some of the history didn't jive so I wrote the Warrens off. Again.

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so they made up all those stories?

then they are just like Wes Craven..

Clive Baker..

and Stephen King..

monsters and demons... from the imagiantion....

but their movies... got a lot of attention... because they were "based"

on a true story..

funny thing I know and have witnesses some scary ghost...

demonic stuff in my time..

and it makes some of these stories look like childs play...

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But isn't it odd how they're still held up as the kind and queen of ghost/demon hunting in popular culture?

Odd...? No. Distressing, yes. Every time I see them on a paranormal show or find them mentioned seriously in a book, I feel...well, like I imagine Egyptologists feel when Budge gets referenced.

It seems they did/do have a genuine talent....for self-promotion, at least.

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Odd...? No. Distressing, yes. Every time I see them on a paranormal show or find them mentioned seriously in a book, I feel...well, like I imagine Egyptologists feel when Budge gets referenced.

It seems they did/do have a genuine talent....for self-promotion, at least.

Distressing is a better word.

I was most surprised by the discussion on the podcast about how amateurish they were. The folks from New England Skeptics who were meeting with them were actually a bit nervous going in because they assumed the Warrens had "game" and were shocked to discover that they really didn't know what they were doing at all.

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I read a book by the Warrens, years ago. I enjoyed it at first, until I realized that every spirit they encountered turned out to be demonic. Then I believed they were sincere but highly biased fanatics.

As time went on, I heard more and more about them, until finally I realized that Ed, at least, was a conscious fraud. Lorraine I've been on the fence about, as to whether she was a sincere kook or just as consciously fraudulent as her husband. Learning either would not surprise me.

Well they usually only took the most hardcore cases. That might be why they all turned out to be demonic in their opinion.

They didn't take the grandma is living in a teapot in the cupboard cases.

The fact the Catholic Church deemed ed warren the only official non priest exorcist they've ever allowed to work on a case, kind of says a lot.

The Catholic Church is very picky about that kind of stuff.

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Well they usually only took the most hardcore cases. That might be why they all turned out to be demonic in their opinion.

They didn't take the grandma is living in a teapot in the cupboard cases.

The fact the Catholic Church deemed ed warren the only official non priest exorcist they've ever allowed to work on a case, kind of says a lot.

The Catholic Church is very picky about that kind of stuff.

And yet those "hardcore cases" all turned out to be hoaxes - some embellished by the Warrens themselves after then forcibly inserted themselves into the situation.

As for the Catholic Church - to me it's sort of like attempting to prove woo with woo. That's not a werewolf, it's a misidentified Bigfoot. FAIL.

Edited by Rafterman

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And yet those "hardcore cases" all turned out to be hoaxes - some embellished by the Warrens themselves after then forcibly inserted themselves into the situation.

As for the Catholic Church - to me it's sort of like attempting to prove woo with woo. That's not a werewolf, it's a misidentified Bigfoot. FAIL.

You mean juvenile bigfoot, that's what anything too small or the wrong shape to be a bigfoot is, allegedly. ^_^

Edited by bulveye

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Well they usually only took the most hardcore cases. That might be why they all turned out to be demonic in their opinion.

They didn't take the grandma is living in a teapot in the cupboard cases.

I remember that the case that broke my patience while reading the book was one in which a mortuary worker was seen to be surrounded by paranormal phenomena, including his sister(?) seeing him floating in the air while he was napping on the sofa. They questioned him and uncovered the fact that he was, in fact, a **********c who'd been doing naughty things to the bodies in his care.

According to the Warrens, this activity in and of itself was enough to cause a demon to become involved, and sufficient evidence for them to deduce that the paranormal phenomena was, in fact, due to demonic possession/occultation.

Now, ********** is certainly gross and disturbing, and when done with the bodies of those whose loved ones expect them to be treated respectfully, is a violation of trust and quite rightly illegal. But (and I recall re-reading the chapter to be certain, though my memory of the details are fuzzy now) this guy had done nothing else other than that to cause himself to become open to spiritual influences: he hadn't visited any haunted or cursed sites, hadn't worked with a Ouija board, hadn't taken up satanism or tried to invoke dark spirits, hadn't so much as bought or read a copy of one of the "Necronomicons" out there. And yet, the Warrens told him that activity like ********** was so immoral that it was certain to attract a demon and that was why he had paranormal phenomena happening around him.

Perhaps it's because I was raised Catholic that this sent up a red flag for me...it seems to imply that there is no sin more inherently evil than something involving "unnatural" sex, and while that viewpoint is very common in the Catholic way of thinking, a little logic will reveal that there are a lot of acts more evil than having sex with corpses: murder, rape, torture, genocide, etc.

After that, it was hard for me to take them seriously as occultists. I re-read the earlier chapters of the book with a more critical eye, and realized they had found "demons" in cases that seemed far more like normal hauntings or poltergeist activity. I had to conclude that the Warrens were simply predisposed to see paranormal phenomena as demonic, which is an outlook that smacks more of medieval witch hunters than modern occult researchers. How, I asked myself, was this sort of thing any different from evangelical fundamentalists that saw demons lurking everywhere? It really wasn't.

As I mentioned, at first I simply wrote them off as those with a religious ax to grind. It was only later that I heard from those who'd seen evidence that they (or at least Ed) were conscious frauds.

The fact the Catholic Church deemed ed warren the only official non priest exorcist they've ever allowed to work on a case, kind of says a lot.

The Catholic Church is very picky about that kind of stuff.

Given that the Catholic Church is highly reluctant to perform exorcisms and even more reluctant to discuss the few they perform, whereas Ed Warren seemed to perform them at the drop of a hat and crow about it afterwards, I would have to see some pretty convincing documentation indeed to believe that he actually had any official Church sanction.

Where did you hear about this? Who was it that "allowed" Ed to work on a case, and what case was it? Was it simply a local priest who didn't object loudly enough when the Warrens were asked into a case by the family/friends of the possessed? Or did the Warrens simply take advantage of their fame before the Amityville case was shown to be a hoax?

Edited by Avallaine

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