Real life paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren has seen several cases adapted for film. In 2013, her cases became the blueprint for the successful Conjuring franchise. While Vera Farmiga does a fantastic job portraying Warren, her real life was anything but a Hollywood film.
Getting Into The Business
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut as Lorraine Rita Moran, Warren found the love of her life Ed at 16. During Ed’s time serving during World War II, the two got married in 1945. While serving, Ed was busy studying to become a demonologist. Fortunately, Warren discovered that she had psychic powers of her own. In 1952, the married couple created the New England Society for Psychic Research. Over the years, the two investigated 10,000 cases of paranormal activity.
One of their most famous cases involved the Amityville haunting in 1976. This found them investigating the Lutz’s home, which was possessed by a demonic force. The case quickly became a widespread story, and Hollywood wanted a piece of it. As of 2018, there have been 23 films based on this story. While many would be thrilled to discuss this historic case, Warren was the complete opposite. “It was absolutely horrible. It followed us right straight across the country. I don’t even like to talk about it. I will never go in the Amityville house ever again. You don’t know how long my career is; that’s the only one,” she told Yahoo in 2013.
Gaining The Big Screen Love
When it came to working on The Conjuring, Farmiga spent plenty of time with Warren. “I just wanted to absorb her essence. I wanted to see the details, she has such mad style. I just wanted to see — the way she communicates with her hands, these gestures, her smile, how she moves through space. To me representing clairvoyance, how was I going to achieve that, how I was going to capture that? For me, it all became about her gaze and the way she takes you in,” Farmiga told Collider.
Something that separated Warren from her onscreen version was the fashion. Warren was known for having a keen fashion sense while on the case. “I remember wanting so badly to do some of her signature, her tartan skirts, her velvet suit jackets, her lace blouses with these mad, wonderful up-dos. I remember her seeming sort of resistant, and saying “Oh, we really don’t want [the audience to be] swayed by her eccentricity.” But that’s who she is,” Farmiga told Screen Rant.
Was It Actually Real?
As expected, many people have been skeptical of her hunts. One person that’s been critical of their career is Yale University professor Steven Novella. The fellow Connecticut native is a huge advocate of scientific skepticism. In a 1997 interview with Connecticut Post, he sneered at stories such as the Amityville haunting. “They have… a ton of fish stories about evidence that got away… They’re not doing good scientific investigation; they have a predetermined conclusion which they adhere to, literally and religiously,” he said.
On April 18, 2019, Warren died at her home at the age of 92. Farmiga paid tribute to someone that was an icon in their field. “She lived her life in grace and cheerfulness. She wore a helmet of salvation, she dawned her sword of compassion and took a shield of faith. Righteousness was her breastplate, and she has touched my life so. Love you, Lorraine. You’re waltzing with Ed now,” the actress said on Twitter. The Conjuring director James Wan knew she wasn’t truly gone. “For someone who spent her whole life dealing with the afterlife, she gave me the impression she was never fazed by death. Maybe it’s knowing that there’s something more after our time is over on this earth,” he said.
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