A supernatural, incorporeal, rational being or personality, usually regarded as imperceptible at ordinary times to the human sense, but capable of becoming visible at pleasure, and frequently conceived as troublesome, terrifying, or hostile to mankind.
The Oxford English Dictionary
Ed Warren Interview Part 1 Interview with the Demonologist: Ed Warren
Q: Ed, you’ve been in the business of ghost hunting for a very long time. Can you tell me how you first became interested in ghosts?
A: Well Tony, I used to live in a haunted house, as you are well aware, as a young boy growing up in Bridgeport, CT., from age 5 until I was about 12 or 13 years old. There would be all kinds of strange noises in the house, pounding sounds, rapping’s, footsteps. I’d see a face of an old lady staring out at me from my bedroom closet.
Q: Did anyone else experience these things?
A: My sister and I mostly. My sister Babe, (real name Babette) and I used to experience some really strange phenomena. I remember one evening, my Grandmother was very ill, she was dying in fact. My mother had gone to the hospital to be with her. My father was working the night shift. He was a Connecticut State Police Officer at the time. My older brother Frank was off somewhere, he was always off somewhere. Remember it wasn’t like today where kids aren’t left alone until they are teens.
When I was 5 or 6 years old my father once said to me, “You’re a man, take care of yourself!” Imagine that, at 6 years old he was letting me go out and roam the streets on my own. Now I lived in a pretty tough neighborhood in Bridgeport. I remember seeing these guys all dressed up in suits and wearing Fedoras. They’d step out of these big black cars, shoes all shined up ya know. They were mobsters, but I didn’t know that at the time.
Anyway back to what happened to us one night. We were all alone in the house. (Ed & his sister). Suddenly we began to hear footsteps downstairs, then, the sound of a cane hitting the stairs. Now our Grandfather used to make those exact sounds when he was alive. My sister and I were huddled together in one bed, holding each other tight. Then the footsteps and the sound of the cane entered our bedroom and began circling the bed! My sister was screaming her lungs out! I was helping her! I remember I had this thought, if I yelled that my mother was coming, then I would scare away anything that might be there.
So I was yelling and crying out that my mother would get whoever it was. Suddenly the door opened up and it was my mother! She came in and sat down with us and comforted us, telling us everything would be all right. That we were having a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream. Because my mother had not even come home that night! She had stayed at the hospital where my grandmother had passed away that very night. So what was it then that came in the guise of my mother? It was a guardian angel, a spirit guide sent to comfort my sister and me.
Q: How do you know, Ed, that it wasn’t just a bad dream?
A: It was too real. I was wide-awake. And besides, my sister experienced the exact same thing. I don’t think we were both having the same bad dream.
Q: Did you ever tell your mother and father about it?
A: Oh yes. But my father was a pretty stern man, but also a fair man. He never smoked or drank. He went to church every morning. He was a prizefighter too. Anyway my father said to me, ” Ed, there’s a logical reason for everything that happens in this house!” But he never came up with any logical reason. That’s what piqued my interest in the supernatural so much. I wanted to KNOW WHY these things were happening.
Q: So how did you actually start investigating haunted houses and ghosts?
A: Well after I got out of the Navy during World War II, I went to art school for awhile. I used to paint nautical scenes, country scenes, and my favorite, haunted houses. I used to take Lorraine, my 33 Chevy sedan, and go searching out haunted houses that I’d heard about. I had a pretty neat plan too. If I heard or read about a haunted house, I’d go there, make a quick pencil sketch of the house, then have Lorraine go up to the house. She’s really good at pouring on the charm ya know, with her Irish ways and all. Anyway, she’d go up to the house, and show the sketch to the people living there, saying that her husband really would like them to have the sketch. It worked like a charm; nine out of ten times the people would invite us in. So I’d get to be inside a real haunted house and speak to the people about any phenomena occurring there.
Q: Ed, I’d like to ask you, how DO you know if a house is haunted? Aren’t there a lot of crackpots out there who claim to have haunted houses who call you up?
A: Absolutely. I’d estimate that for every 10 calls we get from people, about seven of them will be from someone who is either mentally unstable or who have overactive imaginations or maybe they just got through watching the “Exorcist” and think they are possessed by demons. True possession by the way is extremely rare. As for knowing if a house is haunted, we look for outward manifestations, things like levitation’s, cold spots, foul odors that come and go quickly, spontaneous fires, poundings, rapping’s, movement of objects.
Q: Well how do you sift out the real ones? I mean how can you tell if these people are really experiencing anything supernatural?
A: In the phone interview I can tell within 10 minutes if I’m dealing with a real haunting or just some crackpot as you say. I know what questions to ask. If they answer them incorrectly I know I’ve got a nut or at the very least someone who is imagining these things.
Q: Can you give me an example of what you mean?
A: Sure. Let’s say I get a call from someone they say they woke up one night and saw a big green creature with blood red eyes, foaming at the mouth, big dinosaur teeth hovering over their bed. I might ask, “Oh yeah, well what did you do then?” They might say, “Oh, well I rolled over and went back to sleep”. Then I know I’m dealing with a crackpot. How many people do you know who would roll over and go back to sleep after seeing something like that? Nobody right? Would you?
Q: Of course not. I’d be up all night. I understand what you mean. You can tell by the responses they give to your specific questions.
A: Yep. You got it. It’s like a good fisherman. He can always tell when he’s got a real one on the line, or if it’s just a piece of “debris “.
Q: What do you think your biggest problem is when investigating a purported haunting?
A: Getting help for the people who really need it. It’s so hard to help some of these people.
Q: Why is that Ed?
A: Well remember one thing. The devil likes to confuse. The devil can play tricks on the investigative team as well as the family. The devil likes nothing better than to pit us against one another. Divide and conquer is the devil’s best ploy.
Q: I don’t quite understand Ed. Explain what you mean.
A: Sure. The devil knows that united we stand . . . divided we fall. He loves to cause confusion, suspicion, uncertainty, jealousy, you name it. Especially among investigators of the case. He doesn’t want us to find help for these people. What’s the best way of interrupting our efforts? You guessed it. By having us pitted against each other. He’s attempted this many times with us let me tell you.
Q: Does the devil ever win?
A: Unfortunately yes. We’ve had many people who have worked with us, who we thought were our friends, suddenly turn against us. I’m talking about people we liked and trusted, on both a professional and a personal level. One minute they are with you 100 percent, the next they seem to become your worst enemy. It really hurts. It’s something Lorraine & I have learned to deal with and accept. Of course we have investigators who have always stuck by us no matter what. They have never wavered in their loyalty. Sometimes the devil has trouble reaching the really strong individuals.
Q: Here is your chance to name them if you’d like. Would you like to Ed?
A: Yes. We have a guy named Mike Roberge. He’s totally dedicated to fighting evil. He’s been with us through thick and thin. He’s also doing a terrific job on our web site I might add. Totally dedicated. Good man. There are others too; Rod, John, Rosemary, Muriel, Dave, and lots of others. They know who they are . . . darn good investigators every one of them. That’s the trouble with naming them, you always leave somebody out.
Q: Well I think they’ll forgive the oversight. Ed, can you tell the readers what you believe makes a good investigator?
A: Yes. Well besides training with us and learning all they can about the supernatural they have to have great faith in what they are doing. They have to have great compassion for others. They need to be brave. They need common sense. Not just any “average Joe” can take a few classes from us and automatically become a good psychic investigator. It takes a lot more than that.
Q: How many cases do you think you’ve investigated in your fifty plus years?
A: More than I can count. Thousands literally. If I had to guess I’d say at least 10,000 cases.
Q: Wow Ed. That’s a lot of cases. Any particular ones stick out in your mind?
A: Amityville for certain. That’s perhaps our most famous. Then there was the “Devil in Connecticut”case . . . that one also made headlines. Let’s see . . . the Smurl case in West Pittston, Pennsylvania was another one . . . the Donovan case in West Hartford. Connecticut. There were so many good ones I can’t even count them.
Q: What do you mean when you say “good ones” Ed?
A: I mean HORRIFIC ones. Cases where you felt the evil permeate the house. These were cases where people were victimized for days, weeks, months in some cases. Imagine something entering your home . . . invisible, intangible, it’s only goal is to frighten and terrorize you. You CAN’T imagine that . . .unless you lived through it. I mean you can’t imagine something crawling into bed with you, beating you, raping you, sodomizing you for hours! And you are helpless to defend against it. It’s HORRIBLE!
Q: Well Ed is there anything else you’d like to add at this time?
A: Hmmm. Let me see. Well I’d like to add that Lorraine and I have been doing this work for over 50 years. People ask us if we are ever going to retire. I’m here to announce to everyone that NO we will never retire. I mean, how can we even think of retiring when so many people need our help and counseling? What am I gonna do when the phone rings at 3:00 in the morning and someone on the other end needs our help . . . tell them, hey look, I’m retired? Of course not. We’ve got to keep going . . . for as long as God allows us to. I mean who else can they call? No one really. So I hope Lorraine and I can go on for a few more years at least. In the meantime, if you think your house is haunted, WHO YA GONNA CALL?
Q: Thank you very much Ed for this interview. I know you are quite busy with many cases as we speak. Oh by the way, just one more question if I could. I hear there is going to be a movie made on your lives. When will it be out?
A: Yeah. Lorraine and I are very excited about it. It’s tentatively being called ” The Demonologists, but we’re not sure if that’s going to be the actual title or not. As to when it will be out, that is up to Hollywood. It should be VERY INTERESTING!
Well thanks again, Ed. I’m sure we will be speaking again soon. Thanks Tony. And God Bless Everyone!
Article By: Tony Spera and Ed Warren
Ed Warren Interview Part 2 Interview with the Demonologist: Ed Warren
Interview with the Demonologist: Ed Warren PART 2 By Tony Spera
Note: This interview was conducted the evening prior to Ed & Lorraine Warren’s departure to England & Scotland on a three week excursion in search of ghosts. Ed was extremely excited during this interview.
Q: Ed, the last time we spoke we talked a lot about how you became involved in this type of work and problems you’ve encountered with investigations. Anything you’d like to add before we continue?
A: Yes. I’d like to say that to be a good investigator you MUST have a sense of humor. You know how police officers like to joke around and blow off steam when they are together? Well it’s the same in this type of work. You can’t take it too seriously all of the time, because you’ll end up wacky. Humor is kind of like a release valve. You know Tony, you were a cop, so you know what I’m talking about.
Q: Right. Humor can work wonders to help you keep your sanity . . . and to keep your perspective on track. Do you have any other advice regarding how to be a good investigator?
A: Yeah. To be a really good investigator you have to have an instinct, an innate sense regarding a person’s truthfulness. You have to be able to read body language. The person could verbally be saying YES, while their body is saying NO. Hey! Too bad you can’t come to England & Scotland with us kid. We’re gonna see some fantastic sights! Remember that time you came with us and you were walking up that hill in Scotland, walking through the Heather, and you told us to go on without you . . . that you weren’t going back? You loved it over there.
Q: Yes I remember it quite well. I wish I were going with you. To get back to the question Ed, what are the fundamentals to being a good investigator?
A: Knowledge. Knowledge is the key. You can’t be involved in this type of work for a short time and know all there is to know about the supernatural. Hey Lorraine and I have been involved for over 50 years and we don’t know everything! We’re still learning.
Q: I’d like to ask you about demonic possession. We’ve all seen the movie “The Exorcist” and it scared the daylights out of many of us. Just how prevalent is demonic possession?
A: It’s pretty rare. Let’s put it this way. You probably have more of a chance of being struck by lightning than you do of becoming possessed by a devil or demon. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible because it is. I’ll put it in perspective for you. I’ve been involved in this work for over 50 years ok? I’ve investigated perhaps ten thousand cases of various kinds. Of all those cases- I’ve been involved in about 70 to 80 actual exorcisms, where people were possessed by a devil or demon. So what is the percentage of that?
Q: Not much, less than one percent I’d say.
A: Yeah, and that’s from a dedicated population of people who think (or their families think) they might be possessed. So out of the entire population I’d say the probability is extremely low. Less than one percent for sure.
Q: How then Ed, do you tell if someone is actually possessed? I mean just because they tell you doesn’t mean it’s true, right?
A: Hey, that’s it kid. You said it. Nobody who is REALLY possessed is going to tell you. You know why? Because they don’t know it! A possessed person wouldn’t know they are possessed. Anybody who tells you they are possessed- ISN”T! What we actually look for are outward manifestations.
Q: What do you mean Ed?
A: Oh, levitation’s, facial changes, foul, disgusting odors, superhuman strength. If you have a 90 lb. girl throwing off six 250 lb. football players then that would give you a clue that you are not dealing with an ordinary situation. If the girl levitates off the chair and sits there …a foot from the chair then you are either watching David Copperfield’s magic show or you’ve got a major problem there. You get the idea. Hey, we’re going to the Isle of Skye too. You remember that place don’t you? ((Ed was visibly excited))
Q: Oh I remember it very well Ed. I seem to remember an incident in Portree where I went into the men’s room and you started banging on what you thought was my stall. Turned out you were banging and yelling at the wrong guy, huh?
A: That was pretty funny. The guy in the stall didn’t think so though. Where was I? Oh yeah. The thing about possession is that it can be very deceptive. People aren’t “possessed 100 percent of the time you know. They vacillate between being perfectly normal, to maybe obsession, depression, to possession. Back and forth, ya know. It can be mistaken for a lot of other things too. That’s why it’s important to go through ALL of the proper channels first. They need to be checked out medically, and mentally, first. We have to rule out those conditions first. Conditions such as bi-polar disorder, manic depression, drug or alcohol use, those types of things. When they are given a clean bill of health with regard to their physical and mental condition then that’s when we look towards the preternatural.
Q: So Ed, let’s say that a person is actually possessed by a devil or demon. How do you help them?
A: Through the rite of Exorcism….Ihe casting out of evil spirits.
Q: How many people have you personally exorcised?
Q: None? I thought you said……
A: Yeah. I said I was personally involved in 70 or 80 exorcisms. But I never performed one. That’s left to an exorcist. An extremely holy and pious individual, usually a priest, minister, or rabbi. I’ve been present at these exorcisms, watched the rite being performed by these holy men. And it’s only as effective as the priest or minister’s or rabbi’s faith. They MUST be true to their faith. They MUST be holy and pious…or they won’t be successful.
Q: So then are you saying not all priests are capable of performing a successful exorcism?
A: Right. There are “Good Priests” and “Bad Priests.” Just like anything else. There are good doctors and there are bad doctors. Good cops and bad cops… It’s like that in every profession….Some are better than others.
Q: I understand… Ed I’d like to ask you what the most horrifying experience was that you’ve ever had. Can you tell me about that?
A: The MOST horrifying experience I don’t even talk about. It happened to Lorraine and me when we were up in a remote area of Canada. I never discuss it because just by thinking about it, and giving it recognition it could start up again, or it could come to you. The only thing I will say was that it was an attack on us- in our car- it was brutal and lasted for over five hours. That’s all I’ll say about it.
Q: Ok we’ll drop that. What can you tell me about the Ouija board? Is the Ouija board ok to use?
A: The Ouija board is probably responsible for 7 out of 10 of our cases. It’s one of the first things I ask in an investigation…has any member of the family ever played with a Ouija board? Seven out of ten times the answer is yes!
Q: Yeah but Ed, why would an Ouija board be connected to haunting phenomena? It’s just a harmless game, right?
A: Oh no, no…it’s far from harmless kid. Yeah, the board itself is just a compressed piece of material, made out of fiberboard or some other material. Then there’s a plastic planchette that is used to spell out words. It’s not the board that is dangerous per se, it’s what you are asking FROM the board. The person using it is doing what? Asking to speak to spirits. The board is like a conduit for spirits to pass through. It’s a means for them to communicate with the physical realm. The person has absolutely no control over what comes over the board. You could be thinking you are speaking to your deceased loved one when in reality you might be speaking to something that has never walked the earth in human form.
Q: So you are saying that you don’t always get who you think you are getting?
A: Right, right. Remember that “evil and demonic” forces just love to confuse, to torment humans. Why? Because you are created in the image of God….that’s a hated image to the demonic.
Q: So people should not use the Ouija board?
A: My answer would be absolutely no. You see it’s like crossing a busy highway. You may cross it a thousand times and nothing happens. But all it takes is that one time to get hit by that car or truck and wham…it’s all over. You may cross and make it ok. Somebody else may not be so lucky. And remember too that just because nothing bad came to you at first, it could come later.
Q: What do you mean, exactly Ed?
A: I mean you could play with the board and nothing bad comes over it. But it could be playing a waiting game. Spirits don’t necessarily come when you want them to. Once you invite them in, they come when THEY want to. It could be 3:00 O’clock in the morning when you’re all alone. Imagine lying in bed all alone and suddenly feeling something crawl into bed with you…invisible, intangible, hating you because you are made in the image of God. We’ve had many such cases. People being attacked by an incubus or a succubus, evil spirits that attack you physically and sexually!
Q: Wow Ed. It sounds pretty scary. Any advice to those who’ve used an Ouija board?
A: Yeah. Stop using it. Stop it NOW!! Now I don’t want to alarm all those people who’ve used the board. Chances are nothing bad will ever happen to them. Odds are that they will be ok. But I’m saying why keep pushing your luck? It’s like smoking. You may not have lung cancer now, but if you keep smoking you increase your chances tremendously. If you stop, the odds start to go in your favor.
Q: You mentioned Incubus and Succubus. What exactly are they?
A: They are inhuman spirits. Demonic spirits that attack humans. If they target a woman we call them Incubus. If they target a man we call them Succubus. Because you see they have no gender themselves. They are neither male or female.
Q: Anything else people should avoid?
A: Oh yes. They shouldn’t go to psychic readers, or play with Tarot cards, or anything where they are asking for information from the spirit world. When they ask,”Will I ever get married?” or “Will I get a good job?” who do you think they are asking? The spirit world, of course. My advice is that if someone wants to communicate with spirits, they should go to church.
Q: That brings up a point Ed. Aren’t people communicating with spirits anyway when they go to church?
A: That’s called praying Tony. Big difference. When you pray, you are praying to God and the saints. You are not trying to communicate with the unknown. Remember faith in God is your protection. Prayers to God never go unanswered. Never. When you speak to God, he listens.
Q: Well Ed, it’s been a very enlightening interview. I know you are excited about your trip to England and Scotland.
A: Yeah. Lorraine and I love it over there. We’re bringing some students with us. We’re going to travel about 3,000 miles throughout England and Scotland. We start in the south of England and go all the way up to Land’s End, John O’Groats, in Scotland. Too bad you can’t come with us kid. I know how much you love it over there. Don’t worry, we’ll bring you back some souvenirs.
Q: Hey, tell me some of the spots you’re going to hit over there.
A: Oh Borley Church of course. We’ll probably spend our anniversary there. May 22nd Lorraine and I will be married 53 years on May 22nd. Then we’ll be going to York, Whitby Abbey, Scarborough, Loch Ness, Edinburgh, all over. It’s gonna be great!
Q: Anything else you’d like to add before we end this interview?
A: Yep. I’d like to thank Alan and Neal. Two students of ours. They’re doing one heck of a job on our Newsletter. Very professional. I wish you were coming with us kid. I found this great place for steak, covers the whole plate. Just great.
Q: You’re kidding! The last time I was over there we couldn’t find any good meat. Remember that place in Dundee where they said they had real beef stew?
A: Is that the place where I asked the guy if they used REAL meat?
Q: Yeah Ed…
A: ( Ed laughing heartily). Oh yeah. It turned out to be about an ounce and a half of shredded beef….a couple a carrots and a potato.
Q: Well Ed. Thanks again for this interview and have a great trip!
A: Ok Tony. Thanks to everyone for browsing our web site. We’ll talk again.
Note: At this point Ed stood up and patted me on the back. He told me that he really couldn’t wait to get over there, (UK) but that he hated the plane ride. He turned to walk away and I noticed the back of his sweatshirt. On it was written: World War II ….U.S. NAVY…ARMED GUARD…..and I suddenly realized that this man wasn’t always a ghost buster and that some memories never die.
Article By: Tony Spera and Ed Warren