Since I was a kid, I’ve immersed myself in watching horror movies and shows and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of being scared regardless of the nightmares that haunt me after the fact. However, I never thought my life would turn into a horror movie. But one day at work when I was scrolling on my social media feed, an event titled, “An Evening with Annabelle” popped up.
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The post led to the late Ed and Lorraine Warren’s paranormal investigation cases. The Warrens’ dedicated their lives to investigating extreme paranormal cases and their work is at the center of the popular Conjuring Universe from Warner Bros.
The site was created by their son-in-law, Tony Spera, who carries on their work and is married to their daughter, Judy Spera. The site was selling tickets for an event hosted by Tony. In “An Evening with Annabelle,” the event would consist of a dinner, showcasing items from the Warrens’ occult room, and a finale viewing of the real Annabelle doll. My stomach sank with excitement. This event was right up my alley and I didn’t think twice about shelling out for a ticket.
Part 1: Introduction to Annabelle.
The event took place on October 29, 2016 in Monroe, Connecticut in a large Italian restaurant called Roberto’s. The back side of the room was filled with antique occult objects, the Shadow Doll and the Conjuring Mirror. They are some of the most noteworthy items from the Warrens’ occult room. At the center of the back was a tall, lengthy object covered with a sheet on top. Everyone knew Annabelle was underneath.
Tony was a great speaker and walked through the life of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The event went perfectly at first but the evening took a heavy turn when we started listening to real possession tapes. I can still hear the dark words from the tape as clear as day in my head. Tony hesitantly paused the tape and confessed he didn’t like to play the entirety because something evil may manifest itself if you listen for too long.
The dark voice on the tape was even making jokes. Tony told the room that dark entities enjoy making jokes and possessions aren’t how you always see them depicted in the movies. My eyes widened in amazement.
When it was time to unveil Annabelle, Tony gave a few frightening words beforehand. He warned everyone not to mock her or say anything negative, and not to tease her. Everyone was silently nervous. Tony talked about a man attending one of the events that proceeded to mock Annabelle. When he left that night, he got into a serious accident on his motorcycle and was found dead. Now, I don’t know about you but when someone tells me not to do something, doing that very thing is all I can think about.
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One by one, people got up from their seat and took a photo with Annabelle. As I waited in line, I kept thinking, “Ok just take a photo, don’t mock her, just go quickly, don’t mock her.” I kept repeating that same phrase in my head. Somehow my mind slipped into a dark place and I mocked her. In my mind, I thought about how hideous she looked inside her box. I screamed internally to put that thought away and I took my photo with her.
It was surreal to be standing next to her. At this point, I was on cloud nine at the idea of being in the same room with such an infamous object. However, it never occurred to me that I could bring something home with me. And for the next year and a half, I was stuck in a living nightmare.
Part 2: It Started as a Joke.
As I settled in back home at my roommate’s house, I had just finished eating dinner and was taking my plate downstairs. I remember stepping on the ground but somehow it felt like I missed a step. I fell and badly twisted my ankle as my glass plate broke into pieces. My roommates thought it was comical as I had to limp up the stairs for the next couple weeks.
My next step in life was finding a place where my kitchen was on the same floor as my bedroom, hence my clumsiness. I looked through many apartments and found one I loved in Long Beach. Although a long commute from my job, I thought it was perfect. I moved in within two weeks of applying and was enjoying my own space. Not long after, I started noticing bugs and cockroaches in corners. I’d kill them and they’d be gone for a couple days.
After a while, it got out of hand and I found them everywhere. It wasn’t just one or two. It seemed like I was killing ten roaches every time I turned around. I found them in my lotion, on my bed, in my shower, in my food, and in all my clothes. I complained to management and their only solution was to offer me a can of bug spray.
Apparently, the roaches were coming from my next door neighbor. My neighbor was an elderly woman who always wore the same long blue dress and loved to stare for uncomfortable amounts of time. Every time I’d leave my apartment, she’d open her door and stare at me. One time I asked her, “Why are you staring at me?” All she did in response was cackle.
The elderly woman didn’t take care of her cats, never took out her trash, and had stacks of garbage on top of stacks of garbage. Management evicted her and didn’t even bother cleaning out her apartment. Within the next few days, my unit had a full on infestation. I couldn’t even put a sock on without checking it first to see if it had roach eggs. I was convinced something was out to get me and my dream apartment turned into a dwelling from hell.
Part 3: Physical Pain.
One night, I woke up to the sharpest of pains in my stomach at 3 AM. I couldn’t stand up, bend, move, or get out of my bed. All I could do was scream in agony. I was convinced I was dying and called my mom in a panic. She drove to my apartment and took me to the ER in the middle of the foggy night. The nurse ran multiple tests, put in an IV, and stuck me in a private room as I screamed in pain. The doctors found nothing wrong with me and couldn’t give me any answers. As it approached dawn, they let me go home and for a moment, they had me doubting myself and my pain.
I went back to my gross apartment and filed a health complaint. There were weeks when I wouldn’t even stay in my own home out of fear of sleeping in a roach-infested bed. I broke my lease and found a place with my sister. It had everything we wanted and was bug free.
Just like in horror movies, when something bad happens, the solution is to move. That’s always the answer. You move and everything is supposed to be good…until it’s not.
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During this same time, I had the flu for two weeks and developed a persistent cough not long after my sickness. I went to urgent care twice and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. They said it was allergies and put me on medication and an inhaler. I saw different specialists who put me on more medications and ran tests every couple weeks. My cough grew increasingly more severe and enough people at work noticed that they reported me to HR. It was mortifying to try to talk about an illness that I couldn’t even explain. Nine doctor’s visits and five specialists later, they couldn’t diagnose me.
Part 4: Not a Coincidence.
I’m not the superstitious type but I was convinced this was more than just a string of bad luck. One restless night as I was starting to fall asleep, I heard a faint crinkling noise. It sounded like someone squishing a plastic bag. At the foot of my bed, I heard the crinkling sound over and over. I thought it was my dog but he was sleeping on the couch. I heard another crinkling noise and become increasingly paranoid. I couldn’t bring myself to look down at my feet. I clenched my blankets as it got quiet and the rustling started again. I immediately sat up, turned on the light, and spent hours looking for the plastic bag. I never found it.
Soon afterwards, my dog became violently ill. With my excessive coughing, hearing noises in the night, and my poor dog’s sudden sickness, I was about ready to lose it. One night, he got off the bed and shat on the carpet. It was really late and I got up to clean up the mess and take him outside. As I laid back in bed, I noticed that my feet were covered in his feces. I screamed and jumped in the shower. I threw my sheets in the wash and put a towel on my bed to use as a blanket. I inspected my bed as I was confused how he managed to soil my bed without me noticing. Everything looked fine after inspecting.
By this time, I was exhausted and I had work in the morning. As I laid back down, I noticed I still smelled his feces everywhere. I buried my face deeper into my pillow and screamed and I felt a wetness on my face. I lifted my head off the pillow, ran to the mirror, and saw my entire face covered in his crap. I called off work the next day.
I told the story to my family and friends who all laughed and tried to convince me that I probably didn’t check my bed thoroughly. While it was a funny story to tell, it certainly wasn’t funny to live.
Over the next few months, my sanity was put to the test. I heard constant creaking; I was regularly sick; I heard noises coming from inside my walls; my eyes played tricks on me in the dark. This no longer felt like a home. I started becoming suspicious. That suspicious feeling intensified when I came home from work, walked into my apartment and saw it: a cockroach on the wall.
Part 5: Everything Breaks Down.
How can one person have this much bad luck? The only thing I could think of to explain my string of misfortune was Annabelle. It had to be her. I may not have been possessed by anything, but what manifested was so much worse.
The cockroach infestation started all over again. I constantly cleaned my apartment and I knew I had to take down some of my horror collectibles on my walls since they were probably messing with my head. At the time, I had Living Dead Dolls and Funko Pop’s on shelves in my bedroom. I had Funko Pops of Chucky, Tiffany, Annabelle, Pinhead and Jigsaw. There was enough going on in my life that I didn’t feel like staring at this memorabilia all night.
After an evening of cleaning, I woke up and one of my Funko Pops was on the floor. I picked it up and noticed that it was Annabelle. The six inch box scared the living hell out of me. All the other Funko Pops were on the shelf, except Annabelle. I drove to a trash can far away from my house (I know how this works) and threw the doll away.
Relief never seemed to last long even when I thought everything was settling. After my sister and I got home from watching a movie, I put my purse down on the counter and grabbed a drink from the fridge. As I turned around and reached inside my purse, a huge cockroach crawled up my arm and made a move toward my face. The tiny legs of the cockroach crawling up my exposed skin made me scrub my arm in the shower until it turned red.
Part 6: Something Isn’t Right.
One night, I was wide awake and looking at the ceiling. From my back bedroom window, I saw our automatic lights go off on the outside walkway downstairs. It was really late and I was constantly observing everything out of paranoia. I thought it might be my neighbor who typically worked late.
Suddenly, we heard our apartment door being rattled and shaken. Fear pierced through my body as I jumped up without hesitation, grabbed my dog and sister and threw them in the small bathroom. Someone was trying to break into our home. We cornered ourselves in the bathroom and all stood in fear. We called the police who took over half an hour to arrive. It was the most excruciating 30 minutes since we didn’t know if the intruder had left. It was the last straw. We moved out after this encounter.
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I hadn’t slept in months; I was tired and sick. I have been through tough experiences but never something of this magnitude within this short amount of time.
Part 7: Don’t Mock Her.
As we left that apartment, I knew I needed to turn over a new leaf. I didn’t need to see anything supernatural or experience anything abnormal to know the horror I experienced wasn’t a coincidence. Between all the unseemly happenings, I experienced car problems regularly, had a hard time functioning, and couldn’t get ahead no matter how hard I tried. It always felt like something was enjoying watching me suffer. Whether it was Annabelle or not, every area of my life was invaded and my physical and mental health suffered.
I trashed the outfit I wore the night I met her, threw out all souvenirs from the event, tossed the purse I carried that day, and even got a new phone. I deleted the photos from the event. Everything slowly started getting better and my life no longer felt like a twisted horror movie. I moved into a better apartment, my illness was suddenly gone, and the strange occurrences at night all stopped.
I deleted the photos off my social media pages from “An Evening with Annabelle.” As I still love horror, I’m reluctant to post anything horror related on my platforms due to a subconscious or even a conscious fear of the situation repeating itself. I had to dig through my trash and archives to find the photo of me and Annabelle. Tread lightly, if you stare at the photo, whatever you do – don’t mock her.