Those Who Have Gone Before

We interrupt out regularly scheduled program of monsters and madness to bring you a lament on the passing of Lorraine Warren, Demonologist, author, psychic, and keeper of the Occult Museum.

On a cold February night in 1976, a gruff man in his early fifties sat in study poring over an esoteric book on otherworldly creatures. The room was small, but well ordered, with manuscripts of every kind of paranormal phenomena imaginable. The clock on the wall chipped a wistful passing ton as it struck three. The Devils hour. So, named because it is generally believed that Christ died at 3 PM. In mockery, the twisting of the holy to evil purpose, 3AM became the time of the Devil to roam about like a lion seeking to devour.
                The man rested back in his desk chair, weary and alone, when the sound of the hall door opening came to him from down the passageway. His wife with the much-needed coffee the thought. Heavy footfalls were heard coming down the passageway yet stopped short without cause.
                “In here” He called, yet to no effect.
The response, instead, was a growing sound of billowing wind. As it grew louder, the man, gray with age, began to shiver uncontrollably. Like a great suction, the air had become colder than the winter outside. A putrid stench filled the room, like that of sulfur, as the reading lamp he had been using began to flicker and dim until almost no light was left in his small study. His unsteady hands reached into a draw of his desk, pulling out a wooden crucifix, and a vial of holy water. All the while, the swirling noise of the whirlwind increased in intensity, until it was right outside the door. Out from it came a form, black as the infinite void. Taller than any man, swallowing up life itself in the darkness of its indeterminable essence. The noise was now deafening, as the creature moved closer to the man, who stood stupefied with fear. From it emanated the essence of its own eternal damnation. Its hatred and loathing for all living things sought like a viper to stab at the heart of life itself and drain it away with the poison of its detestation of all Gods creation.
                The man, Ed Warren, resisted the sapping of his strength and lifted his hand, in which was held the crucifix, in exaltation of the glory it manifests. A meager light of a man, amidst the deafening, unholy darkness that sought to envelop him.
And as he stared into the night no man wished to see, he saw the thing began to take shape. Something like that of a man with a dark hood obscuring any distinguishing features. Ed acted, he had to act, or succumb to the evil around him. He stepped forward, crucifix raised, the showered the shade in the sign of the cross and uttered the archaic demand  “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave!”
The black form stood in motionless defiance for a time, then, slowly, it backed away out through the hall it came. As a parting shot, Ed experienced a vision. In it, he and his wife were horribly killed in a car accident along the highway. Ed stood drenched in sweat, despite the cold of the room, and heard a strange sound of animals fighting some where outside. As he attempted to make out the experience he had just had, he realized, that it was not yet over. As he dashed upstairs to their bedroom, where his wife lay reading, in a vain attempt to save her from the same horrors he had just experienced.

You’re listening to Devilry and I’m Matthew William Motsinger

Lorraine Warren, lay wide awake reading the biography of Padre Pio. Throughout their marriage she had always refused to go to sleep if her husband was still working. It was in this comfortable unknowing she too began to feel an oppression around her. She looked around the room yet saw no reason for the terror that filled her heart. It was then, with loud repeated crashes that she heard something coming for her, coming closer as the sounds grew ever louder. Moving through the doorway with incredible speed, she saw the horrible vortex of darkness her husband had just repelled, only inside it was a different manifestation. The blackness appeared more as a portal, and through that portal, a figure was emerging, coming ever closer. She tried to move away but found her body ridged, unable to respond to her urgent desire to run as far away from that creature of hell as possible. She could not scream, she could not blink, she could only stare in horror at that agent of evil. The sense of doom increased, as Lorraine felt herself being drawn into the abyss, that in that darkness lie not death, but eternal, unutterable damnation of body and soul. By her strength of will alone, Lorraine managed to cry out the name of Jesus Christ. This loosed her body, and she made the sign of the cross at the creature that stooped to devour her. It stopped yet would not retreat. Managing to move closer before Ed came running into the room still holding his crucifix and holy water. The void moved away in a deafening flurry of wrath and anguish through the brick exterior and out of the house. The strange and terrible foreboding lifted immediately, and they were left with the realization of the portent it meant, what was to come.
What had the Warrens experienced that night in 1972 is beyond the realm of mankind entirely. Were in the past we have dealt with manifestations of creatures in the liminal spaces of reality, here we disembark from the human world with all its mystery and wonder and look up to heaven, or down into the depths of Hell. And there is no better guide for us on this journey than the Warrens. With the recent passing of Lorraine, it is perhaps most fitting that we should explore the subject of Demonology, as seen by the 20th century’s most famous demonologists.

Both happened to grow up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Born just a few months apart from each other, they both experienced a indication of their future work while they were still children. Ed, for his part grew up in a classic New England home full of strange spirits. The first encounter, that he could recall, was of seeing his deceased landlady in the closet of his ever-darkening room. The door, which had been closed, opened of its own accord. Inside shown a small white light the grew ever larger as it bounced slowly around his closet. The apparition took the form of his recently deceased landlady, who was not a very pleasant person to say the least. She stood covered in a white burial shroud, a frown on her face, and somewhat translucent, before quickly fading into nothing. Ed eventually worked up the courage to tell his father of the encounter, who instructed him to never tell anyone of his vision, and to forget it himself.
This turned out to be a tall order for the young Edward, who would regularly dream of a lady in a nun’s outfit, visiting him and advising him in his life choices and faith. She predicted, according to Ed, that he would never become a priest, but that in his lifetime he would help many. When he informed his father of the dreams as a teenager, his father was dumbfounded at the description of the woman who visited his son, as her features resembled that of Eds aunt, a nun who had died some time before Ed had been born.
Lorraine Warren had her own portents as a young girl growing up in a New England School for girls run by a group of Nuns. During Arbor day, the class had planted a small sapling to encourage the children to have a care for nature. As the last shovel full was packed down however, young Lorraine found herself looking up at a massive oak, its newly blossoming leaves blowing in the light spring breeze. One of the nuns, noticing her peculiar behavior ask what it was Lorraine was looking at. Lorraine, who had a gift for clairvoyance and was experiencing it for the first time, gave an honest answer. The alarmed nuns were quick to shuffle her off to a retreat home where she was instructed to pray for the weekend and learned all to keenly to keep her gifts to herself.
Growing up together, it is not surprise that the thoughtful and kindhearted Lorraine, and the stout, barrel chested Ed fell in love at a young age and married when they were both just 18. Not long after, Ed who had enlisted in the Navy, would be shipped off to fight the Japanese in the Pacific theater of World War two. After returning some years later, he had little taste for war, and did not reenlist, choosing instead to spend time with his new daughter, and practice his passion at the time, one he shared with his wife-painting. For years the Warrens would seek out haunted houses, choosing to paint or draw the home in exchange for the interesting or frightful tales the occupants tell of living in such a home.
What started off as a passion for Art and the unknown would grow to become something else entirely. As the Warrens traveled, Ed devoured any book about the spirit realm he could get his hands on. They often found themselves listening to the most startling of tales, while consoling and advising the people they had just met on how they might be able to rid themselves of their unwanted apparitions. From this, the Warrens build a reputation unrivaled in the Paranormal world even today. Before there were “Ghost Hunters” Before there were bigfoot hunters, or UFOlogists. Before the cascade of unwarranted media friendly hacks, each one proclaiming a haunting under every nock and cranny. There was the Warrens, with only their faith and a few antiquated books to guide them.
In this milieu, they carved out a niche for themselves as Demonologists. That is, experts in Evil Spirits bent on the harm and destruction of mankind. Being known as the only acknowledged Demonologist who were not ordained Clergy. They took it upon themselves to preach the existence of the spiritual realm to an audience steeped in scientific rationalism, eastern mysticism, and the hippy movement. They sold out lecture circuits across the US telling strange stories we still hear about today. Movies like the Conjuring series, a haunting in Connecticut, the Annabelle series, and The Haunted were all based on their experiences.
Though they were well known in a small community of believers that had issue with preternatural events, the Warrens did not find international fame until they received a call to investigate a long-island home on 112 Ocean Avenue, New York. The former occupants, the Lutz Family, had been chased away by strange occurrences in the home and the Warrens where sent in to investigate. It was discovered the previous owners; a family of six had been murdered in their sleep around 3am in the morning.  The Town was named Amityville.
Amityville has become an American Icon of horror, so much so that it would be redundant and disingenuous to rehash it here as books, television series and movies have covered it in far better detail. Instead, we’ll touch on a lesser known story of the Warrens, the Hillman house in Massachusetts.
After a brief lecture circuit on the Queen Elizabeth, the Warrens returned home to find a static message from a woman asking for help immediately. It was late, just after midnight in fact, but a concerned Lorraine decided to call anyway, in case the family was in dire straits. The phone rang without response for some time. Lorraine tried hanging up and dialing again only to find the same issue. Undeterred, they went to bed with a plan to make time to visit the family the next day.
After attending Mass in the morning, Lorraine tried again to contact Mrs Hillman, who had left the message the night before, this time the call was picked up immediately. It was Mrs Hillman herself who pleaded for them to come right away. Strange events had transpired in the previous week that she could not explain. The Warrens agreed to come at once. Entering the house, Ed interduce himself and immediately got to work interviewing the family members, while Lorraine requested to walk the house and see what she could find with her gifts.
The Hillmen’s had three children Dee who was fifteen, Bob was a year younger at fourteen, and the youngest, Melanie was eleven. Neither of their parents, Al or Jeanne had witnessed any of the experience the children would later profess had happened to them, though Jeanne had a theory of how it started. With a gift being placed under a Christmas tree during the holiday season. The oldest, Dee had a fascination with the Occult at the time, and her mother had found a conjuring book at a local secondhand book store that would be perfect for Dee’s growing collection. Overjoyed at the new addition to her library, Dee immediately began to try some of the easier summoning spells detailed in the book. Yet no matter how she tried, nothing ever happened. Frustrated, she put the book on the shelf and out of her mind and forgot all about it. That is until one strange night later that spring that she would never forget.
Al and Jeanne had left for a friend’s house earlier that night and had left the kids to put themselves to bed. As Dee what locking up, she turned of the radio and all the lights on the first floor after locking the doors. She came upstairs to find the faucets in the bathroom running at full blast. One of her siblings, she thought, perhaps a bit annoyed. She turned them off and proceeded to bed. Not long after, she poked her head out of her room again, listening intently. She could just make out, or so she thought, the faint sound of the radio playing downstairs again. Looking down the hall she could also make out the faint glow of the first-floor lights glaring from the stairwell. Thinking one of her siblings might still be awake she checked their rooms to find Melanie sound asleep, but Bob was still awake.
“did you turn the radio on again” She asked with annoyance
“No, not me” said Bob.
Now a little worried, she approached the stairs again only to see the faucets in the bathroom running again at full blast. She quickly shut them off and shouted down the stairwell.
“Who’s there?” she cried. But to no response.
Sure that Bob was just playing a trick on her, Dee went downstairs and turned off the lights and radio for a second time. She came back upstairs to find the water faucets in the bathroom running once again. She shut them off and was just about the scold Bob, when she walked out into the hallway and heard again, the ominous sight of the lights on and could hear the radio playing loudly this time, only something was different, someone was changing the channels.
Thinking that her parents might have finally returned home, Dee ran downstairs to find no one home. Entering the living room, she found the lights on once again, and the dial to the radio moving on its own. Thoroughly scared now, Dee switched off the radio, turned off the lights and ran as fast as she could up the stairs. Half-way up, she thought she felt a hand as cold as ice touch her shoulder. Undeterred, she ran as fast as she could into her room and slammed the door. She lay in bed trying to make sense of what had just happened when she heard footsteps walking out of her room and into the hallway, without her door making any movement or sound. It was then that sounds began to eco throughout the house, as if someone was ransacking the place. Dee, to terrified to do think lay on her bed with her eyes closed. It was then that she noticed that despite her eyes being closed, she could still see her room, and what’s more, a small light was shinning outside her window. As she watched it, it slowly moved into her room. She felt an unseen hand grab her hair and slam her back into her bed three times before she was able to break free and run to her brother Bob’s room where Melanie was already cowering in confusion and fear. As they lay on Bobs bed trying to figure out what to do, the noises got louder and worse. Doors continued to slam, loud footsteps could be heard thudding around the house in circles, and Dee could just make out faint whispers of indistinguishable voices. They called their parents from the room and pleaded with them to return home which they did not long after. When they walked through the door, they found nothing amiss in the house, no doors slamming, no moved furniture, no radio, no voices or icy cold hands. Just three very frightened children. Al and Jeanne dismissed their children’s fears as trivial noises all old houses have and went to bed. Nothing else happened that night.
After that, all was quite until Saturday night, when Dee and Bob found themselves alone again in the old house at night. Bob had just finished showering when he walked into the hallway to hear the familiar sound of the radio playing. He called out to Dee to leave it on one station and stop changing it. When he got no response, he walked downstairs to find no one there but his dog, who was standing at the entrance to the living room with his hair on end growling. Bob cried out in fear as he ran back upstairs and into his room.
Dee heard the commotion from outside her room but was petrified to move, for in her own room had formed what she could only describe as a purplish haze. She could never focus right on it, as it would only appear in her peripheral vision. She balled up in fear and waited for it all to pass over. Only it didn’t pass, an icy hand gripped around her wrist and pulled with the force of a grown man. Dee fought against her unseen assailant and cried out causing whatever had a hold of her to let go. She ran to Bobs room still in her night gown, where the sounds of the night before repeated themselves with a fiercer intensity. Loud thudding footsteps rattled the walls around them, the furniture sounded as if it were being tossed about and torn to shreds. All around them grew the oppressive weight of malicious evil so much so that they considered jumping out the window to escape. Bob took charge of the situation and decided they were just going to run for it. Opening the door to his room they bolted out the front door and down the street running for campus and trying to find a phone from which they could call their parents. When they finally did find one Bob called them at there friends house and told them of their ordeal. Yet again, their experiences were dismissed as exaggeration at best. When Bob informed them, they were on campus and would not be returning until their parents got home it seemed to wake Al and Jeanne up from their annoyed stupor. They agreed to meet them back home where they found everything as they had left it, in perfect order. Nothing had happened since then.

Ed mulled over the story for some time. Lorraine described her impression of the house. The basement and first floor had no indication to extra sensory perception, the second floor however was another matter. Entering Bobs room, she felt an immense confusion that she could not devise the source of and later moving toward Dee’s room she felt a pressure building in her body, forcing her back and chose to cease the self-guided tour, rejoining ed and the family in the living room. That settled things for Ed, he requested to have the house to himself for an hour or 2 while he and Lorraine attempted to deal with whatever it was that had infested the quite suburban home.
It is a testament to their torment that the Hillman’s agreed to this right away, allowing two complete strangers access to their home without question. They left for a drive while Ed retrieved his normal supplies, a vial of holy water and a large crucifix. After the Hillman’s had left, he began a ritual known as binding.
Half medieval sorcery half catholic sacrament, the process of binding is just another form of blessing practiced by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Anglo-Catholics. Normally of a certain place like a home or a newly built parish. When the presence of a malign entity is suspected, the ritual is thought to bind the spirit to a reaction. Its much like exorcism of a place rather than a person. In this case Ed chose to start in the basement and working his way up to the second floor in order to prevent whatever was in the house from fleeing to a different corner. As he moved up to the first floor, Lorraine right behind him, they encountered nothing untoward. It was only as they attempted to climb the stairs that something strange began to happen. Approaching the stairs, they found their hearts filled with untoward terror they could not explain yet understood none the less. As they climbed, they felt a tremendous weight being laid on them. Lorraine would later describe that it felt like walking against the tide of a river. Managing only half way up, they saw a flash of light at the top landing before the slamming of a door rattled the house. They tired of their weighted assent and retreated. As they did this, a faint laughing could be heard from the second floor, and the pungent smell of mildew filled their nostrils.
The Warrens were not ones to give up lightly, however. Ed splashed the stairs with the sign of the cross and marched upstairs with all the force of will he could muster. Once their Lorraine joined him in Melina’s room where the prayer of sanctification was read aloud, and the holy water sprinkled in all four corners. They moved on to Bobs room preforming the same ritual without effect. As they neared Dee’s room however, a coldness seeped from its cracks. Ed cracked open the door, then swung it wide and stood in the entrance. He saw nothing but the room of a normal fourteen-year-old girl. What they both felt however, was misery. A kind of heartfelt pain of one who has been convicted. It twisted them to pity, yet Ed knew it was only a ploy. He forced his way into the freezing cold room crucifix outstretched and said the prayer of sanctification, splashing the holy water in every corner. Almost instantly, the room became warmer, and the feeling of misery left them.
Looking around the room, he spotted the book, vestments, and candles used for the occult practice’s Dee was so fond of. He gathered them together and placed them outside her room.
When they family had returned the Warrens advised discarding the Occult paraphernalia and orient themselves around the positive aspects of their family, be that church or otherwise.

This almost anti-climatic ending is but a small sample of a whole history of the Warrens battle with the Demonic they waged most of their lives. What is perhaps most striking here is the often-overlooked experience noted in this story, that is of demonic Oppression. Media likes to focus on demonic possession with its projectile vomiting, creepy deep echoing otherworldly voices, and levitating little girls, all the while ignoring the other side of that coin well known to most students of the Occult today. Though this experience is an extreme case, such actions can be found in our own lives, across cultures and philosophies, and can be far more detrimental than the common possession story as it can sometimes happen without fan fare or notice from the would be oppressed. A flickering of the light, a sudden chill on a warm summer night, the feeling of presence when you’re in a house all alone. These are small nuances to the beginning terrors. Weather you enjoyed the movie or not, Paranormal Activity, the original anyway, portrayed this experience perfectly.
Lorraine slipped this mortal coil April the 18th 2019. Ed preceded her in death by twelve years. Just like good old Montague Summers, after their passing their name was mercilessly dragged through the mud, often by somewhat justified allegations of conflict of interest on the cases they covered. More recently though, the accusations took on a more pernicious character. It seems every Catholic who has played Chicken with the Devil comes out with a few scars. Perhaps a quote from Nietzsche is most fitting "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster. And if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Now that I think about it, maybe I should rethink this whole Devilry podcast thing. Ah well, we’ll see how it turns out…

The Demonologist by  Gerald  Brittle

The Devil in Connecitcut by Gerald Brittle

Deliver Us From Evil by J.F. Saywer

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

Satans Harvest by Michael Lasalandra