Bathsheba Sherman and the evil doll Annabelle: The true story behind ‘The Conjuring’

A farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, was so old that many people lost their lives there, although most were believed to be good spirits, there was an evil and vengeful spirit called Bathsheba Sherman, a witch who sacrificed her first child as an offering to Satan! After this, the curse fell on the woman, as well as her children, who lost their lives when they turned 4 years old.

Bathsheba Sherman And The Evil Doll Annabelle: The True Story Behind 'The Conjuring'

‘The Conjuring’ real story is based on Bathsheba Sherman, the spirit of a witch who stalked the Perron family in the most terrifying way. The legend says that Bathsheba Sherman cursed the house before she died, it is said that she took her own life, using a rope.

The Perron Family Haunting

The Perron Family
The Perron Family: Mr Roger Perron with his wife Mrs. Carolyn Perron (left) and their five daughers, Andrea Perron, Nancy Perron, Christine Perron and Cindy Perron, April Perron (right) © HorrorGalor

In the early 1970s, the Perron family moved in a 14-room farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, called “The Arnol Estate Farmhouse,” where they would live the scariest years of their lives. From the time they arrived until they left, the family witnessed the paranormal manifestations that occurred in the lonely and cursed house.

The demonstrations were generally at night, and always began with a knock on the door so loud that it woke up all the members of the family, a blue mist that abounded in the house could be perceived.

It started small. Mrs. Carolyn Perron would notice that the broom went missing, or seemed to move from place to place on its own. She would hear the sound of something scraping against the kettle in the kitchen when no one was in there. She’d find small piles of dirt in the center of a newly-cleaned kitchen floor.

Mrs. Perron and their five daughters
Mrs. Carolyn Perron and their five daughters

The girls began to notice spirits around the house, though for the most part, they were harmless. There were a few, however, that were angry.

Carolyn allegedly researched the history of the home and discovered that it had been in the same family for eight generations and that many of them had died under mysterious or horrible circumstances. Several of the children had drowned in a nearby creek, one was murdered, and a few of them hanged themselves in the attic.

The True Story Of Bathsheba Sherman: The Conjuring Witch

Bathseba sherman
Edward Warren Miney and Lorraine Rita Warren were American paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of hauntings. Edward was a self-taught and self-professed demonologist, author, and lecturer.

The American couple Lorraine and Ed Warren garnered a great number of stories during their career as parapsychologists, although perhaps the one you know best is the one that appears in The Warren File. In this case, the Warrens went to the Perron home to try to examine the spirits that inhabited it, the fruit of a long history of murders and strange deaths.

The Warren couple were the ones who determined that the spookiest and aggressive spirit in the house was the witch Bathsheba Sherman, since Carolyn Perron was frightened by a woman whose neck seemed broken. And you could distinguish her seeing the marks left were like a needle, and with a needle is how Bathsheba Sherman ended the existence of her own son.

Bathsheba Thayer Sherman was born in Rhode Island in 1812 and married Judson Sherman in 1844. While she was in charge of the house, he worked on the farm that belonged to them. It is known that he had a son in 1849, although it is not ruled out that he had three other children who died before they were 7 years old ― the legend indicates that all his children died when they were 4 years old.

In the film, it is said that Bathsheba was accused of being a witch and that she offered her son to the devil as a sacrifice. Before hanging herself, she cursed anyone who entered her land.

The Arnold Estate Farmhouse, c. 1885. The Perron family would later live in this house. Is it possible that suspected witch Bathsheba Sherman is in this photo?

However, was Bathsheba really a witch? There is no evidence of this, but the woman had to face a lawsuit related to the story told in The Warren File. One day she had to take care of the baby of another family, but it died mysteriously. When examined, they found that he had died from a sewing needle that had been driven into his head and neck.

The people, shocked after the event, accused Bathsheba of having delivered the little boy to the devil, but she was found not guilty due to lack of evidence. Interestingly, the Perron family declared on several occasions that they had been attacked with sewing needles.

Bathsheba’s death is surrounded by legends. Some say that her body was transformed into a stone when she died or that she suffered a strange paralysis that puzzled the doctors, while others claim she took her own life, using a rope. But according to some, she died at the age of 73 as an old woman.

Bathsheba Sherman
Bathsheba Sherman’s broken headstone at the Harrisville Cemetery. Inscribed, she died on May 25, 1885, in the 73th year of her age.

Exorcism Of Carolyn Perron

The Perron family was able to get rid of Bathsheba Sherman after Carolyn Perron, who was the main victim, was subjected to an exorcism, as the witch was said to envy Carolyn and wish to stay with her husband and daughters.

The House Of “The Conjuring” – What Happens There Today?

Bathsheba Sherman and the evil doll Annabelle: The true story behind 'The Conjuring' 1
The Real Comjuring House © YouTube

The house continued to be haunted, because the families that came to inhabit the house changed after a short time since they said that entities from beyond frightened them; even a worker who was doing home renovations ran away leaving all his work equipment and never returned for his things.

The current owners say that strange events happen, however, they do not feel that there’s still evil in the house. Currently, they have opened the doors of the house for fans of ‘The Conjuring.’

Annabelle: The True Story Behind The Most Chilling Devil Doll

Annabelle Haunted Doll
Annabelle, The Haunted Doll © MRU

Annabelle, the diabolical doll is not part of the history of the Perron family, however, it is part of the cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and in the beginning of the film The Conjuring, she welcomes us to the universe of the Warren.

It is said that it all started when Deirdre received for her birthday a gift from her mother, a rag doll “Raggedy Ann” with red strands as hair and a red triangular nose.

Deirdre Bernard was a nurse and lived in an apartment with Lara Clifton, who had the same profession. These girls never imagined that this innocent doll hid a dark secret, which they were soon to discover. The nightmare began with small paranormal phenomena, whenever the young women arrived at their home, they found the Annabelle.

The nightmare began with small paranormal phenomena, whenever the young women arrived at their home, they found the Annabelle doll in a different position than how they left her, she generally liked to cross her legs.

Then she began to move from one place to another, she was always in Deirdre’s bed but she appeared in other places in the house, like in a chair, a sofa or any corner. She also left messages written on parchment, the messages said: “Help us” and “help Cal”, Cal was a friend of the girls.

After these paranormal manifestations, the nurses decided to call a medium, who was able to contact the spirit that inhabited the diabolical doll, called Annabelle Higgins, a 7-year-old girl who lost her life on the property before the apartments were built, before it was a field where Annabelle was very happy.

Annabelle let them know that all she wanted was to be loved, and asked if she could stay with them and move through the doll. The nurses accepted that because of their profession, one of their gifts was compassion for the pain of others. Annabelle left them a chocolate boot for Christmas as a thank you gift. They were delighted to be able to take care of the spirit of the little girl.

Cal frequently visited the apartment, but he never thought Annabelle was cute, rather he saw her as a voodoo doll, she made him have nightmares constantly. One time he and Lara were alone, when suddenly they heard a noise as if someone had broken into Deirdre’s room at around 11 o’clock at night.

Cal waited until the noise was silenced to open the door of the room and turn on the light, seeing clearly there was nothing strange, until he saw Annabelle lying in a corner, he went to the doll and when he was about to touch her, he felt that someone was behind him, he turned around and there was no one, but something of an invisible nature marked his chest, his entire shirt was full of blood, when he took it off, they realized that his wound had a claw mark.

The nurses contacted a priest from their church, who, due to his lack of knowledge in demonology, decided to speak to the famous paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who ruled out the possibility of the girls moving out of the apartment, since it was not that simple to get rid of Annabelle, or rather of the evil entity, because really the spirit of Annabelle Higgins never reached the doll!

Rather, it was an entity that was never human, a malevolent spirit that used Annabelle’s name as a mask, a dark entity that moved Annabelle like a puppet to pretend that she was possessed, that’s right, it was a demon! And although an exorcism in the apartment was enough to free the women from that demon, the doll was never really completely freed as the demon bonded with her.

On the way home, the Warrens took Annabelle for the safety of the nurses, on the way they were left without brakes and were about to suffer an accident, the holy water helped calm the anger concentrated in the wrist. Edward placed Annabelle on a rocking chair in his office, who levitated during the nights. Lorraine comments that a cat became attached to the doll and constantly brought her Warren items as gifts.

Bathshera Sherman Annabelle
Lorraine Warren with the real-life Annabelle doll shortly after taking possession of her. © Warrens’ Occult Museum

A priest friend of the Warrens went to visit Annabelle and even though the Warrens warned him that it could be dangerous, when the priest saw her, in a rough way he grabbed her and said: “You are a ragdoll Annabelle, you can’t hurt nobody,” and then throw her against the wall.

Dawn had already arrived and the father was going back to his destination, he was moving on a lonely road, he was a little nervous about the altercation with Annabelle and the warnings of the Warren, when suddenly he saw the rearview mirror, his eyes met with those of Annabelle, indeed Anabelle was there to do something terrible to the father, he lost control of the car and rolled over, but fortunately managed to survive.

The bad news did not end, because another case in which Annabelle did her thing, is that of a boy who went to visit the Warren museum, the girlfriend claimed that he made fun of the diabolical doll, unfortunately, that gave him a tragic fate for the young man, because, on his way back from the museum, he had a fatal motorcycle accident with his girlfriend, she was left alive but he could not survive.

Where Is The Real Annabelle Doll Right Now?

Annabelle doll at the Warren Museum of Occultism © MRU

Besides Annabelle, Ed and Lorraine Warren are perhaps most famous for investigating a haunted house in New York in 1975. That investigation inspired the book “The Amityville Horror” and several films of the same name. The duo kept Annabelle under their supervision for the rest of their lives. Annabelle was locked in a glass box at the Warren Museum of Occultism, in Monroe, Connecticut, United States.

But the Warren’s Occult Museum is no longer in operation. Both Ed and Lorraine Warren have passed away, and according to Atlas Obscura, the museum was closed in 2018. The Monroe Sun reported that the Warrens’ son-in-law, Tony Spera, was looking for a new home for the museum (it was reportedly closed due to zoning issues), but the paranormal property has yet to reopen. However, every week, a father still visits Annabelle to bless her.

Lorraine Warren Discusses The Original Annabelle Doll’s Sinister History