Interview with the Demonologist: Ed Warren
PART 1 By Tony Spera
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.
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 7000 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!
Q: Well thanks again, Ed. I’m sure we will be speaking again soon. Thanks Tony. And God Bless Everyone!