A husband-and-wife team of paranormal investigators claim their Annabelle Raggedy Ann doll is “possessed,” after it attacked one of them and overturned their Ouija table.
Lee and Linzi Steer, who run the Museum of Haunted Objects from their home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, say their Annabelle – an identical copy of a notoriously evil rag doll in the USA that inspired The Conjuring horror films – left them “scared for the first time.”
Now Lee, 36, and Linzi, 52, who both investigate supernatural happenings full-time, fear further reprisals from the toy which they believe has also caused them to narrowly miss crashing when it has been in the car.
Linzi, who says their fascination with the supernatural hastened their romance when she and Lee met online five years ago, said: “What we saw the other night when she threw the Oujia table or spirit board over was pretty scary.
“It was on October 24, which was the two year anniversary of us having her.
“She’s from the same factory and is a twin if you like of the real Annabelle that inspired the evil doll in The Conjuring.”
Now kept in a museum for the Occult, the American Annabelle doll gained notoriety in the 1970s after being bought as a child’s toy, when it is claimed it started to attack people.
“We didn’t know our Annabelle was possessed when she first came into our lives,” said Linzi.
“She was given to us by a fan who thought she was just a replica of the American Annabelle doll, we had no idea she was haunted too.”
She added: “But there’s no denying it that there’s something powerful about her.”
Linzi, who first saw a ghost 25 years ago when she was alone one day at the dressmaker’s where she worked and saw a curly-haired woman “like Coronation Street’s Vera Duckworth” watching her, before walking through a closed door, fears Annabelle may wish her harm.
She said: “Even when I saw my first ghost at the dressmaker’s, I felt calm, rather than frightened.”
She added: “I’d grown up watching all sorts about aliens and ghosts, so I was always interested in the paranormal, rather than frightened by it.
“But some of Annabelle’s actions scare me.
“Our Anabelle was made in exactly the same factory as the American one, so she’s like her twin.”
Linzi blames two near misses while driving with Annabelle in the car on the doll, as well as a mystery illness.
She said: “I had two near crashes when Annabelle was in the car with me in October 2019, just after she arrived.
“In the first one a white van nearly went into the side of the car and I was forced to veer off the road. In the other, I was on a roundabout. I’d sort of pulled out and then another car pulled out pretty quickly in front of me.”
She added: “Then my mouth became full of abscesses and I became strangely ill. I was just having these awful pains in my stomach.
“I couldn’t keep anything down and I even went into hospital for test after test, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.”
Then, on October 24 – the second anniversary of them acquiring Annabelle – Linzi swears the raging rag doll struck again.
The museum, which the couple who married on Halloween 2019 started in March 2018, after being inundated with paranormal curios by some of the two million fans who follow their paranormal activities on Facebook, is also home to Elizabeth-reputedly “the world’s most possessed doll.”
Fearing Annabelle is jealous of the attention Elizabeth attracts, Linzi said: “On the second anniversary of getting her, I was watching Celebrity Coach Trip.
“I wanted to see it as Elizabeth was on it and I suddenly felt a pain on my right arm, like a burning sensation.”
She added: “I looked down and my arm was bleeding. I couldn’t believe it, but I instantly knew it was Annabelle. I do wonder if she was jealous.”
Then, later the same night, the heavy metal Ouija table – used for seances to contact spirits – was hurled over.
“We have a Ouija table for visitors to use,” said Linzi.
She added: “Annabelle was sat in the room staring at it and it just flipped over all of a sudden and fell on the floor.
“It was in the middle of a visitor seance and they rang us, so we looked at the CCTV and couldn’t believe our eyes. It was definitely Annabelle forcing the table over, as no one touched it.
“I mean it’s solid metal, there’s no way it would just flip over on its own.”
She added: “When we got in the next day to survey the damage, it was clear something paranormal had happened.
“The metal was bent out of shape and the base had come free of the fixings. There was no way this was an accident or coincidence.”
And this was not the first time the couple believe Annabelle has used the table to convey her anger.
Linzi said: “We were doing a Ouija when Annabelle first arrived.
“Basically, spirits communicate with you and we were sat with Annabelle when a voice came through saying, ‘I’m going to kill you.’
“We never got the museum blessed or anything like that as it always felt safe, but we now think this had something to do with Annabelle.”
She added: “At the moment, though, I think her anger definitely stems from jealousy of Elizabeth.
“When my arm was burned, I think it was her saying we should do more with her and get her out more.
“I think we definitely need to give her a dust and some attention now!”
Lee, whose interest in the supernatural was awakened aged 20, when a variety of objects in his home mysteriously flew off shelves and odd hand and footprints appeared on his window, agrees that they need to placate their angry doll.
Not usually one to react emotionally to the unexplained, he is very scientific about their paranormal investigations – using equipment to detect electromagnetic fields, thermodynamic monitors to check for strange heat sources and radio devices to help with communication.
But Annabelle has left even this seasoned ghost hunter feeling unnerved.
He said: “I felt a little nervous going back into the museum.
“It is dangerous what’s happened, it’s made us very uneasy. I showed some friends the footage and they couldn’t believe that she’d bent metal like jelly.
“I think we’ll put Annabelle in her own case to make things safer.”