Fans of the paranormal know that investigators don't get more prolific than Ed and Lorraine Warren, who not only made a name for themselves for decades due to their research into the supernatural, but were also the inspiration for The Conjuring series, as brought to life by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The original 2013 film was a massive success in its own right, but also inspired a number of sequels, spinoffs, and prequels films to chronicle their many investigations. In Travel Channel's new documentary Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, viewers will learn all about the pair and the truth behind what we see on the big screen, which includes interviews with their daughter Judy Spera. Devil's Road premieres on the Travel Channel on Monday, September 7th at 9 p.m. ET.
In the documentary, audiences will learn about how, during the 1970s and 1980s, the Warrens made numerous appearances on television talking about their cases and spreading the word about the paranormal and preternatural worlds that exist all around us. Their life’s mission: to prove the existence of good and evil; God and the devil. Along the way, they pioneered many techniques still used in the field today, including audio and visual recording devices, advanced electromagnetic devices and even produced their own television show. This two-hour special features interviews with their daughter and son-in-law, Judy and Tony Spera, who share never-before-broadcast audio of Ed conducting interviews for the Bridgeport, Connecticut, poltergeist case, and rare video of the Warrens helping a young woman coming under demonic possession. Tony also has granted the production access to his catalog of footage from his television series, “Seekers of the Supernatural.” It includes many hours of Ed and Lorraine discussing their work with Tony.
ComicBook.com recently caught up with Judy Spera to talk about her parents' legacy, The Conjuring, and Devil's Road, ahead of its premiere on Monday, September 7th at 9 p.m. ET.
Header photo courtesy of JC Olivera/WireImage/Getty Images/Travel Channel
ComicBook.com: Fans first met Annabelle, supposedly the most haunted doll in the world, in the original The Conjuring, which is based on a real artifact your parents had. Bizarre rumors spread across social media recently that the doll escaped your parents' museum, which isn't even open anymore, so obviously the internet was completely wrong. I was curious about Annabelle's current whereabouts and wondered if there were plans to ever reopen the museum, or possibly move it to a new location?
Judy Spera: We do plan to do that, to look for a place.
There's an actress, her name is Annabelle, and she was doing an interview and I guess the Chinese press or a Chinese newspaper reporter or something, mistranslated it, and when they mistranslated it, it came out that Annabelle escaped.
That's what my husband found out, whether that's true or not, I don't know. And boy, did that cause a stir up. And it must have been all over America because the next day we were bombarded on Facebook and on our website about questions about it. "Is it true that Annabelle escaped?" Then people started to come to the house and so we have a lot of security around there and we had a lot of problems there.
So, touchy thing, you're asking me where she is and I don't want to say that. I don't want people looking for her, just to be very careful about that. The neighbors there, it's been really hard for them. People have been going up to their doors, even the town clerk, going, "Where's the Warrens' house?" It's not hard to find it. They find it, even with big [private property] signs and everything there. I mean, five-foot signs and they're still all over the property. We have lights and we have cameras and we have the alarms, they just don't care.
So to anyone reading, what's important is that Annabelle is safe and fans shouldn't come looking for her, because she's safe somewhere and that's all that matters.
That's right. People had pictures of her all over the world, on a beach in France, and then they had her sitting next to the Queen. That was a little bit strange.prevnext
Especially thanks to seeing your parents as characters in movies and how that inspires fans to do their own research on them, what do you think would surprise audiences most to learn about your parents that wasn't covered in either Devil's Road or in The Conjuring movies?
I didn't know if it would surprise them or not, but [my parents] didn't set out to have this outcome. It just started as a hobby and an interest of my father's. Then it became a big thing when he started to paint pictures of the houses, the haunted houses, and he had art shows, people were interested and they wanted to know the story behind the houses. And then they were doing the college lecture circuit and everything else all over the world.
I know they didn't ever intend for things to get to where they are, especially my dad, he never knew about ... well, he may know about the movies. My mom did. Over the years, they used to have people saying, "Oh yeah, we're going to make a movie. We're going to do this and do that." And these things never came to happen, so nobody really thought it would. We didn't even think that The Conjuring was going to be real until we saw them promoting it on TV and we're looking at each other. "Wow. That is real."
I think they did a fantastic job. And the actors, too, especially Vera, with my mother. Oh wow. They came to the house to meet her and she really studied my mother. They got along very well. And they went out in the gazebo and sat there and talked and it was really nice. But she got it right, down to the rosary beads and the rings on her fingers.prevnext
And what people love so much about The Conjuring movies, while they are effective haunted house movies, there are countless of those kinds of movies out there, so it's really the appeal of seeing that connection and that chemistry between your on-screen parents that makes people so excited for the franchise.
Well, they spent every day together, every single day, and this COVID [quarantine] thing, as you find out, isn't always good. For them, it worked really well. And then, it was really spontaneous. My father used to get up and go down in his office and he read constantly, all these books on the paranormal and the devil and Satanism, and all these things. He retained all that knowledge and he was always answering questions. He always had the answer for everything, which is wonderful.
My husband [Tony Spera] worked with them and he worked with them for years and he'd do the projector. He introduced them to that, but he always listened to everything my father and my mother said. He worked with my mother after my dad collapsed and he's very good now, too. He's had enough, a lot of knowledge, himself. When he sits down, he said to me, the first time he did it on his own, he said to me, "I don't know where those answers came from. I think it was your father talking through me." There were a lot of things that my father seems to be involved with.
And I know, for sure, my mother's still around because she leaves little things for me in her house. I clean the house. I go down and clean and I take care of the cats and I have somebody else who does it, too, because it's 40 minutes away. But I find things there that weren't there the day before, like an angel wing, a glass angel wing.prevnext
It must be comforting to not only have those firsthand encounters that let you know that they're still around, but also getting to see how accurately they're portrayed on-screen means that they live on through the movies, in a way, so they're never really gone.
Oh, absolutely, it is. Like when my husband went to help clean up the different DVDs, upstairs there, and I can hear my father talking and my mother talking. It's almost like they're there, like they never left. I just read a quote, and I'm not going to have it exact, but it was so perfect about, "A person is not really dead until the ripples in the stream stop," to that effect. And I thought, "Well, that's actually how their after-life is."
They're still here because of that, because people are still interested in everything they're doing, and they'll quote them and read about them. And they sell their books, the books sell unbelievably. But The Demonologist, I don't know if you read that, it's been probably the most-read book out there, it's evolved. I never read it, never read one of the books, because I don't need all that in my head.prevnext
I feel like all kids, at some point, reject their parents' beliefs so they can find answers for themselves, and being raised to believe in ghosts and demons isn't something all kids experience, so were there ever any points where you rejected what you were told and didn't believe in the supernatural? Maybe even didn't believe your parents' claims?
No, never, never. I was always afraid of it because I did believe it. I used to not mention who they were, as I was getting older, because I thought, "They're going to think we're a bunch of nuts." "What do your parents do?" "Well, they're ghost hunters." I had gone to Catholic School too and you would never mention that there.
Telling someone in 2020 that your parents are ghost hunters is much different from the reaction you used to get.
Usually, if you've mentioned something about the Warrens, they're so well known, it's so nice to know that people appreciated them and the work they did. It was a lot of work and it was a lot of hard knocks, too. They took a lot of criticism, a lot of bad press and people saying, "Oh, they're charlatans. They're in it for the money, the fame, this and that." And that wasn't the case and they earned their place, I guess, with where it is today. There probably wouldn't be any paranormal shows on TV, other than for them.prevnext
Obviously there have been a lot of positive things to come from the attention your parents have received, and we talked a little bit earlier about fans invading your privacy, but are there other drawbacks to your family earning so much attention in the paranormal community?
Well, having the museum where it is, it's a very hard thing to move. That's probably been the biggest problem we've had, is trying to keep people away from there and you have to worry about it all the time. We're 40 minutes away from there.
There's a neighbor across the street, she doesn't take any crap. She sees somebody over there, she flies over there immediately. She's worked out really well for us, and even with all the alarms, really. And it's a dead-end and so you can't miss people because they pull up and they creep around and then they try to see through the trees.
[In one instance,] you hear these voices and this whole family, standing at one of the driveways, backwards, taking a selfie of themselves with the house behind them. I'll tell you, they stop at nothing. They walk up there, they walk up and come to the door, even with all these big signs and everything. So that's why I didn't want you to mention anything about where the museum is.prevnext
There's already a third Conjuring movie that was filmed, but do you have an investigation of your parents that you think is really fascinating and would like to see turned into a movie?
The Ocean-Born Mary House in Henniker, New Hampshire. It's always my favorite story. I think there's something romantic about it or a romantic thing about it. That's one of the first houses that they went into, where they realized my mother had this psychic ability. And actually, "The Devil in Connecticut," that was one I really, really wanted them to do. And there were so many lawsuits around it, that Warner Bros. took care of. I'm telling you, they're good. That is a really, really good story, and it's going to be a really good movie when it comes out. But yeah, Ocean-Born Mary House in Henniker, New Hampshire.
Is there anything else you'd like to let fans know about your parents?
I also want you to know that my mom and dad were big animal advocates and animal lovers and rescuers. That was their thing, they used to take in animals all the time.0comments
Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren premieres on the Travel Channel on Monday, September 7th at 9 p.m. ET.prev