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The real Annabelle doll wasn't a porcelain doll as presented in the film. Rather, the real Annabelle doll was just your typical run of the mill Raggedy Ann doll. The true story regarding this doll is considered to be very nightmare-inducing so feel free to leave if you are scared.
Donna obtained the doll from her mother in 1970. At this time, she was still a college student, and she lived with a roommate by the name of Angie. Neither of these two women saw the doll as anything special. That would change once the doll began to move...
The girls began to notice that Annabelle seemed to move whenever they were out of the room. At first, the movements were slight and not very noticeable. Eventually, however, the movements increased, and the girls soon found the doll in other rooms. And then everything ultimately went downhill once their friend came to visit.
Their friend, Lou, hated the doll with all of his heart. He figured that something was way off with the doll and always told the two girls to get rid of the doll. The girls, however, didn't believe in the supernatural, and considered there to be a logical explanation as to why the doll could seemingly move from room to room. Things went even further south once the doll began to leave notes for the three friends, and also seemed to leak a blood-like substance.
Eventually, Donna agreed to allow a medium to inspect the doll. The medium then stated that the doll was being possessed by the spirit of a seven-year-old girl who had died in a field that was close to the house, and that said spirit felt safe around Donna and Angie. Donna, moved by the medium's words, allows the girl to reside with them. This is where everything went to Hell.
Later on, Lou had a series of nightmares regarding this doll. One dream in particular was very disturbing. In it, the doll was shown crawling up Lou's leg, and then proceeded to strangle him. He woke up with several claw marks on his chest. The Warrens were later called in to inspect the doll, and they conclude that it was a demon that they were dealing with, and not the ghost of a seven-year-old girl. The demon itself wasn't actually possessing the doll; rather, it was manipulating the events in such a way that they resembled a haunting. The demon was really after Donna's soul the entire time.
A priest then performed an exorcism on the apartment, and the Warrens proceed to take Annabelle with them. When they were driving on the back roads, the doll attempted to cause them to wreck their car. Ed immediately opened a bag and sprinkled holy water on the doll.
The doll now resides in the Warren's Occult Museum in Connecticut. The doll can be found in a locked case that seems pretty effective. However, that may only be because the doll could be planning something. Annabelle can possibly be anticipating that someone would release her one day, and that she's still waiting for that day so that her reign of terror could begin anew.