How A Sunken Ship Led To Ed And Lorraine Warren's Marriage

Ed and Lorraine Warren pieced together quite the resume in the paranormal field throughout their lifetimes. The couple, who began working together investigating haunted houses as a hobby in 1952, grew that pastime into a storied career over the following decades. The founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research investigated thousands of cases of hauntings, possessions, and demonic activity over a 50-year period. 

If you've never heard the names Ed and Lorraine Warren, you're sure to have heard of some of their most famous cases. Many of them have been written about in books about the supernatural, and several of them have been turned into movies. The Warrens investigated the allegedly possessed house from the Amityville Horror in the late 1970s, as well as aided the family that was the subject of the film "A Haunting in Connecticut." 

In recent years, the Warrens' careers were thrust into the public eye once again with the release of the films in "The Conjuring" universe. These seven films are based on some of the Warrens' most notorious investigations, each one more chilling than the last. 

But for those who are familiar with America's most famous ghostbusting team, there are some curious bits of documented history about this couple that you have missed. One great piece from their past involves WWII, a sinking ship, and how it led to Ed and Lorraine getting hitched.

The world at war

When the United States entered World War II in December of 1941, military recruitment offices were bursting at the seams with eager young men who were answering their call to duty. Only 15 at the time, Ed Warren was a few years too young to join the fight against the Axis powers but that didn't stop him from enlisting when he turned 17.

Warren joined the U.S. Navy in early 1944. After basic training, he was assigned to a ship that was aiding Allied forces in the Pacific theater against Japan. But Warren had only been enlisted for a mere four months when tragedy struck (via "The Demonologist").

The ship Warren was on collided with a tanker, causing it to slowly sink into the sea. Warren and his shipmates were all forced to jump overboard into the cold ocean water. Bobbing with the waves, a freezing Warren prayed for his life and his safe return home to his teenage sweetheart, Lorraine.

Soon after, Warren and his fellow seamen were pulled from the freezing waters and placed aboard a rescue ship. Naval protocol dictated that Warren be sent home on a 30-day pass as part of the military's "survivor's leave." On his temporary reprieve from his active military duties, Warren raced back home to New England to see Lorraine. He had a question he needed to ask her, and it couldn't wait for the war to be over.

A proposal, a family, and the start of a new career

While on his 30-day leave, Ed asked Lorraine, whom he'd been dating for over a year, to marry him. They tied the knot several days later, and were able to enjoy some brief wedded bliss until Ed had to return to active duty in the Pacific (via "The Demonologist").

After the conclusion of the war, Ed Warren returned home to his wife. As talented artists, the couple began sketching and painting houses to earn a living. Ed became interested in doing commissioned pieces of houses that were said to be haunted, in exchange for the stories behind the hauntings from their owners. Ed stated years later in "The Demonologist" that he had grown up in a haunted house and that he had always had a fascination with them. Pairing his curiosity of ghosts with Lorraine's budding psychic abilities led the Warrens to found the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR) in 1952. 

With their newborn daughter, Judy, in tow, the Warrens began to travel the country. They were building quite a collection of stories from those who lived in haunted houses, and were able to slowly develop a reputation as ghost hunters. The Warrens used their growing connections to get opportunities to investigate some terrifying cases over the following years, including the Perron family, on whom the film "The Conjuring" was based.

But their big break came after a family of five fled a reportedly possessed home in Amityville, New York in 1976.

Vaulted into fame

After Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered six members of his family in late 1974, the family home went on the market at a severely reduced price, according to The Amityville Murders. This prompted the Lutz family to purchase and move into the home in Amityville in December of 1975. They barely made it a month before fleeing the house in terror.

The claims the Lutz family made about the home are varied and horrifying. But they're also the subject of a lot of skepticism. Nonetheless, after hearing word that a family was driven from their home by demonic forces, the Warrens sprung into action. Two months after the Lutz family vacated the Amityville house, the Warrens opened an active investigation into it. 

The Warrens conducted a series of seances, as well as utilized Lorraine's psychic abilities to conclude that there were evil forces at work in the Amityville home. According to "The Demonologist," the Warrens were already known in professional circles as authorities on hauntings and possessions. But their work in Amityville set them on the course to make the Warrens household names.

Until Ed's death in 2006, the Warrens traveled the country on the lecture circuit at universities, where they would discuss their casework and answer questions about their roles as paranormal investigators. They wrote several books about their many encounters with the supernatural, claiming to have helped hundreds of people in the process.