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Horror fans got the chance of a close-up, personal experience today with the star of three films.

For three hours only, Annabelle, the demonic doll from the films of the same name, was at the Odeon Cinema in the Great Northern Warehouse prior to the release of Annabelle Comes Home, the latest in the chilling series which has made hundreds of millions of dollars at box offices worldwide.

Fans could get a picture taken with her, hold her, even look her in the eyes if they dared.

The new film – Annabelle Comes Home  – is released in Manchester today. It’s the third instalment in the Annabelle series.

In case you aren’t familiar with the films, the first one was released in 2014 as a prequel to The Conjuring, in which the possessed doll first appears.

Ever since then,  fans have often wondered how much of the tale is based on a true story, if at all. Is there a real Annabelle doll? If so, is she as evil as the movie version?

Annabelle (L) and Rhian

The answer is, in fact, yes. There is a real doll. And while the real raggedy doll is a far cry from the revamped porcelain version in the movies, many of the details are scarily similar.

Its original reign of terror began in the 1970’s when a mum bought the doll from a hobby shop for her daughter. The doll swiftly made its true nature known and became a real-life nightmare, starting with a hand movement here and there before changing locations in and around the bedroom.

Things soon got out of hand and before long Annabelle was reported to have started levitating and attacking people in their sleep. Eek.

The creepy looking doll was even reported to have cried tears of blood, turned into a possessed maniac and caused such mayhem that it’s now locked up in a glass box in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.

More than 40 years later, Annabelle has become a film star and has even managed to wangle some personal appearances around the UK. Move over Love Islanders.

Whether or you decide to believe the terrifying tales that surround Annabelle is up to you. But one thing is for certain. If the trailer for her latest film is anything to go by, it’s going to be terrifying.

Annabelle Comes Home is at the Odeon Great Northern and other cinemas across Manchester from today.

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