The titular demonic Nun of Corin Hardy’s prequel horror was first introduced to us in James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 back in 2016, which dramatised the infamous Enfield Haunting and the inquiry conducted by world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively) on behalf of the Vatican. The Nun is a horrifying entity that barely appeared in the film, yet managed to make its presence felt throughout. This character was added to the story late in the production, with the scenes filmed as part of the re-shoots, but the creature has some very real roots.
Lorraine Warren, a medium as well as a paranormal investigator, has reported a number of times that during many of her investigations, including the famous Amityville Haunting, Enfield Haunting, and Annabelle case, she experienced the presence of a dark, demonic spirit. She dreamt of a hooded and veiled figure with ‘female energy’ who would often attack her husband, Ed. Over the course of months and years, the dreams would become more frequent, and eventually Lorraine began to experience these visions during her waking time too.
Lorraine investigated these visions and discovered that the veiled entity was in fact the demon Valak – played so memorably by Bonnie Aarons in the supernatural horror film.
Valak was first mentioned in literature in the 17th Century demonic grimoire ‘The Lesser Key of Solomon,’ a book that drew together stories and tales from centuries prior. The book focuses on demons that were apparently summoned to Earth by the biblical King Solomon, hence its name.
The book describes Valak as a the Grand President of Hell, commanding over a legion of lesser demons. It says:
“The Sixty-second Spirit of Volac, or Valak, or Valu. He is President Mighty and Great, and appeareth like a Child with Angel’s Wings, riding on a Two-headed Dragon. His Office is to give True Answers of Hidden Treasures, and to tell where Serpents may be seen. The which he will bring unto the Exorciser without any Force or Strength being him employed. He governeth 38 Legions of Spirits, and his Seal is thus.”
Obviously, the description of Valak in the book differs greatly from that of the upcoming film and The Conjuring 2, where it is portrayed as a sinister nun, largely due to the artistic licence afforded director James Wan. Lorraine Warren described her visions of Valak as being a “swirling tornado vortex with a hooded figure” in the centre.
Whilst all of the promotional material for The Nun still depicts Valak as a nun, perhaps the film will surprise us all with a shock look at the cherub-like winged baby demon at some point too?