We know that the events of The Conjuring 2 are based on a supposedly true story taken from Ed and Lorraine Warren's case files on the Enfield Haunting, but what about The Nun herself? Like Annabelle before her, The Nun is derived from real history.
Despite several entities causing merry havoc in The Conjuring 2, for most viewers the movie was all about The Nun. A demon in the form of a nun is popular trope for horror movies, but James Wan's The Conjuring 2 built on pre-existent demon mythology, developing a well-known story into one of 2016's scariest characters.
The nun is visible at 01:50 and 02:10 in The Conjuring 2 trailer.
Is The Conjuring 2 Nun Based on a Real Legend?
The Nun herself is only the way the demon presents itself to Lorraine Warren and the family in Enfield. James Wan was considering which form the Conjuring 2 demon should take when he was inspired by a conversation with paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren. Wan told io9:
''From talking to Lorraine in passing, she mentioned a spectral entity that has haunted her in her house. And it’s this swirling tornado vortex with this hooded figure in there...
Because it is a demonic vision that haunts her, that only attacks her, I wanted something that would attack her faith. Something that would threaten the safety of her husband. And so that was eventually how the idea of this very iconographic image of a holy icon cemented in my head.''
The Demon Valak and the Mythology of The Conjuring 2
Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) eventually discovers the name of the demon in The Conjuring 2: Valak. If you happen to be a scholar on the Early Modern period with a wealth of knowledge on goetic grimoires, you'll know that Valak — or Valu, Ualac, Valac or Volac — is not to be trifled with. The 17th century spellbook about demons, Clavicula Salomonis Regis (aka The Lesser Key of Solomon or Lemegeton) describes Valak as a high-ranking demon, whose principle qualities are as follows:
- Great President of Hell
- Commands 30 legions of demons
- Appears as a little winged boy on a two-headed dragon
- Skilled at finding treasures and serpents
Valak is also referenced in Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (1577), Liber Officium Spirituum (1583) and the 15th Century Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, but his general description remains consistent. It would be interesting to see if The Conjuring 3 chooses to portray demons in a more classically demonic form, or if we'll continue to see the humanoid manifestations — like The Nun — that we're used to seeing.
As for The Nun, she's getting her own spin-off movie, so she'll be back in the habit soon...