The Bride in Black, or the Old Woman, are the aliases of a serial killer who used to exist in the Further, whose real name is Parker Crane and is the secondary antagonist of the Insidious film series. He was a minor antagonist of Insidious and the secondary antagonist Insidious: Chapter 3 and the main antagonist of Insidious: Chapter 2.
Parker was born to Michelle Crane and an unknown father on May 19th, 1920, in Hollister, California (this is verified by his hospital chart in Insidious Chapter 2). His mother despises the name Parker, as it was given to him by his father, and demands that he never mentions that name in her presence, preferring to call her son 'Marilyn' instead. Due to her hate for the name and it's relation to Parker's father, it can be assumed that he had a poor relationship with Michelle.
Being raised as a girl and heavily tormented by his insane mother, Parker's emotional and mental stability decayed over the years and his dark side would eventually manifest in the form of a mysterious elderly woman, draped in a black funeral dress. He would use this disguise to lure many women to their doom and escape detection from the authorities.
Parker's rampage eventually came to an end as he was hospitalized after attempting to castrate himself. After a meeting with a young Josh, he committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the hospital. However, shortly after that, he was seen by Lorraine as a ghost and would form a malignant spiritual bond with the boy for years to come.
Ever since, Crane had existed in the Further, and like all ghosts and demons in that realm, was desperate to live again. Crane would have an opportunity to come back to life when a young Josh Lambert developed his ability to Astral Project. The consequences of Josh' ability became horrifyingly noticeable to Josh' mother Lorraine, who could see Crane appearing in multiple photographs; with Crane getting closer and closer to Josh in each one. Beyond terrified, Lorraine sought out psychic Elise Rainier. One night, Elise came to the Lambert home, and quickly discovered Crane's presence. Elise helped Josh to suppress his ability, stopping Crane from possessing him.
Crane would remain in the further for a few more decades, up until Josh' son Dalton, who also had the ability to astral project, found himself trapped within the Further by the Lipstick-Face Demon. Having no other options, Josh was forced to re-enter the Further and rescue his son. While there however, Josh met Crane once again, however this time, Crane was successful in possessing Josh' body. Outside of the Further, Crane was easily discovered by Elise, who took a photo of Josh, revealing it to be Crane underneath. Angered by this, Crane strangled Elise to death, before Josh re-emerged.
Parker Crane is an old man who was abused by his mother as a child. By forcing him to dress as a girl and assume the name 'Marilyn', he soon begun his descent into madness. Crane later became a mass murderer under the alias "The Bride in Black".
It is assumed that his meeting with the young Josh pushed him over the edge - he felt envious of what he perceived as a stable love between Josh and his mother. Parker's desire to live a normal life is what could have caused him to pursue Josh's body, in hopes that he would be able to experience the same affection that a normal person could feel. However, his obsession to live again allowed to be convinced by his mother's memory that he needed to kill Josh's family to save his new body.
The presence of young Parker's spirit in the Further suggests that there was enough good left in him to help free his spirit from his mother's malicious grip. This would destroy the evil in Parker's spirit and allow Josh to retake control of his body.
His record also confirmed that he was a Catholic.
Parker Crane was a tall, pale and bald man with brown eyes in his late 60's according to his medical record.
As The Bride in Black, he wore a black wedding dress with a veil over his face and black gloves. Together with facial makeup and a blonde wig, Crane resembled an elderly woman. During his first appearance in Insidious he holds a candle.
While he was a child, Parker had a short blonde wig and wore a white with pink girl dress.
As a former serial killer and a malevolent spirit, Parker Crane was one of the most powerful entities of Insidious series.
While a human, he was famed as the serial killer `The Bride in Black` with a total of 15 people killed. Despite the fact that he was old when he realized most crimes, he retained enough strength to subdue his victims.
As a spirit of The Futher, he retained his physical prowess and gained eternal life. Despite of his status, he showed no supernatural abilities using only brute force to attack his victims.=
Like all other supernatural entities, he had the ability to possess human bodies as he demonstrated with Josh Lambert. Thanks to this new body, Crane received a new life and access to new physical prowess, using them to subdue his enemies during the Insidious: Chapter 2. However this ability comes with some drawbacks. Because that was not his original body, Crane's presence in it accelerates aging and shorten its lifespan.
In the first Insidious film, Lorraine visits Josh, Renai and Elise and tells Josh about the Old Woman. She recounts that Josh used to suffer night terrors as a child due to an 'old woman' visiting him at night. Dismissing his fears as superstition, as well as telling Josh to grow up and shrug away the bizarre dreams, Lorraine became aware of the malevolent being's existence when she witnessed her presence in photos with Josh in them. Disturbingly, in a chronological span, the Old Woman seemingly moves in closer to Josh as he ages, nearly touching him in one photo.
Elise explains that the Old Woman is a 'parasite' who befriended Josh's astral form in an attempt to possess his physical body. The only way to stop her from doing so was to repress Josh's memory of her and cease taking photos of him. However, Josh developed a subconscious fear of having his photo taken.
Towards the end of the film, the Old Woman reappears to Josh by standing outside a window. Josh, filled with anger and fear, lashes out at her, shouting to leave him alone. She seemingly retreats back into the darkness while it appears that both Josh and Dalton escape the Further together.
The Lambert family celebrates that the nightmare is over, but Elise feels that something is wrong.
Insidious: Chapter 2
In the Chapter 2, Parker, still in the body of Josh, is arrested for the murder of Elise, but is released through lack of evidence. When the family moved into the house of Josh's mother, Renai begins to witness strange happenings throughout the house. Parker, aware that these events are actually caused by the real Josh trying to contact his family, tells her not to worry and that from then on, everything will be fine.
Initially, Parker tried to integrate into the Lambert family by replacing Josh, but his lack of knowledge about Josh's personal life made Renai suspicious at first and later Lorraine, the latter going to seek help from Specs and Tucker.
Subsequently, the group, who were joined by Carl, is contacted by "Elise" in the house where Parker lived, where the two assistants are threatened by a younger version of Parker. They eventually find a secret room with numerous corpses in it as well as a black wedding dress with a veil and several newspaper clippings about a man called "The Bride In Black", who kidnapped and killed several people while wearing the dress.
Lorraine realizes that her son is possessed, and comes home to warn Renai that she and the boys have to get away from "Josh", who has since been repeatedly urged by his mother to kill Josh's family if he wants to keep his youth (the man is pale, unkempt, and has lost his teeth). Once in the car, Lorraine speaks to the daughter of the history of "the bride in black" and the theory that the real Josh is trapped in the Further.
At that same time, Carl arrives at the house where 'Josh' is with a syringe of sedative in his pocket while Specs and Tucker control the situation from their van parked outside. After a brief discussion, the plan fails to quell Josh, and the three, despite the numerical superiority, are overwhelmed. (Specs is knocked out, Tucker gets tranquilized, and Carl, who was nearly choked to death, passes out and inadvertently travels to the Further.) After receiving a fake text message from "Tucker", who tells her that everything was fine, Lorraine and Renai return home, falling into the ambush of Parker. After locking Lorraine in the closet, the man tries to suffocate Renai, but Dalton, who just got home with Foster, hits him in the head with a bat. Taking advantage of the occasion, Renai and children run downstairs and barricade themselves in the laundry room.
After recovering, Parker begins to break into the room while hammering the wall. Meanwhile, in the Further, Carl finds the real Josh and the two eventually meet up with Elise. They then travel to Parker's house where a flashback of Parker's abusive childhood, with his mother yelling at him, is seen. However, the spirit of Michelle eventually notices the intruders, flings Elise and Carl outside the bedroom, and warps the bedroom into the den of darkness, filled with the corpses of Parker's past victims (with herself being one of them).
At the climax of the film, Parker is on the verge of killing Josh's family and becoming the sole owner of the body, while the ghost of Michelle Crane overpowers Josh in a physical confrontation. But thanks to young Parker's spirit and Elise's timely intervention, Michelle Crane, the Woman in White, is banished and Parker's miserable spirit is finally put to rest. As a result of this spiritual catharsis, Parker may have transcended in leaving from The Further. Even though it is not directly inferred, it's highly implied that heaven is where his spirit may have gone.
Insidious: Chapter 3
In Insidious 3, Elise attempted to enter the further to find her deceased husband who had committed suicide. The bride in black used this opportunity to attach himself to her as revenge for stopping his possession of Josh. From then on whenever Elise used her powers the Bride in Black would attempt to strangle her, vowing that this would be how she died. Rainier stated that the evil spirit followed her back after her travel and due to this fact, she vowed to stop going there. However, when Elise decided to help Quinn, she went into The Further, but she was attacked by the Bride in Black. Because Rainier almost died during her encounter with Parker, when she woke up, she told the family that she couldn't help them.
Later on, Elise is convinced by Carl to confront her fear and to continue helping Quinn, so she goes to where the Wheezing Demon lives. However, while Rainier searched for the demonic creature, she encountered Parker. He tried to strangle her again, but this time she managed to fight Crane and threw him at the wall, causing the spirit to retreat.
- Parker Crane holds multiple similarities to Norman Bates, the serial killer from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho . His name may also be a reference to Marion Crane, the woman killed in the infamous shower scene in the same film.
- It's possible that Parker Crane was working with the Wheezing Demon during the events of Insidious Chapter 3.