Terrifying murder trial that inspired 'The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It' revealed
The Conjuring 3 is based on a terrifying true story that shook the world.
Of course, this probably won't come as a surprise to fans of the horror franchise, as all three previous instalments have been based on the lives of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
But what is fact and what's fiction in the third instalment of the franchise, The Devil Made Me Do It? Here's the disturbing truth.
Is The Conjuring 3 based on a true story?
The Conjuring 3 is indeed based on a true story – loosely.
Like the previous films within The Conjuring universe, this sequel is based on the real-life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. It's also known as The Devil Made Me Do It case.
Of course, this is a Hollywood flick, so we can expect the story to have been sensationalized. But the real case that the Warrens investigated is very interesting.
What was the Devil Made Me Do It case?
The Devil Made Me Do It case revolves around 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson who was convicted of murdering his landlord, Alan Bono, in 1981. It occurred after an argument involving his girlfriend, Debbie Glatzel, came to blows.
After Johnson stabbed Bono multiple times, his sister, Wanda, claimed that she heard him growling like an animal, and that a shiny light flashed in the air.
Johnson's lawyer later said that Bono had suffered "four or five tremendous wounds". One wound is said to have stretched from his stomach to his heart. Johnson then walked in a trance-like state into the woods. He said he had no recollection of the murder.
It became the first case in US history to use the defence of demonic possession after Johnson said that he had been possessed by the devil, and could not be held accountable. He claimed that a demon possessed his body, while he was trying to help another family, The Glatzels, expel a demon out of their son, David.
Johnson was the boyfriend of the Glatzel's daughter, Debbie.
Per The Discovery Channel's, A Haunting, Where Demons Dwell, the Glatzels claimed that their 11-year-old was possessed by a demon after they cleared up a rental property. David said he had visions of an elderly man who would appear as a demonic beast, and threaten to steal his soul.
David then started to exhibit odd behaviour. He would growl, mutter in strange voices, and recite passages from the Bible and Milton's Paradise Lost. He also had unexplained scratches and bruises after experiencing convulsions.
The Glatzels called for the Catholic Church to perform an exorcism on their son — which was denied. And that's when the Warrens stepped in.
What did the Warrens say?
Ed and Lorraine suspected that multiple possessions were controlling David, and attempted to perform exorcisms.
Lorraine claims that David levitated stopped breathing for a period and even developed the ability to predict the future. In October of 1980, the Warrens warned Brookfield police, saying that the situation was becoming dangerous.
When the Warrens conducted "three lesser exorcisms", Johson reportedly egged the demon on. It was then — the investigators claimed — that the demon focused its attention on Johnson.
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Eyewitnesses say that several days later, Johnson was attacked by the demon, and that he was possessed after making eye contact with it on the property. This was something that the Warrens had reportedly warned him against.
The day after the murder, Lorraine told the Brookfield Police that Johnson had been possessed at the time of the crime. This sparked a media frenzy, in which the Warrens were promised lectures, a book, and even a movie about the case.
What happened at the trial?
The trial started on October 28th, 1981, in Connecticut's Superior Court in Danbury.
Johnson's lawyer, Martin Minnella, attempted to submit a plea of not guilty by virtue of possession. However, the judge, Robert Callahan, rejected this.
He argued that no such defence could be upheld in a court of law due to a lack of evidence, and that it would be "irrelative and unscientific" to allow related testimony. This meant that the jury could not legally consider demonic possession as an explanation for the murder.
As a result, the defence began to imply that Johnson acted in self-defence. The jury deliberated for 15 hours over three days before convicting Johnson of first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10 - 20 years in prison.
He only served five years.
The Conjuring 3 – the true story
Following the case, Lorraine Warren wrote a book. It was titled The Devil in Connecticut, and co-authored with Gerald Brittle.
When it was republished in 2006, David Glatzel and his brother Carl sued for libel. Carl alleged that the whole thing was a hoax, and that the Warrens had encouraged them to participate — saying that it would make them rich.
"I had to drop out of school in tenth grade due to the ridicule and negative attention the story brought. And I was unable to further my education. I finally understood why I lost friends, relationships, business opportunities, and ultimately had to be ashamed of my own family name based upon a lie," Carl said.
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Lorraine denied the allegations. She asserted that the possession was investigated by the Catholic Church, and that they had supporting documentation to back up their claims.
In any case, it will be interesting to see how the Conjuring 3 depicts the true story, with all of its eccentricities and inconsistencies...