This weekend, Warner Brothers revealed the full title for the latest entry in The Conjuring franchise at Brazil’s CCXP. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is set for release in September of 2020.
But what’s the story behind the new film?
For that, we have to go all the way back to Brookfield, Connecticut in 1980.
It All Began with a Possession
David Glatzel, then 11 years old, began to exhibit strange behavior after his family acquired a rental property. He spoke of an old man who made threats against the family and began having night terrors. After he received several large scratches on his body, they called in a local priest to bless the home.
The blessing seemed to make matters worse, and after the phenomena began occurring during the day as well as night, the family was at their wits end. They called upon Ed and Lorraine Warren for help and after investigating, they revealed that they thought that David was being possessed. Lorraine had allegedly witnessed a black mist materializing next to the boy and moving through him at various times.
David would growl, hiss, and speak in voices that were not his own, and it was said that he even demonstrated some precognition during that time.
The Warrens called in more priests who reportedly performed between three and six exorcisms on the boy. It was during this time that Arne Johnson, who was in a relationship with David’s mother, Debbie provoked the demonic entity and would later come to believe that when the demon finally fled David’s body, it took over his own.
The family eventually fled the home, and Debbie took a job working as a dog groomer for Alan Bono who also rented out an apartment to the family.
David seemed to finally be recovering but now Arne began exhibiting similar behaviors to the boy. Debbie allegedly claimed that he would go into a trance-like state growling and hallucinating only to forget what had happened when he would emerge from the trance.
On February 16, 1981, Arne called into his job saying that he didn’t feel well and went to spend the day with Debbie at her job. Bono took everyone out to lunch at a local bar where he became intoxicated. An altercation took place when he allegedly became belligerent and grabbed Debbie’s nine year old niece, Mary, by the arm.
Johnson confronted Bono telling him to let the girl go, but Bono refused. Suddenly, and without warning, Johnson seemed to change. He growled at Bono then produced a five-inch blade which he used to repeatedly stab the man in the torso with one wound in particular stretching from his stomach all the way to the base of his heart.
It was the first murder ever reported in Brookfield, Connecticut, but it would not be the last “first” of this case.
The Devil Made Me Do It
When Arne Johnson was brought to trial later in 1981, his lawyer, Martin Minnella, brought a defense no on in the court room was expecting when he tried to enter a plea of “not guilty by virtue of demonic possession.” It was the first time such a plea had been brought before a court in the U.S.
Presiding Judge Robert Callahan rejected the defense saying there was no way to prove that Johnson was indeed possessed noting that it was unscientific. Minnella changed his tactic, attempting a self-defense case arguing that Johnson was protecting his family when the attack occurred.
The defense was, to a degree, unsuccessful. John was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10-20 years in prison, of which he only served five years.
The Aftermath of the Case
Shortly after the case, NBC produced a made-for-TV film titled The Demon Murder Case.
Author Gerald Brittle, meanwhile, published a book titled The Devil in Connecticut, documenting the case with the help of Lorraine Warren. The book eventually went out of print but when it was re-published in 2006, a new wrinkle in the fabric of the case came to light.
Carl Glatzel, Jr. and David Glatzel sued both the authors and publishers claiming that the Warrens had capitalized on and exploited David, who they claimed suffered from mental illness, turning it into a story of demon possession and sensationalizing the details.
Lorraine that her assertions were correct and both Johnson and Debbie, who are now married, have continued to support those assertions.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) will direct the upcoming film The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It based on this case which is admittedly a strange one. This is the third Conjuring film and the seventh in the extended Conjuring Universe which was created by James Wan based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga will return as Ed and Lorraine Warren for the film starring alongside Ruairi O’Connor (The Spanish Princess) as Arne Johnson and Sarah Catherine Hook (Triangle) as Debbie Glatzel. Julian Hilliard (Color out of Space) will appear as young David Glatzel.
Look for the film in theaters in September of 2020!