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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: True Incident Breakdown and Comparison

The Story Behind The Conjuring 3 Explained
From The Official Trailer Of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It Featuring Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren

The Conjuring franchise returns to theatres with a new true story to tell in the form of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. For the past decade, The Conjuring Franchise is one of the most successful ones which made its place in the new era of cinemas. The one built upon movie and TV universes. While many fail to replicate the success of Marvel, The Conjuring continued to create its own in a small bubble. Especially for the horror movie fans. Thus showcasing the real-life stories taking cues from the files of popular demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. They try to keep the story to the point and often take creative liberties for an entertaining watch at the same time.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It takes us to 1981, Brookefield Connecticut. Telling the story of a little kid possessed by a Demon who later finds a home in an elder individual of the family resulting in him committing a murder. The case became sensational when Demonic possession was used to prove innocence in court for the very first time in history. So here we are taking a look at the true story behind The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Then we will move on to see how much of the difference the movie makes from the true story to tell its own re-iteration. From timeline differences to character omissions and more scary elements left out.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – True Story

David’s Possession From The Conjuring 3

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is based on The Trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. More popularly known as the “Devil Made Me Do It” case.  The story begins with eleven-year-old David Glatzel who has been helping his elder sister Debbie and her fiance Arne Cheyenne Johnson for cleaning a rental property in Connecticut. During the workload, David claimed off meeting an old man who scared and threatened him. When he approached his elder sister about it, she thought David was making things up. Things went bad when the visions of the old man continued for David even after he went back to his mother’s house.

The Real Story Behind David's Possession In The Conjuring 3

From The Official Trailer Of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It Featuring Julian Hilliard as David Glatzel

David’s visions saw the old man turning into a beast, speaking Latin and threatening him. He had night terrors but the situation escalated with David having scratch marks and bruises. This called in the family to take immediate measures and bring in a priest to bless the house but to no help. When there was no stop, the couple turned their heads to famous Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Upon meeting David, Lorraine claimed of seeing a black mist near him indicating the presence of the demon.  She also saw him get beaten and choked which would later explain the red marks around his neck. What followed in was growl, otherworldly voices, and David reciting passages from The Bible and Paradise Lost

Arnie’s Possession From The Conjuring 3

The Story Behind Arnie's Possession In The Conjuring 3

From The Official Trailer Of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It Featuring Ruairi O’Connor as Arne Cheyenne Johnson

So the Warrens were present during the three exorcisms David went through. During them, Lorraine claimed of David levitating, ceasing breath and even predicting a future murder. In one of the exorcisms, Arne Johnson shouted at the devil to possess him instead. Following that exorcism, David’s condition started improving. But the same demon attacked Arne while he was driving a car to crash into a tree. He survived but he later visited an old well from a rental property that was home to the devil. He claimed to make eye contact with the demon in the well.

When Arnie’s condition worsened, the couple moved. Debbie found a job at Kennel owned by a man named Alan Bono. They rented a house close to where Debbie worked. But moving didn’t work as Arnie began to behave much like how David did under the possession. So it was evident that the same demon went on to possess Arnie after all. Debbie often found him lost, growling and hallucinating, and waking up to forget everything.

The Trial Of Arnie Cheyenne Johnson From The Conjuring 3

The Real Story Of Arnie's Trial From The Conjuring 3

From The Official Trailer Of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It Featuring Ruairi O’Connor as Arne Cheyenne Johnson

On February 16, 1981, Arnie called in sick from work and joined Arnie on her job along with her two sisters Wanda and Mary. Alan Bono took everyone to lunch but late when they returned Bono was heavily intoxicated. He grabbed the hands of Debbie’s 9-year-old sister Mary and refused to let go. This led Arnie to intervene which led to an argument as Mary went into the car. Debbie tried to stop both of them until Arnie started exhibiting the demonic behavior again. He growled and stabbed Alan Bono repeatedly with a pocket knife.

Lorraine Warren confirmed with the Brookefield Police about the murder taking place during a possession. This caused media havoc. The case became the first murder in the town and also the first known court case in the United States where the defense tried to prove innocence on basis of demonic possession. The case was called the “Devil Made Me Do It” case in the media. The court on the other hand rejects the defense calling the demonic possession “irrelative and unscientific” for testimony moving on to self-defense. The court later charged Arnie with the first-degree manslaughter imprisoning him for 10-15 years but he serves only five.

The Differences Between The True Story And Movie

Let’s start with where The Conjuring 3 begins which is July 1981 where Ed and Lorraine Warren exorcised David. But if we look at the original timeline, the past year of 1980 saw several priests exorcising David. The same ones from them saw Arne mocking the Demon. Coming to the murder trial, took place in February of 1981. For some reason, the movie is set a year ahead. So there are a few timeline changes and dates rushed into for the movie adaptation of the story. Also note, the movie saw Lorraine claiming that one demon is possessing David. But if we talk about the real-life situation, Lorraine claimed 42-43 different demons possessed David.

The Differences In Story Of The Conjuring 3

From The Official Trailer Of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

Let’s also talk about the lawyer. The movie saw her not believing the case Warrens presented for Arnie. It all changed with her one visit to Waren’s Home where she met Annabelle in person. But if we talk about the real-life lawyer of Arnie Johnson as in Martin Minella. He instantly believed the case as he had already known of some similar ones. Coming to trial the movie saw heavily emphasizing the Devil Made Me Do It Case. But in reality, as mentioned above, the court instantly rejected Demonic Possession from the defense as irrelevant and unscientific. What followed in is three days to examine the case before charging Arnie Johnson with first-degree manslaughter.

Now coming to the brother of the Glatzel family who was never mentioned in the movie. While the entire family believed the Demonic possession, Carl Glatzel who was the middle child in the Glatzel family denied it.  The movie left the character out for some reason who claimed the entire possession was a hoax and Lorraine Warren banked on the opportunity. Talking about character omissions, let’s talk about the absence of Alan Bono from the film.  The movie decided to keep him but with a different name going by Bruno Sauls. Another case was during the re-iteration of the events of the murder. As mentioned above, when Arnie killed Bono, Debbie was there with her sisters Wanda and Mary. But in the movie, we saw him murdered in the dark as he saw the visions of the demon.

Also Read: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Ending Explained

Written By

Hello there, Rahul here, I am a writer and a passionate musician. I love writing since I remember I was a kid and was made to read a lot of books. You will find me writing about anime and shows here and there. You can reach out to me at



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