The Conjuring series has been successfully delivering strains of dread and consternation since 2013. It can safely be said that the anthology from real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren and their spine-chilling case files has revolutionised the horror genre.
However, one of the most unnerving narrations from their case files from 1981, remained to be told which, now, has found its way into the next iteration of the movie series.
Talking to Bloody Disgusting, the director of the first two Conjuring movies, James Wan, revealed that the film will be based on a case from 1981, in which a man was put on trial for committing a murder. The defendant used ‘possession’ as an ‘excuse’ for manslaughter.
Now, if we shuffle through the Warrens’ case files, the case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson fits the description.
According to The New York Times, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was a tree surgeon from Connecticut who attempted a murder trial defence of ‘guilty by reason of demonic possession’.
Following a heated argument on the evening of Friday 16, 1981, 19-year-old Johnson fatally stabbed the manager of a kennel, Alan Bono, with a pocket knife. Johnson was charged with first-degree murder.
However, the story doesn’t really start with the gruesome murder.
A year before committing the murder, Johnson moved into the family home of his girlfriend, Debbie Glatzel.
According to Glatzel’s mother, one day, as she was putting up curtains in the house, she saw her son, David Glatzel fall suddenly on the bed.
That night, he informed his mother that someone had pushed him and that a little old man had appeared before him with burnt-looking skin, pointing a finger and warning him, ‘Beware’.
The mother also claimed that her son gained 60 pounds, growled and hissed, spoke in strange voices, and recited passages from the Bible or from Milton’s Paradise Lost.
She produced photographic evidence to solidify her claim. The photograph showed an obese boy of 12, lying on his back on the floor with a sloppy expression on his face. The next photograph seemed to show what appeared to be Johnson trying to hold the boy down, and a crucifix with its chain broken, lying on the floor.
After consulting the local church in Brookfield, Mrs Glatzel sought help from the famed Warrens. Along with the Warrens, four priests from St. Joseph’s worked to resolve the boy’s affliction.
In an interview with People Magazine, Lorraine informed that upon their arrival, the boy started complaining of invisible hands choking him and that there were red marks on his neck.
After investigating the boy, Ed Warren claimed that he had 43 demons inside him.
One of the priests, Father Virgulak, told The New York Times that they couldn’t perform a full and formal rite of exorcism on the boy.
Tragically, few of the demons that were exorcised out of the boy entered Johnson.
Johnson too started to elicit similar growls and hisses, slipping into trances off and on, for a period of months.
The manslaughter reportedly took place months after the exorcism.
So, one fine day, after Johnson, Glatzel, and Bono, who were all friends, returned from a luncheon, a heated argument ensued between them. Bono was reportedly killed by Johnson during the argument.
Glatzel, according to The New York Times, held firm in her belief that the killing was the Devil’s work. The judge hammered down the paranormal angle of the incident and Johnson was charged with first-degree murder.
Ed and Lorraine have a website of their own which contain materials from all the cases that they’ve worked on. Eerily enough, their website seems to be down. We also scoured the internet looking for images from the case file but couldn’t find any. And this surely cannot be a coincidence, right?