The following post contains potential SPOILERS for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, as it discusses the facts of the real-life case featured in the film.

The trailer for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It boasts that it is “based on the true case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren” and that it involves their investigation of a 1981 case about a man who “pled not guilty by reason of demonic possession.” So it’s only natural that when the film arrives in theaters this summer, some viewers may be wondering: Is The Conjuring 3 really on a true story? The first two Conjuring installments before it were both inspired by true events, and as it turns out, the upcoming third movie draws from real life as well.

The film’s plot is based on the Trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the “Devil Made Me Do It” case. (That’s Arne Johnson, in the above picture to the right, with the overcoat draped over his arm.) Taking place in 1981, Johnson’s trial was America’s first known court case in which the defense attempted to prove its client’s innocence based on the defendant’s claim that he had been under the influence of the devil. Johnson’s claim of demonic possession meant that he would not take personal responsibility for the murder of his landlord, Alan Bono. The killing occurred in February of 1981.

Supposedly, the family of 11-year-old David Glatzel became convinced that their son was possessed by a demon. In a last-ditch effort to save their son — who was behaving erratically and dangerously — the Glatzels hired self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring film series) to help them remove the possession. The couple had received notoriety for their involvement with the famous Amityville Haunting, which appeared as the prologue of The Conjuring 2.

The Warrens were allegedly able to perform an exorcism on David’s body — but supposedly after the demon was removed from David it then took up residence in the body of Arne Johnson, who was present during the exorcism. Johns then killed Bono several months later. However, because there was no possible way Johnson’s defendant could prove this supernatural event in court, Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter.

The first two Conjuring movies are chilling to the bone, and this is in part because they are rooted in historical accounts. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which arrives in theaters and on HBO Max June 4th, 2021, will be no different. Here is the film’s trailer:

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