‘The Conjuring 3′ is Based on Events That Took Place in This New England Town
The Conjuring 3 is coming to theaters June 4, 2021 and the movie stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. The duo return to portray real life paranormal experts Lorraine and Ed Warren.
The Conjuring 3 is about a case the Warrens studied in the 1980's known as "The Devil Made Me Do It" murder. How the murder actually happened is widely debated, but it did happen. It happened right here in Brookfield, Connecticut.
Mike Allen was the News Director at I-95 at that time and covered the case and the trial for I-95. He told us the story behind "The Devil Made Me Do It" and how the events in Brookfield were the inspiration for The Conjuring 3. (Full Mike Allen interview audio below)
"I hate to put my age into this but yeah, it was 40 years ago. In fact, Tuesday the 16th (2/16/21) will be exactly the 40 year anniversary of the stabbing death.
It happened on Federal Road where Marta Kennels is now, I think it's Marta Spa for animals - dogs spa or something. That used to be the Brookfield Kennels.
Alan Bono who was the 40 year old proprietor, single man, lived there and had a couple of apartments there and he had hired a local woman Debbie Glatzel to groom dogs and she was living in an apartment that's also on the property.
Debbie was dating a Bridgeport guy, 19 year old Arne Cheyenne Johnson and he was a tree surgeon and was known to carry his knife with him almost all the time, you know on and off duty.
It was a Monday. They had gone out to a place where they were drinking. It was also in Brookfield, right near the Brookfield/Danbury line on Federal Road. I spoke to the waitress who served them that day and they were cut off because there had been too much.
They were, particularly Alan, had been drinking. So they left, they went back to the kennels a little after 6:30 in the evening when there was some sort of altercation. Depending on who you listen to and what you read and what you hear, I spoke to Debbie Glatzel who was there and I spoke to Arne's three little sisters who were there and saw this.
Alan, who was pretty inebriated, got apparently belligerent, there was some sort of argument and he had grabbed I believe it was Debbie and one of the girls by their arms or one of them by their arms and wouldn't let go.
Arne had left, I guess the lobby in the building or they were right outside. Anyway, he came back down, there was an altercation between him and Alan. What happened after that was the subject of several different versions.
But what I can tell you for sure is what the Brookfield Police said and what the coroner said and that was that Alan Bono had five stab wounds, four in his torso and one in his neck.
He was alive when the police and ambulance crew got to the scene. They rushed him to Danbury Hospital and within and hour, he was dead.
Arne was not at the scene, he fled the scene. He was arrested on Silver Mine Road about one or two miles away, near the Glatzel home and whether he was headed back that way or not, who knows?
To this day he claims he has no memory of this and does not remember stabbing anybody. There were different versions of the story first, I mean the original Brookfield Police News Release says that witnesses said that he stabbed him. Then that became 'we did not see him stab himself'. There were allegations of knives flying in the air and by themselves which were then later recanted.
And, you know, there were several versions of the story as it went in and out of the courtroom. What was notable was, first of all, it was the first murder in Brookfield history that anybody can document.
That same night in Woodbury, there was a murder/suicide which goes completely unreported to this day but it was very odd. And then two nights later was the full moon. So, it was all happening around kind of this spooky time. You know, I still remember the police sirens flying by our radio station back that night 40 years ago.
We were having a News Department meeting and we had turned off the police scanners so we didn't hear any of this on the police scanners that night and weren't at the scene but we quickly picked up on it after that."
The Catholic Church is brought in
We paused here and I asked Mike to give a bit more about the paranormal aspects of the story. I wanted to know what it is that drew the attention of the Warrens? What were some of the witnesses saying that brought this dark attention to the story? Where do the words: "The Devil Made Me Do It" come from? He replied:
"So what ended up happening was, Debbie's little brother was eleven at the time and having some issues and again, depending upon who you spoke to, what you want to believe on this, was certainly having some sort of fits during the nighttime in particular.
They were claiming demonic possession, they called in the Brookfield Church. Father James Dennis was called. He apparently called in the Warrens of Monroe. The Brookfield Police were called about this and I spoke to the police officers who went to the house and heard some of these events.
I spoke to the exorcist of the Bridgeport Diocese, Father Francis Virgulak and I spoke to other priests who were there. They did three sessions which are not formally exorcisms. In the Catholic Church, you have something called the ritual Romano which is the high rights of exorcism."
You'll Have Plenty to Write About
I asked Mike to tell us about something I remembered the priest had said to him. I've heard Mike tell the story before and I wanted to have the audience hear him say this. It seemed as if the priest was trying to give Mike a message without going on record, Mike replied:
"Yeah, what he said was, look ,on the record, what I am telling you is we did not do a formal exorcism. Off the record, I can paraphrase that he basically said if this ever goes to trial and we're made to testify, you'll have plenty to write about. And police officers I spoke to also heard and saw things that they could not, they just could not explain."
Challenging the Devil
I asked about the child being possessed and the suggestion that his possession somehow resulted in this murder. Mike Allen had this to say:
"So, here's the actual part of the story. I'm sorry, I kind of danced around this. The little boy was supposedly possessed, Arne, the boyfriend of Debbie, in one of these sessions while he was having a fit that supposedly challenged the devil to leave the boy and take him on.
And when he did this, the Warrens will tell you, you don't ever do that in the paranormal, you don't challenge the devil. The devil supposedly accommodated him and took him over and then he supposedly stabbed Alan Bono.
But the court case they wanted to bring into court was not guilty by reason of demonic possession, which was the first time in a U.S. courtroom that it was brought in as a defense. The judge would not allow it to be brought in as a defense, he said you can plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
The Attorney Martin Menella of Waterbury said it was not insanity, it was demonic possession and he ended up getting convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to I think it was 10-20, served actually five years, just shy of five years and was released early for being a model prisoner and I think he's still living in the area."
(You can hear the interview below)
As Mike mentioned, the murder trial was historic because it was the first time that Not Guilty by reason of demonic possession was used as a defense in a United States courtroom.
Mike's segment was part of a new feature called "The Place You Live" which will air every Tuesday between 8 and 9 am on the Ethan and Lou Show.