What happened to the real David Glatzel after the events depicted in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It? Here’s why he sued the Warrens in 2007.
Warning: SPOILERS for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
What happened to the real David Glatzel after the events of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It? The latest Conjuring movie begins with a terrifying possession sequence involving the eight-year-old character but leaves out information that’s relevant to his life story. Julian Hilliard portrays David Glatzel in The Conjuring 3.
In The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, David Glatzel spots a ghoulish figure at the family home in Brookfield, Connecticut. After the boy experiences more paranormal activity, his parents enlist Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) to perform an exorcism in October 1980. During the process, Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor) – the boyfriend of David’s sister, Debbie (Sarah Catherine Hook) – invites the spirit into his body. A few months later, Arne kills his landlord and becomes the first U.S. court defendant to cite demonic possession as a defense strategy. The ending of the The Conjuring 3 reveals that Arne served five years prison but doesn’t acknowledge David’s fate.
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David Glatzel’s current whereabouts are unknown. According to a 2021 report (via Hartford Courant), his older brother Carl claims that the entire demonic possession incident was a hoax, and that David struggled over the years while dealing with the media attention. Per another 2021 report (via RadioTimes), Carl Glatzel states that David has “moved on” and recovered from mental health issues. In 2007, the brothers filed a lawsuit against the Warrens and Gerald Brittle – the author of The Devil in Connecticut – for “violating their privacy, libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” While The Conjuring 3 stays true to the real story, the film unsurprisingly tweaks certain facts for dramatic purposes.
Even though David Glatzel has reportedly moved on from his association with the Warrens, his sister Debbie maintained a friendship with Lorraine until the demonologist’s 2019 death. According to Carl, however, that might’ve been the result of a mutually-beneficial financial partnership, as the Warrens confirmed that the family was initially paid $2,000 after the 1983 publication of The Devil in Connecticut. Debbie reportedly passed away from cancer recently, and so Carl has spoken on behalf of his brother and plans to release a book about their experiences, in collaboration with a professional author (per the Hartford Courant): “This story has a twist to it, and you’ll see it soon enough… What we have is phenomenal.”
As the 2021 Hartford Courant piece also notes, Debbie’s boyfriend Arne never actually claimed that he was possessed by a demon, but rather that he could remember murdering his landlord after the exorcism incident. So, the curious case of David Glatzel remains complicated. Whatever one believes, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It indeed features an authentic recording of the 1980 exorcism, though it’s unclear how David recalls the events in the present. Maybe the upcoming book will offer some insight about his experiences over the past 40 years.
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