The Conjuring: “The Devil Made Me Do It”….or did he?

The Conjuring movie franchise is a firm favourite of mine. I’ve been intrigued and a fan of Ed and Lorraine Warren for many years so naturally these films have hit the spot for me. Whenever we go to the cinema to watch the latest franchise film, aside from being gripped by the movie, I always find myself wondering which parts of the film actually happened and which parts had creative license applied?

If like me you also want to know the fact versus the fiction then carry on reading as we delve into the crazy yet magnificent world of Ed and Lorraine Warren.


DISCLAIMER
If you haven’t watched the film but plan on doing so and you don’t want any spoilers beforehand then stop reading for now and come back again once you have seen it.

The film is set in 1981 in Brookfield, Connecticut. The storyline of this film is mainly from the infamous murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson — the third man in modern criminal history to attempt a defense by demonic possession. Still with me? Awesome! Let’s look at what was fact and what was fiction!

David Glatzel’s excorcism

By all accounts, this might have actually happened. There are different versions floating around the internet (no pun intended) of what happened to the then 11-year old David Glatzel:

Wikipedia states “After witnessing a number of increasingly ominous occurrences involving David, the family, exhausted and terrified, decided to enlist the aid of Ed and Lorraine Warren in a last-ditch effort to “cure” David. The Glatzel family, along with the Warrens, then proceeded to have multiple priests petition the Church to have a formal exorcism performed on David. The process continued for several days, concluding when, according to those present, a demon fled the child’s body and took up residence within Arne.”

All this is apparently documented in the book The Devil in Connecticut by Gerald Brittle.

Mashable states: “…in a recent interview with the Hartford Courant, David’s older brother Carl once again contended — as he’s done for many years now — that no such possession ever took place.

According to Carl, David began having hallucinations and delusions in late 1979. His apparent mental condition worsened over a number of years, and the Glatzels eventually brought in priests and demonologists, like the Warrens, to intervene. However, Carl later brought suit against Lorraine, as well as other related parties, arguing their false claims ruined his and his brother’s life.

The audio recording at the end of the film, which includes David screaming and growling, is real, but has never been released in its entirety to the public. It’s also noteworthy that while the Warrens speak about David having one demon possess his body in the film, Lorraine repeatedly said it could have been as many as 40 demons possessing David throughout the real investigation of the case.

The murder of Bruno Sauls

Arne Cheyenne Johnson did commit murder, however, a few things were different from the storyline:

  1. The murder wasn’t in the house as depicted in the film, instead, it was committed on the front lawn after Sauls reportedly violently grabbed and refused to let go of Debbie’s then 9-year-old cousin
  2. The 9-year old cousin wasn’t in the film
  3. He wasn’t called Bruno Sauls. The real name of the person who was murdered was Alan Bono

What did actually happen was the scene that shows Arne wandering down the street, covered in blood, and telling police, “I think I hurt someone”. He was apparently two miles from the murder scene.

Arne Cheyenne Johnson was convicted and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison on November 24, 1981. Yet, due to his good behavior behind bars, he was granted early release after just five years, meaning that he was set free in January 1986.

The Disciples of the Ram

Introduced within the Annabelle film series, this faction/cult does not exist and has never existed. Furthermore, there were no reports of hexed totems, dark bibles, or witches at any point within this whole fiasco.

The Trial of Arne Johnson

Even though the basis of most of the film was the fact that Johnson’s defense was he was under possession, the actual truth is the judge dismissed it stating per the Hartford Courant, “I’m not going to allow the defense of demon possession, period.

Johnson was sentenced to 10-20 years for manslaughter, however, he was released after 5 years for good behaviour. He did end up marrying Debbie while in prison and they remained married up until her recent passing.

The Rochdale Poltergeist

The year is 1995 and while the rest of the United Kingdom are basking in a scorching heatwave, one family in a town called Rochdale are suffering at the hands of poltergeist activity. The story had caught the attention of the Manchester Evening News (see newspaper clipping below) when they ran a story called “Spooky spills scare family from home” which in turn caught the attention of the Manchester Association of Paranormal Investigation & Training (MAPIT) and in particular their chairman Steve Mera. The following events resulted in the book “The Rochdale Poltergeist – A True Story” being released.

Manchester Evening News article Photo Credit - Steve Mera | MAPIT

The family (Jim and Vera Gardner along with daughter Jeanette) claimed that they were being driven from their home by sudden occurrences of water pouring down on them from the ceiling which had made their lives a living nightmare for almost a year. Ceilings in their prefabricated bungalow would suddenly pour with water – soaking their beds, carpets, floors, and furniture yet despite several inspections that were made by Tradesmen and Housing Officers, the cause of the water remained a mystery.

Enter Steve Mera. Steve was wary of the fact the property is Council owned and is has been known for some Council House residents to complain about Paranormal activities in the house in the hope of a quick move to a more desired location but he was still intrigued enough to make contact with Rochdale Council who told him they suspected Jim & Vera had made the story up to get a better home than the one they were currently living in.

Two days after speaking with Rochdale Council, Steve received a call from them asking if he would attend a meeting at the Council Offices to discuss the events reported at the property on Foxholes Close. At the meeting, the council enlisted the services of Steve and MAPIT to investigate the occurrences that Jim & Vera had reported.

During the initial meeting with Jim & Vera at the house on Foxholes Close, Steve and his team heard their stories of water flowing across the ceiling as if defying gravity then suddenly falling on them like a rain shower. They also heard stories of auditory happenings like footsteps, scratching on the walls, knocking, and even verbally speaking. Vera believed it was the ghost of her first husband who died suddenly at their house ten years prior. She thought he wasn’t happy she re-married and this was his way of showing his disapproval. What they couldn’t understand though was she had been remarried at this point for two years and the strange occurrences started only ten months ago. If this was the ghost of her first husband then why had he left his disapproval for so long?

Although nothing paranormal happened during the initial visit to the property Steve thought that their daughter Jeanette was the conductor of the paranormal activity due to her mental disability (Vera had confirmed to Jim that although Jeanette was in her 30’s, she had a mental age of a young child). Along with everything Jim & Vera had told him, Steve concluded he had heard enough happenings to warrant a full paranormal investigation and arranged to re-visit the property with full equipment a couple of weeks later. In total the team visited the property three times (including the initial meeting).

During the second visit to the property, Steve asked if he could look in the loft to check for signs of an obvious water leak which would help explain the water pouring from the ceiling. Up in the loft, he could see no signs of a leak and a peel-back of the loft insulation showed there had never been any water damage to the ceiling at all. Back down out of the loft Jim was telling Steve about occurrences that happened in the two weeks was just more of the same as previously reported when Jeanette came running into the lounge shouting “It’s happening again!” and that was when Steve and the team witnessed first-hand water spreading across the ceiling, defying gravity. It did this for about five minutes and then soaked back up into the ceiling again but not before Steve captured some of the water into a sample bottle for testing. Moments later the ceiling was dry to touch, one of the other team members, Peter Hough went into the loft to check for water up there and the plasterboard was bone dry just as it was the first time Steve checked it.

Now Steve had caught a sample of the water he needed to get a reference sample from one of the usual water supplies in the house so he took another sample from the tap in the bathroom sink. Both of these went off for analysis at North West Water.

Meeting back up in the living room Steve was keen to arrange another investigation this time without the family being there so they could prove there was no fakery by anyone in the house. Just as Vera was explaining the family could stay at her sisters’ house during the investigation, Jim shouts out from the kitchen “Here we go again!”, all rushed into the kitchen and they saw Jim stood underneath an umbrella whilst it was raining in the kitchen.

The day came for the third and final investigation where the team had the property to themselves for the day and night and this time the paranormal activity got even more active. The team had set up a 360° camera in the living room and had done a full 360° recording of the room to act as a reference point in case anything moved out of place they could use that reference to see where it had been moved from and during this investigation they witnessed a statue turning up in the middle of the living room floor which hadn’t been there previously. They checked the camera to see where it had come from and they couldn’t find it anywhere on the original footage so the team made a note to check with Jim and Vera when they returned the next day as to where the statue normally lived.

They also heard voices and raspy breathing coming out of an unplugged radio alarm clock, the voice was of that of a man and sounded like the old CB Radio’s that was used in taxes. Steve and two other members of the team were sat on the bed in the room where Vera’s husband had passed away when suddenly was Steve felt like he had been kicked in the back and was forced off the bed and onto the floor. Finally, they had witnessed one of the internal doors in the house being covered in water before it started to trickle onto the floor.

Photo of Steve’s back following being forced off the bed Photo Credit - Steve Mera | MAPIT

When the family returned the next day, the team recounted everything that had happened including the statue that had moved. Vera pointed to the shelf where it lived. Again the team checked the 360° camera footage but this time Jim and Vera saw the footage and the place where Vera had said it lived was empty. Where and when did the statue get moved from and to in the time from the Gardners leaving the house to it turning up in the middle of the living room floor, no one knows.

During the debriefing, Steve was asking Vera about her previous husband. She explained he was a taxi driver before he got ill and passed away. Steve asked how did he pass away and she explained he had died from a heart attack but he also had underlying health issues like Emphysema and explained he was always struggling to catch his breath.

Results from North West Water Photo Credit - Steve Mera | MAPIT

The water samples that Steve had captured had already been sent to the laboratory of North West Water for testing and the results proved the water on the ceiling to be something of the paranormal. Water is tested for the amounts of USCM’s. USCM is a measurement of the amount of electrical charge water picks up when ran through copper piping, the “normal” range is from 70 to 108. The sample from the bathroom tap measured 93 which proved this was just normal tap water, however, the sample taken from the ceiling measured 1323. The team at North West Water had never seen a reading like that before and had no explanation has to how or what could cause the reading to get that high. It did prove though that the water was not part of a leak in the house.

When Steve had presented his results to Rochdale Council they were shocked, the Council still thought the Gardners had made the stories up to get a different property but on the back of Steve’s recommendation, that’s exactly what happened anyway. The Gardners were relocated to a different property elsewhere. Steve recommended the house on Foxhills Close was left vacant with all electricity, gas and water turned off for a minimum of 9 months which would be enough time to drain the poltergeist of any energy obtained from people or mains power sources.

The Council left the property empty for longer than 9 months before moving anyone back into it and to this day there have been no other reported paranormal events happen in the house.

If you are interested in more in-depth details of the Rochdale Poltergeist then Steve’s book (Co-authored with Jenny Ashford) is available to buy “The Rochdale Poltergeist – A True Story

Making The Para…Normal

There are a lot of posts going round the Internet and Social Media claiming “this is paranormal” or “that is paranormal”. We all love a good ghost story or maybe something that just cannot be explained (hence the name of our site), however, most of the time you will find that with a little bit of research most of these “paranormal” things are in fact just…..well, err, normal and we have a list of “Paranormal” items to show you that do the rounds over Social Media that aren’t paranormal, just normal.

Orbs in photo’s

This is the most common photo I see where people claim there is some kind of paranormal activity going on when a little Google Search for “orbs in photo’s” brings over five million search results. The top one as of writing this post is for a page on Wikipedia on the subject of “Backscatter”. The following is taken directly from Wikipedia:

In photography, backscatter (also called near-camera reflection) is an optical phenomenon resulting in typically circular artifacts on an image, due to the camera’s flash being reflected from unfocused motes of dust, water droplets, or other particles in the air or water. It is especially common with modern compact and ultra-compact digital cameras.

Caused by the backscatter of light by unfocused particles, these artifacts are also sometimes called orbs, referring to a common paranormal claim. Some appear with trails, suggesting motion.

I’m not saying all photo’s with orbs in them are due to water droplets or dust etc, however, I would guesstimate that at least 95% of them are because of this.

Vampires, Zombies and Caged Graves

This one makes for a really intriguing tale but that is all there is to it, there is no truth to the covering of graves with a cage when a fear of zombies and vampires was prevalent. If you are still dubious about this then here are some facts:

The Victorian Era was from 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901.

One of the first books to expose Western culture to the concept of the voodoo zombie was The Magic Island (released in 1929 – 28 years after the Victorian era ended)  by W. B. Seabrook.

Vampires properly originating in folklore were widely reported from Eastern Europe in the late 17th and 18th centuries. These tales formed the basis of the vampire legend that later entered Germany and England, where they were subsequently embellished and popularized. These dates could validate that the grave cage’s were there as a “just in case”, however, there is one issue with that…..

….. these are called Mortsafe‘s and again, our friend Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

Mortsafes were contraptions designed to protect graves from disturbance. Resurrectionists had supplied the schools of anatomy in Scotland since the early 18th century. This was due to the necessity for medical students to learn anatomy by attending dissections of human subjects, which was frustrated by the very limited allowance of dead bodies – for example the corpses of executed criminals – granted by the government, which controlled the supply.

Mortsafes’ were there to stop people from stealing the corpse NOT to stop vampires and zombies from escaping the grave.

112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville

Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

We all know about The Amityville Horror, most of us will have seen the films and a lot will believe the story to be true, or at best will believe the Lutz families part of the story is true.

The truth is, Twenty-three-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo shot his two parents and four younger siblings in their beds. He later quickly confessed to the murders under police interrogation, claiming that “voices in the house” told him to do it. He was subsequently sentenced to six consecutive life terms after his insanity plea was thrown out of court.

Another truth is that a year after the murders, the Lutz family moved into 112 Ocean Avenue but that is where the truth ends. The truth is DeFeo’s own lawyer says he and the Lutzes made up most of the story after consuming several bottles of wine. Indeed, no one who has lived in the house since then has reported any paranormal activity.

Ancient Egyptian Spinning Statue

Back in 2013 the video above caught the attention of media outlets worldwide when the Manchester Museum had a video of an Ancient Egyptian statue rotating on its own.

The 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue had curators at Manchester Museum scratching their heads after it began to mysteriously rotate on its own.

Neb-Senu is a 10in (25cm) statuette made in about 1800 BC as a medium for the soul of an ancient Egyptian man.

Explanations for its movement ranged from the mystical and magical – from ancient myths, curses, and spirits to the object being possessed, however, after an investigation, the modern day reason has been unearthed ….the figure rotates as a result of vibrations from road traffic and visitors walking past the statue.

More information on this can be found at https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-museums-ancient-spinning-statue-6325627

Wem Town Hall Ghost

Back in 1995, the Town Hall of Wem burnt down and photographer Tony O’Rahilly was said to have stood across from and took a photo of the Shropshire building as it burnt down and captured the now infamous picture – showing a little girl standing in the blaze.

For 15 years it was widely thought that Tony had captured a photo of a ghost in the fire but it wasn’t until two years after Tony had passed away and the use of technology available in 2007 that wasn’t available back in 1995 proved the photo was a fake.

The first ever image of a ghost?

Credited with creating the first ever photography to show a ghost is William Mumbler in the 1860s. It turns out it wasn’t a ghost at all as it was simply an accidental case of double exposure while taking photograph of himself.

The entrepreneur in him turned this into a business, where members of the public would have their portrait exposed with an image of a dead relative.

The Copper family ghost photo

This photo apparently shows the Cooper family sitting around a table, just days after they had moved into their new family house in Texas and supposedly what the family was unaware of is that when the photograph was developed, the image of what appears to be a falling body emerged in the left hand side of the room.

Now this one hasn’t 100% been officially debunked but it is widely accepted within the paranormal circles that it is a fake and the “hanging upside down” body is that of a ballerina but turned upside down.