'Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It' Is The True Story Of The Ultimate Murder Defense

Bear witness to the events leading up to and after the devil was put on trial, starting June 11th on discovery+.

May 28, 2021
Related To:

Charged with a brutal murder, a Connecticut man claims his innocence, insisting "the devil made me do it." For the first time in U.S. history, the existence of demonic forces is used as a defense at trial. Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do it, streaming on discovery+ beginning on June 11, examines the harrowing events leading up to the murder and the astonishing court case that followed. Getting to the very heart of evil and to where the actual terror lies, the family, aided by renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, must do battle with overpowering demons. Based on the real-life inspiration for New Line Cinema’s upcoming horror film, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” this terrifying documentary dives into the true story, with never-before-seen interviews with the family, the Warrens, the defendant's lawyer and local police.

“The ‘Shock Docs’ franchise has quickly become a powerhouse for the paranormal genre and fans can’t get enough of this long-form storytelling format,” said Matthew Butler, general manager, Travel Channel. “Knowing the true events behind iconic tales of terror, and then hearing directly from the survivors and eyewitnesses makes them all the more believable, and no longer a ghost story. The incredible saga of the Glatzel family, their work with the Warrens, and the subsequent anguish and pain make this factual documentary scarier than fiction.”

It began in the summer of 1980, when 11-year-old David Glatzel helped his older sister, Debbie, and her boyfriend, Arne Johnson, fix up the house they just rented. But shortly after they moved in, David began seeing a mysterious “ghost man,” who scared him to death. Eventually, the ghost man transformed into something more sinister; at night he became a demonic beast that threatened to steal David’s soul. Things took a drastic turn when inexplicable scratches and bruises appeared all over the young child’s body. He began to growl and to speak with a demonic voice. Then, after his family witnessed him being attacked by invisible hands, they decided to seek help from a priest and famed demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who concluded he needed an exorcism.

Over the next several weeks, a battle between good and evil ensues. Both the family and the Warrens witness David levitate, cease breathing and ultimately predict a murder. It’s during the final exorcism that Debbie Glatzel’s boyfriend, Arne Johnson, puts himself between the devil and the young boy. He challenged the demon to leave David’s body and enter his own. While Johnson’s intentions were pure – the results were disastrous. Five months later, in the midst of a heated confrontation with his landlord, Johnson pulled a knife and stabbed him to death. He later claimed no recollection of the incident.

Was Arne Johnson acting upon his own violent impulses? Or was he, as the defense later argued, possessed by the devil? The case captured the public’s imagination and became an international topic of discussion. As a believer, attorney Martin Minnella became the first lawyer to try to prove the devil’s existence. And for the first time in U.S. history, the devil was put on trial and the world held its breath in nervous anticipation.

Follow #DevilMadeMeDoItDoc for exclusive content, latest updates and additional insights into the infamous case.

Next Up

Remington Arms' Haunted History

Ghost Adventures investigate Remington Arms, a former ammunitions factory, in Bridgeport, CT.

5 Things To Know About Gram Parsons’ Mysterious Death

He was a promising songwriter with ties to The Byrds and The Rolling Stones, but his life came to a tragic end when he overdosed on morphine at a tiny inn outside California’s Joshua Tree National Park on September 19, 1973.

Haunted Pub Crawls

Set off on a spirited pub crawl, and toss back a few while listening to spine-tingling ghost stories in these haunted pubs.

America's Haunted Houses

Whether you believe or just enjoy a good hoax, these destinations are sure to entertain and spark the imagination.

Haunted Hotels

Browse our list of the country's most haunted hotels.

Scariest Halloween Attractions

Travel Channel has picked America's most frightening haunts.

Ghoulish Ghost Tours

Take a haunted tour to learn about the ghosts that linger in these historic American cities.

Facebook Favorites: Haunted Houses and Attractions

Check out our top 10 haunted houses and Halloween attractions.

Salem Witch Trials

The deadliest witch hunt in American history ravaged the streets of Salem, Massachusetts.

Finding Bigfoot

Head out on a Bigfoot finding adventure in Northern California starting at the Bigfoot Museum. Get tips on where to go and what gear to pack.

On TV

Stream discovery+

Your favorite shows, personalities and exclusive originals. All in one place.

Subscribe Now

What's New in Shows

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.