What Happened at 3 Oak Grove Road?

BrookfieldConnecticutUnited States

  • January 28th, 1981

    "The Devil Made Me Do It" Case -- The Glatzel family's experiences with paranormal activity began after they went to clean up a property they had just acquired, 3 Oak Grove Rd in Brookfield, CT. David Glatzel, who was 11 at the time, recollected that as he explored a back bedroom in the house, an old man appeared, pushing and terrifying him. His parents initially thought David was using the old man as an excuse to avoid cleaning, but David informed them that the old man had vowed to harm the Glatzels if they moved into the home. David's visions of the old man included the man appearing as a demonic beast who muttered Latin and threatened to steal his soul. Although the family allegedly heard strange noises coming from the attic, no one but David ever witnessed the old man. After David experienced night terrors, exhibited strange behavior, and obtained unexplained scratches and bruises, the family called upon the services of a Catholic priest, who attempted to bless the house. The terrified family concluded that the house was evil. David's visions worsened, occurring in the daytime as well. Twelve days after the original incident, the family summoned the self-proclaimed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren to assist. Lorraine allegedly witnessed a black mist materialize next to David, an apparent indication of a malevolent presence. Debbie and her mother told the Warrens they had seen David being beaten and choked by invisible hands and that red marks had appeared on his neck afterwards. David had started to growl, hiss, speak in otherworldly voices, and recite passages from the Bible or Paradise Lost. The Glatzels recounted how each night a family member would remain awake with David as he suffered through spasms and convulsions. After receiving a prognosis of multiple possessions from the Warrens, David was subjected to three "lesser exorcisms". Lorraine asserts that David levitated, ceased breathing for a time, and even demonstrated the supernatural ability of precognition, specifically in relation to the murder Arne Johnson would later commit. In October 1980, the Warrens contacted Brookfield police to warn them that the situation was becoming dangerous. According to eyewitness testimony, Arne Johnson, the boyfriend of Debbie Glatzel, David Glatzel's teenage sister, coerced one of the demons purportedly within David to possess him while participating in David's exorcisms. A few days after Johnson egged the demon on during the exorcism, he claimed he was attacked by the demon which allegedly took control of his car and forced it into a tree; fortunately, Johnson was unharmed. After this incident, Johnson returned to the rental property to examine an old well that supposedly housed the demon. Johnson recollects that this was his final encounter with the demon while completely lucid, as it was after encountering the demon at the well and making eye contact with it that he became possessed. The Warrens claim to have warned him not to do this. As David's condition continued to worsen, Debbie and Johnson decided it was time to move out of her mother's home at 3 Oak Grove to escape the hauntings. Debbie was hired by Alan Bono, a new resident in Brookfield, as a dog groomer. Debbie and Johnson began renting an apartment close to her place of employment. After moving in, Johnson started to exhibit odd behavior that was strikingly similar to David's, causing Debbie to fear that he had become possessed as well. According to Debbie, Johnson would fall into a trance-like state, wherein he would growl and hallucinate but later have no memory of it. On February 16, 1981, Johnson called in sick to his job at Wright Tree Service and joined Debbie at the kennel where she worked, along with his sister Wanda and Debbie's 9-year-old cousin Mary. Bono, the couple's landlord and Debbie's employer at the kennel, bought the group lunch at a local bar and proceeded to drink heavily. After lunch, the group returned to the kennel. When they returned, Bono, intoxicated at this point, became agitated. Everyone left the room at Debbie's urging, except Bono, who seized Mary and refused to let go. Johnson headed back to the apartment and ordered Bono to release Mary. Wanda recounted the following events to the police. Mary ran for the car as Debbie attempted to mitigate the situation by standing between the two men. Wanda tried in vain to pull Johnson away. Johnson, growling like an animal, then drew a 5-inch (130 mm) pocket knife and stabbed Bono repeatedly. Bono died several hours later. According to Johnson's lawyer, Bono had suffered "four or five tremendous wounds", mostly to his chest, and one that stretched from his stomach to the base of his heart. Johnson was discovered two miles (3 km) from the site of the murder and was held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center on bail of $125,000. This was the first murder in the history of Brookfield, Connecticut. The day after the murder, Lorraine Warren informed the Brookfield Police that Johnson was possessed when the crime was committed. A "media blitz" soon surrounded the story, fueled in part by the Warrens, whose agents promised that lectures, a book, and even a movie detailing the gruesome case were in the works. Martin Minnella, Johnson's lawyer, received calls from all over the world about what was being called the Demon Murder Trial. Minnella traveled to England to meet with lawyers who had been involved in two similar cases (though neither went to trial). He planned to fly in exorcism specialists from Europe and threatened to subpoena the priests who oversaw David Glatzel's exorcisms if they did not cooperate with the defense. The trial took place in Connecticut's Superior Court in Danbury, beginning on October 28, 1981, where the famous "Devil Made Me Do It" defense was unveiled. Johnson's lawyer Minella attempted to submit a plea of not guilty by virtue of demonic possession, but the presiding judge, Robert Callahan, promptly rejected this defense. Callahan argued that no such defense could ever exist in a court of law due to lack of evidence and that it would be "irrelative and unscientific" to allow related testimony. The defense instead chose to imply that Johnson acted in self-defense. Because of this, the jury was not legally allowed to consider demonic possession as a viable explanation for the murder. The jury deliberated for 15 hours over three days before convicting Johnson on November 24, 1981 of first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10–20 years in prison, though he served only five. The Glatzel family continue to live at 3 Oak Grove Rd in Brookfield. They have not reported any further paranormal experiences in the house.


  • Last updated a year ago

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