In 1980, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren visited the property of the Glatzel family in Connecticut after their 11-year-old son, David Glatzel, claimed to have been attacked by the spirit of an angry older man on their newly acquired rental property. The man reportedly had “big black eyes, a thin face with animal features and jagged teeth, pointed ears, horns, and hoofs,” resembling the devil. Soon after the encounter, the family moved into the property and David began to exhibit strange behavior, including growling, hissing, and reciting passages in sinister voices from the Bible or Paradise Lost. Convinced their son was under demonic possession, the Glatzels contacted the Warrens, who suspected multiple possessions and attempted to help David by performing three exorcisms on him.
During the third installment of the Conjuring series, The Devil Made Me Do It, the disturbing real-life recording of one of David’s exorcisms is played over the end credits. As one TikTok user put it, “You hear the voice of the devil during the credits.” Throughout the recording, David’s mother, Judy Glatzel, can be heard demanding that the demons leave her son alone, and David himself can be heard laughing wildly and responding in a deep, garbled voice. The unsettling recording shines a light on the real-life events that led up to the making of the movie, namely indicating that David’s parents had a much more active role in the exorcisms than depicted on screen.
At the beginning of the film, David’s exorcism is re-created on screen as a character records the moment and special effects are used to show his body contorting into odd shapes while foam escapes from his mouth. Accounts of the actual 1980 exorcism state that David would grasp at phantom hands that were choking him or scratching at his skin and experience seizures. While the film dramatizes much of David’s experience during the alleged possession, the recording played at the end of the film is a chilling reminder of the story’s origins and the fact that our favorite horror stories are often inspired by a hint of truth.