The true story behind Netflix’s The Devil on Trial is more baffling than anything you’ll see on screen.

What’s the true story The Devil on Trial is based on?

Arne Cheyenne Johnson’s story begins with a young David Glatzer, whose sister Debbie was engaged to Johnson.

In the early 1980s, David lived in Connecticut with his parents and three siblings, Debbie, Alan and Carl, all of whom feature in the documentary besides Debbie who has since passed away.  

David says that one day as the family was moving into a new home, when he was in his new bedroom, he could feel someone watching him. He claims he was then knocked over by an invisible force, which was the start of what the family claims was David’s possession. 

The house would frequently shake and David started to have violent and explicit outbursts where he had to be physically restrained.  “He would kick, bite, spit, swear – terrible words,” David’s mother told The New York Times in 1981.

At this point, his mother decided to contact Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were known as paranormal investigators and self-professed demonologists. At the time, the Warrens were most known for their investigation into the haunting of the Amityville house where Robert DeFeo murdered six of his family members.

The couple recommended the family start documenting the strange behaviour.

The Warrens claimed that they found “43 demons” inhabiting the boy’s body. In a 1981 interview with PEOPLE, Lorraine spoke about her experience with David. “The child was complaining that invisible hands were choking him — and there were red marks on him,” she described.