hat’s the central question in Lauren Moore-Morden’s latest documentary, Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It. Moore-Morden, Mt. Lebanon Class of 2002, served as an executive producer on an episode of the Shock Docs horror docuseries airing on Discovery+. The two-hour documentary recounts the events leading up to the first time demonic possession was used as a defense in court.
In 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was accused of killing his landlord, Alan Bono, in Brookfield, Connecticut. Johnson claimed he was possessed by a demon after intervening in the exorcism of his girlfriend’s 11-year-old brother, David Glatzel. Despite support from demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, but was released after five.
As the show’s producer, Moore-Morden crafted the creative vision from start to finish. She was involved in everything from writing and researching, casting, overseeing edits and interviewing each of the subjects.
“Some haven’t spoken about this story in 40 years,” Moore-Morden said. “So it was a really rewarding experience and also cathartic for them to get something off their chest that they haven’t revealed since the incident.”
For Moore-Morden, digging deep into these cases serves as a bit of nostalgia. She has been a horror fan since she was a child, citing Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tales from the Crypt and The Exorcist as some of her favorites.
“I got to meet and speak with people who experienced these incredible stories,” Moore-Morden said, “And turning them into a television program was both fun and really was a callback to my initial love of the genre.”
After graduating from Mt. Lebanon High School, Moore-Morden went on to Indiana University where she studied telecommunications and English. While on campus she worked with PBS, as well as with the Indiana Pacers’ television crew. Upon graduation she landed a job on The Discovery Channel’s docuseries A Haunting and moved to Los Angeles.
In addition to horror, Moore-Morden has explored subjects ranging from science to comedy. As a freelance producer she works for a variety of networks—The History Channel, National Geographic, A&E and NBC, just to name a few.
“It’s always exciting to delve into new subjects,” Moore-Morden said. “It gives you the chance to become an expert in topics that you never otherwise would have explored.”
So, did the devil make him do it?
Moore-Morden says that’s for you to determine.
“I think that’s why documentaries are great, Moore-Morden said. “It’s meant to be thought provoking and in the end the audience can make up their own decision.”