The Nun: Was Maurice “Frenchie” Theriault a Real Person? How Did He Die?

What makes a horror movie scarier? When it is based on true events. The makers of ‘The Conjuring’ movies know this, which is why, in almost every film in the franchise, they use real-life events that are either directly related to the characters or are in reference to someone else. This has been in practice since the first film, and it carries over into the prequel, ‘The Nun.’ For the most part, the movie does its own thing, setting the ground for the eponymous villain. In the end, however, it connects to ‘The Conjuring’ via one of the main characters, who is revealed to be Maurice Theriault, who is inspired by a real person.

The Nun Portrays a Fictional Version of Maurice Theriault

Maurice Theriault in ‘The Nun’ is based on a real man, but the movie completely fictionalizes his arc in the movie. In truth, Maurice never went to Romania, and the events in ‘The Nun’ never really happened. The story uses a different real aspect from his life, incorporated into the movie to make it feel more real, but overall, it remains an original character for all intents and purposes.

The real-life Maurice was born in July 1936 in Saint Agatha, Maine, and had a tragic life, leading to disturbing things. Reportedly, he had an abusive father who made his life a living hell when he was a child. This made young Maurice so desperate that he prayed to anything that would help him, and according to some, evil responded to his prayers, and that’s when trouble really began. There is also a mention of something terrible happening in the barn of his house with his father, but those details remain a matter of speculation as there is nothing to confirm the theories.

Several accounts agree that Frenchie became the talk of the town for his weird behavior. He became eerily strong, knew things he couldn’t have known, and was reported to have been seen in two places at the same time, among other things. Eventually, the Church was alerted of his activities, and it was decided that an exorcism must be performed. This is when Ed and Lorraine Warren entered the picture.

The exorcism took place in 1985, with former Bishop Timothy J. Harrington taking the lead with the Warrens in attendance. The couple described it as a “frighteningly real” thing that shook even them, considering all the things they had already seen. They revealed that during the exorcism, Maurice bled from his eyes, had his head split open, and had crosses appear all across his body. They also mentioned tables rising off the floor.

While the exorcism has become a fascination for horror enthusiasts, Maurice’s sister maintained that it was fake. She called the possession a sham, stating that her brother had a knack for acting. His obsession with the occult fuelled him to perform this fake possession, and all that happened during the exorcism was nothing but tricks. This, however, clashes with the amount of neighbors calling Maurice a kind and gentle man who is “a devout Catholic.” The Warrens also reiterated over the years that the possession was real as too many things from that time could not be rationally explained.

Maurice Theriault Met a Violent End

Maurice Theriault died on November 3, 1992, in Massachusetts and is laid to rest in Notre Dame Cemetery in South Hadley. The exorcism of 1985 worked, but it lasted only seven years. Reportedly, Maurice had received another exorcism in the same year and had been declared a lost cause by the Catholic Church.

According to official accounts, on the night of his death, Maurice was in a fit of psychotic rage when he arrived at his wife’s house. By this point, they were separated. She had filed for a divorce as well as a restraining order against him. Clearly, she was scared of him, and her fears were not unfounded. He had every intention of killing her that night. He shot at her with a 12 gauge shotgun but got her arm instead of any other vital organ. Eventually, however, she was spared, and he turned the gun on himself, shooting himself to death. The truth came to light when his wife reached out to the neighbors for help.

Interestingly, Maurice was revealed to have been following the pattern of his father’s death, who also murdered his wife before killing himself ten years ago. Maurice’s actions weren’t totally unexpected for the people who knew him. Michael Lasalandra, who co-wrote ‘Satan’s Harvest,’ a book chronicling Maurice’s possession and exorcism by the Warrens, said that Maurice was a highly disturbed man who “sincerely believed he was possessed.” Clearly, other people around him knew this as well, but there was nothing anyone could do to help him.

Read More: The Nun: Is The 2018 Horror Based on a Real Incident?