The Exorcist is well known as one of the scariest movies of all time, and it’s made even more terrifying by the fact that it’s actually based on a true story.
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Despite this though, very few people know the story itself. However, paranormal investigator Steven LeChance managed to track down the diary of one of the priests who was involved in the two month long exorcism in the small town of Cottage City, Maryland in 1949.
The full PDF of Father Raymond Bishop’s diary isn’t available on the internet anymore, but The Sun have summarised some of its observations and the result makes the Exorcist even more terrifying. Check them out below:
Nobody in that quiet neighbourhood had a clue about the battle of good and evil that was about to take place in that quaint brick house.”
The boy, known under the pseudonym of “Roland Doe”, began to fall ill soon after dabbling with a ouija board owned by his aunt. Eerie sounds started up around him within days — including the rhythm of marching feet and the beating of drums, apparently coming from nowhere.
Roland was sent by his parents to stay with local priests for observation. One of them saw the boy’s bed levitating off the floor as he slept.
Then the scratches began. Painful red cuts across Roland’s body that often spelled words.
In February 1949, “LOUIS” appeared near the boy’s ribs, which his distraught mum took as a sign she should take her son to her hometown of St Louis, Missouri.
There, the family brought in a medium who conducted a seance during which the words “NO SCHOOL” ripped across Roland’s skin.
A cousin sought out the help of Jesuit priest Father Raymond Bishop, who visited to administer a blessing.
Roland’s bed banged and shook as deep, bloody scratches zig-zagged across his body.
Shaken, the priest applied to the archbishop, who agreed that a full exorcism should take place as soon as possible.
The ritual was led by Father William Bowdern, pastor of the church on the campus of St Louis University and began at 10.30pm on March 11, 1949.
Roland’s reaction was immediate — and violent.
According to Father Bishop’s diary, as the prayers began, the word “HELL” appeared on Roland’s chest and an image of the devil could be seen on his right leg.
Father Bishop noted: “The devil was portrayed in red. His arms were held above his head and seemed to be webbed, giving the hideous appearance of a bat.”
When Father Walter Halloran — pictured below, a student at the time who assisted with the exorcism — was later asked what the most frightening part of the ordeal was, he admitted: “The markings on the boy’s body. I didn’t think there was any way they could have been self-induced.
“When the evil spirit took over the child, there seemed to be nothing he could do about it.”
Despite all this – and the fact that Roland’s nose was broken during the exorcism – it was eventually successful and he went on to live a relatively ordinary life afterwards. What the heck was going on with him and will it ever be explained though? Unlikely.
For more exorcisms, check out this story about the director of the movie witnessing and recording a real life exorcism for research purposes. The audio is terrifying.