How Should A 13 Year Old Girl Date A Boy The True Story Behind the Film – ‘The Exorcist’

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The True Story Behind the Film – ‘The Exorcist’

Most people have either read the book (1971) or seen the movie (1973) ‘The Exorcist’, where a young girl called, Regan MacNeil, thought to be possessed by demons. However, in reality, this movie is based on the true life events of a boy named Roland Doe.

This story became the inspiration for probably one of the most popular horror films of all time.

Author William Peter Blatty was inspired to write this book after discovering the existence of exorcism diaries written by Jesuit priests during and after Reverend William S. Bowdern’s repeated attempts to exorcise thirteen-year-old Roland Doe.

In 1949, William Blatty was an English major at Georgetown University when he began reading newspaper articles about the exorcism of Roland Doe. He then turned to his lecturer, the Reverend Thomas Bermingham, and informed him of the story. The Reverend then proceeded to do further research and discovered that Roland Doe’s diaries were actually written down by Jesuit priests.

Unfortunately for Blatty, he couldn’t get permission to read the diary, so he had to turn to extensive newspaper research, which resulted in some startling revelations:

In January 1949, a young boy named Roland Doe and his dysfunctional family began experiencing strange occurrences in their home. The location is still undecided for several reasons. One of them is:

Years later, when Blatty asked Father Bowdern during filming if he should visit the Doe family, the father became adamant that the family’s location and confidentiality remain a secret to protect the boy. However, I can reveal, it was either Maryland, USA, or Mount Rainer, USA.

Wherever the real location was, it is known that family troubles began with minor disturbances, i.e. scratching sounds heard in various locations of their home (most often from the ceiling or walls). This led the family to suspect rodent infestation. However, after contacting a rodent extermination company, which conducted a full investigation, it was determined that the house was not infested.

Shortly thereafter the cause of these disturbances began to assume a more dramatic and ominous role.

Roland Doe was to be the unfortunate victim of this merciless phenomenon.

While sleeping, he began experiencing episodes of violent bed shaking and pulling the sheets off the bed. These attacks quickly grew stronger and the family could often hear and witness them.

As Roland’s family became convinced that these attacks were real, they began to connect Roland’s fascination with the Ouija board. Roland got into this ‘game’ thanks to his aunt Tillie, who introduced him to it before she died on January 26, 1949 – eleven days before the paranormal activity began.

Although Roland’s mother suspected that Aunt Tillie was the cause of the haunting, the family had to act quickly as concerns grew for Roland’s well-being.

As Roland was baptized as a Lutheran at birth, the family called for help from two Lutheran priests – one was Reverend Luther Schultze. They were accompanied by a rabbi, believed to be there only for his knowledge of this type of suspicious occurrence.

While the boy was being evaluated by the rabbi, it is said that Roland suddenly began to rant in a language he did not know before.

The two Lutheran priests had no idea what Roland was saying, however, the rabbi understood every word… Roland spoke the rabbi’s native language of Hebrew – fluently!

SERBIA CONTACT THE DEAD ‘AUNT TILLIE’

After researching numerous conflicting articles on the exorcism of Roland Doe and studying the diaries of Jesuit priests, I can now give you the facts regarding the beginning and the actual exorcism, as far as I know.

I first understood, after reading the various analogies, that Roland’s mother held several Ouija sessions to contact Aunt Tillie, however, I discovered that this was not the case:

Roland Doe’s mother ‘suspected’ that the recently departed Aunt Tillie was the cause of Roland’s relentless torture regime. During one episode where Roland was being terrorized by this unknown force, his mother shouted, ‘if it’s you Tillie, knock three times’.

Immediately, a cold breeze came up, which entwined Roland’s mother, grandmother, and then Roland himself with its icy breath. Then came three distinct thuds on the floor, which all three heard.

Mrs. Doe asked hesitantly, ‘if it’s really you Tillie, knock four times’. Again, all three heard four thumps on the floor…but most disturbingly, claw-like marks were later discovered on Roland’s mattress.

However, Aunt Tillie is later dismissed as the cause after paranormal activity is transmitted to Roland’s school. Roland was stunned when his school desk began to move on its own in front of the horrified teacher and school children. This later resulted in Roland’s expulsion from school.

Understandably, the Doe family was traumatized, as were the fears for Roland’s health as the phenomena increased. Reverend Shultze was brought in to observe the attacks on Roland. Over a period of several nights, Shultze witnessed the boy in agony as he slept – tearing his arms around himself and ripping his sheets. The reverend, however, was still not convinced of paranormal activity and referred Roland to the University of Maryland Mental Hygiene Clinic for tests. The tests came back with conclusive results… Roland was not considered abnormal in any way.

Still skeptical of paranormal activity, Shultze asked Roland to stay at his parsonage. Shultze’s main goal was to find out if Roland’s home was haunted or if it was Roland himself.

On February 17, 1949, Roland was taken to Shultze’s home where he spent the night and was watched over by Shultze. The reverend would not be disappointed.

During the night, the reverend stated that distinct scratching sounds were heard coming from Roland’s room. Schulce then entered the bedroom and was horrified to see Roland being thrown out of the armchair he was sitting in, and the bed next to him vibrating.

Shultze would later notice scratches appearing on Roland’s body before his eyes. The reverend realized that time was of the essence and recommended that the Doe family contact the Catholics.

Roland’s parents were so desperate by now; they decided to take Roland to see Father Albert Hughes at St. James in Mount Rainier.

Meanwhile, a very concerned relative of Roland’s, who had been a student of Father Raymond J. Bishop at St Louis University, confided in him about the paranormal activity going on in the Doe household. After concluding that he had no doubt that she was telling the truth, he decided to discuss the matter with his old friend, the Reverend William S. Bowdern.

Father Bowden would go on to be the prime mover behind the exorcism of Roland Doe.

THE EXORCISM OF ROLAND DOE

By now it was clear to Roland Doe’s family that evil had overtaken their 13-year-old son after he ran numerous Ouija board sessions. Their only choice was to visit Father Albert Hughes at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. James in Mount Rainier for evaluation.

Father Hughes was initially disbelieving and hesitant about the case. However, he agreed to do the interview… encountering possibly one of the most unimaginable, unearthly cases of possession known to date.

INTERVIEW

It was reported; as Father Hughes began interviewing Roland, the icy breath the Doe family felt during their ‘alleged’ contact with Aunt Tillie returned hostilely.

Still skeptical, Father Hughes continued the interview, after which Roland soon unleashed a tirade of unholy language directed at the Father. Hughes was clearly stunned, but still remained unconvinced. However, this was quickly dispelled when Roland suddenly became fluent in Latin. A language he never learned.

At the end of the interview, there was apparently no doubt in Father Hughes’s mind that Roland Doe was indeed possessed because he immediately contacted his archbishop, Cardinal O’Boyle, and asked for his permission to perform the exorcism. This was approved after the cardinal studied the case and the medical evidence.

EXORCISM

Roland Doe’s first exorcism took place at Georgetown Hospital. Before the ritual, Roland was firmly tied to the bed, which was normal practice.

As the exorcism began, Roland launched a frenzy targeting Father Hughes. The outpouring was reported to have been sent with such force and incredible purpose that it was described as ‘beyond the natural’.

The exorcism then came to its gruesome end when the young man began screaming obscenities at the Father and broke free from his grip. Roland then displayed strength far beyond his age and condition – ripping a metal spring from the bed and cutting Father’s left arm – resulting in Hughes needing over 100 stitches.

Roland calmed down immediately after Father Hughes left the room – not at all thinking of exorcism; it was as if all memories had drained away into the void of darkness.

Roland was deemed not to need hospitalization after the exorcism and was sent home. Meanwhile, Father Hughes was unable to grasp the reality of what he had just witnessed and suffered a mental breakdown.

However, the case remained far from closed; something had to be done to help Roland. After his cousin spoke with her professor, Father Bishop at St Lois University (mentioned at the end of part two), it was decided that he and his good friend Father Bowdern would visit Roland.

On March 9, 1949, Father Bishop and Father Bowdern, together with a young Jesuit priest, Fr. Walter Halloran went to Roland’s home. During their visit, they were horrified to find Roland’s body mutilated with bleeding scratches on his chest. Another phenomenon was noted, which resulted in Cardinal Ritter being called by the priest to perform another exorcism.

The exorcism was authorized by Cardinal Ritter on March 16, 1949…shortly thereafter the priests began the exorcism rites.

The exorcism took on a sinister appearance from the outset, with reported violent bed movements, extremely hostile language and extensive spitting by Roland. When the new bloody scratches clearly spelled out the words ‘hell’ and ‘devil’, it was decided that for everyone’s safety, the exorcism should continue in the psychiatric ward at the Alexian Brothers Hospital.

At the hospital, Father Bowdern began the exorcism by reciting prayers from the ‘Roman Ritual’. While Father Bishop was writing a diary of events.

Roland then screamed in obvious pain as the prayers went on. At one point Bowdern was visibly shaken when the boy spat out the words: ‘I’m in hell – I see you – you’re in hell – it’s 1957.’

Roland then started spitting at the priests again. Fr. Halloran reportedly said that Roland was an absolute shooter when he spat, he said that even with his eyes closed Roland would spit right in your face.

The exorcism lasted for nights, each episode becoming more terrifying than the last. On one occasion Roland exploded with such rage, he struck Halloran with such force that it broke his nose.

Bowdern began reciting the Roman ritual of Christian exorcism over and over:

‘I cast you out, you impure soul, along with the slightest attack of the evil enemy and every phantom and diabolical legion. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, go and disappear from this creature of God.’

After hours of recitation, Bowdern and the others were alarmed when Roland sat up straight and announced in a booming voice that he was ‘Arc Angel Michael’ and demanded the demon leave Roland.

Roland writhed around, contorting his body into vague positions until he finally lay down. He then sat down and spoke in his normal voice, telling all the witnesses with relief that he had just seen a vision of Saint Michael holding a flaming sword. The exorcism was successful!

Twelve days after the exorcism, Roland’s family moved from St. Louis to Maryland. Roland later wrote to Father Bowdern telling him that he had calmed down and had a very vague recollection of what had happened to him.

Roland Doe’s latest report is about a happily married man with three children still living in Maryland.

The Catholic Church has a file on file stating that Roland Doe’s estate was ‘genuine’ with the signatures of forty-one witnesses to the event.

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