The True Story Behind “The Exorcist” by Dawn Pisturino
In the summer of 1948, a young boy in Mount Rainier, Maryland began using an Ouija board with his aunt, who believed in spiritualism. After she died, the boy and his family experienced disturbing sounds which woke them during the night: knocking, scratching, and marching feet. The family witnessed the boy’s mattress furiously shaking, furniture moving on its own, and visitors thrown from a chair. Scratches and strange marks mysteriously appeared on the boy’s body.
Physicians and mental health experts could find no rational explanation for these events. Finally, the family – which was not Catholic – consulted a local priest.
Father E. Albert Hughes interviewed the boy and later described his “dark, empty stare.” He determined that the boy was possessed by multiple demons (Legions) and arranged to perform an exorcist at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The exorcism lasted for three nights, with no positive results. The boy was sent home. Not long after, the words “Louis” appeared on his chest. The boy’s mother interpreted this as a sign to take him to St. Louis, Missouri, where she had relatives.
Father William Bowdern, a Jesuit priest, agreed to undertake a rigorous exorcism of the boy, who had suffered through months of violent behavior followed by periods of calm.
The boy was admitted to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis and baptized Catholic. During Easter week, while closely guarded and under restraint, the boy received confession and Holy Communion. Brother Rector Cornelius placed a statue of St. Michael the Archangel – Satan’s arch enemy – by the boy’s bed. On the night of April 18, 1949, after hours of violent struggle and intense emotional resistance, the boy cried out, “He’s gone!” By the next morning, Father Bowdern became convinced that the boy was indeed free from demonic possession.
The boy and his family returned to Maryland and spent the summer of 1949 as a normal, happy family. The boy, whose identity has never been revealed, became known as “The Haunted Boy.” With no memory of the dreadful events which had threatened to ruin his life, he grew up to become a scientist for NASA.
The fifth floor room at the Alexian Brothers Hospital, where the final exorcism had taken place, was permanently sealed.
Author William Peter Blatty, a devout Catholic, heard about “The Haunted Boy” while a student at Georgetown University. He used the story of the boy’s ordeal for the basis of his best-selling novel, “The Exorcist,” one of the most terrifying and thought-provoking novels ever written. It was later turned into a major motion picture. Blatty wrote the screenplay.
Published in the Spring 2016 issue of Psychic-Magic Ezine.
Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.