30 Terrifying Facts You Never Knew About The Exorcist

By | October 28, 2022

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Linda Blair in 'The Exorcist.' Source: IMDB

When The Exorcist premiered in 1973, horror-movie audiences had never seen anything quite like it. But was the movie cursed? The tale of a young girl possessed by an ancient demon was graphic, profane, and to some religious groups, even blasphemous. Apart from the action on screen, the movie is disturbing because of the calamities that occurred during production and the oddities, and tragedies, that happened in the years since.

The Exorcist, was based on the real-life exorcism of a 13-year-old boy

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(Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Horror movies often confront us with the unimaginable, but sometimes, the terror is all too imaginable. One of the most frightening and disturbing movies of all time, The Exorcist, was based on the real-life exorcism of a 13-year-old boy known by the pseudonym Roland Doe who lived in Washington, D.C. in the 1940s.

Ronald Hunkeler, identified as "Roland Doe" in the diaries of a priest who attended his exorcism, was born in 1935, the only child of a Lutheran family from Cottage City, Maryland. As a young boy, he spent a lot of time with his Aunt Harriet, a spiritualist who introduced him to the ouija board, but after she died unexpectedly, the family claimed they started hearing eerie noises and seeing objects move on their own. Ronald, who claimed to hear scratching beneath his bedroom floor and water dripping in the walls, was apparently the focus of these incidents. The Hunkeler family called the police, their doctor, and finally, their Lutheran pastor, who was so disturbed and dumbfounded by their stories that he suggested the family contact a Catholic priest.