The Real Story Behind The Exorcist Inspiration

A HISTORY OF MYSTERY AHistoryofMystery.com PARANORMAL SUPERNATURAL The Real Story Behind The Exorcist Inspiration
The Real Story Behind The Exorcist Inspiration

In 1949, several newspapers printed an anonymous story about an alleged possession which required an exorcist.  The source of the story is unknown, but is thought to of originated from Luther Miles Schulze, the family’s former pastor.  According to one report, 48 people were eye-witness to the exorcism.  The victim, a young boy named Roland Doe (AKA Robbie), was said to have been possessed by sinister spirits, but proof of the events are unattainable.  Some theorize he suffered from mental health or sexual abuse, other say the whole thing was fabricated.  More in Wiki.

A HISTORY OF MYSTERY AHistoryofMystery.com PARANORMAL SUPERNATURAL The Real Story Behind The Exorcist InspirationAccording to author Thomas B. Allen, Jesuit priest Walter H. Halloran was one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of the events, who also participated in the exorcism.

This was the story that inspired William Peter Blatty’s 1970 novel The Exorcist.  The book is still in print today, over 45 years since it’s initial release, but the book isn’t the most popular material for getting a look at this incredibly terrifying story.  Three years after Blatty created the novel based on these alleged events, it earned its movie adaptation, and boy did it gain traction.

The Exorcist 1973 movie is considered by a large majority of the horror community as the scariest movie of all time, and in our opinion, it’s the best horror movie ever made, bar none.  Further more, the movie’s score is one of the eeriest themes from a horror movie, ever.  Maybe it’s not the best because it’s up against themes like Halloween, Jaws, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but it’s on a short list to be the best horror theme in history.

A HISTORY OF MYSTERY AHistoryofMystery.com PARANORMAL SUPERNATURAL The Real Story Behind The Exorcist InspirationUpon its release in 1973, back in the day when visual effects were limited and computer generated imagery was almost non-existent, it took fans so far out of their comfort zone that some would even faint.  During screenings of the movie in 1973, which you can see below, there were numerous fans who suffered from fainting, depression, sickness, and anxiety.  Oh, and the millions that lost sleep and became afraid of the dark.  In its day, The Exorcist was easily the most powerful and intimidating paranormal movie of its time, it probably still is but with people being so drawn into computer generated visuals, few appreciate the film making genius.  The practical effect just can’t be imitated.  During one of the possession scenes, Linda Blair actually injured her back when she is shown to be violently rocking backwards and forwards on the bed.  With little technology for movies in 1973, this effect was achieved by a couple of crew members in the room behind her bedroom wall who would pulled ropes that were attached to her in order to display the uncontrollable demonic movements.

The practical effects are something that make the film that much scarier, that and the flawless directing and production.  We would highly recommend picking up The Exorcist Extended Director’s Cut on Blu-ray so you can watch all the special features, as well as the making of the movie.


More than 40 years after its theatrical release, the movie still holds up today, at least in our opinion.  What do you think of The Exorcist novel and movie if you’ve read/seen them?  Let us know in the comments below.

  • Jay Wheeler

    I personally consider this the greatest horror movie of all time. I rarely watch it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not at the top of my list. I didn’t even know there was a novel so I will be picking that bad boy up and giving it some attention. Let’s see if the popular “the book is better than the film” claim holds up for The Exorcist… Unlikely.

  • Amanda W.

    It is definitely one that stands the test of time. Very, very creepy!