The True Story Behind The Exorcist

The True Story Behind The Exorcist: 7 Interesting Facts

The Exorcist, released in 1973, is widely regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made. Based on a novel by William Peter Blatty, the film tells the chilling story of a young girl possessed by a demonic entity and the desperate attempts to save her soul. While the movie itself is a work of fiction, it is actually inspired by a real-life case of demonic possession. Here are seven interesting facts about the true story behind The Exorcist.

1. The Real Exorcism: The Exorcist was inspired by a true exorcism that took place in 1949. A young boy, known by the pseudonym Roland Doe, was reportedly possessed by a demon. The Catholic Church conducted a series of exorcisms over several months, and the events were reported in the media at the time.

2. The Role of Father Bowdern: In the movie, Father Merrin, played by Max von Sydow, is the exorcist called to save the possessed girl. In reality, the exorcism of Roland Doe was performed by a Jesuit priest named Father William Bowdern. Father Bowdern was heavily involved in the exorcism and witnessed the disturbing and supernatural events that took place.

3. The Truth Behind the Head-Spinning Scene: One of the most memorable scenes in The Exorcist is when the possessed girl, Regan, spins her head around 180 degrees. While this is a terrifying visual effect in the movie, it does not reflect what happened during the real exorcism. However, there were reports of the boy levitating and exhibiting supernatural strength during the exorcisms.

4. The Unexplained Phenomena: During the exorcism of Roland Doe, witnesses reported seeing furniture move, objects levitate, and strange noises coming from the possessed boy. These phenomena were believed to be caused by the demonic presence within him. Similarly, in The Exorcist, Regan exhibits supernatural abilities, such as speaking in different languages and displaying extreme strength.

5. The Role of William Peter Blatty: The author of the novel, William Peter Blatty, based his story on the real exorcism case of Roland Doe. Blatty was a devout Catholic and was intrigued by the supernatural events surrounding the exorcism. He conducted extensive research and incorporated many details from the real case into his novel, which later became the basis for the movie.

6. The Controversial Reception: The release of The Exorcist sparked controversy and divided public opinion. Some praised it as a groundbreaking horror film, while others condemned it for its graphic and disturbing content. The movie was banned in several countries and faced backlash from religious groups who believed it was sacrilegious.

7. The Legacy of The Exorcist: Despite the controversy, The Exorcist became a massive success, grossing over $441 million worldwide. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won two, including Best Adapted Screenplay for William Peter Blatty. The film’s impact on the horror genre is immeasurable, and it continues to be regarded as a classic and influential piece of cinema.

Common Questions about The Exorcist:

1. Is The Exorcist based on a true story?
Yes, The Exorcist is inspired by a real exorcism case that happened in 1949.

2. What happened during the real exorcism?
During the exorcism, witnesses reported supernatural phenomena such as furniture moving, objects levitating, and strange noises.

3. Was the possessed person a boy or a girl?
In the real exorcism case, it was a young boy who was possessed, not a girl as depicted in the movie.

4. Who performed the exorcism?
The exorcism was conducted by a Jesuit priest named Father William Bowdern, not Father Merrin as portrayed in the movie.

5. Did the possessed person exhibit supernatural abilities?
Yes, witnesses reported the possessed boy speaking in different languages and displaying extraordinary strength.

6. Did the possessed person’s head spin around?
No, the iconic head-spinning scene from the movie is a fictional creation and did not happen during the real exorcism.

7. Did the real exorcism receive media attention?
Yes, the exorcism case of Roland Doe received significant media coverage at the time.

8. What inspired William Peter Blatty to write the novel?
Blatty, a devout Catholic, was intrigued by the real exorcism case and conducted extensive research before writing the novel.

9. Was The Exorcist a controversial movie?
Yes, The Exorcist faced controversy and backlash due to its graphic and disturbing content.

10. Was the movie banned in any countries?
Yes, The Exorcist was banned in several countries due to its perceived sacrilegious content.

11. How successful was the movie?
The Exorcist was a massive success, grossing over $441 million worldwide and winning two Academy Awards.

12. Did William Peter Blatty win an Oscar for the screenplay?
Yes, Blatty won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Exorcist.

13. Is The Exorcist considered a classic?
Yes, The Exorcist is widely regarded as a classic and influential horror film.

14. Did the real exorcism case have a lasting impact?
The real exorcism case of Roland Doe is considered one of the most famous cases of demonic possession and continues to be studied by paranormal researchers.

15. Is demonic possession a real phenomenon?
Demonic possession is a controversial topic, and beliefs vary. The Catholic Church recognizes it as a genuine phenomenon and conducts exorcisms in certain cases. However, it is a subject of skepticism and scientific inquiry.

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