How about an exorcism story for Halloween?

It’s from 2005 but still a fascinating read. This is apparently the story that inspired The Exorcist. Back in the early '90’s I worked at Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis and enjoyed hearing some of the staff talk about the event. Certainly some creepy stuff.

That was a good read, but this bit was completely gratuitous:

The last person to occupy the residence, a man named Elvis Fantroy, left the building in June and hasn’t been heard from since.

Link does seem to work anymore. I just see a banner ad. :(

…Jesuit priests from Saint Louis University performed a grueling month-long exorcism on the boy, at last freeing the teen from Satan’s grasp in the psych ward at Alexian Brothers Hospital.

That these scenes in the home are not addressed in the retelling of the exorcism is not surprising, given the extraordinary care the Jesuits took to conceal the identity of the possessed boy.
In fact, few of the St. Louis priests involved in the exorcism ever spoke of it. Father William Bowdern, who carried out the majority of the exorcism rituals, died in 1983 at the age of 85, never having disclosed what he knew of the case.
Father Raymond Bishop, who kept the diary of the exorcism, and Father William Van Roo, an attending priest, also remained tight-lipped, believing media attention violated the confidentiality of the possessed boy.

Given I’m sure we can agree that this…

Priests report arriving at the house on March 9, 1949, to witness the boy’s bed shaking uncontrollably. At the mention of the scriptures, the boy screamed out in pain. Scrapes and welts – some forming letters and words – rose up inexplicably on his skin. A bottle of holy water flew through the air.

…didn’t happen (not in the way descibed), it’s very convenient that priests, who are not qualified medical practioners and knew nothing of whatever illness ailed the boy, decided to keep the events a secret.

Halloran was a 27-year-old history student at SLU when Bowdern recruited him for the exorcism. A handsome, athletic man who excelled in both football and track, Halloran provided much of the needed brawn, holding the flailing child while the priests read to him the rites of exorcism. During one episode the boy broke free of Halloran’s grasp and punched him in the face, breaking his nose.

This is horrifying, and not at all because of anything supernatural. To treat a sick boy like that is frankly criminal. No wonder it was kept such a secret.

“Something now rippled on Robbie’s right leg,” writes Allen, using a pseudonym to identify the boy. “As Bowdern again commanded the demon to identify himself, red welts formed an image on the leg. It was, the witnesses later said, an image of the Devil.”

Oh for fuck’s sake. If you’re going to fabricate some bullshit story around your abuse of a child at least make it something that isn’t pathetically lame.

I could quote endlessly from page 3, but suffice to say the priests are lying scumbags and the mother is beyond description for not - wait for it - removing the boy from the house and taking him to a hospital. I know! Genius! The sheer ridiculousness of the situation makes me wonder if much of the story is true at all.

From the Friday, March 18, entry: “The prayers of the exorcism were continued and R was seized violently so that he began to struggle with his pillow and the bed clothing. The arms, legs, and head of R had to be held by three men. The contortions revealed physical strength beyond the natural power. R spit at the faces of those who held him and at those who prayed over him. He spit at the relics and at the priests’ hands. He writhed under the sprinkling of Holy Water. He fought and screamed in a diabolical, high-pitched voice.”

There certainly were demons in that room, but not in the boy.

Monday, March 21, the family, having had little sleep since the exorcism began, agreed to move the boy to Alexian Brothers Hospital for the night. For the next several weeks, the boy would move from the hospital to the College Church rectory and back to the home on Roanoke Drive, even returning to Cottage City for a few days when the priests erroneously thought the boy was cured.

Funny how we get very little information as to his condition in hospital (a Church hospital, naturally) and it seems he even got miraculously better! How very surprising.

During his final spell, the diary reports, the boy saw a vision of the Devil and “ten of his helpers” engaged in a fiery battle with St. Michael the Archangel. At one point during the dream, the angel smiled at the boy and said “Dominus” (Latin for Lord), the word the boy vowed he’d never say that morning.

Hey priests, go read some Tolkien. You can’t write fiction to save your souls.

Weird. Worked fine for me just a moment ago.

It must be possessed.

I just clicked it and it worked fine. Thanks! Great read. Lh’owon, why do you want to tear it apart? If anything, torturing that kid led to a great film!

I certainly agree that there’s always some asshole wet-blanket that shows up in one of these fun Halloween threads trying to drop some “knowledge” on us gullible and stoopid people lest we take such stories at face value. Note the Lh’owon: no one here is as ignorant as the people you know in your daily life. Let a cool, creepy story live and breathe.

Well this is the internet after all; there’s always some self-righteous prick who can’t tell the difference between a post conveying the the author’s feelings on the subject and one meant to inform the reader. “Given I’m sure we can agree…” means just that: I don’t think anyone here is gullible or stupid enough to take this at face value.

Note to the triggercut: making claims about someone’s real life in an attempt to discredit them is what we call “trolling”. I am however impressed that you refrained from doing so until your second sentence. There is hope yet.

My humblest apologies for taking issue with your “cool, creepy story”. I will attempt to think less in the future, I’m sure I will be much happier for it.

Actually, ‘trolling’ is an attempt to get other posters riled up. What you are describing might be an example of trolling (I’m not sure that it is, however). I actually think triggercut just meant that a lot of people are gullible out there, but not a lot of those people are on Qt3. I don’t think that particular claim was meant to be an attack on your friends or anything. OTOH, “some asshole” was probably meant to insult you.

But you can’t have it both ways. Your last statement says that you were trying to dissect the story and think about how it was wrong, not that you were just giving your feelings toward it (whatever that means). Someone posted a story to help us get in the mood for Halloween and you tried to make everyone feel like crap for enjoying the story. Face it. That’s what you did.

I finally got it to work, but then the desk started to shake and my colleague two doors down threw up. I decided I’d just read it another day…

IF I MAY INTERRUPT THIS THREAD FOR A SECOND, hands up everybody here on Qt3 who has been exorcised?

Oh, so it’s just me then?

I found out this little tidbit of madkevin lore when I was 16. Appropos of nothing my mother let it drop that she had me exorcised when I was two years old, in 1972. She claimed that I refused to eat anything - as in, I would clamp my mouth shut when she tried to feed me and she couldn’t pry it open. Being both Italian Catholic and a complete idiot, she made the leap that there must be a devil in my body making me not open my mouth. So she did what any other mother of a two-year-old would do and called a priest.

Luckily for me, she called a friend of the family, a hard-drinkin’ Irish Catholic named Father Fogerty who, unlike my mother, was not an idiot. According to him, the “exorcism” consisted of him coming over to the house, sprinkling some tap water on my head and mumbling some fake Latin. This seemed to calm down my mother, and he finally got her to call the family doctor to take a look at my eating problem.

As you can well imagine, I was utterly horrified by this discovery. It’s one thing to grow up in a religious house, but it’s quite another to find out my mother’s religion prevented her from thinking like a rational human being with regards to my personal well being. I asked her “Why in the hell wouldn’t you call a doctor in the first place?” She then claimed that it wasn’t just the eating - I would also scream whenever we went by a church. I asked my Dad, who wisely was staying out of the conversation until then, if this was true. He said “I don’t know, you were two, so you were pretty much screaming all the time.”

So there’s my story. Eat it, William Peter Blatty.

/thread over. Madkevin wins.

I just read this article. Sounds like the poor kid was masturbating a lot. If you masturbate enough, the devil takes over your body and your mom has to get a bunch of Jesuit priests to come pray over you, possibly even for a grueling month-long exorcism.

It is messed up. I totally agree with the Lh’owon, but I guess it’s just the price you have to pay for masturbation.

I see it as an example of trolling. How is making unsubstantiated negative claims about someone’s acquaintances not trying to get a poster riled up? I couldn’t care less by the way, and I agree that that was the triggercut’s point, but it was still gratuitously directed at people I know.

I can have it both ways. It’s quite possible to dissect a story and think about how I consider it be disturbing as a way of expressing my feelings towards it. You don’t see literary critics merely saying “I HATE THIS BOOK”, they communicate their feelings by explaining why they dislike it.

Making people feel crap certainly wasn’t my intention, though it may have been a result. If I did do that, sorry. It wasn’t intended.

Cool. Let’s hug and tell each other ghost stories. Actually, I don’t have any personal ghostly experiences, except the normal getting scared stuff when I was kid and thinking it might be ghosts. But nothing substantial or cool, really.