Is The New Exorcist based on a true story
Is The New Exorcist based on a true story – “The Exorcist” is a legendary horror movie that tells the terrifying tale of a young girl possessed by a mysterious entity. But did you know that much of this spine-tingling story is based on true events? In this article, we will dive into the real story behind “The Exorcist” and explore the life of the young boy, Roland Doe, whose experiences inspired the film. We’ll uncover the true identity of Roland Doe, the real Regan, and what happened to Roland after his harrowing ordeal.
Roland Doe Exorcism
The true story of “The Exorcist” is rooted in the experiences of Roland Doe. Back in March 1949, newspapers carried chilling reports of a 14-year-old boy known as “Robbie” or “Roland Doe,” who was believed to be possessed by something sinister. Roland, raised in a German Lutheran family, had already dabbled in the paranormal by asking for an Ouija board as a birthday gift from his Aunt Harriet. But after Aunt Harriet’s passing, strange and eerie events began to unfold in Roland’s life – unexplained rattlings on walls, mysterious noises, and objects flying through the air.
The movie “The Exorcist” faithfully recreates many of these events, portraying them in hidden details. The supernatural disturbances escalated after Aunt Harriet’s death when Roland’s family attempted to contact her through a seance. Instead of connecting with their beloved relative, Roland found himself covered in unexplained scratches. Neither a move nor an impromptu Catholic baptism could quell the terror that gripped the household.
The family’s desperate attempts to find answers led them down a dark path, seeking help from experts in various fields, including a psychiatrist. However, none of them could provide a solution to Roland’s torment. Finally, they turned to Father Raymond J. Bishop, who initiated a series of exorcisms, mirroring the real-life events that inspired “The Exorcist.”
The Real Exorcisms
The exorcism that inspired “The Exorcist” had to be halted prematurely because Roland, in a state of possession, ripped off a piece of mattress spring and hurled it at the priest. A few days later, Roland began to exhibit bizarre symptoms – red scratches appeared on his skin, forming the word “LOUIS.” This ominous development prompted the family to seek help from St. Louis University.
At St. Louis University, Roland was introduced to Father Walter H. Halloran and Rev. William Bowdern, who took on the daunting task of performing an exorcism to save him from the malevolent force. During this final exorcism, the horror intensified. Furniture flipped over, Roland’s mattress shook uncontrollably, and a crucifix placed under his pillow was mysteriously pushed to the end of the bed.
While “The Exorcist” provides a chilling portrayal of these events, it’s essential to remember that the real Roland Doe underwent exorcisms not only at St. Louis University but also at Georgetown University Hospital and The Alexian Brothers Hospital. During each exorcism, Roland reportedly spoke in Latin, exhibited physical distress, and spoke in an eerie, unfamiliar voice. Father Halloran even suffered a broken nose during the exorcism, but the priests considered their efforts successful in the end.
The Real Roland Doe Identity
After decades of mystery surrounding Roland Doe’s identity, experts now believe that the real Exorcist victim was Ronald Hunkeler. Hunkeler, a former NASA engineer who played a crucial role in the 1969 moon landing, lived a low-profile life, staying out of the public eye. He passed away in 2020 at the age of 85.
Remarkably, Roland Doe’s traumatic experiences as a child did not define his adult life. Hunkeler’s career at NASA was highly successful, where he contributed to the development of technology that made space shuttle panels resistant to extreme heat during the Apollo missions of the 1960s.
Hunkeler kept his true identity a closely guarded secret, sharing it only with a select few, including close friends and academics. Even the Jesuits who had performed the exorcism were among those who knew the truth. Hunkeler’s fear of public scrutiny led him to take precautions, such as leaving his home every Halloween, fearing harassment once it became known that “The Exorcist” was based on his terrifying experiences. He retired from NASA in 2001 after a remarkable 40-year career.
Adaptation into “The Exorcist”
The inception of “The Exorcist” as a spine-tingling horror film began with author William Blatty, who was a student at Georgetown University. Blatty’s interest in exorcisms was piqued when a professor mentioned Roland Doe’s story during a lecture. He learned about a diary kept by one of the priests involved in the exorcism, which further fueled his fascination.
Blatty also contacted Rev. William Bowdern, gaining valuable insights into Roland’s story. Armed with this information, Blatty adapted Roland’s experiences into “The Exorcist,” a novel released in 1971 that soared to the top of bestsellers lists. Shortly afterward, William Friedkin, the director, contacted Blatty to bring the story to the silver screen, resulting in the iconic film.
Differences Between Reality and Film
While “The Exorcist” is undoubtedly based on a true story, there are some notable differences between the real events and the movie adaptation. To protect Roland’s identity and maintain the secrecy surrounding the story, Blatty made several alterations. For instance, in the film, Roland becomes a 12-year-old girl named Regan, whereas in real life, he was a 14-year-old boy. Additionally, Regan’s mother in the film is portrayed as a single parent, a departure from the large family structure in Roland’s real-life story.
The film retained the violent outbursts and the eerie, low-toned voice that both Roland and Regan exhibited after playing with an Ouija board. Moreover, both characters displayed extreme violence when confronted with religious objects. However, some of the most iconic scenes from the movie, such as the ceiling crawl and head-spinning, have remained unconfirmed as part of the actual exorcism events.
In summary, “The Exorcist” is a terrifying masterpiece of horror cinema that draws its inspiration from the haunting experiences of Roland Doe, whose true identity was Ronald Hunkeler. Despite enduring a traumatic childhood marked by possession and exorcism, Hunkeler went on to achieve a successful career at NASA, contributing significantly to space exploration.
The film adaptation of Roland’s story, while not entirely faithful to reality, remains a spine-chilling portrayal of possession and exorcism. The differences between fact and fiction only add to the enigmatic allure of this true story, making “The Exorcist” a haunting and enduring legend in the world of horror.
Was The Exorcist based on truth?
Yes, it was! The Exorcist, both the novel and the movie, was inspired by a real-life exorcism that happened in 1949 involving a young boy from Cottage City, Maryland. Author William Peter Blatty learned about this case while he was a student at Georgetown University.
Why was The Exorcist banned?
The Catholic Church had concerns about The Exorcist because much of the movie deals with religious themes. They felt that the film wasn’t suitable for a wide audience, which led to calls for it to be banned.
Who was the real pope exorcist?
Gabriele Amorth, an Italian Catholic priest, and a member of the Paulines was known as the real “pope exorcist.” He served as an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome and played a prominent role in founding the International Association of Exorcists along with five other priests.
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