Happy Halloween, everyone! Today's post is one I've thought about doing for a long time now. It just fits the occasion. Back in 1973, I talked two friends, Shirley and Yvonne, into going to see The Exorcist. They were reluctant at first, but allowed themselves to be persuaded. If you've seen the movie, you know there are a couple of real appetite-killing onscreen moments. During one of those moments, both of my friends abruptly shoved their bags of chips at me. Being stuck in the middle between two unhappy moviegoers can be an awkward thing.
As we were leaving the theater, they issued a warning: "Next time you want to see a movie, it had better be a Disney movie!"
The following year, I transferred from Jefferson College to Saint Louis University. That was where I learned the true story behind The Exorcist. It was legend around the campus. The exorcism on which the movie and William Peter Blatty's novel were based took place at SLU. The details can be found on the University's website, but the child who was believed to be possessed was a boy, not a girl as was the case in the movie. The child, known only under an alias, was from the Washington DC area, but was brought here to a relative's home. The Jesuits performed the rituals at three locations--the relatives' home in Bel-Nor, the Jesuit rectory at St. Francis Xavier College Church on the SLU campus, and at the Alexian Brothers Hospital in south St. Louis. The old rectory was torn down and replaced in 1966; the hospital building where the final days of the exorcism took place was leveled and rebuilt in 1978.
Yes, I've wondered if the destruction of those two buildings had anything to do with the exorcism....