Is the movie The Exorcist (1973) based on a true story?

Matthew Brown Matthew Brown Apr 26, 2023 · 2 mins read
Is the movie The Exorcist (1973) based on a true story?
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Yes, The Exorcist (1973) was inspired by the real-life exorcism of Roland Doe (a pseudonym), a 14-year-old boy from Maryland in the late 1940s. However, the movie takes creative liberties in its adaptation of the story.

What is the true story behind the movie The Exorcist (1973)?

The Exorcist is a horror movie that was released in 1973, directed by William Friedkin, and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty. The story begins when a young girl named Regan MacNeil, played by Linda Blair, begins to exhibit unusual behavior, which includes obscene language, convulsions, and self-harm. Her mother, Chris MacNeil, played by Ellen Burstyn, tries various medical treatments to cure her, but nothing seems to work.

Eventually, Chris turns to a local priest, Father Karras, played by Jason Miller, for help. After performing various tests and ruling out any medical causes, the priest suspects that Regan may be possessed by a demon. He then turns to an experienced exorcist, Father Merrin, played by Max von Sydow, to help him perform the ritual.

The movie was based on the real-life exorcism of a boy named Roland Doe, whose true identity has never been revealed. In 1949, Roland was an ordinary 14-year-old boy living in Maryland. After his aunt passed away, Roland began to exhibit strange behavior, like Regan in the movie, which included speaking in tongues, violent outbursts, and levitation. His family turned to a Lutheran pastor for help, but when his attempts to help failed, they turned to Catholic priests.

The exorcism process lasted several weeks, during which time the boy was restrained and subject to various religious rituals. The details of the exorcism were kept private, and it was not until years later that the truth behind the story was revealed.

Many experts have attempted to explain the events that took place during Roland Doe’s exorcism, with some suggesting that he may have been suffering from mental illness or schizophrenia. Despite this, the story continues to fascinate audiences and remains a popular horror movie to this day.

Are there any books about the true story behind the movie The Exorcist (1973)?

Yes, there are books about the true story behind The Exorcist (1973). The movie was based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, which was in turn inspired by a real-life exorcism case involving a boy known as “Roland Doe” in 1949. Some books about the true story behind the movie include:

  1. The Exorcist: The Strange Story Behind the Film by Mark Kermode
  2. The Devil in Connecticut by Gerald Brittle
  3. Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism by Thomas B. Allen
  4. The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel by Felicitas D. Goodman
  5. The Real Story Behind the Exorcist by James T. Branson

You can try an audible free trial and search for audiobook versions of those

Matthew Brown
Written by Matthew Brown
Living life to the fullest, one adventure at a time.