The true Exorcism took place in an old hospital in St Louis, called Alexian Brothers Hospital. It was a hospital run by Jesuits who care for the sick and poor. The child was a boy and not a girl, who was a very troubled child: The following is an excerp from a newspaper and my post will follow this one
When the movie The Exorcist came out, it put quite a stir into our society. When I went to see the movie for myself, individuals from a nearby church were handing out bible tracts after we came out of the theater. A local radio station, KMOX in St. Louis, had a Jesuit Priest explain the true story behind legend. This is an account of what really happened in January of 1949.
The parents of a young 13 year old boy heard what sounded like mice scratching on the inside walls of the boy's bedroom. They hired an exterminator to quickly solve the problem. However, this seemed to add to the problem. More things began to happen. Things like plates moving, the boy's bed shaking and bed sheets ending up on the floor. All of these events can be explained away.
Let us start at the beginning. The story begins in a Washington DC suburb of Cottage City. The boy was the only child of a dysfunctional family and had a troubled childhood. The family thought that their house was possessed. So they decided to move to the Midwest. However, it was there, the incidents began to escalate. His Aunt Tillie, who lived in St. Louis, had taught the boy how to use a Ouija board. She died from multiple sclerosis on January 26, 1949. Shortly after that, the incidents intensified. It has been suggested that her spirit plagued the boy. Nothing would have ever been known about the case if it had not been for the diary. Somehow the 26-page document disappeared from Alexian Brothers Hospital in South St. Louis. The story goes that when the psychiatric wing of the hospital was torn down, workers found the diary locked in a desk drawer. It was discovered that the diary had been written by a Father Raymond Bishop SJ. He was one of the participants in the exorcism, but the child's name was never stated.
The diary claims that the boy suffered from words scratched on his chest and abdomen. The unexplained words "Louis" and "No" appeared on his body. There was also accounts of food flying through the air, candle flames being snuffed out and the displacement of room furniture.
Another diary account has the boy being driven to a Catholic church for a Catholic baptism. On the way to the church, the boy grabbed his uncle by the throat and said, "If you think you are going to baptize me, you are a fool." The actual baptism took two hours to perform instead of ten minutes.
The actual rite of exorcism began on March 11, 1949. It began at the church rectory but had to be moved to the psychiatric ward at Alexian Brothers. It continued for weeks. At one point the boy approached Father Bowdern and dissolved the booklet being used in his hands.
Finally, one evening the boy was being forced to take communion. During this time, the voice of the demon inside the boy changed to another. The voice identified itself as St. Michael the Archangel. He ordered the entity to leave and it did. The boy sat up, smiled at Father Bowdern and said he is gone. The exorcism was over.
Nothing was ever brought up, until the story behind the diary surfaced. This is when author William Peter Blatty heard about it and used it for his book The Exorcist. If you compare the movie and the true story, there are some similarities. However, the movie was greatly exaggerated. The true story is left to a lot of speculation.
On a personal note, I spent two visits at Alexian Brothers Hospital, once in 1951 and then again in 1952. Neither experience was a good one for me. They were two of the worst experiences of my life.
Did this exorcism take place? Nobody knows the truth. That is the way it will always remain; each individual has to be the judge.
Sometime in the1980's not feeling well I was rushed to Alexian Brothers Hospital with an ovarian cyst that was not only infected but gangerous. I was a frightened out of my mind and in so much pain I wouldn't have cared if someone killed me as long as they put me out of my misery. I remember a priest coming in and giving me last rites, his hands kind as he annointed my head. Then blackness as an emergency operation took place. It was frightening because I was all alone. It was a comedy of errors that day. First of all I was supposed to babysit for my employer's wife, because the Baker I worked for had tried to commit suicide. He was a kind man with 10 children whose business was going down hill. It had increased with my coming to work for him because I'm a natural saleswoman and I had acquired three big businesses who wanted daily deliveries of doughnuts and pastries. I don't know the story behind the suicide attempt, but it was a botched job and he was hospitalized. Luckily he had a son in his 20's who was also a baker to keep the bakeries open and the deliveries made
His wife came to my house to drop off the two youngest children and found me writhing with pain. She saved my life that day, because I wouldn't have called the ambulance thinking by some miracle I might be better in an hour or two. Thus I was operated on with none of my family around, in a place I had only visited once or twice before; once with my grandpa who died there and later for my best friend who also died. Did it cross my mind that it could be my fate too, maybe for an instant but being the fighter I am I was sure I'd come out alive. After the operation I was in ICU a week, still in pain, and very anemic so I was getting blood transfusions and huge amounts of antibiotics in my IV's for the poison that had seeped into my system. Then came a day they moved me to a different room. Now when I'm saying this hospital was old it depended on what part you were in. They had a new section that was built in the front, and a very old section that was in the back. I guess the hospital was overcrowded or maybe it was my lack of good insurance, because I was put on the ground floor in the old part. My room had a one of those doors that had a window on top but was double panes of glass with wire between them. It was three doors down from the morgue and farther down the hall was a staircase that went up two flights that was blocked off. I was later told by the cleaning lady, one of the few people I saw while in that room, just her and an occassional nurse, that that flight of stairs led to the room where the boy was kept and it was in that room the exorism had taken place.
Now if the morgue and the staircase weren't enough to freak me out, the woman in my room was there for psychiatric treatment and acted very weird. I couldn't find any other rooms on the floor and there was no nurses station. My family visited me regularly along with a young seminarian who was delightful. His presence was light in a sinister tunnel, he came often taking me out of that room to pray with me and make me laugh. There was an infestation of roaches in the cabinet next to my bed, my mom had brought me cookies and they were a hit with the roach crowd. I had to go to a public bathroom as there was none in my room. Now mind you it's a week after my surgery and they made me get a pan of water in the public rest room to bring back to my room to bathe with. I wasn't supposed to lift anything heavy and I thought at the time they were insane, everyone of them. The cleaning lady smoked slim black cigars and had a harsh crass voice. The only visitor my roomie had was her husband who looked thrilled when he could leave. I had my family visit with me in a little alcove sitting area down the hall. The eeriness that filled that place was disheartening and I was plagued with bad dreams and consantly feeling ****** out of sleep. I'd awaken in a sweat and cried for no reason. I think if I had to stay much longer than I did I would have gone downhill losing my fighting spirit to depression. Thankfully I was released and though weak it was such a relief to get home where I got better by leaps and bounds. But it was a crazy experience, one I'll never forget. They've since torn down that old section and it's a very modern hospital now. The last time I visited, my Dad was a patient there, and it felt completely different feel from the old horror movie feeling I had before. Years later I went to New Orleans and decided to take a ghost tour. How surprised I was that one of the stories related was the true story of the Exorcism. Others were amazed and frightened but I knew the story and the place well, having exorcised my own demons there.