Last Night’s TV – The Exorcist: The True Story

by Lynn Connolly


I should start this article by saying that The Exorcist is one of my favourite films ever. ‘Scary’ films rarely scare me, and The Exorcist was no exception.

It’s always given me a sort of deviant pleasure to sit happily staring at the screen in a dark living room while all about me, folks are behind cushions and squeezing their eyes shut, then having to sleep with the light on while I sleep soundly, undisturbed by haunting images.

However, hearing about the supposedly true events which inspired William Peter Blatty to write his famous book – which of course was adapted for the big screen – did give me the irrits somewhat. I wasn’t caused to hide behind cushions, nor squeeze my eyes shut, but there were a couple of lights on…

A friend of the boy – given the pseudonym Robbie – upon whom the story is based, Pat Cagey, certainly was and gave away few really useful details, though we did hear one very sad fact; after all this possession and de-demonisation, Robbie’s parents probably didn’t play cards ever again. Those poor bas**rds.

You see it seems that Pat’s parents used to play canasta with Robbie’s parents, but that all went out of the window when the whole possessed by the devil thing occurred. And fair dos, it’s very likely that a hand of cards would take second place to a son who hurls abuse, gets bizarre stigmata and who has seemingly attracted the attentions of Beelzebub.

Robbie, we were informed, was just 13 years old when his slightly bonkers aunt gave him a Ouija board and then upped and died. Shortly after her death, weird things began to happen including scratching noises on floors, moving furniture and Robbie began to be less than pleasant to live with.

So when the words ‘St Louis’ appeared on Robbie’s body, stigmata-like, the family took the hint/devilish order and moved to that very place. Once there, a local priest embarked upon no less than six weeks worth of nightly exorcisms, and it seems his overtime paid off, for Robbie was eventually declared demon free.

Apparently, ‘Robbie’ now works for NASA and has no memory at all of any of his demonic possession phase. Kids eh? I mean, you give, and you give and you give, but they don’t even have the decency to remember all your efforts to de-demon them.

Overall, though I still find the whole premise less than entirely plausible, there are more things Horatio and all that, so who knows, maybe it did all happen. But whether it did or not, I enjoyed watching the film again after the documentary. Even if I did accidentally fall asleep with my bedside lamp on…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.