In this article we will be taking a look at The Exorcist movie curse that was thought to have followed the William Friedkin horror blockbuster from 1974. Is there any truth behind this Hollywood curse?
Let’s take a closer look…
The Classic Horror Movie
When this blockbuster was released in the 70’s – it was dubbed as ‘the scariest movie of all time’. In my opinion, it still looks better and packs more of a punch than more recent, modern horror hits.
I can still remember one of my relatives telling me about the time she first went to see the movie when it hit the cinemas in Bristol in the 70’s. At the time she and her partner were curious of the ambulances parked outside the cinema, and the medical workers on standby next to them.
They were surprised to discover that these medical services were actually there to support the movie’s audience…as they left the cinema in horror and panic!
Seriously – that actually happened outside numerous cinemas in the UK at the time.
A Cursed Movie?
Okay, onto the so-called curse…
Well this whole topic arrived on the scene when Ellen Burstyn (she plays the mother in the movie!) started telling media outlets that “there was an enormous amount of deaths connected with the film”. In later interviews she then went on to say she believed that there were a total of nine deaths linked directly to the whole project.
The most famous of these deaths was that of Jack MacGowren – the guy who played Burke Dennings in the movie. Unfortunately he died before the movie even managed to get released. Ironically, his character in the film also dies.
It is also thought that another two ‘background actors’ died shortly after the movie project was finished. On top of this – several crew members met an untimely end!
Burstyn also claims that she nearly died on set of the movie during filming, during a freak accident involving a stunt (when Regan throws her mother across the bed using a demonic/paranormal force).
This incident actually caused Burstyn to have a nasty injury to her back, and the scream you hear in the movie is actually the real scream she let out during the fall!
Actor Jason Miller (Father Karras) and the book’s author, William Peter Blatty, were both present on the film’s set to witness some paranormal activity. Apparently the telephone used to communicate between the set and the production house rose into the air and fell to the floor right in front of them.
Many other members of the crew also reported props floating across the room on several other occasions.
The Exorcist Movie Curse
Things got so bad on the set of the film that it actually got to the point where a religious technical adviser named Thomas Bermingham was hounded by crew members, desperately begging him to exorcise the set. He declined, saying that an exorcism would push these crew members cleanly over the edge.
A few days later large parts of the set actually burned to the ground…and Bermingham changed his mind and did indeed bless the set.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
Do you feel that the movie had some sort of demonic curse linked to it?
Please leave your opinions in the comment section below.
In this article we will be taking a look at the tragic exorcism of Joan Vollmer. Was the 49-year-old possessed by demons and could her tortured and painful death have been avoided?
Let’s take a closer look…
What The Doctor Found…
February, 1993, and a local doctor is called out to farm dwelling in Antwerp, Victoria. When he gets there, he is confronted by the scene of a group of people praying frantically…and a decomposing body in a nearby room.
The body was not in a good shape, and had obviously been decaying in the heat for quite some time.
The doctor angrily quizzed the group of people, and asked them why they had not called him earlier. They told the doctor that they expected the dead body of the woman to be resurrected.
This was the gruesome scene of an exorcism. Those who took part in it, believed that the body would be brought back to life. Outsiders thought it was nothing more than a shocking death that could have been avoided.
The dead woman was 49-year-old Joan Vollmer, wife to 55-year-old Ralph Vollmer.
Locals came forward and claimed that Ralph had believed his wife to be possessed for many weeks. He often complained about her dancing in the garden, yelling obscenities and also acting like a rabid dog.
He eventually called in a group of amateur exorcists from an extreme religious group, for help…
The Exorcism of Joan Vollmer
The exorcism started out timid enough – the group simply started intense praying rituals when Joan was in the home. When this did not work, they forcefully tied Joan to a chair and prayed directly at her.
They began to force her eyelids open to ensure she was still with them – they believed that both she, and the demon inside her, needed to see what they were doing – needed to witness The Lord in action.
Days went by, and still there was no sign of this demonic entity leaving Joan’s body.
The group eventually enlisted the help of a local named Matthew Nuske, a assistant green keeper from a golf course, who’s mother believed he had a god given ability to exorcise demons.
Nuske arrived on January the 30th – which turned out to be the last day of Joan’s life.
Nuske started the exorcism by wrapping the whole house in cling film, as a way of keeping the demons inside. He then went about burning various items around the home – saying they were linked to demons.
The group then concluded that two demons were still inside Joan – and they needed to be ‘squeezed’ out. The group began at Joan’s lower abdomen and forcibly squeezed as hard as they could, moving the demons up through her body and out of her mouth.
Unfortunately, when the group started squeezing her neck area, they caused her to begin having a heart attack.
The group of exorcists later claimed that once the demons had left Joan’s mouth, she let out a hiss, and all the lights in the home blinked out.
Joan died, but the group were not worried, as they believed she would rise once again.
When Joan did not come back to life, the group called up a Mrs. Clugston, who had been offering them advice throughout the proceedings. She told them that The Lord had communicated with her, and informed her that they needed to lay their hands on her body, and command her to walk again.
This didn’t work.
Mrs. Clugston eventually phoned the local minister for help, and he phoned the local doctor…who visited the scene…and called the police.
When Ralph Vollmer was interviewed by the police, he still believed that his wife would rise from the dead. He even told them to save their questions for when she did.
On the day of the funeral, Ralph invited the local media along, because he was positive that this was the day Joan would breathe once again.
He was wrong.
The group involved in the exorcism eventually stood trial – Ms Reichenback and Mr Klinger who were there from the start of the exorcism received 4 months (20 months suspended) and 3 month (15 months suspended) prison terms, while Mr Vollmer and Mr Nuske had their prison terms completely suspended.
When police delved deeper into the case they discovered that Joan Vollmer had once been sent to a psychiatric institution. Her abusive childhood and the suicide of a previous husband had apparently triggered off some kind of schizophrenia.
It was noted that she stopped taking her medication, shortly before the demonic possession took hold.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the case of Joan Vollmer, please leave them in the comment section below.
There must be few things more terrifying to a God–fearing person than the thought of demonic possession. For those unfortunates who do befall such a fate, exorcism is often the only and final solution to their misery.
Shrouded in mystery and ritual, the ultimate battle between good and evil is played out in the most ghastly of circumstances and is rarely documented.
The possession of Anna Ecklund is an exception, her dreadful experience is one of the first cases of demonic possession recorded in America.
Chronicled in the pamphlet ‘Begone Satan’ it stands as the true testimony of strange events that took place almost a hundred years ago.
‘Begone satan’ was a pamphlet written over eighty years ago, detailing the events surrounding the possession and second exorcism of Anna Ecklund in 1928.
Originally written as an information pamphlet by Father Carl Vogl and featuring the testimony of a witness Rev. Joseph Steiger, it was intended for young Catholic priests in American seminaries.
Vogl hoped his work would support the priesthood in the identification of those possessed by evil entities. In 1973 the pamphlet was translated into English by the Rev. Celestine Kapsner.
The pamphlet and its subsequent translation into book form are freely available for the public to read.
The Possession of Anna Ecklund
Anna Ecklund was born in Wisconsin USA in 1882. Little is known of her early life other than she was a devout Catholic.
This could not have been the influence of her father for reasons that will become apparent, so it must be safe to assume that at least until the age of around eight there was a guiding influence in her life, possibly her mother.
From the age of eight until the age of fourteen a change came over Anna and she began to demonstrate the indications of possession.
There are some suggestions that she was cursed by her father and her maternal aunt, Mina. Jacob Eckland was said to be incensed that his pious child would not indulge in an incestuous relationship and colluded with the aunt to invoke the evil spirits that possessed the child.
Anna first began to display an aversion to anything holy or religious, rejecting the church and overwhelmed by feelings of hatred towards the priesthood.
She also began to display an unhealthy interest in perverse sexual acts and to blaspheme. By the age of fourteen Anna was displaying signs of total possession.
The First Exorcism
At some point in Anna’s childhood medical opinions were sought. When doctors could find no medical reason for Anna’s condition, the first exorcism was performed to rid Anna of the evil demons destroying her life.
On June 28th, 1912, Father Theophilus Reisinger carried out what turned out to be an unsuccessful exorcism.
The lack of success was put down to Anna’s father Jacob and her aunt Mina, who invoked the cast out demons to return to Anna. In accordance with warnings in The Bible, the demons returned seven times stronger, to possess Anna’s soul.
The Second Exorcism
The second exorcism of Anna Ecklund took place some twenty six years later when Anna was 46. It is hard to know what happened in the intervening years. Was Anna possessed during this time? Did she have periods of peace?
What is known is that the same priest, Father Reisinger performed the second, as well as the first exorcism. By this time Anna was possessed by numerous entities but four were particularly prominent.
Beelzebub: Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies and one of the seven princes of hell was one of the demons who possessed Anna. During the exorcism he engaged in philosophical debates with the priests involved, taunting and deriding them.
Judas Iscariot: The disciple who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver is said to have taunted Anna constantly into committing suicide whilst occupying her soul.
Jacob Ecklund: Condemned to hell for trying to corrupt his daughter, the devil allowed Jacob to possess the soul of his daughter so he could satisfy his incestuous desires.
Aunt Mina: Rumored to have committed infanticide and to dabble in the dark arts, Anna’s maternal aunt Mina was another who possessed the troubled woman.
Possibly, to protect Anna from gossip and notoriety Father Reisinger removed Anna from her hometown to perform the exorcism.
He secreted Anna in a convent in Earling, Iowa. What followed was 23 days of paranormal phenomena.
23 Days of Hell
As soon as Anna arrived at the convent she began to demonstrate extreme signs of possession. She could tell which food had been blessed by the nuns and refused to eat it, hissing and spitting like a feral cat.
Said to possess an almost superhuman strength she could run up the walls and cling to them without falling, defying gravity.
Anna is described as levitating before witnesses and eventually had to be tethered down. Despite being tied to an iron bed for her own safety Anna still had to be held down by six nuns, who could barely contain her strength.
Emaciated and frail, refusing to eat, sometimes her body became so heavy that the iron bars supporting her mattress bowed until they touched the floor.
One of the most grotesque manifestations of Anna’s possession was the terrible trials her body endured. Constantly vomiting foul substances, various parts of her body swelled until those attending to her thought she would burst.
During those periods when the rites of exorcism were being performed, Anna is said to have been completely unconscious and her lips still. Despite this she is described shouting at the nuns reminding them of past sins only they could know of.
Having only a limited education Anna also spoke fluently in German, Latin and English, blaspheming and cursing those around her.
She also seemed to have the ability to predict future events, including a car crash involving Rev. Joseph Steiger, the priest of the church attached to the convent.
Throughout these 23 days the room where Anna lay was plagued with strange smells and flies, a true sign of Beelzebub’s presence.
Indeed, one of the strangest occurrences of this time was the vision Father Reisinger experienced of both Lucifer and Beelzebub present in the room where the exorcism was being undertaken. Their rage and anger they displayed towards him gave the priest hope that soon he may meet with success.
The Triumph of Good over Evil
Eventually, after 23 days good triumphed over evil. The demons were expelled from Anna Eckland, she awoke, was lucid and thanked Jesus for her delivery. What mark it left on her we can’t know.
What we do know is that the nuns who tended to the poor woman during her confinement were transferred within the year to other convents, said to be traumatised by their ghastly experience.
The Rev. Joseph Steiger’s witness testimony was recorded in ‘Begone satan’ as was that of his housekeeper who also witnessed events. Both the Rev. Steiger and his housekeeper testify that what they witnessed was the expulsion of demons from a troubled soul.
Little is known of Anna Ecklund after the successful exorcism of the demons that possessed her. She did return to the convent where she was healed to give thanks, some months later, but disappears after this date.
Was she truly possessed by evil spirits or did she suffer from a mental illness undiagnosed by doctors over a hundred years ago?
If you accept that the poor woman was mentally ill, what explanation can there be for the physical changes to her body, the voices that emanated from her, the prediction of future events, the visions of demons witnessed by priests and nuns alike?
Shocking as it may seem, the possession of the human spirit by evil entities is accepted as a real and horrifying phenomenon. Exorcism with its rites and rituals is often the last resort in purging the body of its depraved occupants, but more than this it becomes a battle between good and evil, for the very soul itself.
As for the possession of Anna Ecklund, whatever the truth of this strange paranormal event, she was certainly a lady who suffered greatly. One can only hope she went on to live a happy and peaceful life.
In 1973, the whole world trembled before The Exorcist by William Friedkin. Considered as one of the scariest movies of all cinematographic history, it depicts a little girl possessed by a demon and two priests who came to exorcise her.
At the time, The Exorcist knew a planetary success the likes few movies has ever seen, to an extent where it literally redefined the supernatural-horror genre.
But many people ignore it. The exorcist is actually inspired from a true story – that of the Roland Doe Possession!
In 1949, still a student, William Peter Blatty discovers an article posted in the Washington Post about a young boy of 14, called Roland Doe, who was allegedly possessed by a demon and exorcised by the catholic church a year prior the newspaper publication.
The name “Roland Doe” is a pseudonym name given by the Catholic church to protect the real identity of the boy.
William Blatty became so fascinated by this story that it was etched in his mind for decades and in 1971, he published his book – The Exorcist.
It was an immediate best-seller. Two years later, William Friedkin put it in front of our screens as a motion picture super-hit.
A year prior to the Washington Post article that immortalized this story, In 1948, Roland Doe, was an average young boy of 13 from a middle class family from Mount-Rainier, Maryland.
He was described as a calm, reserved and an introverted boy. He lived in a modest extended family, with his parents, grandmother and aunt Harriet, who, although lived in Saint-Louis, would come very frequently to visit Roland Doe.
His aunt Harriet liked to be called a medium and on her occasional spiritual sessions would use a Ouija board to communicate with the dead.
The whole shebang fascinated the young Roland, to an extent where he begged his aunt to teach him how to use the Ouija board – and she did!
It was however not before long that her aunt succumbed to a fatal illness, leaving the young boy utterly distraught. He began to change, became more introverted and sedentary. He spent days in his room, without coming out, possibly in an attempt to contact his dead aunt with the Ouija board.
According to accounts by Thomas B Allen in 1991, who dedicated his life to the story of Roland Doe, strange things started happening around him soon after his aunt’s death.
His parents started hearing strange noises, which at first they thought were rats in the basement. They called on a private pest control service and found nothing out of the ordinary.
But then things really went chaotic, in a way no rational mind will ever be able to explain…
Lights started switching on by themselves, inanimate objects started making weird noises, chandeliers moved like crazy in a room with no draft and with closed windows. A statue of Jesus Christ kept banging on the wall and objects seemed to be moving by themselves.
At first, his parents tried to rationalize the supernatural events by thinking it was aunt Harriet trying to communicate with them. But the magnitude of the sheer horror they started experiencing made them abandon this thought soon enough.
Whole furniture started moving in a hazardous manner, drawers leaving cupboards like projectiles and supernatural phenomenons started happening everywhere in the house.
Whence came the night, Roland Doe’s attitude changed markedly. He became scary. He developed unexplained bruising and scratch marks on his body. He curled onto himself and started screaming like a madman.
It was then they understood he was possessed.
His parents decided to call on the services of their spiritual guide, lutheran pastor Luther Miles Schulze – for it seemed it was the only sensible thing to do at this point.
Pastor Schulze made a report and relayed it to the Evening Star, which then published the article. It created an uncontrollable nationwide sensation.
Roland was examined by a slew of doctors and psychiatrists who were not able to explain the phenomenons affecting the boy from a scientific point of view.
Pastor Schulze was very skeptical about the supernatural claims. He decided to harbor the boy for one night, for observation.
He later writes in a private letter to his parapsychologist friend (Dr. Rhein); seeing the boy sound asleep on his couch and moving by himself. Not using his legs. or hands. But moving as if an invisible force was pulling on him.
Not skeptical anymore, pastor Schulze tried to perform various exorcism rites to no avail. In fact, the more he tried, the more violent the possessions would get. He handed the Roland Doe possession case to the Catholic church.
The Roland Doe Possession
Demonic possessions are generally scary, but that of Roland Doe is a particularly scary story. A story that has inspired and scared many people for decades and continues to do so to this day. Sleep with your lights on tonight. You never know.
In November of 2011 an excited Latoya Ammons and her family moved into their new home on Carolina Street in Gary, Indiana. They were only there a matter of days before they noticed an influx of flies living in the home with them.
This was the reasonably cold month of November so the family were baffled as to where the insects came from. As it turned out the flies would soon be forgotten, at least for a while, as months of bizarre phenomena unfolded…
Latoya Ammons’s small family consisted of her three children and her mother Rosa Campbell. They all moved into the house on Carolina Street at the same time.
Within days of being in the new house the family members began to hear the sound of footsteps climbing up the basement steps along with basement door opening and closing.
A few days later Rosa Campbell awoke suddenly in the night because she felt some sort of presence. As she squinted through the dark of her room she noticed a tall shadowy figure looming in the corner.
She immediately jumped out of bed screaming and ran from the room. When the rest of the family worked up enough courage to investigate they found wet footprints leading into Rosa’s room and back out again.
The strange occurrences kept up until the paranormal activity really took off on the 10th of March when a small Wake took place in the Ammons home.
It was the early hours of the morning and guests from the funeral were still gathered in the living room. Ammons decided to check on her daughter who was sleeping with a friend in Rosa’s bedroom.
As she entered the room she was confronted with the sight of her daughter floating a few feet off the bed in her sleep. She screamed at the top of her voice and the house full of guests dashed up the stairs to see what was wrong.
They all witnessed Ammons’ daughter levitating above the bed and they began to pray.
The calls to god seemed to do the trick and the young girl slowly started descending back towards the bed again. Within minutes she was sleeping soundly again on top of the bed sheets.
In Need of Help
The Ammons knew that they were dealing with some sort of force that they had no experience with – they needed help and they needed it fast!
They contacted several churches in the area but only one took them seriously. They sent out a representative who examined the house and informed them that they did have spirits sharing their space.
They left after advising Ammons and her mother to clean the whole house with bleach and ammonia. This was apparently a way of cleansing the house of paranormal visitors.
Ammons also contacted mediums who believed that the home was filled with evil, claiming the house was home to more than two hundred spirits and demons.
They followed all the cleansing instructions from both the church members and the mediums and even went as far as building a Christian alter in their basement.
This only seemed to wind the resident evil up further…
All three of Latoya’s children suddenly become targets for the demonic forces within the home. Her 12-year-old daughter gave a frightening account of being held on the floor and choked by some sort of invisible entity.
As this entity attempted to squeeze the life out of her it whispered in her ear that she would be dead within twenty minutes.
Her 7-year-old brother was found sitting inside a dark closet holding a conversation with thin air. When they asked him what he was doing he replied that he was having a conversation with an entity about the how it felt to be killed.
All three of her children then began to show signs of demonic possession and frequently spoke in deep voices that belonged to adults. Their eyes would bulge fiercely out of their heads and they would grim silently at their Latoya and her mother.
Ammons knew that her kids were displaying worrying health issues so she contacted Geoffrey Onyeukwu, the family doctor. He told her to bring the three of them in so that he could examine them fully.
He came to the conclusion that they were all suffering from delusions and hallucinations.
As Ammons began to argue her point with Onyeukwu her 7-year-old son started to growl ferociously at the doctor.
Without warning he stopped growling and started cursing with words he couldn’t possibly know. He then started to levitate before rushing through the air into the surgery wall.
All of a sudden his older brother collapsed in a heap next to his unconscious brother – neither boy could be revived so 911 was called.
The pair of them were taken to the Methodist Hospital by the emergency services where they woke up shortly after. The older brother seemed fine but the 7-year-old seemed to get stuck in a fit of screaming and shouting. It took 5 male nurses to finally hold him down and calm him.
The Department of Child Services got wind of the strange happenings at the hospital and sent out investigator Valerie Washington. She put Latoya Ammons through a psychological examination but could find nothing wrong with her.
As this examination came to a close the 7-year-old began displaying strange behavior yet again. He started to growl and then pounced on his older brother choking him.
Yet again the hospital staff were called in to calm the youngster down.
Valerie Washington was so shocked by what she had witnessed at the hospital she decided to evaluate the two young boys without their mother.
They were accompanied by Rosa Campbell, RN Willie Walker and a handful of hospital staff.
As soon as the evaluation started the younger brother looked towards his older sibling and said “It’s time to die” and “I will kill you.”
The older brother’s response was to stare back at his brother with a terrible evil smile. He then floated across the room and somehow walked backwards up the wall. He finished this incredible stunt by flipping over Washington’s head and landing on his feet behind her.
Valerie Washington returned to the Department of Child Services and Rosa Campbell took the two older kids back home with her. Ammons remained in the hospital with her youngest child for the night.
Unfortunately Ammons awoke to find that the Department of Child Services had come to a dramatic decision on her children. The youngest child was sent for further psychological evaluation and his two older siblings ended up in a care home nearby.
Father Michael Maginot
A Methodist Hospital chaplain was actually working the night that Ammons and her children turned up. When he heard about the story from hospital staff he decided to contact Father Michael Maginot.
Maginot was the priest at Saint Steven Martyr Parish in Merriville, Indiana – he had been a friend of the Chaplain for many years.
Maginot listened to the evidence provided by the Chaplain and agreed that possession seemed like the most probable cause. Two days later he turned up on the doorstep of the Ammons home.
After many days of investigation Father Michael Maginot managed to convince Ammons and her mother to leave the house for good. He also believed that Latoya Ammons was the main conduit for the demons – she was possessed not her children!
He attempted to gain permission for a local exorcism off Bishop Dale Melezek. The Bishop was less than impressed by this request and he only permitted a minor version of an exorcism…which only seemed to make matters worse!
Yet again Maginot approached the Bishop to plead his case – this time the Bishop caved in and allowed him to carry out a full exorcism in his church in Merriville.
A total of 3 full exorcisms were carried out on Latoya Ammons before the demons were finally removed. In June of 2012 Father Maginot declared that Ammons was free of demonic possession.
The Final Fight
Over the next few months Ammons worked tirelessly to regain custody of her children. The fight went on until November when she was finally reunited with the kids.
She currently lives at an unknown address in Indianapolis – Father Maginot is in constant contact with her…
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Latoya Ammons exorcism please leave them in the comment section below.