Enamored with the supernatural during my adolescence, I have studied every parent-permissible book about spiritual warfare. Exorcism fell into that category, but The Exorcist was not on the approved list. I always wondered why not?
Most of you horror lovers have seen the Blatty classic, The Exorcist, which details the journey of a tween girl who becomes demon-possessed from supposedly playing with a Ouija Board and speaking to an inner “friend.”
Researching exorcism for a backdrop feeling in my novel, I have been scouring the bookshelves and movie racks for anything that might have influenced American culture to gravitate towards these superstitions. The Exorcist was a must-see. After hearing raving reviews from my ethereal enthusiasts, I added it to my streaming Netflix queue.
Since I already knew the synopsis of the movie, I was mentally prepped* for the crucifix masturbation scene and inhuman levitation. The special effects might have been considered extreme for the 70s, but almost four decades later, I found them laughable.
According to the documented reports, this movie possibly sparked numerous demon possessions across the United States. This frenzy to attach psychosomatic symptoms to a surreal entity still lingers to the present day. Exorcisms occur across the country. Even my father has participated in a few himself…
If you had asked me a few years ago whether or not I believed in demon possession, I would have given an unequivocal “yes.” I believed the bulk of supporting pseudoscience because I trusted in the Holy Bible’s inerrancy. If a literal Jesus Christ cast out demons, then who am I to question their existence? I was also heavily influenced by Christian authors, Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. My faulty logic argued that nobody could prove demons’ non-existence.
The Exorcist was an exaggerated portrayal of most exorcisms, as any undercover “demon cast-outer” will confirm. The movie combined a warped imagination with every possible expression of possession into one character, Regan. Based upon Blatty’s novel, this movie was intended to depict a real-life case of a possessed boy. How close to fact or fiction does this movie fall on the spectrum? You be the judge. As for me, I remain ever the skeptic.
* My hubby always suffers through my obvious aversion to violence in movies. I literally put my hands over my tightly closed eyes until he gives me the all-clear.