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The Terrifying, Real-Life Story Behind “The Exorcist”

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The success and immediate impact of The Exorcist was so jarring that the film caught the notice of outlets like the New York Times, with 1970s news reports detailing not only its popularity but also the pervasive problems the movie was creating. After the film’s release, a 1974 Times piece warned of “terrified teenagers and priests” who were losing sleep as well as a “wave of inquiries” from people worried that they or their loved ones were possessed. The impact was immediately widespread and palpable. Decades later, though, the movie is still wildly popular, continuing to petrify viewers across the globe.  As it turns out, The Exorcist was inspired by the strange, supposedly real-life events surrounding a young boy named Robbie Mannheim (an alias used to protect his real identity) — happenings that were said to have unfolded in 1949 on the campus of Saint Louis University (SLU) in Saint Louis, Missouri… (READ MORE)

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