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Satanic Group Playing with Fire

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Satanic Group Playing with Fire

One of the most frightening books I’ve ever read was Possessed, the real-life account of an exorcism in 1949, in St. Louis, Mo. It served as the basis of the popular novel and film “The Exorcist.”

Performed by some no-nonsense Jesuits, the exorcism, unlike the film, reached its conclusion when the possessed boy (not girl, as in the book and film) was wheeled in a gurney past a statue of St. Michael the Archangel in a local hospital, and a disembodied voice shouted out, “Leave him!” I don’t have the book on hand, and this is not an exact quote, but that’s not the sort of thing that you forget. A few years later on an A&E special, William Halloran, S.J., a Jesuit priest who as a young Jesuit scholastic assisted in the exorcism, broke his silence and spoke openly about what had happened. In 2013, St. Louis University held an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the movie.

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