Rituals - E27 • The Exorcism of Roland Doe

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Buckle up em.

It’s story time.

It’s late at night at a home outside Washington, d.c. a group of priests gather around a sleeping child strapped, to a bed.

They’re ready to go to battle against a spirit trapped inside the teen.



It sounds stressful.

It sounds because I spooky but yeah, stressful also very so stressful.

The furniture shakes objects fly across the room and everyone is aghast as the child thrashes violently today.


We’re talking about one of your favorite stories.

You’ve probably already guessed it.

It’s some of the real life events that inspired the movie, The Exorcist.


Anyone else who’s listening and doesn’t know what’s about to happen.

This is going to be such a good episode wild, right?

A stressful Wild Ride stressful.


Hi everyone, and welcome to rituals a Spotify original from par cast.

I’m Christine Schieffer.

And I’m M Schultz and every week, we’ll explore the evolution of spiritualism.

And the Occult through stories practices and the impact on Modern culture.

Today we are telling one of Em’s.

Favorite classic Stories, the inspiration behind The Exorcist, I’m nervous to tell you the story because I feel like I want to make sure you’re hearing a story you already know?


Well, here’s the thing, you can do whatever you want with the story and I owe you big time and you want to know why my oh, Christine.

I think you’re gonna remember in about three to one because we’ve done this topic on.

And that’s why you drink it episode 23, which was the week that your friend in college roommate, Allison was in town.


Oh, forget it.

That with this episode.

Let’s the so you get to do whatever.

Were you want?

And I cannot complain.

Because for the people who have not listened to, and that’s why I drink.

Episode 23, don’t listen to that one.

Christine was editor extraordinary.

I think she learned everything during that episode because Christine’s college roommate was in town and we were still so new.


We were letting our friends, come on.

The shows when they were in town is like, guest stars.

And I thought, Christine’s college roommate was really cute.

And we ended up flirting back and forth for like six hours while we were trying to record.

Six hours of audio of em trying to tell the story.


But then just like tripping, over their words and flirting, with Allison.

And I just have to sit there.

I thought she was so cute.

Listen to it again and edit.

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry.

It was not a good time for you and it’s somewhere in the folds of Christine’s hard drive there are I’m sure there’s six hours of me, just like being an idiot.


Just completely trying my best to win someone over.

But well it’s also in the Folds of my brain and my subconscious.

So hopefully, I don’t lash out at you today as we go over the story, just know you could say whatever you want and it is finally your Redemption episode where you get to tell.

First of all, you just call me a ghost story, which doesn’t happen too often.


But you get to tell me one that I owe you a lot of time on so have fun.

No reason to be stressed.

And also, for anyone, listening Alice, and I have been together for like five years now.

So it worked out.

It was like worth it in the end, it wasn’t a disaster.

He was a good time anyway.


I’m very excited to hear your interpretation.

Patient of this Christie.

Please, let’s crack into it.


All right.

So let’s talk about exorcisms, okay?

One of our favorite topics and something.

I feel like you don’t necessarily learn about in school, at least.

I didn’t, even though I was at Catholic school as I say, that’s so weird.

You would think of all the schools that would teach, it would certainly be a Catholic school.


You can learn about it.


Because I don’t think they want to advertise that, you know, although it would be Of a cool way to get people excited about Catholicism in my mind.

I would think if you want people because I know numbers are dropping in the church if you want to bring them right back and you just tell them all about exercise, I don’t know.


I mean, also, I’m saying it from someone with zero education exorcisms but I would certainly take that class if it was offered.

Yeah, I would have to.

But instead, we had to learn about, you know, super great things that the church also teaches, so we’re not even going to go there.

But that was where our parents hard.


Earned money went not exorcisms and And clearly, I am completely over it and not at all bitter, right?


Anyway, on that note, do you believe in demonic possession?

I don’t know that we’ve ever actually talked about this.

Yeah, I do really, I don’t.


Well, I guess we can’t be friends anymore.


Sorry by.

I feel like at the bare minimum, I think that things can attach to yes were things.

I can’t believe, I think, I just don’t know where the limit of reality ends, like I think if it’s dark enough, who knows what’s possible if it attaches this Bang.


Yeah, that’s I don’t know.

If like possession really looks like it does in the movies.

It could just be like, Poltergeist activity or something.

I don’t know.

I don’t know about like talking through somebody, over the years, we’ve gotten so many stories told to us of like from our own listeners of like children saying things and like, not.


Remembering it later.

Like, I don’t know what that’s about.

I feel like we hear so many little pieces of it may be that fits the definition, I don’t know.

Yeah, maybe there’s some pieces that are true.

I think when I hear exorcism and demonic possession, I picture a story like this which we’re going about to get into where somebody Spends months, you know, like strapped to a bed and the priest has to spray holy water on like that.


I’m sort of like, hmm.

I don’t know how much of that is like Showmanship versus actual demonic possession, but I mean, I don’t know.

Again, I never took this class in high school honestly, that’s where they failed.

You and the education system actually.

It’s embarrassing.


I wonder how real is.

I mean I guess we’re both very lucky to not know the answer.

I think.

Gosh I don’t need everybody.

In terms of like my belief my standard of believing things as a real slippery slope I think like the hinges are extra oil down that door.

So I feel like I could really be convinced either way.


Well have you seen The Exorcist?

Yeah, it was me and I feel like a lot of people will disagree with me on that but I feel like a lot of people will agree with me on that.

It was like, kind of 5 out of 10.

What about you?

Have you seen it?


Do I look like I’ve seen it?


Well, it’s about time.

Do I look like my parents who are sending me to Catholic school?

Would have, let me run that from Blockbuster and no way that’s fair.

But I’ve also seen you watch other scary movies and you didn’t fare well, so yeah, it doesn’t end well for me.

I’ve watched exactly maybe three, scary movies in my life and they probably traumatized me to this very day.


So, I’m pretty glad I never watched this one.

Yeah, I think maybe at the time, it was a great movie because it had just nothing like that had ever been seen before.

So I think I know it freak people out.

I’ve heard stories of like, people likely In the theater because they were just so terrified.

But I think that was also it’s a 70s movie made for a 70s audience or something like that you know, easy I guess.


Or like I mean there’s that whole piece soup, I know that scene from Scary Movie and whatever other references, pop culture references.

There have been, but I know the spewing the bile or whatever.

The vomit everywhere.

The head spinning?

Isn’t that the head turning around?


Isn’t that yeah Exorcist.

Yep, I also will fun fact, the first time I ever wanted to like move To like Hollywood and do stuff in TV was because of, I wanted to do special effects like the Pea, Soup has vomit.

So so, I guess it did have an impact on me.


An impasse gonna say, here you go, very cool.

Well, I know, you know, the answer to this question but this is kind of a fun fact for our listeners that the movie was actually based on an actual documented case of an exorcism and did, you know this like before doing the podcast?

No, I never do.


I always hear.

Oh, we’ve got New episode coming out, we better do some research, and then I found this one and I was like, wow, this one’s really good.

And then when I was covering this, all those years ago on, and that’s how you drink.

I was like, wow, I really picked a good story to like, impress, a girl and then and then actually she’s not interested in this stuff at all, be fair.


It worked, whatever you did worked.

So, I ignored the information just stared into her eyes for six numbers.

That’s, yeah, I did get that I did, get that on tape.

I’m so sorry Christy, thank you for saying that some biblical Scholars.

Scholars have criticized, the film saying it created widespread misconceptions about the church.


I could see why that would be the case and the practice of exorcism.

So today we’re going to learn a little bit more about the real life events that inspired the movie The Exorcist.

So let’s start off by introducing you to the child.


Trialed at the center of this case and unlike the movie it was not a 12 year old girl.


It was actually a 13 or 14 year old boy, his name was Ronald Edwin hunkler.

What a name, what a name?

Is also known by the Alias Roland do.

We’ll get there later as to how he acquired that name, but Roland do is actually the name.


I remember from your covering of this me too.

I am really happy that we’re doing these notes so much later in our career, because I’d only done research like 20 times before this.

So, I don’t even know if I knew the original name of Roland.

Oh, I don’t know if I put that in, I don’t remember.


I’ve tried to block that night out of mine.


Just kidding.

It’s Peridot.

It is totally fair.

No Ronald Edwin.

Hunkler I don’t but doesn’t doesn’t ring a bell.

It doesn’t itch a little memory in my brain know.

Well that was his real name also known as Roland do this all started in Maryland in January of nineteen Forty Nine Ronald and his family started hearing strange noises around the house.


They heard water dripping, they heard scratching Behind the Walls and footsteps and Ronald’s bedroom.

And even when he went to school and visiting relatives he’s creepy events followed And continue to happen.

Wow, okay.

Ronald’s mother worried the strange episodes, were may be linked to an aunt who had recently died and Ronald was really close with this on her name was Tilly and she would visit them from st.


Louis, and was actually a spiritualist and she had taught Ronald how to use a Ouija board.

This is the kind of anti aspire to be so excited to see was the cool.

Aunt, that’s what we’re missing here.


Got it.


And they were really close and so she had passed away in the strange events apparently started after Ronald.


It tried to contact Aunt, Tilly, Spirit, using the Ouija board, which is like, such a full circle moment.

She teaches you, how to use it, she passes away and then you use it to try and contact her.

I might know, I mean, at least she taught him how to use.

Well, that’s no actually, maybe not.


Because if she is the Catalyst for all this then, hmm.

Yeah probably would not have even been in the house of her wise but here we go.

So the family took Ronald to see a doctor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist, but they all drew a blank.

Nobody could explain what was going on.

So instead the family turned to their Church in February of nineteen Forty, Nine, a local Lutheran Minister came to the home to observe Ronald and he claimed, he saw the boy’s bed shaking.


He saw dishes flying through the air and furniture moving on its own.

No thanks.


No, thank you.

But I also thought this part was weird.

He even had Ronald stay at his home.

Stay over at my place.

I think nowadays that might be more frowned upon but I certainly think so.


Yeah especially given the awful stereotypes.

So yeah, exactly.

But this is what they did to test it out and the bizarre events, Believe It or Not, followed him to The Minister’s house as well.

That’s when, you know, it’s bad as when they’re like, oh, come to my place to get away from it and it still following you, which I guess would be.


I don’t remember that, like the four stages of possession or something.

But that certainly, at least one of them what staying at the priests house.

I do like something like attaching to you, where it follows you out of your own home like it.

So I see goes with you everywhere, right?

Because it said it was happening at All to so he couldn’t escape it.



Can you imagine just want to do your homework?

You know, and like that feeling must be the most defeating feeling in the world.

Like I just want to do my algebra.

I sentence.

You never thought you’d say I just want to study for my test.

That’s all I want in.

Peace in, peace and quiet.

Oh my gosh.

Well, by late, February things had gotten so bad that he was actually pulled from school.


And so he couldn’t even study for a test anymore, he was so overwhelmed by this activity, he was having nightmares all the time and This part creeped me out cat like scratches that look like letters of the alphabet started to appear on his body.

Also like I can’t imagine the stress and confusion that a child is going through with this hap.


Like talk about drama.


Just waking up and getting scratched all the time and getting like word spelled on your stomach now.


And have things are flying around you.

I mean just wow it’s got to be rough at a loss.

There Minister suggested that the family tries a Catholic church instead.


So Ronald father contacted a Catholic priest named father Edward Albert Hughes and Hughes believed Ronald was possessed, he gave the family, holy water and candles but as Ronald’s mom was trying to use them as instructed, she said the holy water flew across the room smashed to bits and the candles would like blowout would extinguish on their own.



I think I already probably would have drawn the line in terms of my own sanity earlier up, but that would have really been the last nail in the coffin of, like the holy Water flying across the room that because, you know, yeah, you just, I don’t know how true it is but in my brain, you think, like, oh, holy water is like this impervious.


That’s, yeah, and if that’s getting thrown out of your hands, forget it, I’d be like, forget it, what are you going to do at that point?

Like you have no power over this.

I know, truly father, Hughes came over and said he heard.

Ronald speaking in Latin.



See that’s one of those tropes of possession.

That actually kind of freaks me out.

Oh, Yeah, into if you just spoke a, I mean, I guess you speak German.

I was going to say, if you speak another language I will be frightened, 100% of, you’re so scared of me.

Hold a lot of power in this friendship, but know, if I heard a child speaking Latin bad news I will then I was also thinking, like, what if I was sitting in on a Latin class was like, that’s okay.


I’m looking for all these weird little niche experiences that I should be afraid of.

I like to imagine that.

You would have the wherewithal to know the context matter in the situation but you know, funny, Okay, if I just teleported to our room, like a Latin class and all the children speaking, when I’d be like, are we good?


Are we not you?

Let me know.

Okay, sorry, keep going, I don’t know what’s going on today.

I’ve had too much apple juice.

I was like, what coffee?

You don’t even drink coffee, father.

Hughes was apparently, so shaken by what he saw.

He asked the Archbishop of Washington if he could perform an exorcism.


We’ve talked about this before because I know at certain points you said, why don’t they just get a priest to do an exorcism?

But I know there’s like a whole process like a rig All you have to go through as a priest, to get approval to do an exorcism.

You have to ask, like, the I season.

And like the Archbishop.


It’s very strict rules because they don’t want it to just be people running around, exorcising demons.

And so it’s very rare that they actually approve one.

Also, I think like for a long time only recently were churches even like openly saying yes, we do do exorcisms.

I feel like they kept it a secret from the public unless it was a really dire.



They didn’t want to be And of associated with that whole world.

Make sense coming up, father Hughes tries to drive the devil out of Ronald, but things go sideways fast.


Okay, well I can’t wait to see where this goes psych, it’s been said that art is in the eye of the beholder.

But what about?

Eat or chaos.


Hi, it’s Richard from the Spotify original from par cast, Unexplained Mysteries.

This September.

Join us as we comb through the clues of some of the greatest art.

Mysteries of all time, the Lost DaVinci, the fake rothko.


The real identity of Banksy.

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All right.

So let’s get to the actual exorcism.

It’s now late February, maybe early March in 1949 and Ronald hunkler who’s about 13 or 14 years.

Old is taken to Georgetown University Hospital, to Jesuit institution.

So, Catholic institution to begin his exorcism with Father Edward Hughes.


So this becomes Troublesome to me.

Ronald was strapped to a bed, don’t like that one bit.

And the room was sprinkled with holy water.

Father Hughes recited, the Litany of the Saints and the our Father prayers in Latin.

Just if you teleported accidentally into this room and I was saying things are not, okay, yeah.



Now we’re using Latin for good.


That’s all I needed to hear.

It’s bounce guess.

So during the ritual, Ronald Broke Free of his restraints and slashed father, Hughes armed, with a loose bed spring.

I hate that fact.


Oh God, the first of all now he’s got to worry about tetanus on.

Top of a demon everything else.

I know it’s just gets more.

Imagine he goes into the ER and they’re like, oh, what happened?

He’s like it’s a really long story.

I don’t think we should get into it.

You’re not going to believe me.



But I can I be a little bit of a skeptic here.


Okay this kid has a loose bed spring.

That he’s scratching the the priest with and just so happens to be getting letters scratched into his body.


And could very well be, he was scratching himself upstairs.


Who knows?

I think maybe that’s what was going on, but I mean, what do I know fair enough.

So, father Hughes was unfortunately hurt pretty badly by this and that basically ended this stage of the exorcism, okay?

And just like I said, after several more mysterious scratches appeared on Ronald’s body, the word Louis emerged on his rib cage.


Okay, well, I certainly was not expecting the demon to be named the Lewis of all things was not bad.

Well, so that’s what I would have.

Thought I had that exact same thought of like oh Lewis the demon, no, apparently the family Ronald’s family, took this as a sign that they should take him to st.


Louis reaching your honor but okay, reaching your honor but I just had a thought.


The st.

Louis maybe the demon didn’t want to write st.

If you recall I do recall that huh interesting though?

Because belly reaching once again but you know it wrote Louis.


And so What they thought?

Well, okay, that must mean st.


This is where Aunt Tilly lived, remember who taught him how to use a Ouija board.

So I could see that the family took Ronald in 1949 March of 1949 to st.


And the strange events.

Followed him there a cousin attending Saint Louis University or slew as they call it here in the Midwest today?



What a fun fact.

Okay salut, they suggested that they talk to her Jesuit teacher.

This cousin said, why don’t you talk to my Jesuit teacher?

ER Raymond J Bishop so Bishop visited the home of Ronald’s relatives and performed a Priestly blessing and basically this entailed sprinkling holy water in each room and over Ronald’s bed.


Bishop also attached.

Now this is a fun fact.

I didn’t know and I learned from these notes he attached a second-class relic of Saint Margaret Mary to a pillow on Ronald’s bed now.

Do you know what?

The classes of Catholic?

Relics are saintly relics.


I don’t know why you would know this but some You know, fun facts.

So thank you for having hope but first class Relic, was it like with Jesus or something like did he know?

But you’re on the right track.

Like they kind of have different value based on like, how close they were to the Saint.



And so if you have a first-class Relic, this is M get this a body part of the saint yike.

So like they’re armed.

I think you more like a lock of hair but yeah, maybe there are.


Oh wow.

Okay, so be clear.

It’s described as a body, part of a say, it like a mountain of feet now or something.

I collect Saints feet.

Could you imagine if Lorraine Warren handed that to Zak Bagans was like, this is Saint Peter’s foot, talk about a transformative experience, I feel transformed five seconds ago.


I did not have this information.

Oh my gosh, I technically their arm would be a first-class, probably would be absolutely.

I think that would probably just be really hard to get and also really awkward to attach to someone’s pillow but, you know, Bishop is attaching relics to a pillow on Ronald’s bed and I guess he didn’t have access to a first-hand relic.


So like a body part of the scene he didn’t have a piece of her skin or even have a collection arm and so he instead of touched A second-class Relic which is an item touched by a Eat so a lot farther removed.

Like not literally part of their body but just something that they’ve touched.


So after Ronald, went to bed, bishop and the family, heard loud noises and Ronald screaming.

In his bedroom, they rushed back up to the room and found Ronald’s mattress moving.


Bishop sprinkled, holy water in the shape of a cross over the bed and the movement stopped abruptly.


But then when he left the room the noise and the commotion started up again, she’s zigzag scratches appeared on Ronald.


I don’t like that.

I don’t like the scratching.

I feel like well, now with your skepticism of like, oh, well, he had a bed spring with him doing it.


It could also like, I mean, zigzag scratches, I just watched like three episodes of Law & Order last night.

So sure, I’m pretty sure, you know, what you’re talking about a detective.

But zigzag, if you look at the lines, if you were to scratch your own stomach, it makes an X, right?

So if you like that would be kind of zigzaggy scratches, or he still has the bed spring and he’s just like when no one’s looking, he’s like frantically doing it really quick.


Becomes exactly hiding it and hiding it.

I’m just saying words Louis.

So we’re it’s just Louis trying to get some attention, it could be.

So after that first visit Raymond, Bishop asked for help from his mentor at College Church at st.

Louis University, Pastor William S bowdern.


Okay so the two men went back to the house and this time, father bowdern brought first-class relics with him, okay?


Usually let me correct you, it’s a piece of bone or hair, which still not great, but much better.


And after Ronald went to sleep, father bowdern read prayers over him, blessed him with a relic.

I imagine that some hair, I don’t know, placed a crucifix under his pillow and went back downstairs, but then everyone heard a loud noise and rushed back to the room and found a heavy book.


Shelf had moved and a bench was turned over.

Obviously, there’s already been a lot of activity, but when heavy things start moving by themselves, I don’t know how true this has been in my mind.

And that feels like it means it’s getting more powerful or stronger and can exert that kind of energy.

Now, when maybe originally it was like a little pencil, I could roll across the room and now, it’s moving.


Heavy bookshelves.


The implication is not good.

I will say, I think it’s a kid, but I mean the fact that every time they leave the room, they hear a commotion, and the bookshelf has moved.

I’m like, well, I mean, especially like so many stories and such an earlier time period where like they were just like kind of confined to their homes.


Um, with nothing going on.

Like you just found ways to entertain yourself.

That’s a lot of the ghosts that knew how to like talk.

It was kids, who had like, learn the skill of like throwing their voice.

Like exactly.

It’s just because they have nothing else to do back then.

So they have a book from the library about Morse code and like, learn how to knock on the floor with their foot.


You know, it’s stuff like that where I’m like, okay, what kind of ghost is doing that?

But just part of me thinks every time they leave the room, something happens, very convenient, it’s Little convenient, but you could also argue that Louis is gaslighting everyone.


That’s making it look very convenient.

I don’t know.

That’s true.

Nope, you’re exactly right.

So, they also saw the crucifix Propel itself across the room, so, yeah, that’s it.

That’s it, that’s it.

That in the holy water m is out, okay, I don’t even consider myself a Christian, but certainly, if a crucifix and holy water are moving on their own, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.


I don’t know what’s gonna happen.

Nobody, I know.

I know who would be more likely to walk around with a crucifix than you and like you’re like the farthest thing from being Catholic but it’s whatever works.

Say, the Our father and hold a crucifix that like that in my mind is you and a haunted house.

Look, I’m very upfront with her wishy-washy.


I am.

But I will tell you if so Fairweather believer, if all of a sudden there was in there has been shadow, figure standing over me while I’m sleeping.

You know, you throw a little, Our Father out, you see what happens and it’s converted.

I have always.


I am a lover of Christ.

I whatever it takes, whatever it takes.

I am God’s child, you know, if it goes away and it works, it works a next time.

If there’s a shadow man in front of me and I try something else.

It worked differently.

That’s not suddenly the next morning.

You’re back to your Heathen ways.


So it’s all full circle, it is a very selfish tactic.

But you know what has been a also, a successful tactic you just try something from every religion and one of them is going to stick, see what sticks might be a different thing tomorrow who knows.

On March 16th, the Archbishop of the St.


Louis archdiocese, granted William bowdern permission to perform an exorcism according to the Roman ritual.

So, finally got through all the red tape, so to speak, and they were granted permission to do this exorcism when father bowdern and father, Bishop went back to the house, there was a new person with them now.


And this guy’s name was Walter Halloran.

He was a 26 year old trainee priest.


Love that.

He’s like the Rookie of the Season like, pull them in last minute.

In a 1998, interview Halloran said he had been a driver for father bowdern when he got caught up in the case.


So he said he didn’t even know.

He was going to an exorcism.

He arrived at the house and then father bowdern recruited hollering at the last minute to help restrain Ronald, which is like, put me in coach wait one hour, strain a child.

That’s not what I meant.

It’s truly put me in coach at the big game at the end of the.


Yeah, this is our Make It or Break It.

Moment, that’s the kind of one of the best things you’ve told me in this whole episode.

I just imagine, I know he was already like a priest in training but I’m still imagining a version of like your Lyft driver.

Takes you somewhere like your the Lyft driver.


I need help.

And all of a sudden they’re like, quick, we need your help with an exorcism.

You’re like I would have tore out of there, but maybe he really did think.

Oh, this is my moment.

I would, my interest would have been piqued.

I would have been, like, I’ll just pop in and see what’s going on, you know, just take a little peek, can you imagine being that little train?


Priests roommate and like the next day the roommates, like, hey man, you come back.

Real late yesterday was going on and he’s like why are you covered in debris?

Covered in like pea soup.

Puke, what’s going on your st.


All over them in your garden, pea soup.



That’s what happened.

I think let it be known.

Let the record show Walter Halloran recounted how that first night unfolded as follows.

He said, father bowdern started out by saying a couple of Decades of the Rosary.

Now as someone who learned the rosary growing up, I didn’t realize it was called a decade.


A decade is 10 Hail Mary.

That makes more sense.

I knew it wasn’t right.

When you said that because I was like he talked for a decade like yeah this is for counted version.

I think someone likes a little artistic license.

Someone likes dramatic Flair and their stories.

I talked for decades, it went crazy.


We tend to pray for freedom but that’s what it is.

And so I don’t know if you’ve ever liked looked at a rosary where it has the different beads.

So each bead you go through is over there.

Yeah, so when people pray the rosary, you’re going like my grandmother would do this for hours.


You just go from one bead say a Hail Mary and you do 10 times until you reach the bigger one.

You say the Our father and then you keep doing it and you Just go like in circles and circles for decades base.

Apparently, for actual decades, how it really like, as a child, it was just the most humdrum boring.


I also know like a confession, they’ll tell you like, oh, you have to do this many 10 Hail Marys.

So, a decade you have to do a decade a Whole Decade of file.


So, you know, a little fun fact for us here.

I’m learning So Many religious facts in this episode.

Thank you.

I mean, even I am and I thought, like, I knew all this stuff, but now I’m learning a decade.


I had no idea.

If you had to do 100 like it was that a century on keys?

That a century.

Oh, I gotta do a little Deep dive on that layer.

So the prayers, ask the Archangel Saint Michael for help and ask the Lord to drive the evil spirit out.


They even asked the spirit questions, including what is your name?

I don’t actually know what the name was, but they asked the spirit questions, including what is your name, and what is the day?

And this kicked off a more than a month long.


Exorcism process.

So says a long road we’re going down here like a decade.

It’s almost like a Whole Decade.

The rights always began in the evening and Ronald reportedly would be fine throughout the day.

But then at night, he would go into a trance and start acting Wild.


And the next morning, he apparently remembered nothing which happened.

I can understand from a Skeptics point of view of like yeah.

Oh you just casually, don’t remember.

So you don’t have to be held accountable for anything.


Especially after you scratch.

With a bed spring, you look, I don’t remember that.


You could also think like, oh, it only happens at night, which is like, when you don’t want to go to bed, you know, exactly.

And I hear it, I hear it, I hear it, I hear it.

I hear.

Okay, I’m just glad I mean, again, I don’t want to be the party pooper, but that’s just kind of where my mind got someone’s gotta be.

I know that someone’s got to be and I’ll take the man, ain’t gonna be me.


That’s right, folks.

Certainly not going to be M.

It’s it’ll be me.

So one night Walter Halloran, claimed Ronald’s bed, rose up and settled back down over and over again, while he was nice.

Dealing with his elbows resting on the bed.


Skeptic that part.

What’s your take simply can’t explain all right.


Halloran said, Ronald Broke Free of his grasp and swung his arm breaking halloran’s nose and then said, I don’t remember it, right?

The ultra Gaslight?

Yeah man.

You know if everything else for some reason didn’t make me want to leave getting my own nose broken.


Oh yeah, that’s gotta be rough.

I feel like now now we’re out now it’s to Father roll out.

We’re done.

So the priest asked Ronald’s family.

If they could teach him about Catholicism and convert him to Catholicism, maybe that would help, I guess that makes sense because, like, if you’re trying to do, like, Catholic rites and stuff or white like, yeah, I love that.


They’re like, don’t worry, we’ll teach him about it.

First overall, we convert him, so we don’t have time.

We don’t have time.

We gotta do this now time for this, but as I got closer to Ronald’s First, Holy Communion, the episodes became even more Violent through it.

All the priests would turn up for battle almost every night and retire as the sun, rose tired, and defeated until April 18th, when The Rite of exorcism finally worked, according to Walter Halloran.


That’s when Ronald, finally said the secret word dominoes, which means Lord in Latin.

Okay, secret word, secret part.

Like at a club, like the password husk.

Halloran explained that this was an admission on the part of the spirit kind of admitting that God is superior to him.


Okay, got it.

So, admitting defeat almost, hmm on August 10th. 1949 Washington, DC’s Evening.

Star newspaper ran an article about it, and the newspaper article referred to the family as mr.

And mrs.

John Doe, and their son Roland, which is how Ronald hunkler became Roland.


Do I see?

I like how They’ve got John Doe like and Jane Doe and those are usually the common names.

And then the second back up to, John is Roland looking.

But his name was Ronald.

So I wonder if they just switched the AHA, you know, pick something close enough.


The like really close like it almost looks like a spelling error, they just picked.

Yeah, role has some Ronald, I don’t know, literally just an anagram of Ronald.


It’s like very, very close.

All right, little on the nose there, folks, but sure, but little bit, the article said Roland had a poltergeist Now, since I’m just throwing fun fact everywhere.


I think you probably know this already.

You might have said it on an episode before, but you know what Poltergeist actually means like literally in German now, I probably do and I do remember now, but so the word Poltergeist in German, literally translates to a knocking, Spirit like a knocking.


Ghost, who’s knocking on stuff, you know, okay, cool knocking around knock them ghosts.

So the Maryland newspaper, the Cumberland news, and the Washington Post.

Also ran stories about this case.

Ace and then in the 1970s author, William.

Peter blatty use the case as inspiration for his book, The Exorcist, which then became the movie, we all know and love, and I have never seen right?


We all know and love it though.

Oh to be clear.

We all know and love it very much even if we haven’t seen it, yet another book about the case called possessed the true story of an exorcism by Thomas be Allen, came out in 1993 and this one was billed as a historical account.


So it wasn’t fictionalized and many Dorian’s put the most stock into this account when it comes to accuracy of what happened.

Well, okay, so, Alan based his book on to sources.

The first being a detailed 26-page, diary kept by Raymond bishop and the second being long interviews, held with Walter Halloran, who was like the rookie.


Okay, who got his nose broken.

All right, that sounds like a pretty good.

It sounds like to good sources.

I think I’m gonna resources.

You know, like first hand accounts.

Also 26-page diary.

I love that there is a diary.

Can you imagine going through this?


And not keeping tabs on it and not writing anything down?

Yeah, I wonder if that’s part of your training of, like, you better write this down because no one’s going to believe you.


Do you believe what happened to Roland doe up next?

We poke a few holes in the story and look at what happened to Ronald hunkler after the exorcism a bit of a Twist.


Okay, I do believe.

But let’s see where this takes us.

Okay, let’s see where you land at the end.


To nobody’s surprise.

There has been quite a bit of skepticism about the reported facts in the case of Roland doe from me.

But also for many others understandably, Joe Nickell from the skeptical Inquirer suggested that Ronald could have produced the whole thing.


So the Tantrums the trances moving furniture.

The scratches you know, nickel said these were things.

Someone of Roland’s age could accomplish.

I tend to agree with that.

I think I did, too.

Yeah, at age 14.

Like you could pull that off and Be sneaky about it, a family friend told another reporter that Ronald was a spoiled kid who liked attention and that he saw an opportunity to manipulate his mother who was very superstitious.


Oh, it’s she was a sneaky snake.

Yeah, according to this family friend, at least nickel also, questioned how accurate Raymond Bishops, diary was, you know, the 26-page diary.


So father, Bishop only came on to the case in March, of nineteen, Forty Nine, even though the haunting, And in January, so anything that he had written about that led up to March, was all secondhand information.


So, he wasn’t even experiencing it until March, and not only that, but he like he could have just made stuff up once he was there to or exaggerated exactly.


Like I was toing rights for literally a decade like, you know, someone wrote that in there for at least a, he might have erased it but he wrote it for a minute.


You saw.

He saw the pencil line of it somewhere in there, a local history, buff and self-described investigator of Change phenomena launched his own crusade to get to the truth.

Mark obsessed.

Nick to dozens of interviews and rotate.

Another 26 page report is coming on fun little synchronously there.


Yeah, he told the Washington Post that Ronald was known to be a prankster and that there was no real possession.


I mean I get it, everyone I’m just being a Believer because Christine’s, not, I like The Duality.

Am I want to believe?

I think I coined that phrase but I want to believe and I’m trying to be as open-minded as possible when it comes to stuff like this.


It’s hard.

I mean, 90% of everything that happened can easily be explained with, like a kid who is bored and probably wants some attention.

And yep, there’s things like that bed lifting by itself, which, like I got nothing.

Which again only one person experienced and could have been exaggerated or that’s true, you know, but you’re right.


I mean, that part obviously, I can’t explain one Jay.

It’s psychologist suggested that the very idea of being possessed by the devil could manifest behaviors in a victim, which I also believe.

Like, I feel like you could get wrapped up in this as a child, especially, and start kind of fulfilling your own, like it like a self-fulfilling prophecy, sort of like, oh, I’m yeah, that’s by a demon and then you just keep acting on it because you think you’re possessed by damn, because your back, your forces with use, everyone’s expecting you to be and I can see why that would kind of be a circular issue.



So So this Jesuit psychologist proposed that quote, the boy began acting as a possessed person is supposed to act.

So really just every Trope kind of check, check check.


According to some reports, the church kept an eye on Ronald which is a very ominous statement.


The church kept an eye on him throughout his whole life.

He went on to have a 40-year career as a NASA engineer, huh?

Snaps for Ronald your loudly which also like, I bet that was not fun for him though if people found out who he was.

He’s like a man of science.



Yeah, because reportedly, he actually lived in fear that someone would find out that he was the inspiration for The Exorcist.

So he really wanted to distance himself from this whole thing.

Yeah, well also like, especially, if he grew up with people who actually thought The Exorcist was a good movie.


I’m like, wasn’t there like really scared of it if they were like that terrified and to know that you?

Yeah yeah.

Oh I can imagine the social distancing or feeling like an outcast really but isolation would be really intense.

Probably I Ali totally agree especially if you’re NASA co-workers found out, right?


And like you’re like, okay science man.

Tell me how that logically makes sense, explain the bed, raising up and down, Christine job.

It wasn’t until 2021 that he was widely revealed to be the boy at the center of the 1949 exorcism case.

Although, there is an article naming him dating back to 2016, but Ronald actually died in 2020, just shy of his 86th birthday.


A companion of Ronald’s told the New York, Post that right before he died.

Very creepy, a Catholic priest showed up unexpectedly at Ronald’s home to perform last rites.

The companion said she had no idea how the priest knew to come at that moment chills from that.


That scares me.

Oh, that’s spooky.

Yeah, I don’t know it is, isn’t it?


All right.

So wrapping up on this there is one thing I want to say to some Reports say and this is kind of what sealed the deal for me.

As far as believing this whole story versus not believing it.


Some Reports say the Patches on Roland’s body one.

Spelled no school.

I forgot sake, right?

And he ate nothing but ice cream throughout the entire ordeal.

Well honestly, if your parents are falling for that, that’s the parents problem.


I don’t blame you.

Go ahead and, you know, another part of this to which you had touched on briefly, is that his aunt had died.

And like some people think, maybe he was grieving and this he was acting out, he was trying to, I don’t know, get attention or just Process, his emotions and using things that she was interested in exactly as mm.


And like maybe went too far and he got sucked into it, who knows?

But yeah, that’s kind of what sealed the deal for me, but I do want to know like where do you stand?

Well if that part is true, if I really said no school and he was eating ice cream, I feel like the very first like, Catholic priests coming in would have been like, please don’t waste our time.



I’m shocked that this got so far right.

Also if I were that pretty sort of been like take him to a therapist because he’s carving into his body how badly he doesn’t want to go to Well, and they did.

And the therapist was like, oh, the psychologist was like, oh right, you have no answer for this, okay?


Also, if you’re the therapist and a kid is carving, no school in his body, I think you’ve got like, it’s pretty obvious and someone needs to work on that.


But then again, I mean, if it was a demon who was writing those School into your belly, part of me would be like the Stevens.

Got some good ideas.

Yeah I think we could be friends.



But know if it was no school and he was eating ice cream Non-Stop and I would say well that’s a closed case right there.

Yeah, I think when it comes to a 13 year old boy.

Yeah, yeah, yeah I’m 90% sure, it’s probably at least very exaggerated.


I think the game of telephone is a very real thing and if you play it since like 1949, you’re probably not going to get a straight-laced story.

Yeah, probably know.

Maybe there was like some Poltergeist activity, or like something going on in the house and it just yeah, the story kind of snowballed.

I don’t know.

Yeah, because, I mean, we’ve talked about this before that Poltergeist, activity is known to come about when there are Hormonal teenagers under the roof and so maybe he was contributing to that and it got out of hand.


I mean I agree that it seems exaggerated and the fact that the family had to like pack up their lives, take him out of school move across the country travel around like this completely disrupted their lives.

So if it was a prank it went too far if it was a prank.



That’s why he’s probably kept it until he got to his grave because he was like, I am too embarrassed to admit that I inconvenienced people that badly.


It became a major Motion Picture.



That’s not good either.

I little prank turned into that.

I mean can you believe it?



She’s like, I want producer credits.


Honestly, if he was just trying to talk to Aunt Tilly from beyond the grave and this all got out of hand, it is kind of sad to.

He’s just grieving if something happens to me tomorrow I would like you to try to make contact with me so desperately that a like cinematic Masterpiece comes out.


And people still fully the Theater.

They’re so scared.

Honestly, if it doesn’t come to that like what is even the point of our friendship?

I know it.

I also want producer credits like Haley deserves so you and until he will be credited somewhere in the credits.

Okay, I can’t thank you executive producer but I’ll see what I can do.




Thanks so much for listening.

We’ll be back next week with another great episode information.

On today’s episode came from possessed, the true story of an exorcism by Thomas B, Alan diabolical possession and the case Behind The Exorcist by Sergio Rueda the guardian the skeptical Inquirer San Diego reader St.


Louis University archives or slew archives the evening star, the New York Times, the Cumberland news, the st.

Louis Post curbed, the Riverfront Times and Washington, Ian.com.

Remember to follow.

Jules on Spotify to get a brand new episode every week, and you can listen to this and all other episodes of rituals for free exclusively on Spotify.


And if you liked this show, follow at Park asked on Facebook and Instagram and at podcast Network on Twitter, you can find me at the M Schultz and you can find me at Eckstein Schieffer, thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.

Rituals is executive produced by backs Cutler and as a Spotify original from par cast, it was created by Max color, sound design by Kristen Acevedo with associate.


Sound design by Evan McAlpine fact-checking by Hayley Milliken research by Sapphire Williams, it’s produced by Kristen Acevedo and Jonathan Ratliff with production assistants by Ron Shapiro.

We’re your host, Christine cheaper and M Schultz.