The movie 'The Exorcist' was released 40 years ago today. The story was based upon the events that happened to a boy in St. Louis in 1949. It began in Maryland, ended in a hospital in St. Louis, and involved several Jesuits from Saint Louis University.
A woman who worked at Alexian Bros (the hospital in St. Louis where the boy was taken) as a first year nurse in the '70s claims she used to hear incredibly loud noises from a floor above her during her overnight shift. She said it sounded like homeless people fighting. She complained about it to co-workers and finally a security guard said to her, "Don't you know what happened on that floor? That's the exorcism floor."
She didn't believe him, so the security guard took her up on that supposedly infamous floor.
The entire floor was locked down and shuttered. Iron gates on either side of it, completely abandoned. He walked her down to the room where the exorcism happened. She said it was a floor for the criminally insane. Doors with heavy locks that opened out into the hallway with slots on the bottom to slide flood trays along on the floor.
She says he showed her the room in question through a tiny window in the door. She said she can still see it today. A bed with a drop cloth over it. A desk with a cloth over it and a chair with cloth over it. On the wall, at the head of the bed, a huge black hole. She said the cop told her that's where the evil spirits exited the boy's body at the end of the exorcism. He told her they painted over it dozens of times, but the big black stain on the wall always came back.
A few days later, she was filling little paper medicine cups on her floor. A process that took about an hour. She then walked down the hall and the lights flickered on and off.
She kept walking down the hall, past these huge 12 foot statues of angels and saints they had in the old wing of Alexian Bros hospital.
She claims she walked past one of the huge statues, looked up, and saw black eyes on one of the stone statues go from looking straight ahead, to looking at her, and then looking straight ahead again.
She threw the tray in the air, ran to her nurse's station and quit on the spot.
She claims to be a devout Catholic who goes to mass every Sunday, but still can't look at statues in the face.
I asked this woman if we could interview her, she said, "On TV? Are you crazy? People will think I'm insane! I just wanted YOU to know."
She went on to say she is now a highly placed hospital administrator at a St. Louis-area hospital.
I asked her several questions to make sure she wasn't unstable, or making this up for questionable reasons. I honestly believe she was telling the truth. Of course, who knows?
She related several other episodes that made her convinced Alexian Brothers hospital was, and is, haunted.
The wing where the boy was exorcised has been torn down. There are even legends that weird things happened during demolition; the wrecking ball stopped cold when it hit the room in question, a weird looking rodent scurried away from that room, etc.
The real story that inspired the famous book and movie happened in 1949. It began in Maryland, ended in St. Louis, and involved several Jesuits from Saint Louis University.
Father Raymond J. Bishop, S.J. kept a day-by-day account of the exorcism. His diary about the event can be read here.
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