ST. LOUIS (KSDK) -- The stories behind the Saint Louis University exorcism have been the most popular on KSDK.com this week, and we thought the story behind the story was one worth sharing.
The 1949 exorcism performed by Jesuits at SLU on a 13-year-old boy was the inspiration for the famous book and movie, "The Exorcist". It's the most well-documented exorcism in modern history.
The 29-page diary of the event, recorded by Father Raymond Bishop, is considered the primary source for this bizarre chapter.
It's not for the faint of heart.
The scholarly observations of paranormal events by Fr. Bishop and several others clearly informed and guided author William Peter Blatty for his best-selling novel, which the movie is based on.
The episode started at the boy's home in Maryland and only worsened when the family moved in with relatives in north St. Louis County. The exorcism continued at SLU and ended at Alexian Brothers Hospital in South St. Louis. The diary was stashed in a desk in the locked-up room where the exorcism ended.
Here's an excerpt from the diary:
"At midnight, the Fathers planned to give "R" (the boy) Holy Communion, but Satan would have no part of it. Even while the institution of the Blessed Sacrament was explained to "R" his body was badly scratched and branded. The word "HELL" was printed on his chest and thigh."
According to the book "Possessed" by author Thomas B. Allen, the diary was likely never meant to see the light of day.
"In St. Louis, Bishop's diary remained a secret in the security room on the fifth floor of the Alexian Brothers Hospital---a room that, for some reason, contained a copy of the diary---remained locked. Everyone who worked in the hospital, from the thirty or more Brothers on the hall to the laymen in maintenance shops, knew why the room was locked.
"As the years went by, tales about the locked room were passed on to the new Brothers who came to the hospital. They knew that the room was in the wing for extremely ill mental patients. Brother Bruno and the others who had worked in this wing were certainly used to dealing with madness there. So why the locked room? In a wing of madmen, what kind of madness could keep that one room locked?"
That wing of Alexian Brothers Hospital was demolished in 1978.
"The (demolition) worker handed the (diary) papers to his boss, who passed it on to the administrator of the hospital, a layman. The administrator read the letter, which was signed by Father Raymond J. Bishop, a Jesuit from Saint Louis University. Then the administrator turned the pages of the diary. Words on the pages---Satan...diabolical...a huge red devil...exorcism...stunned him. Horrified, he realized that the report revealed the secret of the locked room."
Click here to read Fr. Bishop's diary.