Happy Halloween: 3 "True" St. Louis Ghost Stories

3. The True Story of The Exorcism
The real-life story behind the best-selling novel and famous movie The Exorcist starts in St. Louis.

Jennifer Silverberg
A devil of a deal: The exorcism was performed in this very bedroom.
Legend tells of an ill thirteen-year-old boy who, in the late winter of 1949, traveled to St. Louis from suburban Washington, D.C. Convinced the child was possessed by the Devil, Jesuit priests from Saint Louis University performed a grueling month-long exorcism on the boy, at last freeing the teen from Satan's grasp in the psych ward at Alexian Brothers Hospital.

The identity of the boy is closely guarded, but the home where he lived still stands -- a two-story brick colonial in a tidy Bel-Nor neighborhood north of St. Louis.

The home was for sale eight years ago, and the realtor worried its possessed past would make it hard to sell. But Mark Willingham, the home's owner from 1991 to 1999, brushes that off:

"Way I see it, the place was blessed so many times during the exorcism, it's probably the safest home in all St. Louis."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Sigrid Graham
Sigrid Graham

don't believe in that stuff, but it is interesting to listen to

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

How do you come to the conclusion that I don't like to have fun because I don't believe in something that has failed to be demonstrated? I have a sense of humor because your comment is making me laugh at you Ronda hahahaha. I think these stories are cool, but "real" yeah right come one. I like fantasy and science fiction and science fact and all sorts of stuff and I have a great imagination and sense of humor, but I still don't believe in things that can't be demonstrated or that aren't real sorry.

Ronda Evansco-Brooks
Ronda Evansco-Brooks

Thanks for bursting our bubbles. You seem to be the kind who doesn't like to have "fun" or even know what that word means. You need a sense of humor. That's easy to catch!

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

the bubbleheads were ppl who had water on the brain, from different places. i been there. the ppl who live there now (or 15yrs ago, anyway) would mes with the ppl who came out there. it was fun but scary, lol

Daniel Bramley
Daniel Bramley

All ghost stories are phony. Only people who believe in ghosts see them.

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