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The True Story Behind 'The Exorcist'

Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo


In 1973, the movie 'The Exorcist' became a sensation in the United States; when adjusted for inflation it is the ninth highest grossing film in American history.


Yet few realize that the movie, and Peter Blatty's novel of the same name, are based on a true story: a months-long exorcism by Jesuit priests of a 14-year-old Maryland boy, who priests assigned the pseudonym Roland Doe, in 1949.


All of the pictures for this essay were made with specialty lenses attached to a 35mm camera.