Boy whose case inspired The Exorcist is named by US magazine | US news

The boy whose case inspired the portrayal of a child possessed by demons is named after the 1973 classic horror film The Exorcist.

The American magazine The Skeptical Inquirer named the 14-year-old boy, formerly known as Roland Doe, who underwent exorcisms in Cottage City, Maryland, and St. Louis, Missouri, in 1949.

Ronald Edwin Hunkiller died last year, a month before his 86th birthday, after suffering a stroke at his home in Marriottsville, Maryland.

As an adult, Hunkeler was a NASA engineer whose work contributed to the Apollo space missions in the 1960s and patented a technology that helped space shuttle panels withstand intense heat.

One of his companions, a 29-year-old woman who asked not to be named, told the New York Post that Hunkeler was always nervous about his NASA colleagues discovering that he was the inspiration for The Exorcist.

“On Halloween, we would always leave the house because he thought someone would come to his house and know where he lived and would never let him have peace,” she said. “His life was a horrible one of worry, anxiety and worry,” she added.

Hankler finally retired from NASA in 2001 after working at the agency for nearly 40 years.

William Peter Blatty, who wrote the 1971 novel and movie of the same name, first heard of Hunkeler’s apparent demonic possession when he was a senior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

His professor, Eugene Gallagher, who was also a chaplain at Georgetown University, the oldest established Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States, told Blatty about Hunkeler’s reported possessions and subsequent exorcisms.

Born in 1935 and raised by a middle-class family in Cottage City, Hunkeler began experiencing paranormal activities at age 14 when he reported hearing knocks and scratches from behind his bedroom walls.

Reverend Luther Schulze, the Hankler family minister, eventually wrote to the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University in North Carolina in March 1949 and explained how “chairs moved with [Hunkeler] And someone kicked him out [of it.] His bed was shaking whenever he was inside.”

Schulz also explained how the beds’ floors were “distorted by sliding heavy furniture” and how “the image of Christ on the wall shook” the closer Hunkeler was.

The family eventually enlisted the help of William Powder, a Jesuit who performed more than 20 exorcism rites on Hunkeler within three months. In his memoirs on March 10, 1949, Powderer wrote how Hunkeler had entered a coma-like state as he witnessed 14 witnesses during an exorcism.

There was a “scratch striking to the rhythm of the marching soldiers. A second-class relic of Saint Margaret Mary was thrown to the ground. The safety pin was opened but no human hand touched the trace. R began to panic when the relic was thrown,” Powder wrote.

Hunkeler was then taken to St Louis to be cured for demonic possession. “It seems that whatever power was writing the words was in favor of making the voyage to St. Louis,” Bowder wrote.

One evening, the word ‘Louis’ was written on the boy’s ribs in dark red [scratches.] Then, when there was some question about when to leave, the word “Saturday” was clearly written on the boy’s hip. As for how long the mother and boy had to stay in St. Louis, another message was printed on the boy’s chest, “3 weeks.” The print always appeared without any movement on the part of the boy’s hands.”

Hunkeler was admitted to Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis on March 21, 1949. About a month later, Hunkeler “erupted into a violent tantrum of shouting, cursing, and uttering Latin phrases” as Jesuit priests allegedly cast Satan out of his body.

Catholic sources reported yesterday that “a Catholic priest has set him free from Satan’s possession,” Washington Post reporter Bill Brinkley wrote in an August 20, 1949 piece.

His companion said that shortly before his death, a Catholic priest unexpectedly appeared in Hunkeler’s house to perform the last rites.

“I have no idea how Father knew he was coming but he brought Ron to heaven. Ron is in heaven and he is with God now,” she told the New York Post.

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