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The Real Life Story of the Saint Louis Exorcism Based on a Diary of a Jesuit Priest.

Updated on November 18, 2015

A Normal Teenager Comes Under a Demonic Spell

A 13-year-old boy known as "Robbie" led a normal life until his aunt came to visit. She was involved in the occult, and brought a Ouija board to his home. She taught him how to use it, and the two of them spent hours trying to contact spirits from beyond the grave.

The aunt, whose name was either "Tilly" or "Millie," according to historical records, suddenly died, shortly after arriving at her nephew's house.

There are conflicting reports on what happened next. But we do know that around the time of her visit, strange things began to happen.

The family started hearing a dripping sound, even though all the faucets were turned off and there were no plumbing problems.

Then, a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall started shaking, as if someone was banging on the wall behind it. However, no one was doing that.

Things took a more frightening turn when Robbie tried to sleep. The mattress on his bed began to shake furiously.

His parents began to think, that, perhaps, there was a "poltergeist" in the house.

A True Story from Saint Louis

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Ministers and Priests

The family was Lutheran, so some of the first people on the scene were two Lutheran ministers, who observed the strange phenomenon. Their prayers, however, only seemed to make matters worse.

At some point, Robbie was also examined by a doctor and a psychiatrist, both of whom pronounced him normal and healthy.

Finally, in desperation, the distraught parents turned to a local Catholic priest near their home in Maryland, who believed the boy was possibly possessed. This priest wanted to help, but the family also wondered if they should move to Saint Louis, where the mother had relatives.

While debating whether to make the move, the demon who seemed to be residing in Robbie's body made his preference known. He carved the word "Louis" onto the boy's chest. This was the beginning of a long series of painful scratches and "claw marks" that would spontaneously appear on the boy's skin.

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Going to Saint Louis

For some reason, the demon or demons residing in Robbie wanted to go to Saint Louis. But they didn't want him enrolled in school. Deep scratches would appear on his body that said, "No school."

Also, Robbie had tried to attend school. But he had to withdraw because the demon would play games, such as abruptly spinning his desk on the floor.

Before the move to Saint Louis, the family endured a variety of demonic manifestations. These included fruit suddenly flying across the kitchen, other food items crashing to the floor. At one point, an article of clothing with its hanger attached flew threw the house.

The details of this demonic interference are meticulously recorded in a diary kept by Father Raymond Bishop, SJ, one of the priests directly involved in the exorcism.

Jesuits from Saint Louis University Performed the Ritual

A markerSaint Louis University -
Saint Louis University, 221 North Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
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An Account of the Saint Louis Exorcism

An Exorcist: More Stories

Many People Witnessed the Disturbing Events

The boy and his parents went to Saint Louis and stayed with their relatives. The shaking mattress was seen by everyone in the house. These nighttime manifestations were disruptive, to say the least, preventing Robbie, his parents and his relatives from getting enough sleep.

The demon (or demons) would seem to go underground during the day, and reappear when Robbie tried do sleep. Sometimes furniture in the bedroom would move on its own.

Father Bishop of Saint Louis University, who kept copious notes on the exorcism, was the first priest to visit the home where Robbie was staying. He blessed the house and pinned a relic of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque to Robbie's pillow.

This provided a little relief, but not for long. The family was still kept awake by the shaking of the mattress and other ghastly sounds.

Father Bishop made return visits to bless the house and to pray and to sprinkle the boy with Holy Water. One night the bed shook and the relic, even though it was securely pinned, was hurled to the floor.

A 50-pound bookcase in Robbie's room was also reported to have moved on its own, making a loud noise while doing so.

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A Team of Exorcists Arrive at the Relative's House

After Robbie was observed by additional priests, it was concluded that exorcism was the only recourse. The Jesuits obtained permission from the local Archbishop to conduct a formal exorcism. This would plunge them directly into a battle with the devil. It would test their patients and become a marathon in endurance.

They spent nights locked in battle with a malevolent power that mocked them, hurled objects at them, spat at them and tried to discourage them.

The exorcism was performed by Father William S. Bowdern, SJ, pastor of the university church, with other Jesuits assisting, including Father Bishop.

Family members also said prayers along with the priests, who spent hours reciting the Rosary near Robbie's bed. They also recited specific exorcism prayers from the Roman Ritual, sprinkled the boy with Holy Water and put the Blessed Sacrament (a Consecrated Host) near the boy.

Often, having the Blessed Sacrament in close proximity was enough to quiet the disturbances, at least temporarily.

However, as the exorcism prayers increased, so did the fury of the demon or demons residing in Robbie's body. Even when sleeping, he began to furiously fight against an unseen power.

He told the priests the devil was trying to pull him into a fiery pit, and he didn't want to go. Sometimes the word "HELL" would be scrawled on his chest. He described the devil as a huge red being who felt "slimy."

Blessed Candles Were Part of the Exorcism Ritual

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An Epic Battle With the Devil

The priests began their formal exorcism on the night of March 16, 1949. Each night they would come to pray. This would be followed by a furious battle in which scratches would cover Robbie's body. Sometimes he would sing popular songs such as Swanee River in a ridiculously high-pitched voice.

At other times he would speak of indecent things, using foul language. He also exhibited physical strength that far exceeded his bodily weight and mass. Having unnatural strength is one sign of diabolical possession.

Sometimes, though, there would be a period of peace and R was able to recite various Catholic prayers.

As the days turned into weeks, though, the Jesuit fathers and Robbie's family were extremely taxed by long nights without sleep. Sometimes the priests would pray, the situation would appear calm and they would leave. Then, a disturbance would call them back to Robbie's bedside.

At one point Robbie and his family left the home of their relatives and traveled back to Maryland. But no hospital would take his case.

He returned with his family to Saint Louis and was placed in an isolated unit in a hospital run by the Alexian brothers. Nightly exorcism rituals continued until April 18, the day after Easter. Everyone present heard a strong voice that said, "I am Saint Michael," one of the Archangels.

Catholic believe Saint Michael has special power to make the devil flee.

This was the end of the possession of Robbie, who suffered no more demonic manifestations. He and his parents also became practicing Catholics.

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  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi FlourishAnyway, thanks for reading and for voting up. It seemed like it would work this time of year. I don't like to write about a lot of Halloween-type topics.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

    Very interesting story, especially for this time of year! Enjoyed the read! Voted up and more!

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric, it sure does want to make you stay far away. Thanks for reading.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Wonderfully told story my friend. Man o Man I never want to get close to that action. Makes you want to just stay clear of any occult business. Thanks buddy

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Elias, I'm glad you liked this. Thanks for reading.

  • Elias Zanetti profile image

    Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

    Very interesting story and I must say quite creepy. Enjoyed reading!