When do disturbing coincidences fail to explain a pattern that bring only one word to mind: a curse? What if you're working on the set of what turns out to be one of the most chilling movies produced that had the devil as the main villain? These are just some of the so called "accidents" that almost 50 years in retrospect, plagued the set of the film The Exorcist.
In 1973 The Exorcist was released. Linda Blair was cast as 12-year-old Regan, and she recalls a series of unsettling incidents that occurred on the set to actors, or behind-the-scene personnel.
Half way through the film a fire destroyed much of the set, except the part of Linda Blair's bedroom where the major portion of Regan's possession was filmed.
Linda Blair was later to learn that certain disturbing incidents were kept from her in order that she should not be frightened.
Ellen Burstyn, who herself suffered an accident during the film claim that there were several other people involved in the film that died.
People die eventually, but what are the odds that so many had ties to a particular film in one way or another?
Jack MacGowran played Burke Dennings the alcoholic director. One weeks after completing his work on the film died from a heart attack that started out as a case of the flu.
Vasiliki Maliros, who played Father Damien's mother died from natural causes at the age of 89 when the film was still in post-production.
During filming, Max Von Sydow's brother and Linda Blair's grandfather died. Jason Miller who played Father Karras was stunned to find out that his son Jordan was hit by a motorcyclist who appeared out of nowhere on an empty beach.
It wasn't just actors or extras but anyone who had some contact with the production. In New York, one of the carpenters accidentally cut off his thumb, and one of the lighting technicians lost a toe while working on the set. The man who refrigerated the studio (kept abnormally cold during the shooting) died, the assistant cameraman's wife had a baby that died, the janitor who took care of the building was shot and killed.
Friedkin asked two priests, one who as was hired as a technical adviser to bless the set. This stopped all the sinister experiences, but around that time a fire broke out in the Jesuit residence in Georgetown.
Mercedes McCambridge was the voice of the demon. in November 1987 her son John Markle shot his wife and two daughters after being accused of fraud. He then went to his study and shot himself in the temple. Next to his body, authorities found a white rubber Halloween Michael Myers mask. Nightmare on Elm Street was in the VCR, and later it was discovered he had used three different guns for the slayings. In his suicide note he blamed his mother for decision killing his family and himself. He cited her two suicide attempts, drinking and failed marriages, and mostly her lack of love for him.
What better place for a serial killer than a film about the devil? Paul Bateson was an X-ray tech at NYU Medical Center who played in extra in the film as what else, an X-ray technician. In 1979 he was found guilty of murdering Addison Verrill who had been found stabbed in the heart inside his Greenwich Village apartment. That was after they had sex and he had bashed his skull in with a metal skillet. The year was 1977, and by then several bodies of unidentified, gay men had been found dismembered, placed in bags and tossed into the Hudson River. The prosecution attempted to connect Bateson to six of these murders, but were unable to do so, even though he did brag about committing them while serving his prison term. He was sentenced to 20 years to life , and was released in 2004. He is now said to live somewhere in upstate New York. Coincidentally (or not) these crimes were committed after he worked on the Exorcist film.
William Peter Blatty who wrote the novel, The Exorcist based it on a true story of a 13-year-old boy from St. Louis who underwent an exorcism in the 1940s..
Source - ChicagoTribune ChurchMiilitant
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