Tag Archives: The Exorcist

D Is For Demon: Our Five Favorite Fiends

We attended the Shooting Star Paracon in Minnesota last year and conducted a survey. What’s your favorite paranormal topic and we gave four choices…

  • Ghosts
  • Cryptids
  • UFOs
  • Demons

Much to our surprise, demons took second place right behind ghosts! Cryptids came in unexpectedly last and Nessie was inconsolable. So you demon-lovers, here are our five favorite demons and the episodes that we tackled them in!

1. Valek – The Demon From The Nun

The demon Valek comes straight out of the medieval spellbook, The Lesser Key of Solomon. Magicians would try to invoke his name to perform magic. They said they could do this and remain Christian because legend says that King Solomon used the name of God to force seventy-two demons help him build the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Valek was known as the President of Hell and his magickal specialty was commanding household spirits as well as controlling serpents. Hollywod used him the inspiration for the demon that’s haunting the Warrens in The Conjuring 2 and the follow-up, The Nun. John Carpenter also used him as the original vampire in his James Woods-cracks-jokes-and-stakes-bloodusuckers flick, Vampires.

But in the original description, this wicked creature is not an Evil Nun or a rockstar-looking vamp, he’s a winged baby flying a dragon. Might not be as badass, but still pretty cool.

2. Lillith – The Original Sex Demon

In Genesis, there are two competing versions of the creation of humanity. One has man and woman being created at the same time, the other has Eve being created later out of Adam’s rib. In order to reconcile the versions, medieval Rabbis decided that Adam had to have a first wife, and they called her Lillith, which was based on the Babylonian word for demon.

When she wouldn’t submit to Adam by laying under him when it came time to do the nasty, she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden and decided to mate with a demon, Azael instead. in mythology, she’s been blamed for everything from wet dreams (the original succubus) to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She’s a seducer and baby-killer that visits in the night.

3. William Bührer, One Of The Demons Inside Carl Seige

When my sister Allison Jornlin was doing research on the famous Wisconsin exorcist, Theosophus Riesinger, she ran into a case of demonic possession in the Dairy State. Carl Seige was a German immigrant who moved with his family to Watertown, Wisconsin in the 1840s. He had been experiencing violent seizures since he was a boy and his family left the Old World so that they could escape what he claimed were the demons demons inside of him.

He exhibited at least three signs of possession. He correctly predicted when priests were coming to visit him, even though no one told him they were coming, they asked him questions in Latin that he correctly answered in German, and he reacted violently when they would show him a crucifix.

One day, during one of his worst seizures, he said he was possessed by William Bührer, who was a murderer in their German town before Carl was born. But he also said there were many other devils there as well. Carl was exorcised by a Lutheran minister, a psychic medium, an Indian medicine man, and finally by a trio of Catholic priests. While the trio finally succeeded in calming his seizures for a month, he had to be re-exorcised throughout the rest of his life to keep the evil phantasms like William Bührer at bay.

4. The Demon Who Manifested Himself to John Eagan

John Eagan was born a good Catholic boy in Brooklyn and grew up to be a special education teacher and bartender on the side. He said at the bar that he met a lot of lost souls who he would regularly pray for, since he believed no one else would. He’s still pretty religious (he even made a bust of Jesus out of wax candles that was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not!) and he thinks his prayers in the hope of saving those souls at the bar drew the attention of a demon.

His wife and son first started experiencing Poltergeist-like activity, but the real kicker is when John saw the demon in his living room. An evil face appeared to him surrounded by blue flames and said “No more.” John thinks the threat was about his prayers, because the Devil wanted their souls for himself. He tells the story in his own words for the episode.

5. Pazuzu from The Exorcist

Pazuzu is the Mesopotamian demon of the southeast wind that brings famine. He has the body of a winged man, talons of an eagle, the head of a dog, and the tail of a scorpion. His enemy was Lamashtu, who was the demon of hurting women and babies in childbirth (much like Lillith), people would wear amulets with Pazuzu’s image on it to protect their young families. So even though he was thought he was an evil spirit, they would wear his image because he was so nasty he would scare away other evil spirits.

So it’s a real legendary demon that William Peter Blatty used for his antagonist in The Exorcist. He had the title character, Father Merrin first meet the demon on an archaeological expedition in Iraq in the 1940s, which is on the site of the former Mesopotamia. Only later would he meet the demon again when it took over the poor soul of Regan Macneil to make her barf pea soup. In our memorial episode about William Peter Blatty, we talk all about the real inspirations that he used to write his most famous book.

Since demons are way more popular than we originally thought, who are some of our favorites? Maybe we can take on their legends in a future episode!

128 – The Power of Christ Compels You: William Peter Blatty and The Exorcist

While 2017 hasn’t had the murder rate of 2016 yet, the year did start out with the loss of William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, with the news ominously coming out on Friday the 13th in January. While he did create one of the most famous works of horror of the Twentieth Century, he was much more than just a horror writer. His stories dealt with questions of faith, guilt, temptation, and how a just and loving God could allow so much evil in the world.

william peter blatty the exorcist
Man, 70s mustaches were the best!

He lived long enough to see the continuation of his story in the latest Exorcist TV Show, which is the best thing to happen to the franchise since The Exorcist III, (you can skip The Exorcist II entirely and the fourth one was so bad they had to shoot two different versions of it to try and salvage some of their investment. )

the exorcist william peter blatty new fox geena davis
The possession continues…

We’ve even opened up a couple of shows with this sweet George C. Scott monologue from The Exorcist III: Legion. But we’re not the only band that used it, it was particularly popular with ultra-heavy bands and sampled on albums from Beyond, Cryptopsy, Children of Bodom, Slayer, and even Guns n’ Roses have used it in live shows. Also, it was reportedly the film that Jeffery Dahmer was watching when his apartment was raided by the police. So, great job, Blatty!

But the reason that we still talk about The Exorcist today is not only because the shocks and the scares of watching a twelve-year old girl do unspeakable things with a crucifix. We’ve seen much more edgy horror movies (especially from France, those dudes are sick!)

One of the main reasons that demonic possession is so scary is because lots of people believe in the Devil. If you’re Catholic, and Blatty’s mother was deeply Roman Catholic and the author himself kept up with his faith (well, except for the whole getting divorced three times thing – but the first one was annulled, which is a very Catholic thing to do!) then rejecting the Devil is right in the Baptismal promises. You’ve got to talk about Satan if you’re a Catholic, his temptations lurk all around.

It was the research and the  inspiration that Blatty took from real life exorcisms and cases of demonic possession that made The Exorcist feel so real. Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts joins us in this episode to talk about those cases, famously one happened in St. Louis in 1949 (The Roland Doe Case) but it was also inspired by a lesser known  case involving  a Wisconsin Exorcist Priest-Hero named Theophilus Riesinger (who will also get his own episode sometime!) and an exorcism he performed in Iowa, described in the 1935 book Begone, Satan!

begone satan the exorcist
Click on the book to read the entire account of the possession free online

When he was 87, Blatty would write his own book on personal paranormal experiences called Finding Peter that chronicle is own faith and brushes with the supernatural, but he’ll always be best remembered for being a writer capable of terrifying audiences so shockingly that his work became a cultural touchstone, while keeping it sensitive and thoughtful enough with ideas of faith and hope, that it served a bigger purpose than merely gruesome entertainment.

One last FYI, if you hear that Father Malachi Martin was the inspiration for the Father Merrin character in The Exorcist, don’t buy it. It’s just marketing for the new documentary about Malachi Martin’s life (which looks cool in its own right and Malachi was a colorful character who we’ll have to dive into sometime), but here’s the truth in an article in the Los Angeles Times

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, however, dismissed Martin’s work as unbelievable. William Peter Blatty, who wrote the best-selling “The Exorcist” and the screenplay for the 1973 movie of the same name directed by William Friedkin, gave “Hostage” a scathing review in the Los Angeles Times, assailing its accuracy as well as Martin’s style. “I loathe this book,” Blatty wrote. “It gives possession a bad name.”

For this week’s song, we were looking for a track that appealed to the basest instincts of people, just like Pazuzu (or Captain Howdy) did in The Exorcist, so we selected a Sunspot song that deals with faith in its own way and sometimes that faith gets betrayed when people fall into temptation, anger, and resentment. And when that happens, the world can come “Crashing Down”.

Well, I guess I thought the fight,
would bring out the best in you,
because you always said my faith,
would see you through.
And as we sat there in the calm before the storm,
there were barbarians at the door… and I heard you,

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.

And I know you hate the world,
for what it put you through.
But you struck against the ones,
that believed in you.
I always thought you were to strong to be afraid,
until I watched you run away… when I heard you,

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.

As you sit there in your hole,
where your screams can’t break through,
well you’ve lost your freedom now,
look what your anger’s done for you.
There is no quarter, no exception to the rule,
there’s no one left to listen to you…
And you can cry wolf a thousand times and watch the rest of us survive.

Screaming for revolution,
I hear you scream for blood.
Screaming for retribution,
for another Flood.
And as I watched you scream your life away,
the world came crashing down.