Robbie Mannheim

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Robbie Mannheim

Born June 1, 1935
Religion Christian (Lutheran)

Robbie Mannheim (also known as Roland Doe;[note 1][1] born 1 June 1935)[2] is the pseudonym given by historian Thomas B. Allen to an anonymous individual most notably known for being possessed and later exorcised during his childhood in the late 1940s.[3] The events which were reported in the media of the time and the subsequent claims surrounding those events went on to inspire the 1971 novel The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and the 1973 film of the same name, as well as Thomas B. Allen's own 1993 book Possessed and the following 2000 television film by the same name.

Contents

Origin of claims

The identity of Mannheim has never been revealed however he is reported as having no memory of being possessed.[4] Most of the information regarding him and the events surrounding his possession and exorcism comes from secondary and tertiary sources.

Around the time of the events there were several newspaper articles printed attributed to anonymous reports which were later sourced back to be that of the family's clergyman, Reverend Luther Miles Schulze.[5]

Another article was written on the subject in the January 1975 edition of Fate magazine titled “The Truth Behind The Exorcist,”. This article alleges to reveal previously unknown details from a diary kept by one of the priests involved in the exorcism.[6]

Two other main sources were obtained roughly 50 years after the events by the investigation of Thomas B. Allen and form the basis for his book on the subject, Possessed. One is the testimony of Rev. Walter H. Halloran, at the time one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of the events. According to Rev. Walter H. Halloran, streaks and arrows and words such as "hell" appeared on the boy's skin.[7] The other is a diary which was kept at the time of the events by a Rev. Raymond J. Bishop, another clergyman which became involved in the events after March 9, 1949, several months after it is claimed the initial symptoms occurred. The same diary used by the 1975 Fate article.[8]

Another author, Mark Opsasnick claims to have independently investigated these events and spoken to people involved in the case, including several people close to Mannheim and his family, other priests in their parish, a source at the hospital mentioned in the claims and even Allen and Halloran.[8]

Early life

Mannheim was an only child born into a German Lutheran Christian family and that during the 1940s they lived in the American city of Cottage City, Maryland.[9][10] Pseudonyms given to Robbie's parents in literature regarding this subject are "Mr. and Mrs. Doe" as well as "Karl and Phyllis Mannheim née Wagner."[1][11]

Since Robbie was an only child, he depended upon adults in his household for playmates, namely his Aunt Harriet, who treated Robbie more like a special friend than a nephew.[12] His aunt, a Spiritualist, who also professed Christianity, saw the Ouija board as a means of contacting those who had passed on the next world.[13] Like other Spiritualists, she did not heed the Biblical admonitions against consorting with spirits.[14] She therefore, introduced Robbie to the Ouija board when he expressed interest in it; between visits from his aunt, Robbie would sometimes dabble with the Ouija board on his own.[14] Nonetheless, Robbie was your average boy - he played, read comic books, and listened to the radio.[15]

On Saturday, January 15, 1949, Karl and Phyllis Mannheim went out for the evening, leaving Robbie and his Grandmother Wagner alone in the house; shortly afterwards, a dripping sound ensued and would not stop, despite the fact that every faucet was checked in the house.[16] In an attempt to locate the origin of the sonorous dripping noise, both Mannheim and his grandmother noticed that a painting of Christ began to shake.[16][17]

Later, when the parents arrived home, the dripping activity ceased, and a new noise was heard in the form of raps and scratches, which Karl Mannheim initially merrily labelled as being caused by a mouse or a rat.[18] Nevertheless, there was some desperation during this trial as Karl Mannheim tore up floorboards and ripped down wall panels but could not locate any rodent.[19]

On January 26, eleven days after the beginning of the scratching sounds, Robbie's aunt died in St. Louis, devastating Robbie; the boy consequently tried to contact his deceased aunt via an Ouija board, as he had been very close with her.[17][20] This attempt is said to have led to his demonic possession.[17] According to the Anglican Communion,
The Church of England holds the view that possession does not happen of its own accord. One cannot catch demons like one catches the common cold. A person has to be in vulnerable position of put himself at risk in order to get possessed. The greatest risk comes from inviting a spirit into one's body.

A view of Mannheim's dabbling with Ouija presented by Arlindo de Oliveira, a former witch doctor, states that "occult spirits desire to possess human bodies because that gives them a physical apparatus with which to act and speak in a physical world."[21][22]

Poltergeist activity

According to those involved in the case and also reported by the media, around the time of Aunt Harriet's death, the scratching noise in Grandmother Wagner's room ceased; yet, new kinds of poltergeist activity commenced.[23] These strange happenings included the sound of squeaky shoes and marching feet,[24][25] amongst other strange noises,[26] furniture moved on its own accord,[25][26] and ordinary objects, including a vase flew or levitated.[25][27] Moreover, scratches appeared on the teen's body and blessed objects, such as a container of holy water, which were placed near him, smashed to the ground on their own.[28] This said supernatural phenomena was not confined to the Mannheim's home but seemed to carry with him where he went; for example, while at school, Robbie's desk lurched into the aisle and began skittering about, banging the desks of other classmates.[29][30] Forty-eight witnesses came forward to substantiate this case and these unbelievable incidents that occurred, according to official reports.[31][32][33]

Medical and pastoral conclusions

According to reports in The Evening Star, a Washington D.C. newspaper,[5] in light of the situation, the boy was examined by both medical and psychiatric doctors, who could offer no explanation for these disturbing events taking place.[31]

The frightened family turned to their Lutheran clergyman, Rev. Luther Miles Schulze,[5] for help who arranged for the boy to spend the night of February 17 in his home in order to observe him.[34] The boy slept nearby to the minister in a twin bed and the minister reported that in the dark he heard vibrating sounds from the bed and scratching sounds on the wall.[34] During the rest of the night he witnessed some strange events—a heavy armchair in which the boy sat seemingly tilted on its own and tipped over and a pallet of blankets on which the sleeping boy lay inexplicably moved around the room.[34] In light of his observations, Rev. Luther Miles Schulze concluded that there was evil at work in Robbie,[35] and therefore, he performed a Lutheran rite exorcism on Robbie Mannheim.[36]

Exorcism

The boy then underwent an exorcism under auspices of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church.[36] After this, the case was referred to Rev. Edward Hughes, a Roman Catholic priest, who, after examining the boy at St. James Church,[37] conducted an exorcism on the fourteen year old boy at Georgetown University Hospital, a Jesuit institution.[36][38] During the exorcism, the boy inflicted a wound upon the pastor, costing him stitches; as a result, the exorcism ritual was stopped and the boy went home to be with his family.[38] While Robbie Mannheim was in his house, he screamed as he and his family saw the words "St. Louis" written upon his chest in blood; this city was the place where his Aunt Harriet had died.[20][38] The family then proceeded to take the train to St. Louis.[39] While they were in the city, Robbie's cousin contacted one of his professors at St. Louis University, Rev. Raymond J. Bishop, SJ, who in turn, spoke to Rev. William S. Bowdern, an associate of College Church.[39] Together, both vicars visited Robbie in his relatives home, where they noticed his aversion to anything sacred, a shaking bed, flying objects, and Robbie speaking in a demoniacal voice.[40] In light of these observations, Rev. Bowdern sought permission from the archbishop to have the plaguing demons cast out from the boy.[40] The archbishop approved the exorcism with three stipulations:[41]

  1. Rev. William S. Bowdern, would be in charge of performing the exorcism upon Robbie Mannheim.[41]
  2. Rev. Bowdern was to keep a detailed diary of the deliverance.[41]
  3. Rev. Bowdern was not to disclose his position and the location of the ritual, the fifth floor of Alexian Brothers Hospital.[41]

Before the exorcism ritual began, Rev. Walter Halloran was called to the psychiatric wing of the hospital, where he was asked to assist Rev. Bowdern in the deliverance.[7] Rev. William Van Roo, third Jesuit priest, was also there to assist Rev. Bowdern in casting out the unclean spirits from Mannheim.[7] During the exorcism, Robbie spat in the eyes of the pastors, despite the fact that his eyes were closed.[42] Rev. Halloran stated that during this scene of spiritual warfare, Robbie's hospital bed shook disturbingly, a vessel of holy water went soaring through the air, and words such as "evil" and "hell", along with other various marks, appeared on the teenager's body.[7][43] Moreover, Robbie broke Rev. Halloran's nose during the process.[7] Robbie Mannheim, while being exorcised, also often shouted in an abnormal tone of voice, which was unlike his normal tone of voice.[44] In total, the exorcism ritual to cast out demons from the boy's body were performed thirty times over a period of two months.[45] The clerics, asked the demons when they would flee, who responded to Rev. Bowdern and Rev. Halloran that they would depart when the Robbie uttered the proper words.[43] Eventually, Robbie Mannheim said "Christus, Domini" or "Christ, Lord."[43] When these words were spoken, there were reports of a loud noise, noted as a "thunderclap" or "shotgun" throughout the floors of the hospital.[43][46] After this pandemonium, Robbie Mannheim declared "It's over. It's over."[43] The room in which the deliverance was performed was then sealed off in order that none would be able to reenter that area.[46]

Later life

After the exorcism was over, the Mannheim family was no longer troubled, and moved back to their home.[47] Robbie Mannheim went on to become a successful, happily married man and father.[7][48] Nevertheless, Robbie Mannheim, after over fifty years, has no memories of his possession.[4]

Psychiatric considerations

Popular psychiatric interpretations of Robbie Mannheim's experience have been offered, including dissociative identity disorder, Tourette's syndrome, schizophrenia, sexual abuse, and group hysteria. Terry D. Cooper, Ph.D., a psychologist with doctorates from Vanderbilt University and Saint Louis University, as well as Cindy K. Epperson, a doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri, have analyzed the case of Robbie Mannheim and have come to the conclusion that normal psychological explanations can not account for the claimed events; their explanations are offered here.[49] Dissociative Identity Disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a dissociative disorder involving a disturbance of identity in which two or more separate and distinct personality identities manipulate the individual's behaviour at different moments, whose treatment consists primarily of psychotherapy.[50] Although some symptoms of dissociative identity disorder line up with Robbie's behavior,[51] Dr. Cooper and Dr. Epperson criticize this explanation because it fails to explain how Robbie's symptoms suddenly disappeared after the exorcism ritual since psychotherapy is a slow and tedious process.[51] Moreover, Robbie Mannheim displayed no previous history of multiple personality disorder earlier in his life.[51] According to Cooper and Epperson, labeling Robbie's condition as dissociative identity disorder also fails to explain the strange paranormal activity associated with the case to which forty-eight individuals testified.[51]

The essential feature of Tourette’s syndrome are multiple tics, which may include blurting out inappropriate comments.[52] Robbie was indeed known to use foul language during the exorcism ritual,[53] albeit he no longer swore after the successful exorcism.[54] Dr. Cooperson and Dr. Epperson argue that "reducing Robbie's entire set of circumstances to this simple disorder does not do justice to this case. It's simply implausible that a young man with Tourette's was able to fool nine Jesuit priests, hospital personnel, and all the family members."[55] Moreover, Tourette's syndrome is treated with medication and counseling - it simply does not go away.[55]

Schizophrenia is another mental disorder that some people believe Robbie might have had. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness: "Schizophrenia often interferes with a person's ability to think clearly, to distinguish reality from fantasy, to manage emotions, make decisions, and relate to others. The first signs of schizophrenia typically emerge in the teenage years or early twenties."[56] It is often treated with antipsychotics.[56] Psychologist Cooper states that Robbie was too young to have developed schizophrenia. Cooper also argues that Mannheim never became psychotic, but rather, remained coherent throughout the process and did not receive any medication or psychotherapy for his condition.[57] According to a Christian argument, the Maryland youth went on to lead a healthy existence, whereas schizophrenia and other dissociative disorders are often lifelong and require extensive psychiatric treatment; moreover, Robbie Mannheim never had a relapse.[4]

While some allege that Robbie Mannheim may have been sexually abused by Aunt Harriet, there is no evidence to support this assertion and moreover, with the prevalence of sexual abuse in society, most individuals who have been sexually abused do not delineate Robbie's behaviour.[55] Some critics also allege group hysteria to explain the case of Robbie Mannheim.[32] However, Robbie's forty-eight witnesses were spread out in different locations.[32] For example, Robbie's shaking bed was reported by numerous individuals both in Washington D.C. and St. Louis.[32]

Other medical experts who have examined Robbie's case have suggested that he had automatism or obsessive-compulsive disorder although the physicians and psychiatrists who examined Robbie Mannheim did not find any evidence to make these conclusions.[58] As a new hypothesis, anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor encephalitis has been suggested to be the cause for acute devastating behaviour dyscontrol resembling demonic possession (G. Sebire, Annals of Neurology 2010;67:141-142).

Literature and film

The exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim is the basis for the 1971 novel The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.[59] The Mannheim deliverance case was also the idea of 1973 film The Exorcist,[60] as well as the 2000 movie Possessed, which is said to be more historically accurate than the aforementioned film.[59] A documentary was also made of this case of demonic possession, titled In the Grip of Evil.[61]

Notes

  1. While the child is often referred as Robbie Mannheim or Roland, his true identity has never been divulged. Robbie was the fictional name given to the child by historian Thomas Allen.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “The Evening Star’s account differed from the Post’s in that the family was referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” and their 13-year-old son “Roland.””
  2. The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “Reporters to date have claimed that the 13- or 14-year-old boy was from Mount Rainier, Maryland. (It was later revealed that his date of birth was June 1, 1935, meaning he was actually 13 when the rite of exorcism was finally completed).”
  3. Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “In 1949, just outside of Washington, DC, a thirteen-year-old boy, who lived with his two parents and grandmother, began to experience some very strange phenomena. We'll call this boy Robbie, the fictional name given to him by historian Thomas Allen, who has written a very sober and fascinating account of this entire case.” 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “After over fifty years, this man (whose identity remains a closely guarded secret) has no memories of his possession.” 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “He turned out to be Reverend Luther Miles Schulze and in this article his experiences with the boy were reported in detail.”
  6. The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “The most fascinating and in-depth article ever to appear on the subject appeared in the January 1975 edition of Fate magazine.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Jesuit Priest Walter Halloran. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “Father Halloran was the last living Jesuit who assisted in the exorcism in 1949 at a psychiatric unit in St. Louis. Father Halloran was a 27-year-old Jesuit scholastic at St. Louis University when a priest called him to the psychiatric wing at Alexian Brothers hospital. The Rev. William S. Bowdern was trying to help a 14-year-old boy from Mount Rainier who he believed was possessed by a demon, and he needed a strong man to help control the boy. A third Jesuit, the Rev. William Van Roo, also was there. "The little boy would go into a seizure and get quite violent," Father Halloran told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1988. "So Father Bowdern asked me to hold him. Yes, he did break my nose." Father Halloran said he saw streaks and arrows and such words as "hell" on the boy's skin. Father Halloran told a reporter that the boy went on to lead "a rather ordinary life." A news account of the incident inspired William Peter Blatty to write his 1971 bestseller, "The Exorcist," which led to the movie in 1973. Blatty's story featured a 12-year-old girl played by Linda Blair.”
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “Possessed is the only book to focus entirely on the exorcism of the possessed boy... and is essentially based on two sources: the 26-page diary ... and interviews with Father Walter H. Halloran”
  9. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “The film The Exorcist is a the fictional rendition of a true story of possession of a thirteen year old boy named Robbie Mannheim who lived in Maryland in the 1940s.” 
  10. The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “Rob’s home address was listed in the yearbook as being 3807 40th Avenue, Cottage City, Maryland.”
  11. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “On Saturday, January 15, 1949, Karl and Phyllis Mannheim went out for the evening, leaving Robbie and Grandmother Wagner alone in the house.” 
  12. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “As an only child, he had to depend upon the adults in the household for his playmates. One of these adults was his Aunt Harriet.” 
  13. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Harriet responded to Robbie's interest in board games by introducing him to one - the Ouija board. Because Aunt Harriet was a Spiritualist, she saw it as a way to make contact between this world and the next. The planchette, she explained to Robbie, would sometimes move in response to answers given by the spirits of the dead. The communicated by entering the consciousness of people at the board. The spirits, Aunt Harriet said, produced impulses that traveled through the medium to the planchette, which moved obediently to spell out words or point to "Yes" or "No." Aunt Harriet seemed to have treated Robbie more like a special friend than a nephew. She had an exotic quality, especially with her talk about Spiritualism. Between visits, Robbie sometimes played at the Ouija board himself. For a Spiritualist like her, attempts to deal with the dead were neither pagan nor dangerous. Most Spiritualists considered themselves good Christians...Spiritualists, however, did not heed the biblical admonitions against consorting with spirits.” 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Possessed: the true story of an exorcism. Doubleday. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Harriet responded to Robbie's interest in board games by introducing him to one - the Ouija board. Because Aunt Harriet was a Spiritualist, she saw it as a way to make contact between this world and the next. The planchette, she explained to Robbie, would sometimes move in response to answers given by the spirits of the dead. The communicated by entering the consciousness of people at the board. The spirits, Aunt Harriet said, produced impulses that traveled through the medium to the planchette, which moved obediently to spell out words or point to "Yes" or "No." Aunt Harriet seemed to have treated Robbie more like a special friend than a nephew. She had an exotic quality, especially with her talk about Spiritualism. Between visits, Robbie sometimes played at the Ouija board himself. For a Spiritualist like her, attempts to deal with the dead were neither pagan nor dangerous. Most Spiritualists considered themselves good Christians...Spiritualists, however, did not heed the biblical admonitions against consorting with spirits.” 
  15. Possessed: the true story of an exorcism. Doubleday. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Robbie played, read comic books, listened to the radio, got under people's feet, acting like a normal thirteen-year-old boy.” 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “On Saturday, January 15, 1949, Karl and Phyllis Mannheim went out for the evening, leaving Robbie and Grandmother Wagner alone in the house. Not long after...Grandmother Wagner heard a dripping sound. She and Robbie checked every faucet in the neat, well-maintained house. The could not find the source of the dripping...They finally decided that the dripping came from Grandmother Wagner's bedroom under the sloping ceiling of the second floor. The entered and while listening to the loud dripping, saw a painting of Christ begin to shake, as if some-body were bumping the wall behind the painting.” 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Once, a portrait of Christ fell off the wall.” 
  18. Paranormal Experiences. Unicorn Books. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “A thirteen-year-old American boy named, Robert Mannheim, started using a Ouija board at the insistence of an aunt inclined towards spiritualism. A few days later, poltergeist activity in the form of raps and scratches was heard in some parts of the house.” 
  19. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “By the time Karl and Phyllis Mannheim returned home, the sound of dripping had stopped. But another, stranger sound had begun: scratching, as if claws were scraping across wood...Karl smiled and said a mouse or rat had decided to come in from the winter...For the next several nights the scratching sound continued, beginning at around seven o'clock and fading around mid-night...Outwardly, everyone agreed with Karl: a rat of mouse was making the noise...Still, there was some desperation in Karl's search. He tore up more floorboards and ripped down wall panels.” 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “On January 26, eleven days after the first scratching sounds...Aunt Harriet died in St. Louis...Robbie, who seems to have been devastated by the death, went back to using the Ouija board.” 
  21. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Robbie's playing of the Ouija board gave occult spirits the jurisdiction or right to control him, which they did until they were demanded to leave (cast out). According to Arlindo Barbosa de Oliveira, occult spirits desire to possess human bodies because that gives them a physical apparatus with which to act and speak in a physical world.” 
  22. He had been dedicated to the Devil before he was born, but one day he was delivered from demons by the power of the Lord. W Giacinto Butindaro (The New Way). Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Arlindo Barbosa de Oliveira of Brazil was a powerful witch doctor that for many years worked in the office of the President of Brazil, and in the Ministry of War and other government agencies of that nation, but one day he was delivered from the powers of darkness that worked in him and through him.”
  23. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Around the time of Aunt Harriet's death, the scratching sounds in the grandmother's room stopped. Karl proclaimed that the noisy rodent had died or gone away. But upstairs in Robbie's room new noises began,” 
  24. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “He described them as squeaky shoes.” 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Whenever the youth was at home, unexplained noises would reverberate from the attic, furniture would move on its own accord, objects flew, and witnesses reported hearing the sound of marching feet. Once, a portrait of Christ fell off the wall.” 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Paranormal Experiences. Unicorn Books. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Strange noises were heard in the boy's room, furniture moved on its own, pictures fell from the wall and the boy's bed shook violently.” 
  27. Possessed: the true story of an exorcism. Doubleday. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “While the family members were still talking about the flipping chair, one of them pointed to a small table. A vase was slowly rising from the table.” 
  28. Paranormal Experiences. Unicorn Books. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “As the possession intensified, the boy's suffering increased. Scratches appeared on his body and a container of holy water kept near him smashed automatically on the ground.” 
  29. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Nor were these alarming phenomena confined to the Mannheim's home. The desks at Robbie's school were movable seat=desk units, with a single arm acting as a writing surface. Several times in January and February Robbie's desk lurched into the aisle and began skittering about, banging other desks and causing a schoolroom uproar.” 
  30. Cinema of the occult: new age, satanism, Wicca, and spiritualism in film. Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp.. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “When objects start flying about in his room and in his school, his parents eventually take him to Father William Bowden (Timothy Dalton), a Jesuit faculty member at St. Louis University who, like Father Karras in The Exorcist, carries a load of guilt and is the the film's doubter but comes to believe the boy is really possessed.” 
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Forty-eight witnesses would later come forward to substantiate this case and the unbelievable incidents that occurred.” 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “Yet the problem is that Robbie's eyewitnesses were spread out. they came from entirely different settings and reported the same things. For instance, the shaking bed was reported by numerous people both in the Washington D.C. area and in St. Louis. Is it really possible that forty-eight eyewitnesses in different areas and at different times were all hysterical?” 
  33. The dark side of God: a quest for the lost heart of Christianity. Element. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “The film The Exorcist was based on a supposed case of actual possession where a spirit of considerable malignancy was exorcised by Jesuits in 1949 - official reports show that no less than forty-eight people witnessed this exorcism, nine of them Jesuits.” 
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-08-01. “The Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) followed up the Post’s scoop with an uncredited article later that evening on August 10, 1949 titled “Minister Tells Parapsychologists Noisy ‘Ghost’ Plagued Family.” The Evening Star’s account differed from the Post’s in that the family was referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” and their 13-year-old son “Roland.” It also describes their house as a “one-and-one-half story home in a Washington suburb” and refers to the events as “the strange story of Roland and his Poltergeist.” The article tells of the talk given by the minister before the Society of Parapsychology, and recounts his experiences with the boy. The minister told the reporter that Roland had made two trips to a mental hygiene clinic and that during an earlier trip to the Midwest the boy had been subjected to three different rites of exorcism by three different faiths—Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic.”
  35. A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “At a loss, their clergyman told them that there was nothing that he could do, that there was evil at work in the teen, and their best solution would be to seek the help of a Catholic priest.” 
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist". Strange Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “The minister told the reporter that Roland had made two trips to a mental hygiene clinic and that during an earlier trip to the Midwest the boy had been subjected to three different rites of exorcism by three different faiths—Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic.”
  37. Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2007-12-31. “So Robbie and his parents went to St. James Church and met with Fr. Albert Hughes, a twenty-nine year old priest. After spending some time with Robbie, Fr. Hughes became convinced that there was something "evil" about the boy.” 
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “The first exorcism was conducted by Father Albert Hughes at Georgetown University Hospital, a Jesuit institution. Within five minutes of beginning the ritual, the boy stabbed the priest, inflicting a wound that took stitches. Thus ended the initial attempt to rid the demon. The youth was released and sent home to be with his family. A few days later, the teenager began screaming hysterically while in the bathroom. The parents rushed into the room to find the words "St. Louis" written in blood upon the boy's chest. St. Louis was where the dead aunt had lived. The family then moved to St. Louis to stay with relatives. At this time, the case came before Father William Bowdern, pastor of St. Louis University - another Jesuit institution.” 
  39. 39.0 39.1 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “The family, desperate at this point, got on a train and headed for St. Louis. Robbie and his parents stayed with their relatives. One of the relatives, Robbie's cousin, was a student at St. Louis university. She had seen so many strange things happen to Robbie that she decided to talk with one of her professors, Fr. Raymond Bishop, SJ. Having listened to her story, Fr. Bishop contacted the pastor of College Church, which is associated with the university.” 
  40. 40.0 40.1 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Together, Bishop and Bowdern visited Robbie at his relatives' home. His revulsion over things sacred, his bed shaking violently, and things flying across the room-these were some of the things that Bowdern and Bishop witnessed. The boy spoke in a deep guttural voice and had an uncanny ability to spit at great lengths and hit a priest in the eye. After a few contacts, the priests decided that they needed to talk with the archbishop about the possibility of an exorcism.” 
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “First, Bowdern himself would conduct the exorcism ( a decision Bowdern had not anticipated and didn't really want). Second, a tedious diary would be kept concerning all the activities that would accompany the exorcism. And third, Bowdern was to tell no one what he was doing.” 
  42. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. Writers Club Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “While possessed, Robbie with his eyes closed was able to repeatedly and accurately spit on the faces of those around him. The spirits having the use of their own invisible yes, did not need Robbie's in order to have him spit on those standing around his bed in an attempt to prevent their own eviction from his body.” 
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 43.4 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Halloran recalls that the hospital bed began shaking violently as holy water was sprinkled on the youth and that at one point, a bottle of holy water went sailing in mid air, just missing his head. Another vivid memory the Father Halloran has was of the word "evil" appearing on the teen's body during one prayer session, saying that it was a definite word, not some phenomenon up for personal interpretation. The demon, when asked when it would leave, told Bowdern and Halloran that it would only do so when the boy uttered the proper words. At last the teenager said, Christus, Domini or "Christ, Lord." At that moment, the whole hospital echoed with a thunderclap. Then boy told them, "It's over. It's over."” 
  44. Paranormal Experiences. Unicorn Books. Retrieved on 20107-04-04. “During such times the boy would tremble violently and shout in a voice that was not in anyway like his normal one.” 
  45. Paranormal Experiences. Unicorn Books. Retrieved on 20107-04-04. “Finally, Father William Bowdern stayed with the boy for two months and performed the ritual of exorcism thirty times.” 
  46. 46.0 46.1 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “When the exorcism was completed, there were reports of a very loud noise, like a shotgun going off, throughout the hospital. Even people who had no idea that an exorcism was occurring on the fifth floor reported the noise. After the exorcism was finished, the room was shut off and sealed so that no one would reenter it.” 
  47. Paranormal Experiences. Retrieved on 2010-04-05. “The exorcism ultimately worked and the family was not troubled any more.” 
  48. For reel: the real-life stories that inspired some of the most popular movies of all time. Berkley Boulevard Books. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “"Robbie Mannheim" — whose true identity has never been divulged — went on to become a successful, happily married man and father.” 
  49. Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved on 2010-04-05.
  50. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “Robbie seemed to manifest a demonic personality along with his normal personality. His voice and facial expressions would change dramatically. Several problems arise when we try explain Robbie's profile strictly from a multiple personality perspective. The most basic is the question, Why did Robbie's symptoms suddenly disappear? Multiple personality disorder does not simply "go away" as a result of having priests perform an exorcism ritual. Again, treatment involves a slow, tedious process of psychotherapy. There is no evidence in Robbie's case that these multiple personality disorder symptoms returned. If he truly had MPD, where did it go? A second problem is that MPD is clearly related to chronic abuse in one's childhood. Investigations into his family backgound, as well as Robbie's own testimony, revealed no such ongoing abuse. Third, an MPD diagnosis hardly explains the strange paranormal-like activities going on around the boy.” 
  51. Tourette's Syndrome. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved on 2010-04-05.
  52. Good Spirits, Bad Spirits: How to Distinguish Between Them. iUniverse. Retrieved on 2010-04-05. “Robbie periodically awakened for moments...then fell back into his nightmare sleep and thrased and laughed and screamed. "I'm in hell," he shourted, laughing.” 
  53. The dark side of God: a quest for the lost heart of Christianity. Element. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “And following the classical Tourette's syndrome, Robbie does curse and swear like a seasoned trooper; but he recovers from this compulsion when the exorcism...” 
  54. 55.0 55.1 55.2 Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “Yet reducing Robbie's entire set of circumstances to this simple disorder does not do justice to this case. It's simply implausible that a young man with with Tourette's was able to fool nine Jesuit priests, hospital personnel, and all the family members.” 
  55. 56.0 56.1 Schizophrenia. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved on 2010-04-05.
  56. Evil: Satan, Sin, and Psychology. Paulist Press. Retrieved on 2010-04-03. “Applying the diagnosis of schizophrenia to Robbie also involves several problems. First, at thirteen, Robbie was generally too young for schizophrenia, whose onset typically occurs between seventeen and twenty-five years of age. More importantly, there is no evidence that Robbie became pyschotic of lost complete touch with reality. He remained coherent throughout the precess. Also, even if Robbie were schizophrenic, how did he suddenly become "cured" of it? There was no medication and no psychotherapy.” 
  57. Casting out the Devil!. Mario Gregorio. Retrieved on 2010-04-04. “Medical experts who have looked at Robbie's case suggest that he could have been suffering from one or more of the following psychological conditions: Automatism - acting in a mechanical or involuntary manner, a feature of some forms of schizophrenia. Gilles de la Tourette's Syndrome - a personality disorder, in which victims scream uncontrollably, grunt, twitch and involuntarily use foul language. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - this features frequent bouts of anxiety with little relevance to actual events, or recurrent strong urges to perform unnecessary or irrelevant acts. The doctors who examined Robbie had found no evidence of any of these symptoms.”
  58. 59.0 59.1 Cinema of the occult: new age, satanism, Wicca, and spiritualism in film. Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp.. Retrieved on 2010-04-04. “Blatty's novel was lossely based on an actual exorcism he heard about, and the producers of Possessed claim the film is closer to the "real" story.” 
  59. Dimension Desconocida. Ediciones Robinbook. Retrieved on 2010-04-04. “La inspiración del exorcista La historia de Robbie Mannheim es un caso típico de posesión, y es la que dio vida a la película El Exorcista.” 
  60. In the Grip of Evil. Retrieved on 2010-04-04. “Reconstruction of the alleged true story about demonic possession that was behind William Friedkin's The Exorcist. Based on documents, statements and interviews with people who followed the case, including the priests involved in the exorcism, a close look at the events that really happened is shown.” 

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