Monday, October 21, 2013


As it is my policy to make new blog entries only when I get additional information on “The Exorcist” case (or something even peripherally related to it), I wanted to add this here. 

So my sister, Deb, texts me several weeks ago to let me know that the next night on the Travel Channel there would be a program airing, “Ghost Adventures”, in which the host(s) of the program are paying a visit to 8435 Roanoke Street in St. Louis County. 

8435 Roanoke is famous for being the home where, in 1949, an exorcism ritual took place.  As such it has become a local landmark.  This exorcism, and the case surrounding it, made for William Peter Blatty’s book, “The Exorcist” and the film of the same name. 

Ok, if you’ve already read my investigation blog on this case MIKE'S BIG BLOG O' RAINY DAY FUN - EXORCIST KID! then you know that my conclusions were (and are) that this was not so much an ado about nothing, but rather that there were other reasons behind 14 year old Ronnie Hunkeler’s behavior at the time.

One of the “guests” on the “Ghost Adventures” program is Eileen Dreyer, who is the niece of Father William Bowdern, the Exorcising Priest, and the person upon whom the book and movie character of Father Merrin is based.  

The show’s hosts meet to speak with Eileen at another location, and not at 8435 Roanoke, because she refuses to be anywhere near that house.  Apparently she believes in leftover bad juju, despite the fact that her late Uncle Bill allegedly caused the Devil to vacate the boy, thereby leaving it up to the Lord’s emissary, St. Michael, to take Lucifer “out in back o’ the woodshed”.

We also have Mr. Greg Meyers as a special commentator, who is some sort of local paranormal investigator.  Mr. Meyers said of the house that “Satan was here”.  This is wrong, because (spoiler alert!) Ronnie wasn’t possessed to begin with.  Read the full story at my Exorcist Kid Blog, because everything I have to say about it has been said there. 

At some point in the program, Mr. Meyers shows a photo of a scratch that he says he  received from an unseen force while in the house on a prior occasion. 

The primary purpose of the “Ghost Adventures” crew being at the house that day and night was to set up their electronic equipment in the Northwest Bedroom (where Ronnie was) and run tests of some sort.  They had recorders to pick up EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and some type of heat sensitive cameras to detect any kind of ethereal movement. 

Believe me, all this preparation works out great!  They get “spirit orb” images and “voices” supposedly saying things like “Ouija”, “Devil” and “Diablo”.  The problem with this is that I have a very hard time believing footage that I know can be altered in post-production. 

No offense intended to the people on “Ghost Adventures”, but if they set up all this equipment and then nothing happens, they don’t have a show, the network pulls the plug and the Travel Channel doesn’t get to sell time to run ads for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (Snap!  Crackle!  360 Degree Head Spin!). 

I suppose it’s better to have staged “reaction” shots to things that allegedly happened and then “enhancing” them afterwards to complete the effect.  Note: hyperventilating adds that nice “terror touch”, too, so don’t forget that!

Other things: they show a crack in the window of the Northwest bedroom.  How do we know that it wasn’t already there?  Then there’s a sound of something falling and hitting the floor upstairs (the crew looks to be in the living room on the main level when this happens).  How do we know that it wasn’t someone in the bathroom maybe dropping a bar of soap or knocking something else over? 

I don’t know, maybe I’m just being too skeptical about this, but I didn’t really SEE anything that convinced me.  “Reaction” shots just don’t cut it for me although they do for some other people, I guess.  Whatever success these shows have in convincing viewers that they’ve seen or heard something that is NOT on camera, is due in large part due to the skill of the editor(s). 

On the other hand, you couldn’t get me to go in that house, either, because there’s something in the back of all our minds which is suggestible if one has advanced knowledge of what happened there in 1949.  I’m sure I’d be skittish as hell.  Why?  Because we get conditioned so easily.


Try this experiment: for the next two minutes you are forbidden to think about chocolate pudding. 


I just gave you not-so-subliminal suggestion and you can’t HELP but think about chocolate pudding now.  Well, it’s the same kind of thing with regards to this house.  If you know an exorcism occurred there, you automatically have a dread about it. 

Yes an exorcism took place there.  Little doubt exists about that.  Did it drive anything out?  No, and not just because there wasn’t anything TO drive out, but also because they took Ronnie elsewhere to continue this ritual day in and day out until the boy – in a manner of speaking – cried “Uncle”. 

The current owner of 8435 Roanoke was not mentioned by name in “Ghost Adventures”.  However, since the owner revealed himself in the Booth Brothers’ documentary film “The Haunted Boy” – and the fact that anyone with a computer can find out about the house via public records – I have no qualms about telling you that his name is Nick Everly.  A quick check earlier revealed that he still lives in the house today.  Why would he still be there if frightening things were truly happening? 

In “The Haunted Boy”, Mr. Everly freely admitted (as I’d theorized in the Exorcist Kid Blog) that he bought the house after seeing a story on it in a local newspaper.  He also talked about making some use of the Northwest bedroom.  At the time of the interview, there wasn’t much in the room and it looked like it needed some work if it was going to be occupied – even as a guest room. 

Between the DVD release of “The Haunted Boy” and the time this episode of “Ghost Adventures” was shot, Nick had the room re-modeled.  There’s a bed in it now and pictures hanging on the wall (no cross that I could see, though), so it’s ready for occupancy.  Maybe Nick is thinking of renting out that room as a type of “Bed and Breakfast” thing?  Sure would help him pay the mortgage and keep up with the taxes a whole lot better, I venture to say.

Then that would also raise the “spectre” (sorry, couldn’t resist) of having goth chicks and/or mentally ill folks running around his house whipping out their ouija boards to try to “open doorways”. 

Anyway, this episode of “Ghost Adventures” was interesting ONLY because of where it was being filmed.  It’s always fascinating to get the occasional peek into 8435 Roanoke to see the basics of how it’s laid out.  Other than that, you could watch any one of a number of shows like this and still get the vicarious thrill of having gone “Ghost Hunting”. 

Happy Halloween, kids!

Friday, April 26, 2013


(Note: this write-up also appears on my other blog, THE SPLATTING NUN!)

Director William Friedkin will likely always be most known for two pivotal movies: THE EXORCIST and the film whose title he parodies with THE FRIEDKIN CONNECTION, THE FRENCH CONNECTION.

Mr. Friedkin warns us right off the bat that this is not a typical, “tell-all” memoir.  True enough, that; there are no decadent Hollywood behaviors described (unless he’s talking about scenes in his films) and no “kiss and tell” aspects are to be found.  Good.  Didn’t need that anyway.  It is his work which should be celebrated and not any Caligula-like excesses.

Of course with this blog being called the “Exorcist Repository”, I was anxious to get to read the behind the scenes stuff in regards to the movie itself.  I was hoping to read new information about the making of the movie that I hadn’t read before.

In discussing the pre-production and casting of THE EXORCIST, Mr. Friedkin talks about Linda Blair winning him over in her audition for the part of Regan MacNeil.  He queries her about her thoughts on the infamous masturbation sequence in the script.  He asks her if she knows what masturbation is and she asks, “Is it like jerking off?”  “Have you ever done that?”, he asks Linda.  She replies, apparently without blinking, “Sure, haven’t you?”  Wow, after an exchange like that I guess I would have cast her as Regan, too.

Mr. Friedkin writes a bit about the so-called Exorcist “curse”, in which an unexplained (even to this day) fire broke out on the set and delayed filming for weeks.  This is the kind of story that newspapers and gossip rags ran with at the time, more grist for the publicity mill.

I was a bit disappointed to see that Mr. Friedkin did not mention anything about how Evangelist Billy Graham had supposedly declared that a demon was living within an actual print of the film.  However, maybe Dr. Graham’s contention was a bit “out there” – even for the director of THE EXORCIST.  Besides, this was a movie about the triumph of good over evil – God vs. Satan.  The fact that God wins here seems to have been overlooked by a lot of people.  Therefore, I heartily disagree with the assertion that the movie is “evil”.  It’s about evil getting its ass soundly thrashed and then handed right back.

Mr. Friedkin goes on to describe the bickering between himself and William Peter Blatty during the film’s production and then years later when they were re-inserting footage for DVD that was left out of the original cut.  However, both men can look back now and laugh about their disagreements. 

William Friedkin also went on to do other films, probably none of which got such worldwide attention as THE EXORCIST.  The movie CRUISING may have come close, but for reasons that I’m sure were not intended. 

CRUISING, by the way, is only one of two movies that made me want to crawl into a bathtub for days on end to wash the movie experience completely off.  The other movie that made me feel that way was the Nicolas Cage film, EIGHT MILLIMETER.

Mr. Friedkin tells some interesting tales about his career to include his latest movie, KILLER JOE. 

THE FRIEDKIN CONNECTION is well worth reading if you are a fan of his work.  Even if you are not, you will likely find something to admire or interest you within these pages. 

Many thanks to Stephanie Salah of Harper Collins Publishing for seeking me out through this blog and for her kindness in sending me a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


(Note: This write-up is also posted on another of my blogs, THE SPLATTING NUN!)

Ok, this is NOT a bona-fide documentary.  As mentioned on the DVD cover posted above, this may well be the most famous possession in history, being that the one which was the basis for THE EXORCIST has been credibly debunked.  For more on this, check out:                               

ANNELIESE: THE EXORCIST TAPES is a re-creation of events, using actors, although you will see no screen credits for them.  I suppose that this is to carry over the illusion that you are seeing the ACTUAL film shot during Anneliese Michel’s 1976 exorcism(s).  It has been suggested through other sources that some film DOES exist, but I didn’t spot any filmclip here that looked to be the real deal.

From what I know of the actual events, Anneliese did not kill anyone during her possessed state, as the film suggests, nor did she lead anyone to commit suicide.  Makes a good story, but ‘tisn’t true in the scheme of things.  Too bad, really, because there was one person, a bully cameraman who kept calling Anneliese “you crazy bitch” and taunted her to undress for him.  He deserved to became a grease spot on the carpet and I will tell that he DOES get his in the end. 

The priest is played by Christopher Johnson whom I instantly recognized as the actor who played Josef Mengele in one of my recent favorite movies, NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. 


….what makes the movie worth having is how well it’s put together AND the fact that there are audio clips of the real Anneliese during her exorcism(s) played at key points in the film.  During the playing of these audio recordings, you see on your TV a “screen card” which tells you what you are listening to. 

I don’t speak much German anymore (being 30 years removed from living there as a young soldier from 1979-1982) and unfortunately, there’s no translation of what’s being said between the priest and the voice issuing forth from Anneliese.  That’s a pity, really, because it would have been quite interesting to know.

The movie IS an attention-grabber despite the fact I was initially let down that this was not a genuine documentary.  There are intense moments in it (not to include the “urine walk”, which I gather was a nod of the head to “The Exorcist”).  Highlights are when the priest tells the family and camera crew just which entities are possessing Anneliese.  Not to give it all away, but can you say “Sieg Heil”?

One of several highlights has to do with the “scientific” film crew slowly beginning to understand the true meaning behind Anneliese’s possession. 

Anneliese Michel died on July 1st, 1976 in her hometown of Bavaria, Germany of what was deemed to be starvation.  Both Anneliese’s parents and the priest were charged with negligent homicide.  If you’ve seen the movie THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, you’ve seen the Americanized version of the Anneliese Michel story.

Below are two pictures taken at Anneliese’s Bavarian gravesite.  Copyright owners maintain all rights to these images. 

And, as a study in contrast, below are pictures of Anneliese before and during exorcism.

I found this movie over the past weekend on Saturday, October 6th at a local K-Mart in the Missouri town where I was born.  This particular K-Mart has a really neat Halloween section and someone there took great care to put their inexpensive scary DVDs prominently amongst the decorations, costumes and seasonal candy.  Therefore, ANNELIESE: THE EXORCIST TAPES was easy to spot. 

Actually it wasn’t a lone DVD; there are 3 other features that were included: THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING (which I will be blogging about here soon), A HAUNTING IN SALEM and 100 FEET.  Paid only five bucks for all four films.  This wasn’t the only DVD set I found that day, but with the discovery of ANNELIESE: THE EXORCIST TAPES, it was by far the most interesting find of the day.

Recommended but it is not, of course, for kids or those with sensitive dispositions. 

ANNELIESE: THE EXORCIST TAPES is from The Asylum Home Entertainment.


Monday, October 24, 2011


I've put a green "X" (not necessarily short for "exorcism") on Ronnie's jacket lapel so that you can easily identify him.  Special thanks to an anonymous reader of this blog, and my original Exorcist blog (MIKE'S BIG BLOG O' RAINY DAY FUN - EXORCIST KID!), for providing the first clear copy of this photo that I've seen.  In other prints of this one, Ronnie's face is usually blurred out. 

Pleasant looking fellow, isn't he?  Oh if only his fellow students had known what happened to him just a few years earlier....

Sunday, July 24, 2011


One of the most interesting things about doing a blog such as MIKE'S BIG BLOG O' RAINY DAY FUN - EXORCIST KID! is that people stumble across it periodically and are so moved by what they've read that they contact me via the site.

I am most grateful to hear from folks on this issue.  As I've contended before, it's interesting to see that even today the subject of whether Ronnie Hunkeler "was" or "wasn't" is still discussed over 60 years after the event(s) occurred. 

Jim Richardson was kind enough to allow me permission to re-post his letter here.  I did, however, leave off his e-mail address for obvious reasons. 
Dear Mike,  Jim Richardson here,

A big HELL – o from Knoxville Tennessee, the buckle on the Bible belt, where Southern Baptists keep alive the image of/fear of The Devil in their everyday lives.  I am writing because I just did (for the hundredth time) an internet search on the name Ronald Hunkeler, NASA’s favorite possessed boy, which led me to your most fascinating blog from last year.  I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve read on the case in ages (and trust me, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about it), and I will be earmarking it so I can come back to read it again and again. Well done!

My roots of interest go all the way back to the time of the release of The Exorcist, which (when I did get brave enough to see it) scared the bejesus out of me, whereas you found it ridiculous, and I’m convinced that that has to do with my Southern Baptist upbringing and the fear of Satan (for the record, I no longer believe in him) instilled in us (former) Baptists .  I have had a love/hate relationship with the film, and only at almost 50 yrs old do I count it as one of my favorite movies of all time, and only now can I watch it without being disturbed for two weeks afterward. I read the Thomas Allen book in the early nineties and was stoked and determined to find out all I could about the original case.  Then came the intriguing and insightful Mark Opsasnik (sp?) article, and, while it kind of trampled my meadow, I forged ahead with my interest, so much so that on a visit to St. Louis I took the time to brave “The Hood” and seek out the Alexian Brothers Hospital on Broadway so I could add the exorcism site to Jim’s Morbid Tour of America. Had I known at the time the whereabouts of Aunt Tillie’s place and the Hunkeler house in Bel Nor, I would have made them my Mecca as well.  That’s another trip.

Having long believed that the case had psychological bearings rather than supernatural ones, I’m inclined to agree with almost everything you’ve put forth.  Almost! From a seed planted in the Thomas Allen book as well as an interview he did on TV fingering Aunt Tillie (sorry) as the culprit who molested Ronald, I have long believed molestation (by psychological accounts, invariably present in cases claiming demonic possession) was behind the mysterious meltdown the kid had, leading up to the most famous exorcism in history, and until your wondrous blog I believed, like everyone else, that the aunt was the villain. I never dreamed the grandmother might have had a hand in it!  I know you based that on private information given, but where did you get the idea that the mother (Odell) was complicit? Was that private, family related info as well? Curious.

The only part I might take issue with you on is the claim that the diary is so totally unreliable. Exaggerated maybe, but I can’t believe that all the priests and witnesses would be so willing to lie about what they saw, or thought they saw.  I also think Ronald, troubled though he clearly was, wasn’t just playing a prank, as Mark Opsasnik claims – a prank that got him out of a year of school.  I have never known a single kid that wanted to engage in something that would cause him to be put back a year, into a class behind his own with a bunch of strangers. I think he had some severe psychological  problems that led to him acting all this out, and  I’ve often wondered if there wasn’t some of the rare instances of telekinesis that is supposedly present in troubled youths going on that might have made Ronald THINK he had something inside of him that could cause weird shit to happen.  Far fetched, I know. Whatever happened to him sounds like it colored his adult life, brilliant though he must be as a NASA scientist. I find it particularly interesting that he still displays a volatile temperament and that he has on obsession with spackling holes in the walls that aren’t there – holes that perhaps remind him of when he was a kid and heard scratching sounds coming from the walls and floorboards?

Anyway, this is my longwinded way of saying I LOVED your blog and hope you’ll do a sequel.  I think you’re probably better at sequels tham William Peter Blatty.


Jim Richardson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


                                                            (Ronald Hunkeler Today?)

Ok, here we have a photograph purporting to show Ronald Hunkeler as to how he looks in modern times.   When I compare to this to his 1954 high school photo, the characteristics and facial features appear to me as if they are the same person.  I could well be wrong about this, though.  I will attempt to verify this as much as I can and see what turns up. 

Trying to enlarge this photo only distorts it, so for now this is the largest it can be.  Perhaps one of you out there has a program that will get around this problem. 

Once again, thank you to Andy Black for finding this and letting me know about it.  I think that as time goes on we may be able to learn more about Ronnie’s post-exorcism life and as/if I do so, I will share with you what I can. 


Thought I'd post a link to where you can download an album on exorcism that was released in 1974 to cash in on, well, some film or another - can't seem to recall which one, though.  Hmm....

Anyway, click here: The Rite of Exorcism  at WFMU's wonderful site.  You can download both sides of this album and, uh, "enjoy". 

WFMU's "Beware of the Blog" is one of my most wonderful sites on the net.  Check it out!

Monday, November 22, 2010


                                                                 (click to enlarge)

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive an e-mail from Mr. Andrew Black.  He’d done better digging than I had on the NASA website initially and came up with a Goddard Space Center newsletter.  It  features a picture, in profile, of Ronnie doing working with foam of some kind.  This is really before anyone, but for a small group of people, knew anything of his past.

I’m only posting the page with Ronnie’s picture on it.  If you want to see the whole thing, go to:

Interesting pic because this is the first photo I’ve seen of Ronnie with dark hair. 

The newsletter is dated July 27, 1964.  At this point we were two years past John Glenn’s historic “Space Walk” and only four years away from the first man on the moon.  Ronnie had a hand in this as well.

Thanks, Andy, for your kindness in hipping me to this.  Keep up the good work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Haunted Boy - The Secret Diary of The Exorcist

First of all let me say that this DVD was quite a bitch to find – none of the retailers I checked had it, nor could they even order it for me.  I don’t do the online ordering thing, so when a gentleman by the name of Andrew Black contacted me after having read my Exorcist Investigation blog, he very kindly offered me the loan of his print of the movie.  A very BIG thanks goes out to Andrew.

Where do I start?  I had some initial dread about this movie because I was afraid that it – like so many others I’ve seen before – was going to treat the exorcism “diary” as fact and not as the misrepresentation that it has been shown to be.  As it turns out, I was right – they are using the same diary written by Father Raymond J. Bishop.  I was, therefore, prepared to be utterly discouraged.  On that point, I was wrong.

The Booth Brothers (Christopher and Philip, who look like Aerosmith roadies) have made some interesting paranormal documentaries before and certainly this one is no different in that it is well-done and intriguing.  This is due, no doubt, to their considerable skill as editors, producers and directors. 

Christopher and Philip do nothing really to dispel the legend that the diary was found in a locked room in a former asylum to tell/sell this story.  In order to believe this story, one first has to believe that the diary is genuine.  The first half of the diary is reconstructed by things the boy’s mother and grandmother were telling Father Bishop.  Proof?  The good Father had to get the info second-hand from someone since there is no indication that he made a trip to Cottage City, Maryland where Edwin, Odell and Ronnie Hunkeler lived, to personally observe any of the alleged phenomena. 

I’m reminded of the “discovery” of Hitler’s Diary in some haystack and, later, the finding of Jack The Ripper’s Diary as well.  Neither of those turned out to be anything, but it’s interesting to see what people will swallow.  Perhaps we ARE a nation of Linda Lovelaces after all. 

Let’s look at some facts here:

·         Part of Ronald Hunkeler’s 1949 exorcism took place at 8435 Roanoke in Bel-Nor, which is a house in a St. Louis County, Missouri, suburb.  The residence belonged at the time to his paternal uncle, Leonard Hunkeler and his family, so Ronnie never LIVED there (as is intimated in the film).  The northwest bedroom is said to have been the place where it happened and I’ve come across nothing in my research to contradict that small detail. 
·         Ronnie became too disruptive in the household and had to be moved before any “casting out” could be completed. 
·         As such, the Church’s position was that Ronnie was still “possessed” when the final move to the Alexian Brothers Psych Ward took place.
·         That being what it is, logic would tell you that no “entity” could have been cast out at 8435 Roanoke. 
·         Keep in mind that Catholic exorcisms are designed to return a demonic entity from whence it came.  I don’t think any entity the boy was reported to have had would’ve taken up residence at 8435 Roanoke after leaving Ronnie’s body.  After all, in the unlikely event that we could believe ANYTHING Ronnie had said, the boy related (again, from the psych ward, mind you) that he saw St. Michael cast “the Devil” into the fiery pit.  Fanciful flight of imagination there from the Ron-ster.  Or perhaps he was just guided to say that by clergy as an act of contrition. 

So we have the film-makers and their crew, along with a “psychic” and a ghost hunter, standing in THAT bedroom at 8435 Roanoke trying to conjure up the “demon” that they seem to be convinced has been sub-letting the room.  Big mistake for two reasons:

1.        There wasn’t one to begin with.
2.       If you go looking for “trouble”, you are likely to find it.  Even if it’s all in your head. 

Two relatives of Ronnie’s are interviewed in short segments on the DVD.  They are not identified by name and their faces are “tiled” out.   Can’t verify who the younger lady they talk to is (her voice is NOT electronically altered), but I am guessing that the elder lady Christopher is talking to is Leonard Hunkeler’s daughter, Janis (whose voice IS altered). 

Janis is approximately 4 or 5 years older than Ronnie, which would put her at 80 years of age or so now.  If the initial diary is correct about her, she was the one who notified the clergy at St. Louis University that there was a problem with Ronnie.  As such, she was probably the person most responsible for the exorcism in the first place.  That’s likely a good thing, because the little puke needed some sort of ass-kicking to help him straighten up.  (Note: read my Exorcist Kid blog  to learn what Ronnie had to say, via his attorney, about the “possession” in 1998. You will find other tidbits of info there that you probably didn’t know before, including the fact that Ronnie’s old man never bought into the whole “possession” theory.) 

In the film we also get to see where Ronnie temporarily stayed at the old St. Vincent’s Asylum in St. Louis, which has since been converted into senior living apartments.  Judy Perry, Ex-Manager of the apartment complex, revealed that the fifth floor of the building, where Ronnie’s room is said to have been, is unused and has been empty for many years.  She also indicated that there have been complaints from the tenants of strange occurrences there. 

Later, Ms. Perry tells the story of a nun, who worked there when it was still an asylum, had told her that they had to take care to keep Ronnie’s nails trimmed because he tended to scratch himself – on the chest.  Sound familiar?  This lends credibility to the contention that the little brat was doing this to himself. 

At one point, mention is made of – now get this – the “haunted furniture” (from the Alexian Brothers’ exorcism room) that was removed prior to the hospital being demolished.  A mover named Brad Givens talks about how heavy the bed was and if I’m understanding correctly, he’s saying it could only be lifted and moved by four strong guys.  I’m gathering that he’s not believing the bed could move on its own. 

The “haunted furniture” was moved to a classified military compound.  We do get to see the alleged exterior of this facility.  I wonder if the furniture is in with the autopsied alien corpses, UFO debris and Bruce Lee’s cryogenically frozen body?

When I was doing my initial research for my Exorcist blog, I did run across the name of the current owner of the former Leonard Hunkeler residence at 8435 Roanoke.  I chose not to use it in the piece, but am changing my mind here because Nick Everly goes on camera in “The Haunted Boy” to explain (as I’d originally theorized) that he bought the house BECAUSE of what happened there and not in SPITE of it.  As such, it is hard to work up much sympathy for him when he relates the story of being called by police while at work telling him that they had to chase some guy in a devil outfit off Nick’s front lawn.   Gee, who’da ever thought THAT would happen?

Ok, then we get to hear examples of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), recorded in Ronnie’s exorcism room at the house on Roanoke.  One of the “voices” is picked up as saying “F—k Me”.    Great, now we’ve got a pottymouth entity running (floating?) around.  Must have been a sailor in its previous incarnation.  Or a former Ozzy Osbourne family member.

An interesting experiment would be to set up EVP equipment at McDonald’s, after hours, and see how many “spirit” voices are recorded asking for “some fries with that”.  Or in any abandoned asylum to see if perhaps a long-disembodied voice will say something like “stop eating the phonebooks!”.  I don’t trust any recording that can be altered in post-production. 

There are three featurettes - “The Haunted Delivery”, “Digging Deeper” and “Behind the Screams”. 

In “The Haunted Delivery”, we have the film crew at 8435 Roanoke, accepting the delivery of a whole stack of Domino’s Pizzas.  Christopher appears to want to have a little spooky fun with the Pizza Deliveryman and asks him if he’s ever seen the movie “The Exorcist”.  The Deliveryman indicates that he has and then Christopher explains that the exorcism took place in this very house asks him if he wants to see the room.  The Deliveryman has to overcome some initial trepidation but finally goes upstairs into the room.  It’s sort of treated with humor even though the Deliveryman appears just a bit nervous.  I’m guessing that this all happens before they do the equipment set-up and filming in the room.

“Digging Deeper” is an exploration of the basement area of St. Vincent’s.  It’s in ruins, but the most surreal footage in this segment shows that someone drew a “smiley face” on one of the walls in or near the shock treatment area.

“Behinds The Screams” seems to shows the crew back in Ronnie’s room using something identified as a “Paranormal Puck”.  This “Puck” has a computer screen which they are using to make “contact”.  An unseen “user” identifies itself as “God” and then “types” in LOL.  In the main feature, the “entity” has identified itself as “Angelknot” and also as “Effendi”. 

Extras also include an off-camera voice saying that Father Cleary had reversed his position and was now indicating that he thinks the boy was acting up because of being molested.  Interestingly, there is mention that his Aunt (Tillie) was molesting him – this has been a theory for years.  However, it is more likely that it was his maternal grandmother.  At least this was what Ronnie was telling boyhood friends at the time. 

One specific thing that really annoyed me about this DVD is that the title seems to have been partially ripped off from Investigative Journalist Mark Opsasnick’s ground-breaking article, “The Haunted Boy of Cottage City”, which smashed all the previously-believed myths about the story behind “The Exorcist”.  It was highly influential on me and was one of two pieces I’d read which started me on my own odyssey to see what I could find for myself.  Mr. Opsasnick is not given any credit or recognition in “The Haunted Boy” DVD, although it is obvious that his writings on the case helped to inspire this documentary. 

There is, however, an acknowledgement made to Chad Garrison, whose Riverfront Times article “Hell of A House” was the other big influence on me and, apparently, on the Booth Brothers as well.  They talk with Chad for a minute or so.  Chad told me in a reply to my initial e-mail inquiry that he and the photographer walked through the big house at night and did not feel any vibes at all, even though they had “tried”. 

Despite a few things I see wrong in the movie,  I still highly recommend it.  I found it to be well worth the time to watch.  Although I wish someone out there would completely “bust” the diary and do the real, REAL story, the Booth Brothers do manage to make a fascinating and entertaining film despite the shaky, unbelievable base upon which it is built. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Just discovered a website out there devoted to the movie version of “The Exorcist”. It’s called and follows all news related to upcoming releases and products. I’ve been in contact with the site’s webmaster and he and I are linking to each other’s sites. I’m linking there today and he’ll be doing so on his next site update. This is THE place to go for all things Exorcist.


Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of hearing from a gentleman in New York in regards to this blog. I was pleased to see that my efforts here are getting a bigger and bigger audience. It was slow to take off, but seems to be gaining momentum.

With his permission, I am sharing this e-mail with you now, only identifying him as "Jim D". Other than that, the text of this e-mail is pretty much as it was when I read it today. However the four sentences which comprise the last paragraph are from a second e-mail he sent, answering my reply. He discusses some sensitive things in the second e-mail, so I didn't wish to violate a potential confidence by sharing that as well.
Jim's e-mail is

He discusses his vocation in the e-mail should anyone need his assistance. He took over from Ralph Sarchie whose book BEWARE THE NIGHT is utterly hair-raising. Not to be read just before going to sleep, let me tell you!
Here's what Jim had to say:

"Hi Mike;
I read you post re. the Cottage City youth. Although I disagree with your ultimate conclusion (I believe the possession was, in fact, quite real) , I loved your professional and objective research. You did a great job.

I retired from the NYPD as a Captain on 29 April 2010. I'm also a veteran of the US Navy Reserve. I am a p/t college professor, and also a p/t demonologist. I'm also very busy lately. You may want to check out a book entitled "Beware the Night" by (Retired NYPD Sergeant) Ralph Sarchie. A great read, and I'm actually his de facto successor.
I don't know exactly why I'm emailing you, but I've discovered that psychological pathologies and preternatural phenomenon aren't mutually exclusive, at all. In fact, angelic trash often seem attracted to persons with emotional vulnerabilities. Put another way, selfish, nasty, unstable people still become possessed, and, therefore, still require relief. I exorcise places, and never people - they require a validly ordained Catholic priest, with Church permission. I'm a layman, and I know my limitations. Most demonic haunts can be alleviated via holy water and specific prayers, i.e. the Holy Rosary and the Pope Leo XII prayer. I also believe that people, such as Ronald Hunkeler, often suffer PTSD, as do many of my brothers in uniform, in addition to other, perhaps numerous, underlying psychological challenges. The presence of real psychological illnesses doesn't preclude the reality of the possession. In fact, they often are joined at the hip.

I could go on, but I may already be boring you. Good work, although I do dissent re. your ultimate conclusion. Should you ever need to talk, or experience any phenomenon in your home, which does happen, email me. Everyone else does, so you're welcome. Often, cold spots, dark shadows, night time, i.e. magical, whisperings, scratchings, fear, chaos, among other tell tale signs - all indicate a visit from the demonic. I offer my services pro bono, should you ever be in need. God bless you and your wife.
Absolutely; feel free to post my email, and you may include my personal email address, also. Just please use "Jim D." Bishop McKenna and I speak, and he refers Long Island / NYC cases to me. I'm not sure where you're located."


This blog is starting to get some minor local media attention and as such, I thought I needed to start linking more directly to peripheral sites that may have related topics.

Mr. Ocker visited the Cottage City, Maryland house as part of his photo essay project to document extraordinary landmarks he's visited.
Check his archives as well because he has been to the Jason Miller (Father Karras in the movie) bust in Miller’s home town. There’s also his visit to the very steps that Father Karras tumbles down at the climax of the film. This site is still a tourist attraction today.

There are plenty of other wonderful things to see at OTIS, including the burial site of one of the suspects in the Jack the Ripper slayings, the graveyard used at the beginning of the movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and the WAR OF THE WORLDS monument in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.
Such is the case with J. W. Ocker's ODD THINGS I'VE SEEN site (
My first real update of this blog.

In my initial entry, I reported that Aunt Tillie’s daughter had made a reconciliatory gesture to her cousin Ron Hunkeler via an online bulletin board. It’s looking as though she was either unsuccessful in reaching him or, if she did, might have been rebuffed.

In checking the daughter’s Facebook page there is no one with the last name of Hunkeler listed on her “Friends” page. I find that this is also the case in checking other family members pages – no Hunkelers found.

There ARE Hunkelers on Facebook, though. Not Ronnie, but his son and his son’s ex-wife. I found a listing for someone I presume to be Ronnie’s grandson (the son, the son’s ex-wife and the grandson are all linked via Facebook friends). I’m pretty sure that this is a correct assumption because this young man does kind of resemble Ronnie as he looked in his younger days.

Kind of sad, really, when you think about it. If I found all these folks as easy as I did, they could find each other as well. Leads me to wonder if there’s still tension that extends all the way back to 1949. Got to hand it to Tillie’s daughter, though – at least she made an effort to put right whatever she deems to be wrong. Can’t successfully work things out if only one side is making the effort.

It wasn’t important to me at the time, but when I was hot and heavy into all the Hunkeler research I never really came up with the name of Ronnie’s ex-wife. Nowadays, though, it fairly jumped out at me as I was doing other things.

She and Ronnie divorced in 1986. This was probably after nearly 30 years of marriage, I would say. The woman whose name I came up with fits comfortably into the right age bracket. I’ve got her connected at some point with Ronnie’s son’s name, so with this fact, the age thing and because she kept her married name, this has got to be the same lady.

I’d really love to hear her story about living with Ronnie, but she’s probably not all that enthused about discussing it. Guess I couldn’t blame her. I continue to wonder, though, how long it was before she knew anything significant about Ronnie’s past – or if she ever did.

As for “Suzy”, Ronnie’s post-divorce girlfriend, I’ve found someone on Facebook under “Suzy’s” real name. I can’t be sure that this is the same woman, but since the last name is not all that common, I’m thinking that this could be the lady. If it is, she completely extricated herself from Maryland and started a business elsewhere. I haven’t decided if I want to contact this lady or not.

Curious to see where (if anywhere) this will take me next.