Monday, October 21, 2013
GHOST ADVENTURES: THE EXORCIST HOUSE IN ST. LOUIS
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!