March 8, 2005


Priest in 'Exorcist' incident dies (John McGuire, Mar. 02 2005, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The Rev. Walter H. Halloran, the last living Jesuit priest to be involved in the famous exorcism here in 1949 that became books and movies, died Tuesday evening at a Jesuit retirement home in Milwaukee.

Father Halloran, 83, had his nose broken by the 14-year-old boy from Mount
Rainier, Md., who was thought to have been taken over by the devil. He became
the core of a book by William Peter Blatty, "The Exorcist," although Blatty's
demonic character was a little girl. It resulted in movies, including a Blatty
sequel, and a recent remake of "The Exorcist."

Father Halloran, a handsome man who looked like actor Peter O'Toole, was
a Jesuit scholastic at the time of the exorcism. He later taught at both St.
Louis University and SLUH, the city's Jesuit high school. In 1972, he was named
director of national alumni relations for the university.

He was the last remaining exorcism priest after the death of Father William Van
Roo, 89, who died in March a year ago at a health-care center in Wauwatosa,
Wis. He also became quite renowned as a paratrooping chaplain during the
Vietnam War, when he was 48, the oldest airborne character at the time.He won
two bronze stars for his service in Vietnam.

In 1988, the Post-Dispatch did a two-part series on the exorcism and
Father Halloran was a major source of information.

Get past the gore and the book/film is one of the best popular meditations on faith of the latter 20th Century.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2005 11:35 PM

The scene where, after a full battery of tests, the assembled doctors tell the parents to see a priest has stuck in my mind for decades now.

Posted by: JAB at March 9, 2005 8:53 AM

I read recently that the Catholic church recently published a revised excorcism ceremony. One wonders what was wrong with the old one...

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 9, 2005 11:22 AM


The new one has guitars and folk music to attract the young.

Posted by: Peter B at March 9, 2005 8:52 PM

It uses inclusive language as well, I'd imagine.

Posted by: Dave W. at March 9, 2005 10:57 PM