Something For the Dark
- Thomas Mann
It's Friday night, and school is out! Time enough at last for my favorite creepy crawlies. I recommend revisiting anthologies you enjoyed as a kid to read the stories you skipped before - and to reread the ones that scared the crap out of you. Like this dastardly little collection:
I especially recommend the stories "Something for the Dark" and "The Other Celia." Fun stuff.
"Ritual abuse" stories, a staple of the daytime schlock TV circuit in the 1990s, have certainly fallen off the map. Here is an interesting article: "Interpreting the Satanic Legend."
But really for enthralling reading I offer this gem, an excellent example of investigative reporting by Mark Opsasnick as he traces the supposed "true story" behind the so-called exorcism that inspired both the best-selling novel and the movie. In the process, he exposes the sloppy and downright irresponsible "what-he-said" hearsay and rumor-mongering that masquerades as "journalism."
Part 1: Feeling Devilish?
Emphasis on Blatty’s inspiration for The Exorcist intensified after the novel was released in May 1971, went to the top of the best-seller lists, and began receiving movie offers from Hollywood. The first of many major publications to consider Blatty’s literary sources was The New York Times, which weighed in with an article by Chris Chase on August 27, 1972 titled “Everyone’s Reading It, Billy’s Filming It.” The article chronicles how director William Friedkin became involved in the project and touches upon the fact that Blatty based his novel on a local story of demonic possession that he learned of while attending college.
Media interest peaked after the movie’s release and subsequent success. The most fascinating and in-depth article ever to appear on the subject appeared in the January 1975 edition of Fate magazine. In a feature titled “The Truth Behind The Exorcist,” author Steve Erdmann reveals never-before-known information regarding the facts behind the story.
Part 3: Debunking the Myth of 3210 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier
Rumors that the haunted boy had actually lived at 3210 Bunker Hill Road in Mount Rainier have been around since the early ’80s and have mostly been spread by neighborhood teens and newcomers to the area, who have raised the aura surrounding this location to urban legend proportions... I realized, however, that there was no evidence demonstrating that the family ever lived in Mount Rainier in the first place. Something was amiss.
Since J. C. was one of the very few who actually knew that Rob was going through this phase at the time and was able to observe the situation firsthand, I asked him if he thought the boy was actually possessed by the devil, and he responded...
After talking with so many people who had personally known Rob Doe it was disheartening to review the published material on the case from a new perspective and observe the various discrepancies between what has been written by others and what was told to me by individuals close to the family in question.
Yes, the fiction writers. Wah ha ha!