BySam Plank, writer at
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Sam Plank

If you were to google “real catholic exorcism film or picture,” chances are you're not going to find too much. There's a good reason for that: The Catholic church rarely allows people to watch live exorcisms, and never lets them be photographed.

That was the story William Friedkin told, anyway, in front of a masterclass at Cannes, when he spoke about the Vatican inviting him to film a real exorcism!

William Friedkin
William Friedkin

According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP via Washington Post), Friedkin said:

"I was invited by the Vatican exorcist to shoot and video an actual exorcism which... few people have ever seen and which nobody has ever photographed."

And he may be right; a simple internet search doesn't really turn up a whole lot of genuine first-hand proof. This video, taken through a keyhole in a Catholic church in the Czech Republic, supposedly shows an exorcism being performed on a screaming woman:

A fairly bad quality video taken through a keyhole in a locked door is further proof of Friedkin's claim that the Catholic church doesn't like bystanders during its exorcisms, and really doesn't want anyone recording the events.

Friedkin went on to say how surprised he was by how closely the real exorcism resembled his 1973 film.

Here's the trailer for The Exorcist if you need a refresher:

The film was based on the 1971 book of the same name, written by William Peter Blatty.

The book was based on the case of Roland, a 14-year-old American boy who was exorcised in 1949.

Reading the diaries of the priest, doctors, nurses and patients at the hospital where the exorcism took place convinced Friedkin that the exorcism was genuine.

Anneliese Michel (Emily Rose), before & after
Anneliese Michel (Emily Rose), before & after

(Read more about the Anneliese Michel's tragic story, and others like it.)

The 80-year-old filmmaker says he's not Catholic, doesn't go to church and never intends to join one, but believes in the teachings of Jesus and that demon possession is real. The visit he paid to the Vatican definitely reinforced those beliefs. While talking about his experience to AFP, he stated

"Everything having to do with medical science and psychiatry was attempted. This young man suffered from afflictions very similar to what's in the film, as hard is that is to believe."

If I weren't convinced before, seeing a live exorcism is now definitely, 100 percent, totally, absolutely a big nope for me.

Want a whole new bucket of nope dumped on you? Watch the trailer for the new Exorcist TV show!

For more on the show, head here!

Do you believe in exorcism?


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