Alexian Bros Hospital
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The Alexian Brothers Hospital Exorcism

One of the city's most fascinating and mysterious cases involved an exorcism that took place at the old Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis in 1949. The case would be sensational and would be kept secret for many years until a diary of the case was found inside of a locked room at the hospital, just before it was torn down. This case would provide the inspiration for the book and the film version of "The Exorcist" and the Jesuit priest involved, Father Bowdern, the inspiration for the wise exorcist of the film.

The case actually began in Washington D.C. with poltergeist-like activity plaguing the family of a young boy. After that, the boy gradually changed into a powerfully grotesque creature that displayed many of the attributes of the girl in the film and book. It was enough to convince the Church to allow the first authorized exorcism in 100 years.

Strange writings on the back, chest and thighs of the boy convinced the family to take him to St. Louis, where some of their family resided. After first, the exorcism began in a home in Webster Groves and later the boy was moved to DuBourg Hall on the St. Louis University campus. His violent reactions to the exorcism ritual forced the priests to move him to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in the south part of the city. The nightmare continued for four months until the "demon" was expelled. The boy remembered nothing and the case was quietly buried. It wasn't until a few years ago that the case was opened again and the facts brought before the public. One of the exorcists involved in the case had kept a detailed diary of everything that had occurred and this diary was locked in the boy's hospital room at the end of the case. The room was never used again and the diary was not found until the room was cleared of it's furniture just before the hospitals destruction. The case is a fascinating one, whether you believe in possession or not, and I recommend "Possessed" by Thomas B. Allen as an interesting book on the case.

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A Footnote...

I was recently at a very interesting website about this case, and regretfully I lost the link. The author of the article had done extensive research to the point of uncovering the actual man who this happened to in the 40's. He didn't live in St Louis, but out east somewhere. Apparently his mother had relatives in St Louis, so he landed in the hospital there. His boyhood friend decribed him as a "mean little bastard" or something of the like. He said the boy had a dog who was just as mean, and he would call his few friends to have them come over, only sicking this mean snarling dog on them as soon as they got in his yard. Another man who grew up in his neighborhood said he and this friend (who called him a "bastard") would practice spitting long distances (i.e. "projectile vomiting"). The author also pointed out that the bed he was resrained to was on wheels (quaking and thrashing of the bed). Interestingly enough, he managed to talk to the priests' assistant who was there. Most interviews regarding this subject were from a different priest who some people don't consider an entirely truthful source. This Priest described strange things happening during that exorcism that he couldn't explain; he seemed to be convinced that there was no way this was just a mental illness or that the boy was "faking it". I'll try to provide that link in the near future.