1. Regan McNeil/Pazuzu (The Exorcist)

Image: The Exorcist (1973, Warner Bros.)

The Exorcist tells the story of the mother of Regan McNeil as she attempts to save her daughter from the demon Pazuzu who has inhabited her body. (Those who have listened to the Deathmatch at the Overlook Hotel episode of the podcast will have a better understanding of Pazuzu’s truly evil nature.)

While there are numerous historically reported cases of similar exorcisms taking place, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist was actually based on the real-life exorcism of Roland Doe (obviously, that wasn’t his real name).

Roland was a 14-year-old boy from Cottage City, Maryland, who was the supposed victim of demonic possession in the late 1940s. A lonely only child, Roland was introduced to the Ouija board by his aunt, and soon his family reported supernatural occurrences such as strange noises, levitating objects, and furniture moving of its own accord.

During numerous attempts to perform exorcisms, it’s claimed that Roland slashed a priest’s arm with a bed-spring, violently shook his bed, spoke in low guttural tones, and broke another priest’s nose.

Supposedly, the last of these exorcisms was successful, and Roland then went on to live “a rather ordinary life”. As much of an anti-climax as that may seem, it did serve as the basis for one of the greatest horror films ever made, so it’s certainly a story worth telling.

And that’s the list – were these stories new to you, or are you a real-life horror connoisseur? Drop us a comment below to let us know!