St. Louis Public Radio News
8:20 am
Thu March 3, 2005

Last of 'Exorcist' Priests Dies

WAUWATOSA, Wis. – The last of the priests who inspired the book and movie "The Exorcist" has died. Rev. Walter Halloran was 83; he died this week in suburban Milwaukee.

Halloran was a 27-year-old Jesuit student when a priest called him to the psychiatric wing at a St. Louis hospital in 1949 to help control a 14-year-old boy who was believed possessed by a demon.

A brief news account of the incident inspired William Peter Blatty to write his 1971 best seller, "The Exorcist," which led to the movie a few years later.

Halloran told the Post-Dispatch in 1988 that the boy being exorcised broke Halloran's nose during a struggle and that Halloran could see words like 'hell' rise on the boy's skin.

Halloran later became a paratrooping chaplain during the Viet Nam War. He was born in Jackson, Minn. in 1921.

A funeral mass for Rev. Halloran will be celebrated today (Friday) in a Milwaukee suburb.