Cable network announces ‘live exorcism’ from house that inspired classic Linda Blair film
Somewhere between science and superstition, the Destination America cable network is promoting what it calls a live exorcism to be aired on Oct. 30, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The network announced the program on Thursday, saying it would emanate from the St. Louis home that was the inspiration behind the William Peter Blatty novel The Exorcist, which genuinely disturbed audiences when it was released in 1973.
“By actually exorcising this iconic house live, Destination America will do what it does best — bringing never before seen experiences to television,” the network’s general manager Marc Etkind said following the announcement at the Television Critics Association’s summer press event.
The “exorcism” will be conducted by the “Tennessee Wrath Chasers,” the paranormal investigative team featured on one of the network’s regular programs, Ghost Asylum. They will be joined by New York-based psychic Chip Coffey, and the network said it is trying to recruit a Catholic priest to take part in the event.
Destination America also reportedly plans to interact with viewers online during the broadcast by posting live feeds from throughout the house, in which a boy later identified as “Roland Doe” was reportedly the subject of exorcisms by Roman Catholic Church priests. The purpose of the October event is to see whether there are “lingering spirits” on the property.
As the pop-culture site Nerdist reported earlier this year, the film, considered a horror classic, confounded moviegoers upon its initial release.
“When the movie hit theaters, audiences were just not prepared for this movie,” Eric Diaz wrote. “Many people walked out of the theater, absolutely terrified, and some even fainted because what they were witnessing.”
According to Tribune Media, the network reaches just over 57 million homes in the US.
Watch footage from some of the early showings of the film, as posted online, below.
[Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the property was currently vacant.]