Episode 10: The Exorcism of Roland Doe

Today I am going to be talking about the exorcism of Roland doe. Now, Roland do was not the boys real name, it was a pseudonym that was used to protect the boy’s identity. This all took place in the 1940's in Washington dc. Roland was an only child who really depended on the adults around him for entertainment, in particular his Aunt Harriet who was a spiritualist. Many of the other children who went to school with him described him as quiet, withdrawn, and unpopular. He wasn’t very athletic, but he was a good student who loved to learn

So, Harriet was into all things spiritual in particular, Ouija boards which she took the time to show Roland how to use to communicate with spirits on the other side. Ouija boards are devices that are used to communicate with the dead they typically have all letters of the alphabet, numbers, yes and no and hello and goodbye. You also need what is called a planchette. (small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to spell out messages during a séance. Fun fact Hasbro make Ouija boards for kids 8 and up.

In January of 1949 Roland’s aunt Harriet passed away. Shortly after strange things began happening in the house. They would here scratching on the walls and floors, this is something that maybe normal for an older house I mean that what I would think at least. Then is started to escalate. Mattresses would move, objects would levitate or fly across the room, and strange noises kept the family on edge. As the disturbances continued, they also got worse. It started with some scratching on the walls that sounded like water. Then the noises turned into thumping and footsteps. At one point, a portrait of Jesus Christ hanging on the wall began moving and banging against the wall. The occurrences only happened when Roland, who was 14 years old at the time, was nearby.

The family turned to their pastor for help and guidance. The pastor was a Lutheran by the name of Luther Miles Schulze, who just happened to have an interest in parapsychology. Schulze corroborated the claims of unusual activity that the family was experiencing, and he told the parents they should consult with a Catholic priest who was familiar with exorcism.

At this point his family is like ok clearly there is something wrong here and it has to do with Roland. So they looked for help from anyone that would listen doctors, psychiatrists, the church. After hearing their story Father E. Albert Hughes, the local catholic priest reached out to his superiors for permission to perform an exorcism

Roland would also enter a trance-like state and start making sounds in a guttural voice. The priests supposedly also saw mysteriously flying objects in the boy’s presence and noted that he would react violently when he saw any sacred object presented by the attending Jesuits.

At one point during this weeks-long ordeal, Bowdern reportedly saw an “X” appear in scratches on Roland’s chest, which the priest believed signified the number 10.

In another incident, a pitchfork-shaped pattern of red lines moved from the boy’s thigh and snaked down towards his ankle. These types of things happened every night for more than a month and everyone witnessing the events believed that Roland was possessed by 10 demons.

The two priests never gave up as they continued the exorcism night after night. On the evening March 20, the exorcism reached an unhealthy new level. Roland urinated all over his bed and began shouting and cursing at the priests. Now, Roland’s parents had had enough. They took him to Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis for more serious treatment.

Finally, on April 18, a “miracle” occurred in Roland’s room at Alexian Brothers. It was the Monday after Easter and Roland awoke with seizures. He yelled at the priests saying that Satan would always be with him. The priests laid holy relics, crucifixes, medals, and rosaries on the boy.

At 10:45 p.m. that evening, the attending priests called on St. Michael to expel Satan from Roland’s body. They shouted at Satan, saying that St. Michael would battle him for Roland’s soul. Seven minutes later, Roland came out of his trance and simply said, “He’s gone.” The boy recounted how he had a vision that St. Michael vanquished Satan on a great battlefield.

There were no more documented instances of strange occurrences and behavior after that, and Roland went on live a completely normal life from that moment forward.