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3 Iconic Horror Films That Are Based on True Stories

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It’s that time of year again. The cobwebs are out, the carved pumpkins set on porches, and warty witches and wizards are prowling the streets for candy. –Well, not really. This is Malaysia, after all.

But what we do have on All Hallows’ Eve is a stash of horror movies to gorge on! Especially tonight of all nights. There is something strangely appealing about having a Halloween horror movie night with your friends now, isn’t there?

Rather than relying solely on movies for scares, though, why not up the Fear factor by delving into the “true stories” some of these films were inspired by?

Here are three of the more famous ones:

1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

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A movie that freaked out millions with its chilling audio alone, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on the story of Anneliese Michel, a German lass who began to experience convulsions at the age of 17 in 1968.

According to court findings, she had her first epileptic attack in 1969 and was then diagnosed with Grand Mal epilepsy.

At first, her parents relied on doctors to treat their daughter, but as her condition steadily worsened, they soon became convinced she was possessed. So they gave up on professional medical care and came to solely depend on exorcism for healing.

It was at this point that she had long gone past experiencing mere convulsions.

By then, she suffered devilish hallucinations while praying, heard voices that told her she was damned, saw faces of demons on the people and things around her, and harboured an aversion for religious objects. In addition, she was convinced that she was possessed by several demons including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann.

During this unstable state, she performed a myriad of highly disturbing actions that would make anyone take more than a step back. She ate flies, spiders and coal, bit off the head of a dead bird, crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days, just to name a few. There’s more, of course, but we’re leaving the more disturbing details to your imagination.

Unfortunately for Anneliese, there was no happy ending at the end of the tunnel. Her life ended from severe dehydration and malnutrition after enduring 67 grueling exorcisms for 10 months.

2. The Conjuring (2013)

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There was some controversy regarding the legitimacy of the “true story” that The Conjuring is based on, and in this day and age, hardly anyone would blame you for being a skeptic.

Just how much truth does the film hold? How much is simply fiction?

This story is based on the experiences of American paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, the latter of which was a consultant for the film.

They claimed that The Conjuring farmhouse (the real one, mind) was haunted by a witch called Bathsheba Sherman.

Born in 1812, Rhode Islander Bathsheba Thayer married Judson Sherman in 1844. During their marriage, Bathsheba took on the role of housewife whilst her husband worked as a farmer. Between the both of them, they had at least one child, though it is possible that they had other children as well.

If they had other children, rumours have it that none of them lived past the age of seven. There are, however, no census records that can confirm these reports. Nonetheless, it was possibly from here that stories of her being a witch began.

Although child deaths weren’t uncommon at the time, Bathsheba was suspected of murder after a baby died while under her care. Whether the child was hers or someone else’s isn’t clear, but the ending was the same: the cause of death was impalement via a large needle at the base of the skull. This consequently caused rumours of her being a witch to spring forth, and she was consequently put on trial.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

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The Exorcist is an adaptation of a novel of the same name, which was inspired by the exorcism of Roland Doe in 1949.

Unlike the previous two accounts, the true identity of the boy in question isn’t known; the name Roland Doe was granted to him to protect his anonymity.

The story supposedly began after the death of Roland’s aunt. Having been introduced to the Ouija board prior to her death, Roland fervently tried to contact her with it after her passing. And wouldn’t you know it, it was then that strange happenings started to occur.

Furniture moved across the room, inanimate objects levitated in the house, scratches of words appeared on the poor boy’s body, vials of holy water smashed to the ground, the works.

All of these incidents were centered around Roland.

Not knowing what else they could do, his parents took him to Catholic priests, who reportedly performed -you guessed it- exorcisms on the lad. These exorcisms could at times turn violent, with one of the most prominent incidents being when Roland slashed one of the priests with a bedspring from the mattress.

Other horrors that occurred during this tumultuous time were the appearances of lacerations resembling words and demonic faces on Roland’s body, and Roland speaking in a guttural voice unlike his own.

In contrast to Anneliese Michel, however, Roland survived these exorcisms.

Not much is known about what happened to him thereafter, but those involved in the event said that Roland went on to live a perfectly normal, happy life. He apparently has no memory of what took place during his possession.

Do you happen to have a horror story of your own to share? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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