In 1973, iconic supernatural horror film The Exorcist was released and went on to become one of the best-selling movies ever made.

The Exorcist was loosely based on a true story, namely the Catholic exorcisms of 14-year-old Ronald Edwin Hunkeler (then under the pseudonym Roland Doe) that took place in Cottage City, Maryland and St Louis, Missouri in 1949.

The successful Rite of Exorcism was conducted in part by Father Walter Halloran, who said Ronald went onto live “a rather ordinary life.”

That “ordinary life” included making the moon landings possible.

In his adult life, he was an engineer at NASA during the 1960s and patented a technology that helped the space shuttles withstand the extreme heat of during reentry into the atmosphere.

He worked there for nearly 40 years, retiring in 2001. A friend said he lived on edge worrying his colleagues would discover he was the inspiration for The Exorcist.

“On Halloween, we always left the house because he figured someone would come to his residence and know where he lived and never let him have peace. He had a terrible life from worry, worry, worry.”

Shortly before his passing in 2020, a Catholic priest showed up at his home unexpectedly to perform last rites.

“I have no idea how the Father knew to come but he got Ron to heaven. Ron’s in heaven and he’s with God now.” 

Click to read about the time Pope Benedict XVI helped Ed & Lorraine Warren exorcise a succubus.

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