William Friedkin scared the hell out of audiences in 1973 with the movie The Exorcist, and recently he had the chance to film an actual exorcism. It’s another case of a creative person’s life sort of going “full circle,” their later life weirdly “mirroring” their life earlier—almost as if the early events were like a “preview” of the latter.
Friedkin shot the footage for his new documentary The Devil and Father Amorth, and apparently it included actual body-thrashing, screaming, and foaming at the mouth.
Father Gabriele Amorth of the Vatican’s Rome Diocese has claimed to have performed tens of thousands of exorcisms in his lifetime, perhaps as much 160,000. This number has been disputed by skeptics, though Amorth defines each “exorcism” as not an individual person but a separate prayer or ritual performed for the “possessed” person (theoretically, a single person could require many exorcisms).
Along with his extensive experience in performing exorcisms, Father Amorth—who is the author of the books An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories—also possesses a variety of colorful beliefs, including that the Harry Potter books are a gateway to the occult, and that practicing yoga is evil. But he gives his stamp of approval to Friedkin’s most famous movie, which he believes helps the public better understand the work he does.
The famous director described the experience of filming Father Amorth’s exorcism of a woman as “terrifying.” As I’ve said…”full circle.”