|THE ST. LOUIS EXORCISM
|~ THE STORY ~
"Special Delivery - Demonic, Handle With Faith"
|EXORCIZO, te, immundissime spiritus, omnis incursio adversarii, omne phantasma, omnis legio.
(I cast thee out, thou unclean spirit, along with the least encroachment of the wicked
enemy, and every phantom and diabolical legion.)
These are some of the words from the passages of the rite of exorcism which was used
over and over again in the Spring of 1949 in the old psychiatric wing, razed in 1976 and now
gone, at Alexian Brothers Hospital on South Broadway in St. Louis, Missouri upon a little
boy named Ronald who was from Cottage City, Maryland. On the final night of this 12 week
battle between good and evil, it is believed that the Arch Angel St. Michael came to this boy
in a vision and casted out a total of ten demons from within him.
This epic story of good vs. evil first began in the one and a half story home on 40th Avenue
in the quiet and friendly town of Cottage City, Maryland. Ronald was a very polite and well
mannered boy who was loved by many. He was just that normal American boy who loved to
play with his friends, spend time with his family and go to his neighborhood Lutheran
church every Sunday. Little did he or his family know that little Ronald would become the
most famous and publicized case of the epic "good vs. evil" battle and the most significant
reported and documented exorcism case in over 300 years.
No one knows why little Ronald was chosen for this battle, but rumor exist that one day his
Aunt Tillie introduced him to a session involving the infamous Ouija Board and that this
opened the gateway to the darker side which took him over. Whatever the cause may be, it
is known from the diary kept by Father Raymond Bishop, one of the priest involved with the
exorcism, that on January 15th of that year a dripping noise was heard by Ronald and his
grandmother then a picture of Christ on the wall started to shake and finally scratching
noises were heard coming from under the floor boards all night long. These specific
events lasted for a total of ten consecutive days and were followed by 3 days of silence
before night time squeaking shoe noises were heard on his bed for another 6 consecutive
The diary also notes that "Aunt Tille" who had a quest for spiritualism introduced Ronnie to
the Ouija Board before her death and that the family believed that she may have been
responsible somehow for the recent poltergeist activity in his room. This somewhat
confirms that rumor surrounding this famous case.
The families local Lutheran Minister, Reverend Miles Shultz pastor of St. Stephens
Evangelical Lutheran Church at 1611 Brentwood Road NE, Washington, D.C., then took
Ronald to spend the night at his parsonage on February 17, 1949. Reverend Shultz
witnessed the scratching noises, the bed vibrating and the unexplainable tipping of a chair
and the movement of a pile of blankets on the floor. After returning to his home in Cottage
City words started appearing on Ronalds body as if scratched on by claws in other
accounts it is described as being in the form of a raised welting rash. There is even
existing rumor that at one time the words at one point said "Go" and then "St. Louis" and in
other later occasions the Roman Numeral X appeared several times and was thought to
represent the number of demons within Ronald.
During this period Reverend Shultz consulted with a nearby Catholic Priest, Father Edward
Albert Hughes, of the St. James Catholic Church in Mt. Rainier, Maryland on this dilemma.
Father Hughes suggested that Ronalds family use blessed candles, holy water and special
prayers frequently in their home and in his presence. It was reported in the diary that
when Ronald's mother started using the blessed candles that a comb flew across the room
and extinguished the candle flames. With their repeated attempts of carrying out the
suggestions of Father Hughes the activity escalated. Fruit and other objects would fly
across the room, tables turned over and even his desk at the Cottage City Elementary
School would spin around resulting in his temporary removal until this ordeal was under
Many accounts of this story omit the fact that Ronald had a stayed in the psychiatric
department at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. for three and a half
days. After psychiatrists failed to be of help, Father Hughes was called in for further
assistance. It is believed by some that Father Hughes attempted to administer the rites of
exorcism here for the first time. While doing so he witnessed the boy pulling out
bedsprings from the mattress and at one point Ronald even slashed the arm of Father
Hughes. Father Hughes then abandoned the administration of the rites of exorcism and
went into seclusion where he died of an heart attack on October 12, 1980.
After the first failed attempt at an exorcism Ronald was sent to St. Louis, Missouri the first
week of March in 1949 where he stayed with his Aunt and Uncle in the suburb of Normandy
at 8435 Roanoke Drive in St. Louis County, Missouri. His family in St. Louis started to
witness the raised branding words on his body and other anomalies associated with his
episodic behavior. Father Raymond Bishop a professor of St. Louis University was called
in on March 9, 1949 where he also witnessed many of the similar anomalies associated with
this young boy. Father Bishop was also the one who kept the infamous diary which
mysteriously fell into the hands of the famous Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.
Then on March 11, 1949, Father William Bowdern, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church
was called in to visit Ronald. While the boy was sleeping, Father Bowdern read the Novena
prayer of St. Francis Xavier then blessed the boy with a piece of bone from the forearm of
St. Francis Xavier and placed a relic encrusted crucifix under Ronald's pillow. After he left
Ronald for the night loud noises were heard by the family and after they entered his room
they found the bookcase moving, a bench turned over and the crucifix was at the edge of
the bed. After they yelled "Aunt Tillie, Stop!!" the activity ceased.
Under the church's Rite of Exorcism, a priest who performs an exorcism does so only after
the approval of a local bishop or archbishop. The archbishop is required to select
someone of proven virtue, according to Roman Ritual. The exact wording is that the priest
''must be properly distinguished for his piety, prudence and integrity of life. Especially, he
should not believe too readily that a person is possessed by an evil spirit.'' All medical
means of treatment must be exhausted before any exorcism is approved." In the St. Louis
case, Bowdern was so designated by the late Cardinal Ritter on March 16, 1949. It was
stated later interviews of another priest who assisted Father Bowdern that 'when the
archbishop named him, Father Bowdern said, 'Nothing doing,'" and Cardinal Ritter further
said 'You got it.''.
Then Seminarian, Walter Halloran, who was attending St. Louis University on route to his
Masters Degree assisted Father Bowdern that night with the recital of the ritual prayers of
exorcism. Ronald was first taken to Alexian Brothers Hospital from his paternal Uncles
home on March 21, 1949. During the rest of March and into April the boy was moved about
from Alexian Brothers Hospital on South Broadway in St. Louis, MO to his Aunt and Uncle's
home in the suburb Normandy at 8435 Roanoke Drive in St. Louis County, MO, the rectory at
the St. Francis of Xavier Church at Grand & Lindell in St. Louis, MO and even to the Jesuit
White House Retreat in South St. Louis County, MO. He even went back home to Maryland
when it was erroneous thought he was cured, but returned in a few days back to St. Louis
when it was realized he wasnt. Hollaran assisted during this time with transporting little
Ronald from place to place and with other duties associated with an exorcism.
In later interviews with Halloran it was noted that the boy's behavior was mostly nocturnal
and composed of episodes where he became violently strong with his body distorting and
transforming to the extent that his heels touched the back of his head which was
witnessed by many priest. These nocturnal episodes also consisted of Ronalds bed
shaking violently, his outburst of profane words and images would appear on his skin as
raised red welts. Doctors in attendance would note no change in his heart rate or blood
pressure during these episodes. Halloran even admitted that the boy broke his nose at
one time, and Hollaran was an ex high school football player with a large muscular build.
According Halloran the boy was the nicest and most polite boy when not in his more evil
episodic form. Over the years after this incident Halloran was most open and honest in all
interviews and would answer any question as long as it did not disclose the true name of
the boy involved or his family. It is also believed that it was Halloran who gave the diary or
copy of the William Peter Blatty. Walter Halloran died at a Jesuit retirement home in
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, on March 1, 2005.
The rite was an ongoing process. Instructions in the ritual command the exorcist to
pronounce the exorcism in a commanding and authoritative voice. The Roman Ritual of
Christian Exorcism reads: I cast thee out, thou unclean spirit, along with the least
encroachment of the wicked enemy and every phantom and diabolical legion. In the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ, depart and vanish from this creature of God.
Finally on April 18, 1949, the day after Easter, Father Bowdern forced Ronald to wear a
chain of medals and hold a crucifix in his hands. Ronalds demeanor changed and he calmly
asked questions about the meanings of certain Latin prayers. Bowdern continued the
ritual, demanding to know who the demon was and when he would depart. Ronald
responded with a tantrum and screamed that he was one of the fallen angels. It has been
said that Ronald saw vision of the Devil and "ten of his helpers" engaged in a fiery battle
with St. Michael the Archangel. At one point during the dream, the angel smiled at the boy
and said "Dominus" (Latin for Lord), the word the boy vowed he'd never say that morning.
Bowdern kept reciting until 10:45 p.m. when Ronald interrupted. In a new masculine voice
and said, Satan! Satan! I am St. Michael! I command you, Satan, and the other evil spirits to
leave this body, in the name of Dominus, immediately! Now! Now! Now! Ronald had one last
spasm before falling quiet. He is gone, Ronald pronounced. Twelve days later he left
Missouri and returned to Maryland.
Ironically it was after Ronald returned home to his home in Cottage City, Maryland that the
press caught wind of his epic story resulting in the first printed news stories to be
released in Washington D.C. area newspapers soon after. Such news articles were;
The first such article by the Washington Post on the morning of August 10, 1949 titled
Pastor Tells Eerie Tale of Haunted Boy. by reporter Bill Brinkley, This article talks about
a local 13 year old boy with the origins of the dilemma starting on January 18th. Their
source was listed as an unnamed priest who gave a speech before a meeting of the
Society of Parapsychology at the Mount Pleasant Library in Washington D.C.
This was followed up that same evening by The Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) with an
article titled Minister Tells Parapsychologists Noisy Ghost Plagued Family. Their version
gave a different account of this story and spoke of the 13 year old boy being named Roland
Doe and his family living in a one and a half story house in a Washington suburb. It also
refers to poltergeist activity first and of how the boy was subjected to three different rites
of exorcism, Episcopal, Lutheran and Roman Catholic, in the Midwest.
The next day, August 11, 1949, The Times-Herald (Washington, D.C.) chimed in with an
article by William Flythe, Jr. titled Haunted Boys Parents Tell Of Ghost Messages. Their
version basically combined the first two stories of the previous day and added that the
family came from the Brentwood area to the northeast of Washington D.C. and speaks of
the family finding messages written on the boys body in a rash. It also reports the boy was
taken to St. Louis where he returned to normal after having visions of St. Michael chasing
away the devil.
Then about a week went by and On August 19, 1949 The Evening Star (Washington, D.C.)
featured another article titled Priest Freed Boy of Possession By Devil, Church Sources
Say. This was the first article to detail the exorcism that was performed and mentioned
the boys age as being 14. This article also mentions that the affliction was first studied at
Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. then St. Louis University in Missouri.
On the next day, August 20, 1949, The Evening Star (Washington D.C.) ran another article
titled New Details of Boys Exorcism In Catholic Ritual Disclosed, This edition added that
the boy cursed while intermingling Latin phrases.
The Washington Post had to chimed in again on this story and on August 20, 1949 they
published another Bill Brinkley-authored piece titled Priest Frees Mt. Rainier Boy
Reported Held in Devils Grip. This time it was stated 20 to 30 performances of the rite of
exorcism had to be performed before the devil was cast out. Is also states that the
exorcism started in St. Louis then continued in Washington D.C. then completed back in St.
The Parapsychology Bulletin (August 1949, Number 14), a periodical of the New York-based
Parapsychology Foundation, published a story on this titled Report Of A Poltergeist,
which named the Priest of the haunted boys family. He turned out to be Reverend Luther
Miles Schulze and in this article his experiences with the boy were reported in detail. My
own research revealed that Luther Miles Schulze was born on July 30, 1906 and at the time
of this case served as the pastor of St. Stephens Evangelical Lutheran Church (1611
Brentwood Road NE, Washington, D.C.).
It is believed that Reverend Schulze is also the Priest who spoke gave a speech before a
meeting of the Society of Parapsychology at the Mount Pleasant Library in Washington D.C.
I am sure that many more news articles started to surface after these original ones from the
East Coast and especially after the Exorcist movie was released, but would entail too
many hours of research to locate and list all of them here.
Ronald and his family did not return to the Alexian Brothers Hospital again until a visit in
August of 1951. An entry from the diary describes the boy, then sixteen, as a "fine young
man" and tells that his father and mother converted to Catholicism shortly after the
exorcism. It is further rumored that little Ronald grew up a normal life after the battle over
evil was won that long ago day in 1949 and that he married and named his first child
Michael. He also became an aerospace engineer and now is enjoying the easy life of
retirement. One wonders what memories or nightmares still remain in the subconscious of
Ronald from that long ago battle? Even though that battle which over occurred 50 years
ago was won, we still have to be prepared for the many that are still ongoing and new ones
which will unfold amongst us in this epic war against evil.
''Satan hasn't a single salaried helper; the Opposition employs millions.'' Mark Twain
Greg Myers, Co-Administrator
Missouri Paranormal Research
Copy 2006 Missouri Paranormal Research All Rights Reserved
| MPR Researching Another Rumor in Relation to This Case
Another interesting fact surrounding this case is another Jesuit Priest who assisted in the
exorcism who when bedside supposedly heard a voice from the boy telling him that he
would die in 10 years and would burn in hell. This priest had a fondness for strong drink,
and the voice so unnerved him that he stopped drinking, for a time.
It is also rumored that this priest later fell off the wagon and started drinking again while
suffering psychiatric disorders and that he was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of
another St. Louis Hospital until his death sometime in the 1980s. Some even believed that
this priest himself became possessed when the demons were forced from the boy during
Without naming sources we believe that this Priest was hospitalized at the old Lutheran
Hospital, now the current Catholic St. Alexis Hospital located at Jefferson and Miami in
South St. Louis City and right down the road from the old Alexian Brothers Hospital. It is
further rumored that his spirit still possesses the room in which he died in with his last
words to the attending nurse being he was going to come back and get her (in a more
profane way). The area around this alleged room remained unused by the hospital for
years until recently. MPR was given a tour of this area and conducted a mini investigation
prior to its new occupation and use by the Hospital once again.
We are still trying to research the validity of this rumored story and if anyone has any
information please contact us.
| Informative 1949 Exorcism Related Links
Here are some very interesting and informative links concerning this 1949 exorcism.
A VERY informative article written by Mark Chorvinsky at Strange Magazine called "The
Haunted Boy of Cottage City" which entails his many years of investigative work to finally
come to the truth of the identity of the real boy involved in the exorcism of 1949. This is a
Here is a very interesting 2005 article from the Riverfront Times in St. Louis written by Chad
Garrison concerning the sale of the home where the boy's Uncle and Aunt lived and where
he stayed when in St. Louis.
Click Here For Article
| HELP US IF YOU CAN
If anyone has old pictures of some of the St. Louis Exorcism Sites such as the
old Alexian Brothers Hospital, Psychiatric Wing, Francis Xavier College Church
or Rectory, others on the East Coast or key people involved such as Father
Bowdern, Father Bishop, Father Van Roo, Father Hughes, or Reverand Shultz
and would allow us to place them on this site then please contact MPR
Also feel free to contact us if you have anything else of itnrest to this case
including information you would like to share.