The name of Roland Doe is a fictitious name given to a boy who was born in 1935. He was believed to be possessed by satan. Roland’s family was living in Cottage City, Maryland. Roland was an only child who depended on adults for friends. He didn’t usually play with other children, but he did spend a lot of time with his aunt Harriot.
Roland’s aunt Harriot was a lot of fun because she was into spirits. She would spend time with Roland playing on the Ouija board. Harriot would tell Roland spooky stories and conduct paranormal experiments. One day Aunt Harriot passed away, and this had a dramatic effect on Roland’s entire family.
Strange paranormal events started happing at Roland’s house.
It seemed that Roland had some kind of connection with his dead aunt. When Roland would walk into a room, something unexplainable would happen, such as furniture moving on its own. Books would fly off the shelf, and drawers would pop open. At first, they confronted Roland because believed that he was rigging things to move, like a practical joke of some kind.
Roland goes into a deep depression
His favorite aunt was dead, and Roland had no one to play with. His mom and dad just didn’t share in Roland’s paranormal interest so he felt all alone and completely isolated. Not only did his mom and dad not relate to Roland, but they started showing signs of animosity because of Roland’s interest in the spirit world. They believed that Roland was trying to scare them into believing that evil spirits were lurking about.
Roland’s mom and dad would sit down and interrogate Roland on several occasions. They would often go into Roland’s room and do a complete search for anything suspicious, like wires or strings that could make books fly off of shelves, or furniture to move on its own. Nothing was found that could explain all of the weird stuff that was going on. Roland’s mom and dad got rid of all the paranormal stuff, such as books, and Roland’s Ouija board.
Roland’s mental health starts to deteriorate under all of the pressure.
With no evidence of wrongdoing on Roland’s part, his mom and dad had no choice but to believe that something evil was living with them, and it had a deep connection with Roland.
The family contacted the Catholic Church. After meeting with the family it was decided that an exorcism needed to be performed. In 1949 Roland was checked into Georgetown University Hospital under an assumed name. A Roman Catholic Priest by the name of Edward Hughes was assigned to help perform the exorcism. Hughes served as an assistant pastor from June 16, 1948, to June 18, 1960, at St. James Church in Mt. Rainier, Maryland.
They turned to their religion and invited their pasture, Luther Miles Schulze, a Lutheran priest to come over to the house. Luther recommended that Roland should come home with him. This would give the family a day of rest while the priest got the chance to observe Roland overnight.
A night of spirit unrest
During the night Luther witnessed furniture moving and things flying off a shelf and smashing against a wall. Luther also noticed that some of the rooms in his house got freezing cold in a matter of a few seconds. There were knocking sounds like someone was using hammers between the walls. Luther had several Jesus crosses above all of the bedroom doors, and as soon a Roland entered the house, all of the crosses fell to the floor. There was simply no way that Roland could have rigged all of this. Luther took Roland back home in the early morning, and the family noticed that Luther looked like he had aged 10 years in one night. Luther said that this was beyond his ability to help or even understand. Schulze recommended that the family contact a Catholic Priest.
Roland was strapped down because he seemed dangerous to the attending physicians as well as the priest who was conducting the exorcism. During the procedure, Roland pulled one hand out of his restraints and reached around under his bead, and broke off a mattress spring. He used the spring to slash the arm of Edward Hughes. Because of the injury, the exorcism ritual had to be halted.
Roland’s family was advised to try again at a later date. They were directed to William S. Bowdern, an associate of College Church. He and a colleague visited Roland where he was strapped to a bed. They witnessed Roland’s bed shaking violently, and objects flying from shelves. Roland was speaking in a very low guttural voice, and seem to fear anything sacred.
Bowdern was granted permission from the archbishop to perform another exorcism. This time the exorcism took place at The Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
Two other priests assisted Bowdern in the exorcism, they were Walter Halloran and William Van Roo. Halloran stated that during the exorcism words such as “evil” and “hell”, along with other various marks, appeared on Roland’s body. Also, his mattress began to shake. Somehow during all of this, Roland managed to break Halloran’s nose.
Roland Doe ended up having a normal life, married with kids.
Roland is alive and well and has never spoken publicly about this case. Do you remember the movie The Exorcist? This is the Roland Doe case. This true case inspired William Peter Blatty to write a novel in 1971 called “The Exorcist” This was turned into a movie in 1973. One of the main differences is, in the movie, they turned Roland Doe into a Girl played by Linda Blair. Many of the special effects in the movie are a reenactment of actual events.