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The Twisted Truth Talk Show-D.C. Exorcist Series Episode 3: Satan's Lost Lot

The Twisted Truth Talk Show-D.C. Exorcist Series Episode 3: Satan's Lost Lot

00:00-30:00

Episode 3 follows the hellish cold trail from Satan's Lost Lot to the Exorcist House, winding through various neighborhood disasters along the way, including reports on the famed Dueling Grounds, the defamed Battle of Bladensburg War Grounds, local celebrity Lobotomist Walter Freeman, and other legendary disgraces. The historical perspective of Catholic Exorcism is discussed, and the contents of the Exorcist's diary are unfolded, one page at a time.

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Thanks for joining. This is M.C. Loveyamore, today's Mixed Mastress of the Twisted Truth Talk Show. Just one twisted loop in this tale, based on its swirling morass of scandal in the D.C. metro area that caused the systematic abuse of a teenager who is accused of some modern-day witchcraft and demonic possession. As a reminder, or as an introduction for those who are hearing about this story for the first time, The Exorcist is a horror movie released in 1973. It tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon and the efforts of two priests to exorcise the demon from her body. The film is widely considered one of the scariest movies of all time. Its use of suspense, special effects, and religious justification have made it a classic of the horror genre. It's based on the true story of a 14-year-old boy who lived in Prince George's County, Maryland. At the time, he was known as Robbie Manheim or Roland Doe. The exorcism team gave multiple aliases and even a wrong home address to protect his true identity. Now, on the 50th anniversary of its release, a sequel to the 1973 movie is on the horizon. The victim is deceased and his name released. Property records verify the actual address. The ruins of a family's former life occupy the lot matching the fake address given, just a stone's throw away. The newest occupants of the actual home have already had their name in the Washington Post. And so the generational cycle rolls on, their families trying to eke out a living in terrifying, stigmatized spaces. In case you've never heard of Bladesburg, fourth-grade American history would be a good place to get some of the basics. When English explorer John Smith arrived in the 1600s, he discovered that the Marshy Banks were occupied by an estimated 300 residents of the Native American Nacotchtank tribe. The Nacotchtank's primary commodity was fur, and the community thrived until the mid-1600s when fighting with both the colonists and the neighboring Potomac tribe resulted in the Nacotchtank's dissolution. In the 1700s, the area saw the development of a waterfront with a wharf and shipyard, tannery, rope walk, and stores. Gristmills and flour and tobacco farming were predominant. When the soil became depleted in the 1800s, the land could no longer hold itself together and disintegrated into the Anacostia River, causing the port to clog with silt and disrupting trade. The demand shifted towards the mining and production of warfare munitions. In 1814, during the Battle of Bladesburg in the War of 1812, the Americans were defeated by British invaders in what was considered the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms. In case you've never heard of Cottage City, in the municipality of Brentwood, it fills the shadowy space between Bladesburg and Mount Rainier, bordering northeast D.C. Cottage City incorporated almost 100 years ago in 1924 in an area previously called the Highlands. The Highlands was developed and marketed as a commuter town convenient to Washington, D.C., with its own railroad stop. Among other touted benefits of living there was the draw of natural spring water reputed to cure ailments. The British forces used the apple orchard in the Highland area as cover during their advance on Washington, D.C. in 1814. Marking the border between Cottage City and Mount Rainier is a location historically known as the Dueling Grounds. As late as the 1800s, people would meet at this location to shoot each other in cold blood in front of witnesses. This method was often used by high-ranking or elected officials of the U.S. government who had a score to settle. You see, elected officials of the U.S. government had outlawed shooting each other in the District of Columbia over petty disputes. But in doing so, they apparently shot themselves in their own feet because they forgot to wonder where they would fight to the death for their personal honor and glory over something as trivial as the reported speed of a ship. In his 1873 book, Washington, Inside and Out, George Alfred Townsend gave his description of Bladesburg. Desolation was Bladesburg to look at, and low-lived wickedness to know. Bladesburg's decline after the economic panic of 1819 was rapid and long-lasting. By the 1830s, a traveler described the town as a wretched, decayed village on the eastern branch. Its once fashionable inns and taverns now became the haunts of drunkards, gamblers, and worse. Murders, riots by railroad workers, and financial hecadillos often were the themes of newspaper stories about Bladesburg. Just as recently as July 2023, five people were shot and killed in their car, on the bridge, over the dueling grounds, after attending a funeral at the neighboring Fort Lincoln Cemetery. Heading further south through D.C. will lead to Georgetown University, a Jesuit college with a teaching hospital. The teen was evaluated at Georgetown University Hospital for three days prior to his exorcism and released with a clean bill of health. In 1949, the medical community knew shit about Jack when it came to mental health. For example, Walter Freeman was a famous neuropsychiatrist who was employed just down the road at George Washington University, also in D.C. Walter Freeman had a clinical practice at the Seventh-day Adventist's private mental health hospital. It was located in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1959. Walter Freeman's claim to fame was the outpatient ice pick lobotomy. With no formal neurosurgical training, Walter Freeman performed up to 30 outpatient ice pick lobotomies in one day. He pimped his ride as a lobotomobile. In the pilot episodes, I dispelled some misleading information related to the location of the events of the exorcism. When news of the exorcism became publicized in 1949, the authorities deliberately released an incorrect address in the neighboring town of Mount Rainier to protect the teen's identity. They didn't give a fake address, though. They gave an actual home address somewhere else in the vicinity, close enough to be believable, and believable enough to inspire generations of mischief towards the property owners. Around 1965, the house was razed by the fire department and the lot became vacant, except for being the entertainment stomping ground of people literally looking, loitering, littering, and looting this property. It was known as the Exorcist's Lot or Satan's Lot. It was subsequently rehashed on October 28, 1983, Demonic Possession Still Haunts Mount Rainier Residents, and a May 6, 1985 article in the Washington Post, Youth's Bizarre Symptoms Led to 1949 Exorcism. In the 1980s, Mount Rainier was described by a resident as a neighborhood of tragedy. Within three blocks and as many years, the residents saw one of their own arrested for murdering two of his own tenants in their sleep due to failure to pay rent. In 1982, a man shot his partner in the back of her head with a hunting rifle when she confessed to having an affair. House fires took a woman in 1983 and a man in 1984. The neighbor across the street died after falling into a coma. A young man was stabbed and found submerged in two feet of water wearing concrete boots. Given the area's historical significance for bloody guts, it's little wonder that by comparison an exorcism could be an acceptable remedy for an unknown physical and mental disturbance. But to start, I'm going to define the term exorcism for those fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with it. In its most general sense, exorcism is a religious ceremony whereby a demon inhabiting a person becomes cast out through a very specific and sometimes torturous process to the demonized victim. Generally, some of the actions performed by the exorcist on the demonized victim include specific and repetitive prayer, roaring demands, accusations of malice and dead language chanting, dousing with holy water or throwing holy water on the victim, physical and chemical restraint, and physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse of the victim by one or more authority figures. In the Catholic tradition, salt is a modality used to purify, safeguard, heal, preserve, and protect against evil forces and malicious spirits. It even has a special name, the blessed salt. Holy water stands foremost among the things that are blessed by the church for the use of the faithful. It's found to be in every church, and no Christian household ought to be without it. Water and salt are first exercised, then blessed and mingled together, and the priest says, in the name of the church, that God would vouchsafe to sanctify them both so that wherever the water is sprinkled, the evil enemy may depart and the Holy Spirit of God enter in, and that it may be conducive to the health of the body and soul of all who use it. Commonly performed within the rite of Catholic baptism, exorcism has been recently used as a novel manner of community cleansing, following political and social strife. A recent example of this initiative is in response to the 2020 Indigenous People's Day of Rage, whereby Native Americans took down statues representing leadership that abused their authority and Native tribes. According to a Catholic priest and panelist on the SLU Exorcism of 1949 discussion, there's only one remotely identifiable vulnerability to demonic possession, and that's the victim's association with political and social uprising and resistance. It seems to follow that in this case, Native American self-advocacy was considered along the same lines as demonic possession. From 2014 to 2018, the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa owned Jarrett Farm in Ramona, Oklahoma, used as a home for an order of priests known for performing exorcisms. In 2022, over the course of four days, a staff member at a Canadian Bible camp performed an exorcism on a group of minors, one of whom was demonstrating signs of a seizure. An article published by a law professor, Javier Garcia-Olivia, with the University of Manchester, he writes, It's hard to conceive of a person more marginalized than a child identified by their community as needing some form of exorcism. Already disempowered by their age and physical, emotional, and economic dependency which this brings, they're also members of a minority religious community and now labeled as on the edge of that group. Quoting from the ancient text illustrated explanation of the holy sacraments, Catholic exorcism is performed routinely before administering holy baptism and also when they have reason to believe that a sick person is possessed or that the malady is caused by demoniacal influences. In 2020, a copy of the diary containing an eyewitness record of the incident was released to the public. It was published in the book Possessed, originally written in 1993 by Tom Allen. In 2013, on the 40th anniversary of the release of the exorcist movie, a panel discussion was held with Mr. Allen and representatives of the Jesuit community from St. Louis University, where other parts of the exorcism were held. Neither the Catholic Jesuits at St. Louis University who participated in the panel discussion, nor the author of the book Possessed, who studied the case extensively, could conclusively identify a demonic possession in the evidence that remained. A child was subjected to this treatment with an exclusionary diagnosis at the hands of a desperately confused and inexperienced teen, with a null and unexplainable recovery. According to Father Vincent Lampert, a Catholic priest and designated exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, approximately one in 5,000 suspected cases of possession are considered legitimate. The person who wrote the diary was a Catholic priest with St. Louis University named Fr. Ramundus Raymond J. Bishop. Fr. Bishop's diary provides the primary source for a detailed and dated accounting of the exorcism events. Using the chronology in Fr. Bishop's diary, today's episode is going to examine some of the first details of the scene in and around Cottage City, Maryland at the time. The teen was living with his parents and maternal grandmother. A paternal aunt had been visiting recently from St. Louis. This aunt was the teen's favorite family member, and the two of them bonded over a Ouija board. While marketed as a novelty game, the Ouija board became associated with a legit supernatural communication with the dead in some cultures. The Ouija board is a communication device. It has all the English letters of the alphabet, numbers 0 to 10, and yes or no choices. It comes with a freely moving sliding pointer that's used to spell out the answer to a question asked by a participant. The person's fingertips must be in contact with the pointer. However, the movement presumably occurs under supernatural force. Stay tuned to this podcast for upcoming information about the modern-day version of facilitated communication and its use against people who have disabilities. So this teen's favorite aunt died on January 26, 1949, just 10 days after the family began noticing the dripping and scratching noises that were the first signs of a malignant presence in the home. Coincidentally, the scratching sounds stopped on the day that the aunt died. The teen had few friends, awkward social skills, frequent emotional outbursts, and inappropriate social behavior prior to his exorcism ordeal. However, because of his close relationship with his superstitious aunt, her death was considered to be the portal to his possession. He apparently opened the door to the devil when he tried to contact his deceased aunt. Using a Ouija board or even practicing yoga was considered at the time to be a suspected event, commonly among those possessed. These suspected events created vulnerability to demonic possession. The Catholic attitude toward the metaphysical can be summarized with this passage. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. On January 15, 1949, a dripping noise was heard coming from one of the bedrooms in the house by the teen and his grandmother. A bump from the inside of the bedroom wall caused a religious wall hanging to shake. Scratching sounds were heard under the floorboards beneath the bed, beginning at 7 p.m. and continuing cyclically at 7 p.m. for 10 days. What started as a drip ended in a torrent. It was one of the first complaints attributed to demonic presence in the home. The sound of drops, dripping and dropping, dripping and dropping, between the walls soon became drowned out by the torturous wails on the other side. The home was a bungalow-style cottage constructed in 1923 when the original houses were first going up in the community. The earliest homes in that area were built by Charles Lightbone and didn't contain indoor plumbing. Lightbone was a prominent figure in the local construction trade. In 1920, he built three homes on Webster Street in the nation's first predominantly African-American community, North Brentwood. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission had only been operating in the area since 1918 after complaints about the cumulative effects of poor sanitation in the area had been seen in Washington, D.C. water. By 1919, Riverdale, Maryland, right around the corner, was the site of the first sewer system constructed by WSSA. Pipes laid in the neighborhood were constructed of wood. The family had owned the home since 1939, and the teen had grown up. After the dripping and scratching sounds started, the family called an exterminator. Rats are known to chew through bone, soft aluminum, and lead, which includes plumbing. So, the exterminator placed rodenticide beneath the floorboards. Rodenticide products in 1949 were primarily based on santanin, arsenic, and strychnine. The new generation of anticoagulant replacements emerged at that time, but weren't frequently in use yet. What was in the water that contributed to this? Was it tainted with agricultural runoff, railroad runoff, and rodenticide? How about emetic toxins designed to extricate fear and madness? Until the 1920s, strychnine was sold as an injectable antidote to alcoholism, known as the gold cure. Frequency of mental disease, specifically hysterical anesthesia due to arsenic poisoning, was determined similar to the frequency of that from alcohol and lead poisoning. Earlier than the 1600s, hysterical anesthesia had been attributed to witchcraft and tried as such. Strychnine is ingested as a religious practice, observed in a rare but faithful order of non-denominational Christians who also handled poisonous snakes during worship. Laws against snake handling were instituted long before any laws were considered related to drinking strychnine for religious practices. Strychnine is highly toxic and can be rapidly absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth, stomach, and small intestines. Strychnine poisoning causes apostatis, a neurologic consequence appearing as extreme, fixed, postural hyper-extension, basically a backwards arch of the entire body. Additionally, the 1930s saw the use of a deworming product called Santanin, which was available over the counter as worm candy and marketed for the removal of intestinal parasites in children. In the late 1800s, a pioneering physician ran a self-experiment on the toxic effects of Santanin ingestion on vision, urinary function, digestion, and general condition with disturbing results. Because Santanin infection was such a commonly misdiagnosed condition in the suspicion of demonic possession, the Santanin administration was cited as a surprising cure for some victims' hellish maladies. The popular sentiment towards Santanin in the 30s and the 40s is depicted in this commercial for worm candy. Now, worm candy may sound like a strange name for a product, but it actually has a very important purpose. This candy contains Santanin, a substance that is effective in expelling worms and parasites from the intestines of children. As unpleasant as it may seem, worms and parasites are a common problem in children, especially in areas where sanitation and hygiene practices may be lacking. These tiny creatures can cause a range of health problems, from mild discomfort to serious illness. Fortunately, products like worm candy can help to eliminate these unwanted visitors from a child's body. The candy is easy to take and is often well-liked by children, making it a convenient and effective way to address the problem of intestinal worms. So, while the name worm candy may not be the most appetizing, the product itself is an important tool in promoting the health and well-being of children. And it is available in two delicious flavors, bubblegum and mint. In addition to its use in expelling worms and parasites from children, Santanin is also used as a commercial rodenticide. This means that it is a substance that is used to control the population of rodents, such as rats and mice. Santanin works by disrupting the normal functioning of the nervous system, leading to paralysis and ultimately death. While this may sound like a harsh approach, it is often necessary in situations where rodents pose a serious threat to human health and safety. It is important to note, however, that Santanin should always be used with caution and according to proper guidelines. Improper use of the substance can lead to unintended harm to non-target species and the environment. Overall, while Santanin may have multiple uses, it is essential that it is used safely and responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of all involved. Emmanuel Swedenborg, Christian theologian, testified as follows. What wickedness there is in infernal spirits may be manifest from their atrespondency, melancholy, regret and remorse. You find yourself burdened by a sense of sin, which something urges you to tell, or by a passing regret that you did something the way that you did. Nothing but the Christ's power can set you free. Free not only from the haunting fear of blame, not only from the influence urging you forward to the precipice of self-accusation, but free in the knowledge that the past is forgotten and that the influence which remembered it is cast out and dead. Then, at last, you'll feel safe that nothing can ever be remembered against you. Other influences attack the nerves. Should you sense pain without physical cause, you are being attacked by this influence. Pain is of two kinds, of visible and invisible origin. For instance, if you cut yourself, the pain is of visible origin. On the other hand, if you have pain first in one side of the face and then in the other, that is of invisible origin. These influences fasten themselves upon the body and torment it unceasingly, and yet it can be endured by the soul without the madness that other influences bring on. The influence that whispers and mutters in your brain gives you the sensations of hearing voices, dreaming dreams, seeing visions, etc. At first harmless, afterwards the most enervating. If you awake in the morning unrefreshed, feeling as if your lifeblood has been drained away, you are in the power of the vampire influence, draining your very soul. There is also the failure influence. Man is the image and likeness of God and is not doomed forever to fail. To accept the Christ power for the casting out of the failure influence evidences the highest degree of faith. But for that influence in your life, you would hold all the threads of your fate in your hands. Then, when free from that influence, you will learn success. No man can teach you success while you remain bound by the spirit of failure. But after you have accepted the Christ power and become free from that influence, you will develop accordingly. Another influence brings on disease, either of yourself or of someone dear to you, usually a child. Only the Christ power can cast out this influence. But it is given unto many to minister beneficially to disease. So until the Christ power is accepted effectually for this influence, fear not to use all so-called material means and advice from wise physicians, for none of these can prevent the effectiveness of accepting the Christ power and the eventual complete freedom from that influence in your life. The influences, or earth spirits, which come to individuals with the acquisition of anything which is believed to be valuable, are very potent. Many cases might be recounted where a so-called curse rested upon the owner of some special diamond, ruby, or other stone. The like influences come to those who have, or suddenly appreciate that they have, or receive, or win any considerable money. This influence not only affects the mind and body, but is so sensitive and suspicious that should you see one with his hand beckoning away from that money, it would whisper to your mind to guard the money closer and to be aware of giving it up. For Seth the influence, and he who offers help, is insincere and only wants your money. There are other influences, such as the liquor and drug habits, and many others which oppress the soul of man. Many of these can be fought for a time with your own strength, and they can be conquered by some. But for any influence whatever, the only sure relief is to be found in the Christ power. To that end, I'd like to thank everybody for listening today. We're going to turn this thing over page by page, one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. And it might get messy, because there's a lot of sidebars, the need to explain environmental context, and to see possibilities where ones didn't exist. Please join my Patreon page, the Twisted Truth Talk Show, for the sidewalk tour of Bladensburg, Cottage City, and Northeast DC, and a glimpse of what the inside of the house might have looked like. And stay tuned for more Twisted Truths. Welcome to the rabbit hole. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

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