The Rev. Francis X. Cleary was 20 years old and about to enter the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant when Jesuits performed an exorcism on a 14-year-old boy in the old psychiatric wing of Alexian Brothers Hospital on south Broadway.Saint Louis University has an obituary here.
The event would become the basis for William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel "The Exorcist" and the hit movie that followed. It also would remain a fascination for Father Cleary, who later in life became an unofficial historian of the event; the go-to Jesuit on all matters "Exorcist," both real and fabled.
Father Cleary, who was ordained in 1963 and became a renowned biblical scholar at St. Louis University, died Wednesday (Dec. 8, 2010) of infirmities at Jesuit Hall at SLU. He was 81.
- Click here for the full obituary.
Fr. Cleary is featured in documentaries; details can be found on the Internet Movie Database.