Blending a police procedural with real-life horror, Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us from Evil hit theaters this weekend. The film is based on the 2001 book Beware the Night, which details the true-life supernatural exploits of a New York City cop, Ralph Sarchie, who investigates frightening cases of demonic possession. Deliver Us from Evil is hardly the only film to take inspiration from the realm of real exorcists and the supernatural. Here are ten other terrifying true-life tales behind other films that deal with demonic possession.
An unassuming home in Culver City, California became the site of a vicious demonic attack during the early ’70s. Doris Blither, a single mom with four children and a troubled past, claimed she was being violently raped by ghosts. The events were dismissed by doctors who suspected Doris’ alcoholism and abusive history led the woman to injure herself. A team of paranormal researchers, Dr. Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor, later investigated the claims. They were skeptical, but observed a series of strange phenomenon (bruising, orbs, unexplained activity) that became part of an extensive report. Author Frank De Felitta used Taff and Gaynor’s findings as the basis for his book, The Entity. Barbara Hershey starred in the film adaptation of the same name in 1983. In 2009, Doris’ son Brian Harris, who was 10 years old when the demonic activity was taking place, spoke about the attacks:
The whole rape thing was real. My room was right next door to my mother’s. I would hear the attacks happening. Things being thrown, her screaming. Then she would come out of the bedroom and have all these bruises. On her legs, her inner thighs. Just like in the movie.
There were times were we would see it happen in front of us. It was like if a man was standing in front of my mother and would start to beat her. Imagine a woman being beaten. You could see her being picked up and thrown around. Sounds, slaps… but there was no one there to actually do it. We all felt it too. pulling, biting and scratching… we were all attacked.
Doris and her family eventually left the home. Future residents reported no strange activity, but Doris claimed the spectral rapist still haunted her, influencing her thoughts. She also believed she was impregnated by one of the invisible attackers.
One strange thing to note about the film: Doris’ teenage son experienced an attack in which he was thrown, and his arm was broken. The actor playing the boy, David Labiosa, actually broke his arm while filming the same situation for the movie.