Friday, September 30

Ronald Hunkeler’s Story: From Exorcised Boy to NASA Engineer | Digital Trends Spanish

A boy who underwent several exorcisms in the United States in 1949 inspired the novel The Exorcist, written in 1971 by William Peter Blatty, and in 1973 it was adapted into a film under the same name, becoming one of the most iconic horror films in history. For decades, that boy’s name was thought to be Roland Doe, however, it is now known that the real name is Roland Edwin Hunkeler, who in his adult life worked as an engineer at NASA.

Hunkeler’s legacy for American aerospace history is as significant as his childhood episodes of demon possession were for horror films. And it is that Hunkeler, who worked for more than 40 years at NASA, patented the technology of heat resistant space panels that allowed the success of the Apollo missions.

The details about the identity of Roland Hunkeler as Roland Doe were revealed by investigator JD Sword and published by the American magazine Skeptical Inquirer.

Roland Doe’s true identity became public a year after Ronald Hunkeler’s death, and it was confirmed by your partner to the newspaper New York Post, who shared that despite having a remarkable life from a scientific point of view, he lived in trouble for the rest of his life.

The exorcism of Ronald Hunkeler

Roland Edwin Hunkeler was born in 1935 in Cottage City, Maryland. At age 14, Hunkeler began experiencing paranormal activity.

According to testimonies consigned by the newspaper The Washington PostHunkeler began to hear scratches and taps on the walls of his bedroom.

"The Exorcist" it is one of the most influential films in history
“The Exorcist” is one of the most influential films in history. Photo: Getty Images

Hunkeler’s mother feared that the paranormal manifestations had something to do with the death of one of her son’s aunts, Tillie. The woman, identified as Mathilda Hendricks, was a spiritualist who taught Hunkeler to use the Ouija board to communicate with the spirit world, JD Sword said on his podcast. “The Devil in the details”.

Dismayed, her mother sought help. The process was the same as portrayed in the film of The Exorcist: the family turned to psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors, who found no problem in the teenager Hunkeler. The family ended up turning to the pastor of a Lutheran church, who advised visiting a priest.

A group of Jesuits performed around 20 exorcisms on Hunkeler over a period of three months. William Bowdern, one of the priests who witnessed the interventions, wrote part of what he saw in the diary Case Study by Jesuit Priests, in which he described supernatural events, such as the appearance of texts written as scratches on Hunkeler’s skin, and which guided the steps to be followed in the chain of exorcisms.

By mid-April 1949, Hunkeler was “discharged.” According to Bowdern, the boy said he had a vision in which the archangel Saint Michael brandished a flaming sword.

The story of Hunkeler’s exorcism reached the ears of William Peter Blatty, who in 1949 was lecturing at Georgetown University. The story became a novel that was published in 1971, and that in 1973 it was adapted to the cinema.

A troubled life

Following his exorcism, Hunkeler lived a normal life, culminating professionally with a career at NASA, in which he collaborated on the Apollo missions.

His partner told the New York Post that Hunkeler never considered to have been possessed. According to his partner, he said he was just a boy misbehaving.

However, he said that despite having a successful career at NASA, Hunkeler lived constantly worried that his colleagues would discover that it was he who inspired the story of The Exorcist.

“On Halloween, we always left the house because he thought someone would come to his residence and know where he lived and would never leave him alone,” he told New York Post her partner, who asked not to be identified. “He had a terrible life of worry, a troubled life.”