I'm going to go out on a limb here and expose myself here as a the pop culture-knowing sham that I am and admit that I've never seen The Exorcist. Maybe it's a combination of being too young when the movie first came out, too old when it was re-released, and being just a little bit weirded out by devil/possession movies in general (and maybe that's just because when I was fifteen I saw Poltergeist in a small town movie theater with an exit door that let out into the cemetery.) I think the issue there for me is that even if you're not the kind of person who doesn't buy in to devil/possession stories, it's still clear that there are people who do and that provides a grain of truth to every story of that ilk no matter how fantastic. Me? I generally come down on the skeptic side of most things but I also keep in mind the Hawthorne effect. Maybe sometimes things exist simply because we are there to observe them.

Andy: Do you believe in UFOs?
Morris: No.
Andy: Neither do I. But do you believe there are people out there who believe in UFOs?
Morris: Yes, but I think they're crazy.
Andy: Well, then why can't you believe there are people who believe they are witches?

Whatever the reason, now, i
t's almost become a badge of honor that I've managed not to see The Exorcist by this time in my adult life. What I think is interesting about this is, pop culture being what it is, this movie has become interwoven into the fabric of our society. When you mention it, everyone knows what you're talking about - even if, like me, they haven't seen it. Much like the "redrum" line from The Shining. I've heard so many quotes and seen so many clips here and there that I pretty much know the whole story and have probably seen three quarters or more of the movie, just never in order. But I can still square my shoulders, jut out my chin and say, "I've never seen The Exorcist," and be totally truthful about it. And weirdly, I'm impressed with myself because of that.

I didn't know this until the webbertudes enlightened me a few months ago while I was trying to make sure I got the quote right for this post, but The Exorcist is supposedly based on a real event. William Peter Blatty claimed that it was an article in the 1949 Washington Post about a boy in Maryland that inspired him to write the novel. Whether or not that's true (and the is good evidence to suggest he made it up to sell more books) and however much he fictionalized the events, something frightens and fascinates us about these kinds of movies. Blatty attended Georgetown University at the time and not surprisingly he set the story in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood but the real story that inspired the book took place a little further away in Maryland.

There were many scenes filmed in and around Georgetown though (if you want you can find them all yourself) and I wanted to take a gander at the famous steps in one of the last scenes a few weeks ago. These are known as The Exorcist Steps but prior to the movie, they were called The Hitchcock Steps - so apparently there's always been a creepy factor to them. I've spent a good deal of time in Georgetown - even played with the Georgetown Symphony for a little while - but I never was able to find those creepy steps until recently. We finally managed to locate them despite the best efforts of Google Maps. (Oh Google Maps, I trusted you. How could you have led me astray so?). Turns out they are a half a block away from a restaurant I used to eat at all the time. *sigh* Finally with the help of my smartphone, I found the correct site and we got there just in time to catch a priest who was tumbling down them (kidding about that last bit). I highly recommend seeing these steps on a rainy day - that big stone wall next to them weeps when it has been raining a lot and totally adds to the ambiance. I was able to get at least a few photos of the spot without random people in the frame... but just barely. Good luck going anywhere in D.C. and taking a picture without a tourist in it.

The steps are decidedly less creepy in light of day.

Or just with a wide open f-stop.