Often cited as “the scariest movie ever made,” The Exorcist, based on the 1973 novel by William Peter Blatty, brought the Catholic Rite of Exorcism to the big screen with its unforgettable tale of a possessed 12-year old girl, her mother’s desperate search for help and the priests that eventually come to her aid. What some may not recall from the film is the role a Ouija board plays in Regan’s possession. Early in the movie, Regan’s mother Chris asks her daughter if she knows how to use the family Ouija board, and Regan answers that she plays with “Captain Howdy.” “Who is Captain Howdy?” asks Chris. “You know. Captain Howdy. I ask the questions and he gives the answers!”

The Ouija board, far from a harmless parlor game, is then established as the way the devil, in the form of “Captain Howdy,” gained access to Regan’s soul. Blatty, who died earlier this year, acknowledged in a 1972 interview with British journalist Ray Connolly that while finishing his book The Exorcist, he had a personal experience with a Ouija board that convinced him that he was communicating with some kind of spirit. When asked if he ever frightened himself while writing the book, Blatty said: MORE