Halloween is a bit different now for me than it was when I was in college. Now we get the kids dressed up, meet the neighbors and trail behind while the kids run door to door trick or treating. But in college, it was a whole different game.
I went to Georgetown in Washington D.C. Same school as William Peter Blatty–author of The Excorcist, one of the scariest movies ever made. In the clip below, a few seconds in, there’s a flyby of the town and a few minutes in are some scenes filmed on campus. I used to live down the street from the Exorcist house and we used to walk down the Exorcist Steps at 36th and Prospect a few times a week to get to Dixie Liquors which was right at the base of the steps.
Every Halloween, we’d all cram into Gaston Hall, the hundred year old main lecture hall on campus for a midnight screening of the Exorcist. When the first shots of Georgetown came about 10 minutes in, hundreds of students would erupt in cheers. Inevitably, after the movie we’d end up at the Tombs or the Pub (now closed).
The movie was shot on campus and at the house just a few blocks from the main gates. There was even a rumor, that Father Karas, the priest in the movie, was based on one of the older Jesuits who’d been teaching at Georgetown forever. It was whispered that he was the only living priest in the United States who’d actually performed an exorcism. But I can’t validate that.
There is also a Jesuit graveyard on campus right underneath Harbin Hall. In 1994 I lived in Harbin and there was a rumor that Nostradamus had predicted that there would be a bloody murder on a college campus in a cross shaped building looking over a graveyard. Didn’t sleep much that night, but nobody died. I imagine the same prediction holds true every year.
I’m not sure why I started thinking about all this today, except that it’s Halloween. It’s almost time to pack it in and go get the kids all costumed up for our new Halloween rituals. Happy Halloween.