top of page

The Chilling Tale of the First Televised Exorcism: The Becker Family's True Haunting

A Family's Dream Turns Nightmare

In the early stages of their life together, Ed and Marsha Becker were on the cusp of parenthood, their happiness unbounded. But a shocking revelation from their landlord abruptly shattered their idyllic world. The no-babies and no-pets policy forced them into a hasty decision: they had to find a new home.

After a month of searching, they stumbled upon a small, two-apartment building in the city. Yet, their newfound sanctuary harbored a menacing secret. As they entered, an elderly tenant named Myra unleashed an ominous tirade, declaring they'd never truly own the house. She was the last remnant of a family that had lived there for generations, and despite reservations, Ed agreed to purchase the property.

In the early 1970s, long before the iconic movie "The Exorcist" gripped the world with terror, an eerie and unprecedented event unfolded on the screens of millions across America. It was the first televised exorcism, a bone-chilling encounter that would forever haunt the Becker family and all those who watched in disbelief.

Ed and Marsha Becker

The Beckers' Haunting Home

The story begins with the Becker family, a young couple eager to embrace the American dream. Little did they know, their dream home in Chicago, Illinois, held a dark secret. Built and inhabited for generations by a single family, the house refused to relinquish its grasp, even in death. The spirits of the past clung to their beloved abode, unleashing a series of strange and unsettling occurrences upon the unsuspecting Beckers.

The Unseen Malevolence

The Beckers found themselves thrust into a world where the paranormal was not a term casually thrown around. In an era before ghost hunters and reality TV, their haunting was all too real. A sinister presence inhabited their home, one that no mere mortal could contend with. Desperate for help, they turned to a little-known organization, embarking on a journey into the unknown.

The Heroes of the Occult

Author Tom Valentine, a man well-versed in the mysterious and unexplained, played a pivotal role in the Beckers' ordeal. He summoned Joseph DeLouise, a nationally recognized psychic, whose abilities were not to be underestimated. To bolster their efforts, they sought the assistance of an exorcist from England, the enigmatic Reverend William Derl-Davis. Together, they prepared to confront the malevolent forces lurking within the Becker home.

Becker Exorcism

image via

The NBC Exorcism

The climax of this chilling saga was broadcast for all to witness. NBC, one of the nation's leading news networks, sent their distinguished Chicago journalist, Carole Simpson, to cover the unprecedented event. The nation tuned in with bated breath as the exorcism unfolded before their eyes. In that moment, the line between reality and the supernatural blurred, and the true horror of the situation began to dawn on the unsuspecting viewers.

The Terrifying Aftermath

While the NBC news segment was a ratings success, the exorcism itself proved to be a dismal failure. Instead of banishing the malevolent entities, it seemed to empower them. The Beckers' torment intensified, plunging them deeper into a nightmare they could never have imagined.

A True Haunting Unveiled

Edwin F. Becker, one of the Becker family members, later chronicled this terrifying experience in his book, "True Haunting." It remains a testament to the horrors that unfolded within those cursed walls. His words unveil a haunting truth – exorcisms, it seems, merely transfer malevolent entities from one host to another. Ghosts, on the other hand, cannot be exorcised from the places they inhabit.


The first televised exorcism in 1971 was more than just a news story. It was a glimpse into the inexplicable, a foray into the unknown that left an indelible mark on those who witnessed it. The Becker family's ordeal serves as a stark reminder that some mysteries are not meant to be unraveled, and that the line between the living and the dead is far thinner than we might care to admit.

As you delve into the accounts of "Banished" and "True Haunting," you'll find a world where reality blends with the supernatural, where terror knows no bounds. These stories, while frightening, remind us of the enduring power of the unknown and the enduring fascination with the unexplained. So, if you dare, step into the eerie world of the Becker family, where even the most powerful of rituals cannot quell the restless spirits of the past.

More details:

Signs of the Supernatural

As they settled into their new abode, strange phenomena began to materialize. Marsha's cherished glass candy dish inexplicably moved when her back was turned. The flickering dining room light added to their unease, casting ominous shadows on their newfound happiness.

Phantom Phone Calls and Flying Dishes

One day, the phone line remained perpetually busy, arousing Ed's anger and confusion. Upon returning home, Marsha revealed the eerie truth – the phone had been mysteriously off the hook all day. Dishes hurling themselves from cabinets confirmed their growing suspicion of a malevolent presence. Marsha believed they were being haunted, but Ed clung to skepticism.

The Wood Family's Arrival

In a bid to ease their financial burden, Ed and Marsha decided to rent out the first-floor apartment. Dan and Diane Wood were the first tenants to answer their ad, and Marsha swiftly formed a friendship with Diane. However, the arrival of the Woods would mark the beginning of a deeper descent into the supernatural.

Unexplained Phenomena Escalate

Initially, odd occurrences were subtle – a chandelier swinging on its own, unexplained footsteps. But one fateful afternoon, while Marsha was visiting downstairs, an infant's walker moved seemingly of its own accord, heading toward the basement stairs. Panic set in as Marsha realized the truth – their house was haunted.

Revealing the Haunting Past

Ed, driven by curiosity and growing concern, ventured into the basement. Among his unsettling discoveries were live bullets and a hidden door, which concealed a disturbing collection of clippings and girlie magazines. But he chose to keep this revelation from Marsha to spare her further fear.

Walter's Ominous Revelations

Ed turned to his neighbor, Walter, seeking answers to the growing malevolence within their home. Walter unveiled the dark history of the house, recounting the dominant presence of a man named Ben, who had met his end in a bathtub due to a massive coronary. Amelia, Ben's wife, had also suffered a tragic fate, taking her own life in the basement after a tumultuous marriage filled with violence.

A Desperate Cry for Help

Marsha believed that someone had to intervene. She turned to the Yellow Pages and found a professional psychic named Joe DeLuise, who brought along a professional exorcist. NBC expressed interest in filming the exorcism, and Ed and Marsha decided to go through with it.

The Exorcism's Shocking Turn

The day of the exorcism arrived, marked by a profound sense of foreboding. The reverend, Joe, and the Beckers brandished crucifixes as protection. As the exorcism began, the house unleashed a cacophony of eerie phenomena. Birds circled the house, hundreds of them, while an otherworldly gust of wind roared through. The reverend persisted in his incantation, and suddenly, as swiftly as it had begun, the chaos ceased. The reverend declared the house purified, yet Dan was compelled to leave, never to return.

April's Alarming Experiences

Ed's sister, April, moved in, unaware of the horrors lurking within. She began experiencing paranormal events herself, from a piano playing a single note repeatedly to the chandelier moving as she willed it. April's growing control over the supernatural terrified Marsha.

Revealing Henry's Secret

Investigations continued, leading Ed to discover the presence of Henry, described as "deformed." Walter shared that Henry had been hidden within the house by the family, adding a chilling layer to the house's already horrifying history.

In the chilling tale of the Becker family and their harrowing journey through a haunted house, we've witnessed the inexplicable, the unsettling, and the terrifying. Their experiences, marked by strange phenomena, restless spirits, and a malevolent history, serve as a stark reminder that sometimes, reality can be far more frightening than fiction.

As we draw this eerie narrative to a close, we invite you, dear readers, to share your thoughts and reflections. Do you believe in the supernatural? Have you ever encountered unexplainable occurrences in your own life? What do you make of the Becker family's decision to confront the malevolent forces in their home through an exorcism?

The story of the Beckers serves as a testament to the enduring human spirit in the face of the unknown. It is a reminder that, even in the darkest of times, the search for answers and the pursuit of resolution can lead us down a path fraught with fear and uncertainty.

We eagerly await your comments and insights. Do you think the supernatural played a role in their experiences, or could there be rational explanations for the horrors they endured? Share your thoughts and join the conversation about this spine-tingling tale of a family's battle against the forces of darkness.

18 views0 comments
bottom of page