By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
"I've never talked to the media about it, and I prefer to keep it that way," says the frail voice over the phone. "It's not something that should be publicized."
But try telling that to the residents on Roanoke Drive, where rumors persist that the "Exorcist house" remains a portal to the netherworld.
Next-door neighbor Jean Kustura tells how the young couple living in the house years earlier complained of the northwest bedroom -- where the exorcism is said to have occurred -- being eerily cold and drafty.
Greg LaFontain, a Bel-Nor neighbor on nearby Bellerive Drive, recalls the time he and his wife, Elizabeth, toured the house years ago when it was up for sale. Upon ascending the stairs an illness swept over Elizabeth, who ran from the house. When her husband joined her on the front lawn, Elizabeth was adamant that they not purchase the home.
Mark Willingham has heard all the tales and laughs them off.
From 1991 to 1999 he and his wife, Diane, lived at the home before moving to the Central West End and later to a house in mid-county. A no-nonsense insurance adjuster, Willingham says he learned of the home's occult past only after he purchased it.
"Sure, it came as quite a shock," he recalls. But Willingham maintains that nothing out of the ordinary ever occurred in the house while he lived there, and he assures future homeowners that they, too, have nothing to fear.
"We loved that house," he adds wistfully. "Way I see it, the place was blessed so many times during the exorcism, it's probably the safest home in all St. Louis."