Top Five Bizarre Exorcism Movies

The rare few moments I spend watching television rarely affords me a glimpse of anything actually inspirational. In other words, most of what makes it to That is Bizarre has nothing to do with television. However, a movie preview caught my eye the other day and made me think how utterly bizarre exorcisms are and how dramatizing exorcisms make them even more bizarre. The inspiration for this post came from the preview for the upcoming movie "The Devil Inside." While I would love to add the movie to this list, I have not seen it yet, so I will have to stick to exorcism movies with which I am familiar.

Note: There was a barrage of rip-off exorcism films after the release of The Exorcist in 1973. These movies were relatively bizarre, but only in their blatant attempts cash in on the first film's success. This list will contain none of the '74-'75 rip-off films. 

5. Exorcist: The Beginning

"Exorcist: The Beginning" is the prequel to the 1973 The Exorcist film based on William Peter Blatty's novel of the same name. It deals with the priest who exorcised Regan in the original film and his first encounter with the demon who had possessed Regan. What is bizarre about this film is actually one scene that involves Father Merrin descending into the annals of an ancient church. At one point, he is stuck in a tunnel in the Earth that can only manage on person - one way. In this tunnel, he is faced by the demon. It was one heck of a way to portray a face-off with a demon and why this is in the number 5 spot on this list.

4. The Last Exorcism

"The Last Exorcism" is a refreshing exorcism film, in that it is filmed like a documentary. That is what makes it bizarre. However, the film itself is a little over the top, even for this genre. It basically takes a skeptical reverend and makes a believer out of him with the help of a cult-like group and a demon baby. It's ultimate cheese.

3. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is a film loosely based on the real life exorcism of Anneliese Michel. While the supernatural subject matter is not believed to be true by all, the suffering of the girl in the film is undeniable. She goes through many of the hardships that Anneliese suffered, just in a more dramatic light. There is a lot of bizarre antics in this film, from rapid-fire demon talk to contorting young women.

2. Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

"The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel" is an actual documentary. Creepy, right? It discusses the topic of the multiple exorcisms of Anneliese, who died as a result of either her alleged possession or the exorcism that was meant to cure it. The documentary includes audio from Anneliese's actual exorcisms. They are not for the faint of heart, nor are photos of the girl as she died. She was starved and very sick by the time she eventually expired.

1. The Exorcist

"The Exorcist" takes the number one spot on this list because it took the genre to a whole new level. Filmmakers have yet to outdo it, even with advances in moviemaking technology. This film included rough special effects that somehow managed to be the most disturbing thing most people had ever seen. The movie created a sort of hysteria about exorcisms that would have been laughable if the film was not so darn creepy.

Bizarre Websites: Historic Mysteries

Some sites do not essentially cater to the bizarre, but, by way of an interesting niche, come up with some wonderfully bizarre topics. There are few quality sites like this out there, but many average ones. You find many sites that have interesting sounding topics, but cover the topic poorly or simply sound made up.

It is easy to tell which sites are flying by the seat of their pants by researching the topics they cover independently. If you come up with four different sites that contain the information and each has a different version, including the site you are investigating, chances are you are reading malarkey. The best way to tell if a site conducts thorough research and can cover bizarre topics well is to check for an unbiased tone and references to sources used to create the content on the site. One site where you can find this is Historic Mysteries.

Historic Mysteries is a site that covers everything from disappearances to UFOs. The best part is that coverage of dubious topics, such as UFOs, is done in an unbiased manner. This isn't a site that caters to those who prefer the idea of UFOs so much that they deny facts that do not support their conclusions. This is a site for people who are looking for good information on historic topics that are fun to read.

History is filled with exciting mysteries, some sad and some compelling. Many of the topics covered on Historic Mysteries really make you wonder what happened. The facts are there for the perusal of readers, but the conclusions are open or they would not be mysteries. Mystery enthusiasts will love this site. History enthusiasts will love it as well. Bizarre enthusiasts will certainly find topics to entertain.

Bizarre Places: Clapham Wood

Clapham Wood is a forest in West Sussex, England that is linked to several supposed phenomena. There are unproven stories that a Satanic cult operated in the woods during the latter half of the 20th century. There are countless reports of UFO sightings, though those reportedly happen in both the woods and Clapham Village. Other phenomena reported in the woods include animal disappearances and human deaths.

While the stories of Clapham Wood are bizarre and the area has developed a bizarre reputation, it seems that the stories may be the only bizarre thing about Clapham Wood. As far as the UFOs are concerned, there is no way to prove that any of these UFOs were really sighted and, if they were, that their origins were otherworldly or supernatural.

Another phenomenon reported in Clapham Wood is much like the UFOs, unable to be proven. Some people have claimed that a strange mist engulfs parts of the woods as they walk through it. To read of the stories, one would assume that those who saw it found it to be unrelated to the weather, given that they found it strange enough to report.

A less strange occurrence in Clapham Wood, given its reputation are reports that people get the sense something is following them through the woods. These can easily be linked to paranoia concerning the stories that have surrounded the forest since the 1970s. It is natural that some people would feel scared in Clapham Wood. The alternative is that something really is following them, which would explain why some people feel like they are being pushed in the woods when there is nothing occurring to explain the feeling.

At least four dogs have allegedly vanished in Clapham Wood. One returned so ill that it had to be put down. Another one was found mangled and dead. The thing with these reports is that they have been happening since 1970, the most recent occurring in 2011. Dogs do tend to get lost in the woods when they are unleashed. There may be nothing unusual going on here at all. It is entirely feasible that the domesticated animals were attacked by other animals.

The most alarming stories regarding Clapham Wood involve the deaths of five people -- four according to some sources. Apparently, three lone men disappeared at different times and were found days to years later. A couple also disappeared -- just a woman in some versions -- and were later found dead. The man was sexually assaulted according to Wikipedia. The woman was sexually assaulted according to other sources. There are no reports of sexual assault in the other cases, though decomposition reportedly made autopsy difficult. These deaths were allegedly attributed to a serial killer named Tim Withers who was jailed for the crimes. It should be noted that this writer could find very little regarding Tim Withers and it was all related to Clapham Wood. It seems odd that there is nothing else out there about this supposed serial killer.

One must conclude, with the evidence available, that there is nothing so bizarre about Clapham Wood, save its reputation. What is odd here is that there seems to be widespread speculation about this forest with very little evidence that anything is amiss.

Bizarre People: Victor Lustig

Construction phases of the Eiffel Tower

Victor Lustig was a Hungarian con artist whose cons were so bizarre as to be brilliant, at least before he was caught. Predictably, he irked his girlfriend, who ratted him out for counterfeiting money in the United States. However, before he was locked up in U.S. federal prison for the remainder of his life, he was pulling off cons across the globe.

One of Victor Lustig's strangest cons landed him the nickname of "The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower -- Twice." This sobriquet is not quite accurate. He only succeeded in selling the Eiffel Tower once and it was during a time when the Eiffel Tower was a failing landmark that was not supposed to stay up forever. It was not the international icon that it is today. Still, it was not exactly hiding out in a corner of Paris, either.

In 1925, Victor Lustig convinced a group of scrap metal dealers to come hear his sales pitch for the Eiffel Tower. He told them that he, as a representative of the French government, was charged with selling the Eiffel Tower. Because it was falling apart and expensive to repair, the government wanted to get rid of it. After another meeting, he was able to convince Andre Poisson to buy it. The man never alerted the authorities because he felt pretty stupid. That left Victor open to try the stunt again. The second time, one of his prospective victims caught on and turned him in. Lustig got away, though.

Another interesting con of Victor Lustig's was selling fake counterfeit machines. This was before he got into real counterfeiting. He would load up a fake machine with three one-hundred dollar bills, tell his victim that the machine took 6 hours to create a single bill, demonstrate the fact and then get away with 18 hours to spare. The victim would give him 30 grand, wait 12 hours for the machine to spit out the other 2 hundreds and then another 6 hours to find out that it really could not "print" anything.

Perhaps the most daring of all Lustig's cons was the Capone con. Victor Lustig convinced Al Capone to give tens of thousands of dollars to fund a non-existent stock deal. Lustig was not stupid enough to walk away from Al Capone with that kind of money. Instead, he waited a bit and then returned the money, saying that the deal had fallen through. Al Capone gave him five grand as a reward for being honest, thus fulfilling Lustig's daring con.

In the end, Lustig was sold out by his girlfriend, who found out he was fooling around with another con man's mistress. He was a smooth talker, but he could not talk his way out of the fling or federal prison. He died a prisoner in 1947.