Real-Life Serial Killer Paul Bateson Appeared In Horror Film The Exorcist
If anything could make William Friedkin's 1973 horror classic The Exorcist any creepier, then this is it: one of the film's most famous scenes starred a real-life serial killer.
The Exorcist's now renowned story of Regan, a 12-year-old girl possessed by the occult, continues to terrify audiences even now in 2019, but arguably one of its most chilling scenes has nothing to do with the supernatural.
The well-known clip sees Regan taken to hospital in order to undergo tests, during which a catheter is inserted into her neck through an artery - in response, the girl grimaces as blood spurts from her neck.
Here's the scary bit though: one of the hospital technicians in the scene was Paul Bateson, convicted in 1979 of the murder of film industry journalist Addison Verrill, and also suspected of several other murders within the gay community of Manhattan, New York in the 70s.
Bateson's story has received fresh attention after he was one of the serial killers featured in the acclaimed Netflix crime drama Mindhunter, but his inclusion in one of the most famous horror films of all time is a fact that's flown fairly under the radar.
As The Daily Mirror reports, Bateson was originally a radiographer.
He came to the attention of Friedkin when the director visited the New York University Medical Centre, where Bateson worked, to undertake some research. Impressed by his work, Friedkin invited Bateson to work as an extra on The Exorcist, and it is his character who calmly explains to Regan what will happen to her during the procedure.
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Unfortunately what happened to Bateson after the film becomes a very dark tale indeed.
Although ultimately convicted for his 1979 murder of Verrill, Manhattan police had been suspicious of Bateson for some time following the deaths of several gay men.
Verrill himself was found beaten and stabbed to death in his own flat, after which the journalist's friend - fellow writer Arthur Bell - urged the killer to come forward via a piece in US news weekly The Village Voice.
Bell himself was instead contacted over the telephone by someone taking responsibility for the death. After going out partying together and subsequently ending up back at Verrill's flat, the caller supposedly became enraged when his advances were rejected.
"I needed money and I hated the rejection. I decided to do something I'd never done before," he had told Bell. Allegedly hitting Verrill with a frying pan, he then stabbed the writer when he was knocked out, before stealing some cash, a credit card, Verrill's passport and some clothes.
The caller claimed he wanted to 'atone' for other crimes, but the next call Bell received came from a man going under the name 'Mitch' - who promptly accused Bateson of the murder. The fleeting movie actor was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in jail for the Verrill murder, although none of the others stuck - despite Bateson allegedly confessing to his friend Richard Ryan.
Released in 2003 after being granted parole, nothing is known of Bateson after this time - although a social security record shows a Patrick F. Bateson with the same birthdate passing away in 2012, with the murders of the other men in 1970s Manhattan still no nearer to being solved.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.