Talk:Exorcism of Roland Doe

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Proposal to move this page[edit]

I mentioned this above and there was no objection, but to keep everything above board I will raise the issue officially here.

I propose this article is moved to "The Case of Robbie Mannheim" effectively renaming the article. The article "Robbie Mannheim" would be redirected to the new page.

I have done a search for wiki pages starting "The Case of" and there are quite a few, however the vast majority seem to refer to novels and movies, and legal "cases". So I am not sure whether this fits with wiki style or policy.

My main argument for moving this article is that this is NOT a "biographical" article, which is what people coming to an article named after a person would expect.

Robbie Mannheim is not a real name and the majority of the information here is not verifiably sourced about a real person. The real person allegedly doesn't even remember what this article is mostly about. Half of this article is sourced from unverifiable claims made by biased observers and the other half is built up "urban legend" and conjecture by people that had nothing to do with the case mostly made decades after the original claims to begin with.

Since I am not sure if there is a "proper" way of approaching this, or if "the case of" is reserved for "legal cases" other then proper nouns like "titles" of books and movies, or something like that. I think even if we reach a consensus here, maybe we should get a RfC from some more senior editors whether there is a "wiki correct" way to approach this. Vespine (talk) 01:01, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I have added a move notice template to the article, this will hopefully draw some attention to it. Vespine (talk) 01:05, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I do not think the move is necessary. People merit biographies on Wikipedia because they are famous for something (as Robbie is for his supposed demonic possession and consequent exorcism). If we find other information available on other parts of his life, there would not be a problem including it. I hope this helps. With regards, AnupamTalk 16:50, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Unwelcome though I may be, I SECOND Vespine's proposal.76.195.86.155 (talk) 23:47, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


Does this article really constitute a "Biography"? Vespine (talk) 00:41, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Please see the arguments above. With so few interested parties, we're pretty much at a stalemate at the moment. I don't disagree that the case of Robbie is notable enough to warrant a page, but I believe "The Case of Robbie Mannheim" is far more notable and appropriate for a title then an article purely about "Robbie Mannheim" the person. Vespine (talk) 00:41, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I've just done a little more reading and I think i have some more information which might clear this up. Technically, Robbie Mannheim is a living person, so have a look at Wikipedia:BLP. Even just reading the article's introduction, I think it is very clear this article does NOT fit the description of Biographies of living persons which is what you would expect coming to an article named after a person. I don't believe Anupam's argument of People merit biographies on Wikipedia because they are famous for something really addresses the issue at all. Vespine (talk) 01:10, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Allow me to weigh in, contritely and humbly. This article does not consist of a biography of any kind. (By the way, doesn't that banner belong at the TOP of this page?) Subject of article must remain anonymous due to Church Law, the Code of Canon Law: the identity has to be kept secret by all administrative means possible. That's why I tried to shunt this over to "religion" and "philosophy".76.195.86.155 (talk) 05:33, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. In regards to the banner, I had looked at Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment and other examples of RfC on other pages and I believe I have used the tag correctly. I don't believe it belongs at the top of the page, it belongs in the topic for which you are requesting comments. Vespine (talk) 05:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

So it does, so it does.76.195.86.155 (talk) 12:56, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I OBJECT to this move. Article titles containing "The case of" refer to subjects with that in their titles specifically, for example: The Case of Thomas N.. The turn of phrase has a decidedly archaic and legalistic connotation and is used almost exclusively as a literary device in fiction. Generally unless there is a strong reason to move an article it should not be moved. Compare the titles of other articles for which a critical examination of original sources strongly indicate that the individual described does not exist: Homer, Jesus, Moses, John Frum. Legendary individuals that do exist also have normal titles: Johnny Appleseed, Purple Aki. I feel this move is unnecessarily verging on violating NPOV, even if the the views being threatened may not be well-founded or encyclopaedic. -Craig Pemberton 23:14, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I think Craig's comment clears up the issue, i had a hunch that might be the case. I don't think any more input is required. I'll remove the tags. Thanks very much Craig, appreciate your explanation. Back to the drawing board. Vespine (talk) 23:32, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I think I'd like to at least say I concur.76.195.86.155 (talk) 06:27, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Ouija board[edit]

Someone has removed a large chunk of information regarding Robbie's dabbling with an Oujia board which was very important for the article. The article now has no reason as to why Robbie would have become possessed (this is not to say I accept the reason of the claims of possession). I am therefore restoring the content. If you have a problem with the sourcing, you are welcome to remove the sources, but the article really doesn't make any sense without this piece of information. Thanks, AnupamTalk 16:59, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Anupam, let me explain something to you: part of that was MY error, I think I removed excessively. As you sometimes do. But mine was an error.

As to the board, it need only be mentioned in a single, simple sentence and the reason why it is mentioned. No need to write so heavily about it. It is understood that someone claimed at one point that the Ouija was responsible for the allegations. That is all: just another stupid claim someone heard and printed years later. Does it deserve so much attention? I say not. Thank you Anupam for your noticing the errors I made, though, because I'd hoped they could be fixed.

I want everyone here to know I am calm about this, but I'm getting tired as I said before of everyone experimenting with ideas instead of action and correction. vespine, I'm sorry as a whole and sorry you think less of me now. I am a theologian, a published author and have 200 articles/scientific papers under my belt. I find it offensive that there should be lecturing going here about who is a "great writer" and who is not.

Let's stop that kind of talk and get this thing done properly. And again, after the initial mention of CLAIMS about the ouija board, let us drop it because it adds nothing. It is NOT the claimed reason Robbie was possessed. No one knows why he was allegedly possessed.76.195.86.155 (talk) 23:52, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm sorry you feel that way 76. I don't think less of you at all but I still think you are taking things too personally. I certinally did not intend to insult your writing ability, I was certinally not trying to "lecture" anyone, I was just trying to making a light hearted comment, I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way. I'm sure you are capable of very good writing, even profesionally as you say, as a lot of people on wikipedia are I'm sure.
As for the ouija comment, I completely agree with you. Anupam's claim that the whole article doesn't make sense otherwise is completely erroneous. There is NOTHING mysterious or supernatural about a oiuija board and there is absolutely NO reason to suggest that it has anything to do with the claimed events. Any "connection" made between the CLAIMS of playing with a Oujia board and the CLAIMS of Robbie's possesion are entirely spurious and speculative. I especially object to the line "saw the Ouija board as a means of contacting those who had passed on the next world " and the next line. It's PURE speculation and conjecture.
I'm not sure what you mean by "lets get this done properly", i thought that's what we've been trying to do... Vespine (talk) 00:28, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Well according to the claims about the events that occurred, it was through the Ouija board that Robbie became possessed. I am not saying that I believe this. I am saying that this what many of the tertiary sources about the event state. It is for this reason that I added the clause "According to claims presented in a tertiary source" in another paragraph. I could do the same with the sentence pertaining to the Ouija board. I want to let you know that I am not inventing the concept of Ouija boards being used for occult purposes. This is a very well attested concept in the United States that has permeated literature and film. Maybe if you are not an American, you may be unaware of this fact. Without mentioning the Ouija board, the reader has no idea as to the reason Christian priests believed Robbie became possessed. Even though you may not recognize the sources as valid, at least three of them mention the Ouija board being the cause of Robbie's possession (1, 2, 3). This critical part of the story can not be exscinded. I hope you are understanding what I am trying to say. With regards, AnupamTalk 02:14, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't dispute that sources make this claim, that's not the argument. The argument is that there is no proof for this claim, it's purely metaphysical conjecture. Those sources are NOT presenting 'facts', they are just making an unfounded claim about a subject they have a biased opinion on. This does not qualify as encyclopedic content, it's pure speculation. Yes I agree that the claims were made and the conclusions drawn and that it makes part of the Robbie Mannheim "story", but it's not enough to just say "some tertiary sources make this claim," because this still sounds like it is a legitimate claim regarding FACTS when it is no such thing. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to state that "some sources have come to the conclusion" I think this would be a more clear way to present the facts. Having said that, I think this is just more support for the argument that this does NOT fit with what you would expect of a "biography of a living person".. Vespine (talk) 03:21, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I concur with Vespine on the above post. Now please, listen and hear me out: Vespine, what I mean is let us not argue any more about writing abilities or lack thereof, unless article-related. It is badly enough written that our work is cut out for us. It was not my intention either to insult you or impugn your work so far.

Secondly: when I say get it "done properly", well, what do you think I mean? You, Anupam and I are the only souls on earth even looking at this mess; you and I agree on basics. I say let us rewrite, revisit and take it from there. Vespine, do you not read what I write to you on your talk page? Don't you even read my remarks HERE?

We cannot do anything with Anupam messing about--I am sorry Anupam, but you are messing about, when we make good, clean edits to this article and you come along to revert it all. I have made errors, and I am going to cease editing the article completely. I'll only post here, and not often.

THE OUIJA BOARD: Anupam, Fr. Walt has said he never believed the boy was possessed and he saw no supernatural events. If you do not know this is a fact, you shouldn't be editing here at all. And the belaboring of the use of this board does not belong on this page. It belongs on the Ouija Board page if there is one--I have never looked but good God, I can imagine what THAT looks like....

As I said, this is Vespine's now. Do as you will.76.195.86.155 (talk) 05:41, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Oh, I suggest you both read Ouija--hope that link is right. It's the page here about the board. Anupam! I don't see it says anyone believes the Ouija Board causes demonic infestations, obsessions or possession!76.195.86.155 (talk) 05:46, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Vespine, I would not mind if you added the clause "some sources have come to the conclusion." If you wish to do so, you can go ahead and add it in the article. 76.195.86.155, read the introductory paragraph of that article again - it's clearly stated there (along with a reference). I hope this helps. Thanks, AnupamTalk 01:40, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I think a mention in the intro and one mention elsewhere would be more than enough. Thanks Anupam.76.195.86.155 (talk) 06:25, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

QUOTE: "Like other Spiritualists, she ["Harriet"] did not heed the Biblical admonitions against consorting with spirits.[14]" I move that this idiotic passage be stricken. It does nothing to help anything, and is so silly I cannot believe it keeps finding its way back in here. No one said until decades later anything about the planchette being the instrument of this boy's possession. No one today takes this kind of reasoning seriously and it detracts from the account.

I also move that some separation be introduced in between paragraphs. This badly written section is an eyesore, and Anupam is basically lifting Allen's textxs among others and pasting them here. This needs to be freshly, correctly written.75.21.106.189 (talk) 02:08, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry I've been really flat out recently. I don't disagree that this article could do with a rewrite but that's not something i would have the time to do any time soon.. I think if we keep plugging at the "main issues", we can still get it to a reasonable standard. At the moment, I still think the sources are the main problem, if we keep removing the shoddy sourced info it will be much better.Vespine (talk) 11:41, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
As for the quote, it is sourced back to "good spirits, bad spirits" which as has been discussed, is an inappropriate source, therefore I'm removing it. You didn't even need to ask as far as I'm concerned, this is not in dispute anymore. Vespine (talk) 11:45, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I've chopped a bit more out and honestly, if i keep going, there's not going to be much article left! lol... And what is left is going to need to be rewritten to make any sense. I don't see any other way to proceed, unless someone feels like writing a new article from scratch, which I certainly don't. Vespine (talk) 12:00, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
We're going to have to archive this page soon, it's getting as out of control as the article;).. As for the article... I've tried something a little different and I'm not sure if I like it myself..
When Robbie was thirteen his aunt died in St. Louis. Part of the mythological account presented in several books supposes that Robbie tried to contact his deceased aunt via an Ouija board, [14][15] and it is this which led to his demonic possession.[14]
What do you think? I'm not sure "mythology" is the right word, but I couldn't think of anything better, it's not really "urban legend", I don't know what else might fit meter. I'm definitely not calling it any kind of "account" from any kind of "source"... Vespine (talk) 12:25, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

This is for ease of viewing, everyone: OK, Vespine...perhaps I can be of assistance about this item. NO ONE mentioned the planchette in any capacity, as far as would have been done by the Church.

Fr. Halloran has made no statements about this ever. If Fr. Bowdern knew of the kid fooling around with a Ouija, it's a secret as I have told you before. NO hint of any kind can be leaked of the subject's ID.

This nonsense about the Ouija board was introduced by radical-type Catholics back in the day. Yet many Catholics and I ought to know had Ouija boards in the house as a game. One thing I can state is there was some record of the kid being fond of board games, and in the 1940s and 1950s the planchette was very parlour-popular.75.21.106.189 (talk) 13:27, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Vespine, in regards, to your comment here, I will support your suggestion to include the clause "some sources have come to the conclusion" in regards to the Ouija board. Thanks, AnupamTalk 16:42, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
  • SIGH*--Anupam, it is gallant of you to support Vespine but you still don't get it. The Ouija board is A STORY about a story!! It does not belong anywhere except in a section about false and weird claims! What is it with you and that Ouija? The Church at this point doesn't even care about the thing in itself and it has NO BEARING on this case! Jeez!75.21.106.189 (talk) 17:13, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
yeah look this is getting confusing again, we're having three slightly different but "the same" conversations in three separate places at once... Anupam, my comment about the "some claim" was just one of the 1st things that came to my head. As discussed below somewhere, i now don't think it's appropriate to call them "sources" at all. The way it stands right now in early life section I feel comfortable with, but as i will mention below, I will work out how to insert the disclaimer into the appropriate section too. Vespine (talk) 17:40, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Dear Vespine, thanks for your academic revision of the disclaimer. From what I can tell, it looks good. All the best, AnupamTalk 16:46, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
By the way, in the Early life section, I inserted a source for the line about the Ouija board that you retained in the paragraph. The source I used was from Thomas B. Allen's "Possessed." If you object to this insertion, we can discuss it here and compromise. Thanks, AnupamTalk 16:54, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Hi, yes that looks fine. I don't really get how those quotes work yet sorry, i break them more often then I fix them... The only thing is, I would really like to see that reference section look a bit neater, i don't think it's necessary to include superfluous text within the body of the "quote". For example, does the last sentence "She taught him to place his fingers lightly on the planchette, a wooden platform that moved on" really need to be there? Other then that, i think the 1st two sections look pretty good. I'm going to start another talk section at the bottom with my next suggestion. Vespine (talk) 22:51, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Vespine, sure, I can remove the redundant part of the quote in my next edit. I'm glad the first two sections are set to go. With regards, AnupamTalk 15:28, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Article's sources and claims disclaimer[edit]

Anupam, since I know it is you, PLEASE stop removing the sentence that this story due to tertiary sources is a bunch of unverified anecdotal reporting. That should be clearly stated at the top, next to your inclusion of secondary and tertiary source definitions. That is not enough to make people understand that most of this article is made up of STORIES and MYTHS. Vespine will agree with my wording, I'm sure.76.195.86.155 (talk) 04:04, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Yup, excellent, this achieves pretty much the same thing as I was trying to do when I suggesting the article move. Vespine (talk) 05:23, 9 September 2010 (UTC)


Let me be much more clear: "Robbie Mannheim" is a pseudonym that will be recognized only by Thomas Allen's readers. Now, as far as I can tell without getting too heavy, Allen enjoys 30 customer reviews on Amazon (including my review). That must tell you something. "Avatar", while not a book, enjoys close to 900 reviews. Allen's book in present form was published in 1999. See? No one has read it.

No one knows the name "Robbie Mannheim". Few people know about the Exorcist kid even being a real person, but those who know always ask about "the real exorcist kid". No one knows that he always went by Roland Doe, son of John and Jane Doe--which is standard for the Church to keep identities secret.

Point? How the hell can this be a biography of a living person of interest when we BARELY have proof he's real?? How can we discuss in such scholarly ways how to fix the article when the whole thing is urban legend and two or three tiny facts?

We ought to re-think this thing. I don't care how many books Anupam finds relating to this; as Vespine always said, a repeated lie doesn't make it true, and the rest is ghost stories. We need an article that reflects all that.

I move that the article be slashed and burned. Then we start over with a clean article, and anything Anupam wishes to add should be in a section called "COMMON MISBELIEFS, URBAN LEGENDS AND FABRICATIONS". As for me, that move is the only thing that will satisfy me at this point.

If no one agrees, I drop it here and now. But this whole article as it stands now is a half-baked mistake.76.195.86.155 (talk) 06:14, 9 September 2010 (UTC)


FROM "EARLY LIFE" SECTION: "Some of the more generally accepted claims about Mannheim are that he was an only child born into a German Lutheran Christian family and that during the 1940s they lived in the American city of Cottage City, Maryland.[10] Pseudonyms given to Robbie's parents in literature regarding this subject are "Mr. and Mrs. Doe" as well as "Karl and Phyllis Mannheim née Wagner."[1]

Since Robbie was an only child, it is claimed that he depended upon adults in his household for playmates, namely his Aunt Harriet. His aunt, a Spiritualist, who also professed Christianity, saw the Ouija board as a means of contacting those who had died.

When Robbie was thirteen his aunt died in St. Louis. Part of the mythological account presented in several books supposes that Robbie tried to contact his deceased aunt via an Ouija board, [11][12] and it is this which led to his demonic possession.[11]"

I've managed to trim the "Early life" section down to here, though it may need some type of filling in--but I think not. There should be no more than this content in this section. If Vespine agrees, then Anupam, leave this section alone unless you know how to streamline it...which I doubt.75.21.106.189 (talk) 13:39, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I think that's good... Going just for a minute back to your "disclaimer", I actually think I would go further then that. My thinking is that even "secondary and tertiary sources" is still a "research" term, it still doesn't apply to most of the sources used in this article, they are not "scholarly" by any definition, they are "story books".. I think your disclaimer is good, but it doesn't really sound like something you'd want to see in a "good" article. I think maybe something like this sounds more "positive": "Over time, quite a rich mythology has built up around the original accounts, with many sources contributing their own embellishments and interpretations to the story." What do you think?Vespine (talk) 14:02, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I support Vespine's disclaimer. However, why do we need such a disclaimer when the supposed "story-book" sources were removed? If we are going to give a disclaimer of that sort then why can't we restore all the sources that were deleted? With regards, AnupamTalk 16:38, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Look, disclaimers are really superfluous if the superfluous materials are removed. However, we need to be much clearer on one thing:

This is a SHADOW of a person. He cannot ever be identified. We have next to nothing from the Church about him, and that is the only true authority. Everything else has to be listed as commonly held views/beliefs about the legend. YES, urban legend. That is all it is.

"Over time, quite a rich mythology has built up around the original accounts, with many sources contributing their own embellishments and interpretations to the story." Vespine, that is GREAT. If we can continue cleaning this up, your well-worded sentence which is frankly making me envious will have earned its place.

Now Anupam, do not try to turn this into a way to get all your flotsam and jetsam back in there. Vespine's sentence is really the true heart of this problem.

One more thing, Vespine: I'm sorry we did not get to do this as "The Case of" because this has no precedent and personally I'm starting to think the editor who contributed the opinion was a show-off without justification. This is a "case" and nothing more. 75.21.106.189 (talk) 17:10, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok it's getting really late here so i might not make much sense, i just want to comment before leaving it for the night. I actually asked Craig to come and make the comment about the article move, he is the admin that originally asked me to come and work on the article. I respect his opinion and I think his point is valid. In particular the examples he gave of other "fictional" or "mythical" characters who do not have "case of" in front of their article. I think as long as we can get the tone of the article right, it should be ok. ALSO, directly related to "can't we put back the sources we've removed if we have a good disclaimer", I would say definitely not. I agree that the main THEMES of the stories can and probably should be represented, but NOT a blow for blow account of every detail in the entire tale pieced together from all the multiple sources. That just makes a Frankenstein's monster out of the article, that was a big part of the main problem to begin with. Vespine (talk) 17:51, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Get some rest! CAPITALS are for ease of reference/definitions. I will jump in here--this is the last time I'm leaping into these topics I created--Vespine, my point is THERE IS NO PRECEDENCE for this person.

He is not "fictional" nor is he "mythical". Both of those words denote a made-up entity. This person IS NOT MADE UP, but of course stuff is invented about him because next to nothing is known of him. It is the very heart of the matter.

Your respect does you credit, but why just follow the admin's lead automatically? It is a logic challenge I propose. This subject outwits your admin's opinion because he does not really know what he's talking about with myths and fictional people. He's alluding to literary conventions, that's all. "Legally" this article deals with THE CASE OF an unidentified person who will always remain unidentified. No one will ever come forward, no one will ever say who it is.

Finally, this IS A CASE: a case of exorcism. The Church refers to exorcisms as "cases". Exorcism itself is referred to: "celebration". In other words, celebration of the deliverance that the Church can surely give. Am I making some respectable sense?75.21.106.189 (talk) 18:03, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I disagree, mythical does not mean fictional, and not all the characters craig linked are fictional either, Johnny Appleseed and Homer to give two examples. But yes this article is as much about "the exorcism of Robbie Mannheim" as it is about Robbie Mannheim, if not more. But there would be heaps of people who are only known for ONE thing and they still have an article. I believe we CAN make it clear in the article that most of the stuff about the exorcism is made up after the fact and the article can still be called robbie mannheim. Vespine (talk) 11:32, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
So what's the word then? If it's not "myth", it's not folklore.. I didn't think it fit "urban legend" but having a second look, maybe it does? Actually reading the wiki article, it pretty much fits exactly. An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of apocryphal stories believed by their tellers to be true. As with all folklore and mythology, the designation suggests nothing about the story's truth or falsehood, but merely that it is in circulation, exhibits variation over time, and carries some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it. Emphasis added is mine.. So how about:
"Over time, quite a rich urban legend has built up around the original accounts, with many sources contributing their own embellishments and interpretations to the story."
I think I like it.. Vespine (talk) 11:41, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

God, I try to help and even with this trifling matter you are arguing with yourself, Vespine! Now you see why I have given up.75.21.106.189 (talk) 12:01, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Your impatience and temper aren't helping anything either you know! I wasn't arguing with my self, I'm trying to have a discussion, I'm throwing ideas around, that's how people collaborate, make some suggestions, listen to some feedback, decide what the best option is. What's wrong with that? Vespine (talk) 22:43, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Improvements and can we please resume all discussion from here[edit]

Happy day! Vespine, you and I have made this article start to look like it should. Now, I have a statement to make here, and I have made it before: if Anupam begins reverting without checking in here first, or edits/reverts especially in defiance of the 3R rule, then I say we give him the what-for. Agreed?75.21.106.189 (talk) 13:42, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it's definitely getting there... still needs a lot of work, but we are definitely on the right track. Vespine (talk) 14:14, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
75.21.106.189, I saw that you recently removed some information in the "Early Life" section. Could you explain your rationale for doing so? I thought we agreed that a disclaimer was the best way to go here. Vespine, I would also appreciate your input on the recent removal as well so that we may come to a consensus of what is to occur. So far, I have not objected to your other suggestions and I hope we can have some more amicable discussion here. Thanks, AnupamTalk 16:49, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry I don't quite understand what your issue is? I actually like 75's edit much better. I personally don't see the point of including 5 paragraphs of QUOTED source to support 2 sentences. Also, saying "passed to the afterlife" is not appropriate, I agree with using "died". Vespine (talk) 17:55, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Most certainly I will explain, now that I am editing here again a little: I removed the references to "Aunt Harriet", the Ouija board and everything else that was superfluous. Vespine and I have agreed on this clean-up for a long time. You know all that already, but I am kindly answering you here for clarity's sake.75.21.106.189 (talk) 17:01, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Stop disruption/edit war/conflict/reverts without discussion[edit]

Anupam, will you please stop reverting the edits we've made!! We do not need comments about Harriet and her rejection of the Bible!! We do not need tons of garbage about Ouija boards! This is not only your article! I warned you once and I am warning you again. What you are doing is violating three reverts and you are also adding conflict of interest here. I consider what you are doing to be vandalism because it fits the definition. Vespine can disagree, but you'd better stop messing up our work. We are doing you a favor redressing errors you've PACKED into this. Stop it! I keep seeing the crap you keep putting back in the article. You cannot keep doing that without discussion! You know that very well Anupam.75.21.106.189 (talk) 18:11, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Following a request at WP:EAR#Seeking arbitration for disruptive editing / edit war on article Robbie Mannheim I popped in here. If edit warring is going on, then please report offenders at WP:3RR (after warning then of course). Jezhotwells (talk) 09:13, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
75, look, you really have to believe me that I'm not siding with anyone or stabbing you in the back or whatever but have a look at the edit history of the article, you can see how many times the article has been edited and reverted by Anupam. He did it once yesterday, Sep 11, I disagree with that reversion and I'll probably undo it. Before then, he did it on the 8th, have a look what he reverted? I don't think that was a bad edit. Before then he did it on the 6th, that was really neither here nor there, i don't think it was a bad edit. Before then he reverted those 13 edits of yours, the ones we had a discussion about and I said I agreed with about half of them. But everyone of those cases in the last week or two was 1 count of revesion in a unique section, that does not count as RRR rule. So if you don't like his revision, PRESS UNDO ON IT! That's what the undo button is for. Then if Anupam undoes your "undo", that's 2R, if he does it one more time, that's 3R and will count as a strike against him. Until then, Anupam has been coming to the table as far as I'm concerned. Sure he's undone some edits he didn't like and maybe we did, but I really don't think his edits amount to vandalism. So let's undo some of his "reverts" and then when he starts reverting more then 3 times, that's we'll have reason to report it. Until then, I really can't see why your cracking it so bad. Vespine (talk) 11:20, 12 September 2010 (UTC)


Vespine, do you ever actually read what I write? There is no offense intended here, but this is exactly why you are so frustrating to me sometimes. 1st, why the hell would you think I am in any way riding you on this subject? I know the depth of your commitment and work. 2nd, the frustration also is you defend Anupam unnecessarily. Why?? You think his actions are correct?

You really think the abuses of his constitute "coming to the table"? He preens and minces here at the talk page but then does what he wishes to the article. And please, stop advising me to cool down or whatever. Do you not think it is sheer stupidity to be working so hard here for nothing? Yet we work, and someone like Anupam comes along and look what he does. Finish it with him then. I'm done with the pair of you.75.21.106.189 (talk) 11:53, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Just to be on the record about this. I read very carefully what you write 75, but I can't seem to reply in any way that doesn't cause you to have a hissy fit. "why the hell would you think I am in any way riding you on this subject?" I honestly have no idea what you're even talking about, I was trying to be as reasonable and objective as I possibly could, and you still find something to take personally and crack the shits. "you defend Anupam unnecessarily. Why?? You think his actions are correct?" How am I defending him? By trying to show you the edit history? By showing you empirical evidence of his edits? If you think that's being unreasonable, then I'm afraid you are just wrong. "stop advising me to cool down" Well you really should! This is at least the third time you've thrown a tantrum and threatened to leave. "like Anupam comes along and look what he does." What exactly does he do? This is what my post above was asking, SHOW ME what Anupam has been doing? The evidence is ALL THERE in the edit history. I'm not defending him, I'm asking for what you're talking about? Am I not allowed to ask? Is it unreasonable? Maybe I'm missing something that you can see, so show me. I'm not just going to go around accusing people of vandalism unless I see some evidence for it, if you have the evidence, then please show me. Just getting angry or upset and stormin off doesn't help anything. Vespine (talk) 01:44, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Archived[edit]

I have archived the older discussions to make this page a bit shorter. The link to the archive is at the top of the page. Vespine (talk) 16:07, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Oh, you brilliant thing you!! Good job. You could not have paid me to try it!75.21.106.189 (talk) 17:02, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Article layout, section headings.[edit]

Having another look at the "broader" picture, I really don't see why there should be ten headings in this article, it really doesn't warrant it. I think sections "1 Origin of claims" and "2 Early life" look pretty good for now, they can be left, but I can't see a reason why "3 Poltergeist activity", "4 Medical and pastoral conclusions" and "5 Exorcism" need to be three separate sections. I think they could very easily come under one heading. I propose the heading be called "Possession and Exorcism", I believe all the information under the current 3 sections would fit under this heading. If no one objects, I'll try to make a draft of the 3 sections combined and paste it in. Vespine (talk) 23:02, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Dear Vespine, I personally think it is alright if you wish to lessen the amount of section headings. However, if you wish to do so, please do not remove any of the present content (and corresponding sources) in the article without discussing it here. All the best, AnupamTalk 15:30, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes Anupam, don’t worry, I won't use it as an opportunity sneak in other edits without discussing it.. Vespine (talk) 00:13, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality disputation[edit]

Does that banner still need to head the article? As good a shape as it's in presently, I don't see how or why that banner needs to be there. I've never removed it before, but I have raised the issue before. One thing about hard work on a good article here: don't sell it short!76.195.80.62 (talk) 10:05, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


Cold hard facts? FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbie_Mannheim#cite_note-Mark_Opsasnick_-_DOB-1

Strange Magazine. http://www.strangemag.com/exorcistpage1.html. Retrieved 2007-12-31. "Reporters to date have claimed that the 13- or 14-year-old boy was allegedly from Mount Rainier, Maryland. (It was later revealed that his date of birth was June 1, 1935, meaning he was actually 13 when the rite of exorcism was finally completed)." [Italics all mine.]

There is a problem here, and this kind of intimate minutiae is the problem I've always had with this article. I do not dispute the quote is what the author wrote, but kindly do the math.

This kid was 13 when they exorcized him, per Fr. Halloran, and it was in 1949, per Fr. Halloran. For some reason the date sometimes jumps to 1950 in some "sources", making the kid 14. Now of course if one does the math the kid was allegedly born in 1936. Certainly by autumn 1949, he would have been 13...other than that, what does it really matter putting in his birthdate?

Putting in a correct birthdate would give away his identity! I move that the information be stricken. If I see no objection, I'll remove it.75.21.155.143 (talk) 19:43, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

The "Possession and Exorcism" section is still a bloody mess. I am afraid to try and trim it back. This has to be Hoovered thoroughly, too many citations! And lord is it ever hard to read, even as-is.
As to the rest of the clean-up I have been doing, hopefully there are no objections. There were punctuation errors and some stuff that could be written a bit more professionally.75.21.155.143 (talk) 20:04, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I oppose the motion to give away his birthdate. This article is a biography and can include that information. Also, perhaps you could format the "Church Law" reference you inserted. Vespine is still working on amalgamating the Exorcism section so we'll wait for his revision. I support your suggestion to remove the neutrality template in the article - you can go ahead and do that if you'd like. Thanks, AnupamTalk 20:08, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with the birth date being there, I mean, it really doesn't narrow much down, and the information is referenced. As for working on the article, I've just moved house and in a week I'm going overseas for a month, so you'll have to forgive me but I really probably won't have any time to knuckle down any time soon. I might just try to rudimentarily fix up the mess that removing the section headings made. As to removing the banner, I'm not sure why you're so keen to remove it, but I suppose most of the cruft is gone.. It still needs a lot of work but I suppose the "feel" of the article is almost there, so I guess I don't oppose removing the banner. Lastly, I also agree that the "citations" are still WAY out of control. In my browser, the citations at the bottom literally take up HALF the article.. How do the references take up as much room as the actual article? It's completely over the top. For example, specifically reference 23, 32, 34, 35 and 36. I really don't see the need to have such large quotes. It is really not necessary to have entire paragraphs quoted in the reference. People can always click the reference to read more, you don't have to cover every single word of the article in a quote. Take for example today's feature article Australian Magpie, extremely well referenced, and the refs section only takes up the bottom, maybe a quarter or fifth of the article Vespine (talk) 23:17, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

1. Anupam opposes "giving away" the birthday. I raised the issue because frankly it looks rather dumb up there (unless it's just the YEAR, which is also for some reason in question and it should not be). The year of birth is clearly 1936, based on Fr. Halloran's testimony. He may have lied, so we have a problem. To solve it, I say we stick to only the year, 1936.

2. Vespine, that banner in my opinion creates an impression that is not reality. Almost nothing is in dispute--there is no big fight here, no real controversy about the article. We are in a work-in-progress. Does that merit the banner? Using a banner like that to solicit attention/assistance is improper.

3. I agree about the awfully presented citations, the entire pargraphs quoted, they need to be trimmed entirely...but then I said that some months ago and was ignored. I second the motion to remove all those paragraphs. The trouble is, only Anupam knows how to do it right since he put all that in there. And we know he won't do it.

4. I'm not changing anything about the Church Law reference, Anupam. It is properly set into the article as it should be. We are not shuffling the good things around just because you do not like their "formatting". This is vital because it is a link to the proper, revised Code of Canon Law commentary about the Rite of Exorcism, in keeping with the Rituus Romanus. I managed to find that as a citation, and you're complaining about how it looks?

Finally, a fond good luck to Vespine, and with some trepidation I hope you'll be back with us soon. I cannot imagine the migraine I'm going to have here unless I 'vacation' along with you. Because I really have never wanted to give up on this article and it has progressed so well!75.21.155.143 (talk) 17:24, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Continued ideas for streamlining the article[edit]

1. It has been suggested that we fuse Later life with the final section. Later life is almost pointless and looks silly.

2. Citations and quotes need a vast amount of trimming. I will do it if I must. All of this has been discussed here already.

3. It has been suggested that we change the section title "Psychiatric considerations" because it is badly worded. I recommend we change it to "Scientific opinions", and I will do so unless there is a strong objection. Of course I do not object to "Psychiatric interpretations"....

4. I think that the exorcism section is in the wrong place, but I will have to review it again to be sure. It seemed to me that it was in the wrong order, in the wrong place.

5. I noted Vespine's upcoming month-long absence. This means we will not have a consensus between us for this duration. Hopefully we can still continue to work the article, and I ask pardon if I commit any unintentional errors in the editing process. A lot of my problem is with the editing/removing of paragaph-long quotes that don't belong there.75.21.110.251 (talk) 15:23, 22 September 2010 (UTC)


Some work has been done, very minimal, and I think it looks very good. I have jumped back in to comment that I don't necessarily think the notes/references need to be shrunk down...people may want to read those footnote entries. Personally I find them quite informative, even if they are anecdotes, and I think they should stay as reference notes. I will not do anything to remove or edit those.75.21.110.251 (talk) 15:28, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't quite see what the 1st paragraph of "origin of claims" adds to the section. Doesn't it just sort of repeat what's already stated elsewhere? It's out of synch with the rest of the section, IMHO, I don't think it really needs to be there. The section already explains the sources of the information, including Halloran, and what does "Also see citations below" mean? Vespine (talk) 23:06, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, if you're asking my opinion, I don't exactly know about the Origin of Claims section either, and I mentioned that sometime in the past, but Anupam said something about it being like an introduction. Otherwise I'd take it up with him Vespine...he put it there and I'm not sure I am comfortable taking it out without a 'replacement statement'. I can't see what harm it does....

I think "See citations below", as related to the text in question, is self-evident! Scientific texts, books and articles often use that term so that we don't repeat citations over and over! Isn't that a problem we STILL have with this thing as it is?75.21.110.251 (talk) 18:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


ORIGIN OF CLAIMS: all right, I will concede two things. 1) The section title is bad grammar. We can change that, and I am having some dull ideas on the subject at the moment. "Outline of Initial Claims"? "Outline of Story"? Man, help me, try to come along armed with ideas! You have such good ones!

2) Lots of stuff in the Origin section seems to belong elsewhere, I can see that. Then again, I have heard nothing about the rewriting and clean-up of the Exorcism section, which is a mess and looks like bugs on a windshield.75.21.110.251 (talk) 18:48, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

No no, I think "origin of claims" was ok, I was specifically referring to just the 1st paragraph. I'm not sure when that popped in there, it's a more recent addition, it mostly just repeats what's already said in that section. I'm just going to take it out for now, if you want a point by point dissertation of why I think that paragraph doesn't add anything to the section, I'll oblige. Vespine (talk) 23:00, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Origin of Claims[edit]

OK, I see which way this was headed, I was a bit slow on this...I actually am reiterating a problem I have with the Origin of Claims section anyway. It looks stupid as it is now, I'm sorry but I calls 'em as I sees 'em. It is no proper introduction to the actual ORIGIN OF CLAIMS! Why call it that then? If the origin of claims is introduced earlier, why have the dumb section at all? I ADDED what Vespine is asking about to that section just to justify its existence! And what is there now is incomplete, belongs elsewhere or ought to be removed. Some of it for the very reasons you stated above, Vespine. It needs removal or work and a re-titling.75.21.110.251 (talk) 16:17, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Also I wish to ask who put back the silly birthdate of this person? Where is that date of birth definitively cited? Ah, you are just wrecking this thing all over again.... I am removing that date. I will try to put the correct year which anyone can see was supposedly 1936 anyway.75.21.110.251 (talk) 16:22, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi again.. Sorry I am really not sure what your issue with "origin of claims" is. I originally added that section because before it, the article just went straight into the story of how the boy was possessed and exorcised, without explaining anything about how the story came about. The article NEEDS a section which explains WHERE the story comes from, that's what "origin of claims" is supposed to be. It explains where the various parts of the story came from. IMHO that's THE most important section of the whole article. Vespine (talk) 23:06, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, my issue is that the way you explain your intent for the origins section (above) does not jibe with the way it is written--hence it looks silly. Also, who is that said a lot of the stuff I tried to put there was already there at the beginning? Wasn't that you?75.21.151.236 (talk) 15:39, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm a bit surprised by the paragraph you added about Walter Halloran, it's a blatant argument from authority. Personal testimony is notoriously unreliable, especially regarding interpretations of "strange" phenomena. If anything, it's people like Halloran who are likely to just confirm their beliefs by interpretation, selective memory and confirmation bias. Vespine (talk) 23:19, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Umm, now I am not following you at all. What do you mean Fr. Halloran isn't credible? Do you even understand the fallacy of an "argument from authority" (which technically is not even a fallacy unless it exceeds the person's actual authority)? He recollects two major things: the kid was not possessed and was not evil. He was up front and with this kid for several weeks, he was a greatly respected Jesuit teacher and served his country with honor. And you want to throw him out of the picture now? What is it with you and your touchiness about sources, care to explain?75.21.151.236 (talk) 15:39, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I've just had another read of "OoC" and I have to say that I strongly disagree that the section "looks stupid". I think the lead is quite alright. The set up is that "robbie" is NOT a source for any of this information, that the information is from second and third hand sources, and that a lot of stories have been built up around the "claims". I think that is a perfectly suitable 1st paragraph.. Then, it goes more specifically into where the main sources of the claims are. I'm struggling to understand what your issue is with it, what do you mean by this "If the origin of claims is introduced earlier, why have the dumb section at all?" . Where is it "introduced earlier"? Vespine (talk) 23:26, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

My issue as I tried to explain above is that the section looks stupid--and amateurish. Your intent is good...but the section does not explain well nor does it stand up to a criteria of the origin of the claims. If you wanted an origin of claims, where are the newspaper accounts from the 1940s? Where is the alleged back-and-forth between Blatty and Fr. Bowdern?

If real, as I recall that it was, it belongs in origin claims. If false, it belongs there, debunked. Yet you have none of that there. But I see...you put that there so now you want it kept at all costs, is that it? Sauce for the goose isn't sauce for the gander in your case? Be honest with us about this, NOT to suggest you are being dishonest, except perhaps with yourself.75.21.151.236 (talk) 15:39, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

WTF?!? I seriously don't get you sometimes 75… Are you READING the same article as me? Can you stop making this personal? I am presenting an ARGUMENT and you are not addressing my points. Address this point: The source of these stories is an IMPORTANT part of the article. I proposed we have a section called origin of claims to explain this. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? YOU say it sounds amateurish and stupid, well WRITE IT BETTER THEN! I'm sorry but the paragraph you tried to add was definitely NOT better.
and it is a pity it has not all been collected into a reference casebook.  ?? Are you serious? You think that improved the section? Give me a break… With that sentence YOU are giving credence to Halloran's testimonies, it is only THIS is the authority I had issue with. I didn't say he needs to be removed or anything…. YES what halloran claims should be in the article, but just as with any other source, you shouldn't draw the conclusion that his opinion is more valid then anyone elses. The job of the article is to present the facts.
You ask where are the newspaper accounts from the 1940s?
It's RIGHT THERE IN THE SECTION: "Around the time of the start of the alleged events (circa mid-1949) there were several newspaper articles printed attributed to anonymous reports. These were later traced back to the family's former clergyman, Reverend Luther Miles Schulze. "
where is the alleged back-and-forth between Blatty and Fr. Bowdern?
I have not come across any sources claiming this is a significant source of information regarding the stories. If you have, feel free to add it in with a reference.
Look, I'M starting to get frustrated now, lol.. Can you do me a fav and STOP making this personal. This has nothing to do with sauce or geese. Can you just stop talking like that, I find it really frustrating. Stick to the FACTS ok? Don't just say it's stupid and amateurish, tell me WHICH PART you think is stupid and HOW WOULD YOU IMPROVE IT! I made my argument, I think the origin of claims section is NEEDED to explain WHERE the story comes from. Without that section it's just a collection of stories. So how would YOU improve it? Vespine (talk) 23:28, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
If we're going to have a dialogue about this, you need to READ my points and address them, otherwise we just get nowhere. Two DIRECT questions I asked you earlier which I would also still like your reply on:
I'm struggling to understand what your issue is with it, what do you mean by this "If the origin of claims is introduced earlier, why have the dumb section at all?" . Where is it "introduced earlier"?
If you want to progress, you have to learn to address specific points. Just flying off the handle and talking about geese and sauce is not going to make the article better. Either come to the party and actually WORK on how we can improve the article, or seriously take that break you've been threatening so many times. I'm getting sick of arguing in circles. Vespine (talk) 23:56, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

OK...you are tired of "arguing in circles". Well, let us try to fix that, one last time. Firstly, yes I admit I did add something somewhat unwise, when I stated in the article that it is a pity Walt's interviews have not been published. I wouldn't repeat the error of putting it in again...but I stand by that! What is this problem YOU have with Fr. Halloran? That he is "just another" stupid-ass source? Do you not have any conception of who this man was?

Secondly: if you cannot follow how the section is silly as-is, I am not hashing out here point by point. Good God, just look at it, read it again, and stop telling me to look at it! That's all I've been bloody doing is looking at it, and getting more and more disappointed with its structure. You DO know what "structure" is, I presume? Look at it and what is therein...it belongs elsewhere and looks silly at the head of the article. Do you follow me now? Or do you still demand a crayon-drawing-like point-by-point? Honestly, you sound like the Marx Brothers, and then yell at me for being too personal!

By the way, how many times do I have to apologize to you before you're happy??75.21.151.236 (talk) 16:54, 28 September 2010 (UTC)


OK--here's the opening of the article as-is:

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Robbie Mannheim Born uncertain and unrecorded, probably 1936 Nationality United States Known for Demonic possession & Exorcism Religion Christian (Lutheran)

Robbie Mannheim (also known as Roland Doe;[1] born circa 1936)[2] is the pseudonym given by author Thomas B. Allen to an anonymous individual most notably known for allegedly being possessed and later exorcised during his childhood in the late 1940s.[3] The alleged events which were reported in the media of the time and the subsequent claims surrounding those events went on to inspire the 1971 novel The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and the 1973 film of the same name, as well as Thomas B. Allen's 1993 nonfiction account Possessed, a second edition of it in 1999, and the 2000 film by the same name, based on Allen's book."

Next we have:

"Origin of claims

The identity of Mannheim has never been revealed, per Church Law and he reportedly has no memory of being possessed.[4] Most of the information regarding him and the events surrounding his alleged possession and exorcism comes from secondary and tertiary sources. Further, over time quite a rich urban legend has built up around the original accounts, with many sources contributing their own embellishments and interpretations to the story.

Around the time of the start of the elleged [sic] events (circa mid-1949) there were several newspaper articles printed attributed to anonymous reports. These were later traced back to the family's former clergyman, Reverend Luther Miles Schulze.[5]

Another article was written on the subject in the January 1975 edition of "Fate Magazine" titled “The Truth Behind The Exorcist,”. This article claims to reveal previously unknown details from a diary kept by one of the priests involved in the exorcism.[6]

Two other main sources date roughly 50 years after the reported events by Thomas B. Allen. These form the basis for Allen's book on the subject, Possessed. One is the testimony of Rev. Walter H. Halloran, at the time one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of the events. The other original source is a diary which was kept at the time of the events, allegedly by Rev. Raymond J. Bishop, a Catholic priest who became involved in the events sometime around 1949. This same diary was used by the 1975 Fate article.[7]

Another author, Mark Opsasnick, claims to have independently investigated these events and spoken to people involved in the case—including several people close to Robbie and his family, other priests in their parish, a source at the hospital mentioned in the claims, Thomas Allen and Father Halloran.[7] The results of his investigation are published as an article in Strange Magazine called "The Haunted Boy of Cottage City: The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story That Inspired "The Exorcist"."

In the article Opsasnick describes the inconsistencies he found in the reports and other testimonies which he claims brings into question the veracity of the claims as reported in Allen's book, especially the more fantastic and supernatural claims, such as the claim that Mannheim spoke languages he couldn't know.

According to Opsasnick, Father Halloran admitted that he thought Mannheim had merely mimicked Latin words he heard the clergymen speak.[8] Opsasnick concludes, "Those involved saw what they were trained to see".[9]"

And this is followed by the Early Life section.

Does anyone SEE the clumsy and ham-handed lurch from the opener to the Origin of Claims? It does not need to be there in its present form because it is a continuation of the opening paragraph.

If you want an Origin of Claims, DO one clearly and cleanly! Like this:

A. An INTRO to the CLAIMED CASE followed by the first stories that circulated

B. Secondary sources and origins if possible

C. Tertiary sources that are all nothing more than myths and legends

What there is now doesn't cut the mustard, can no one see that?.76.195.86.50 (talk) 18:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I honestly can't work out what you want. The OoC section explains where all the different claims came from. I think the article needs a section to explain this because it's a bit more complicated then a regular person's "bio". do you agree or disagree? I personally don't think the section is bad, if you think you can improve it, be my guest, but so far your additions have been hit and miss.. To implement your suggestion "A", you'd have to flip the entire article on its head, if you think that will work, go right ahead, give it a crack. As for B isn't that exactly what the OoC section does? It introduces where all the secondary sources came from, I still don't see what you actually suggest we do to IMPROVE the section. As for C, that's an addition not a modification of what's there, if you think it will make the article better, then again, go right ahead. Vespine (talk) 05:25, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, I concur and find myself inclined to agree with your final take here.76.195.86.50 (talk) 01:42, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Fr. Halloran is not ad verecundiam[edit]

See, Vespine, an argument from authority (I think I should explain here) is when an "authority" makes a claim about anything that is actually outside that authority's purview, then uses authority to force the argument. Walter Halloran does not do that. He was asked many times, and has replied, that he did not believe the boy was possessed or evil. THAT is not an "authority argument" as we used to call it. That is a "professional opinion/observation"--not the same as a fallacy from authority.

In that fallacy which you claim about Halloran, it begs the question based on the arguer's authority. Now if you were to say that about me, well, then it would be an argument from authority if I said Robbie was possessed, or Robbie was not possessed, you see? It is not good throwing an accusation of fallacy at the last expert standing!!75.21.151.236 (talk) 15:53, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

No you are totally wrong, read the very 1st paragraph of the article Argument from authority. An argument from authority (I think I should explain here) , is when it is argued that "a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative."
It's got nothing to do with being "outside that authority's purview".
I do not have an issue with halloran's testimonies being used in the article, what I have issue with is when you added the paragraph that said: Finally one cannot underestimate the results of the many interviews given by Walter Halloran. THIS is an argument from authority, It's completely a "personal opinion", you are essentially saying that in your opinion Halloran's testimony should be given more weight purely because of his authority on the subject. That's what your sentence implies and I think it is completely inappropriate. Vespine (talk) 23:38, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Oh no you don't! Wikipedia is definitely NOT the source to trust, and here is the reason! Where did they get that "definition" of argumentum ad vericundiam? The fallacy clearly states it is when an authority presumes on, illicitly argues or forces a view, based solely on an alleged authority that the alleged authority does not really have.

Where did you study LOGIC, Vespine? "It's got nothing to do with being "outside that authority's purview." That is what you stand by, eh? I'd say consult a logic text or a list of fallacies and rethink that inaccurate statement. "One cannot underestimate the results of the many interviews given by Walter Halloran..."--yes, I made the error of writing that before begging permission, but THAT is not vericundiam either. It is a position, and many share this position.

But I concede your point about how it makes me sound, so let's DROP IT, OK? The damned thing's gone and there's an end of it!

By the way, I guess my training in logic and science means nothing, that you are trying to snow me with Wikipedia's definitions. Someone should go teach them what fallacies are...but they won't hear of it because most of their articles are arguments from authority.

I guess it is Wikipedia sed quod maius non cogitas potest.75.21.151.236 (talk) 17:03, 28 September 2010 (UTC)


Let us get this much straight: Father Walter Halloran reminisced with the media and answered questions all his life. He was also a serving Jesuit priest, with a diocese and pastoral duties.

IF he was full of beans, or if he lied, the Church would NEVER have let him speak publicly--and they would have skinned him alive if he was arguing from authority.

You must understand, he is the true font of genuine fact as he recalls facts, because he had the official blessing of the Church to talk about the possession/exorcism. He was probably ordered by the top brass to answer queries as long as they did not expose the subject's identity.

Why can no one understand that? Can Thomas Allen or William Blatty even come close to Halloran as sources? Also, to reply to an earlier question: not only did Halloran refer to this but two other Church officials said Blatty had spoken at length with Fr. Bowdern.

I'm sorry I cannot offer a citation, because they are things I've heard all my adult life. All I can do is say "I heard it and it was not a lie." I state it here for what it is worth. Are we at least OK about Fr. Halloran now?76.195.86.50 (talk) 19:09, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I still very much struggle to understand you 76... On my talk page you say WHY do you think I'm "picking on you"? Well right above, instead of attacking my argument, you attack me. How am I supposed to read
QUOTE 76:Where did you study LOGIC, Vespine? "It's got nothing to do with being "outside that authority's purview." That is what you stand by, eh? I'd say consult a logic text or a list of fallacies and rethink that inaccurate statement.
I have looked into it a bit more and yes ONE of the ways you can make a fallacious argument from authority is if the authority is talking out of his field, I agree, but it's not the ONLY way: http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Argument_from_Authority http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx http://info-pollution.com/appeal.htm . The main point as I see it about the fallacy is regarding trusting a claim PURELY based on someone's authority, not based on the facts, regardless of the field. A doctor can tell you that a medicine is good for you, it is within their field to say so, but if you believe them and then find out that they actually MAKE AND SELL that medicine, you might have reason not to trust them anymore and check the facts for yourself, their initial claim was an argument from authority.. Similarly, a priest telling you someone was possessed is NOT an authoritative statement, they will obviously be biased and their perception will be severely colored by their expectation.
IF he was full of beans, or if he lied, the Church would NEVER have let him speak publicly.. That's just complete BS, I can't believe you'd even say something like that. Since WHEN is the church in the business of "truth"? And since when did I say he was lying? I don't doubt he believes every word that comes out of his mouth, so do millions of people who believe they've seen ghosts, UFO's, Jesus and psychics... Anyway, i'm not even sure what the point of this argument even is anymore. I don't mind the addition you made to the start of the section. Vespine (talk) 05:12, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Well as I said somewhere, if we can agree that we will disagree about Halloran, let's drop it and leave it as-is. The Origin of Claims is something that, to me, has to be sufficient in light of a failure to attain to something better worded. I should not have altered it initially, since I was only experimenting with ways to 'make it work' more smoothly. I'll respect the consensus you seem to have reached: that I have no say at all while you are always right.76.195.86.50 (talk) 01:46, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

A FEW SUGGESTIONS FOR THE TALK PAGE WHICH I HELPED RUIN[edit]

May I ask that we archive this talk page once again?--it is my fault that we have all this here, but if no one objects I think we should have a neater talk page. I promise I will not clutter it again.

By all means, consult the Wikipedia rules about this if you like.

Note to Vespine: I have made many long remarks at your talk page about Robbie Mannheim as well as talk page subject matter. Check with Wikipedia first, but I give you permission free and unhindered for my part, to delete any of my posts you see fit.

I do not think anyone will say anything about it. You may quote here from my posts as you see fit. Just a suggestion that you might not have thought of; you are free to maintain your talk page as any editor would do.75.21.145.197 (talk) 17:37, 28 September 2010 (UTC)


I have begun straightening up the exorcism section with the varying accounts therein. I am going to continue by removing the lengthier quotes that are not needed. Anything really significant as a quote will appear in-text as it should be. Enough is enough with this unreadable mass of quotes--I cannot even edit.76.195.86.50 (talk) 05:43, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Please stop making unverified styatements[edit]

Removed from "Origin of claims" sec.:

"Whatever the case, the witnesses from 1949, as well as the priests involved, all signed testimonial statements which the Catholic Church has locked away in St. Louis and Washington DC."

Please do not be adding statements of this type without verification or a cited source.75.21.155.253 (talk) 18:06, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I completed (hopefully) a clean-up of this dreadful mess in the form of correcting the text that references the boy by name. It is stupid to have the article titled Roland Doe and then keep calling him "Robbie" and "Mannheim" in the text. Slop job, people. If you are going to better this article with changes, be sure they include the actual article and just your own little pet peeve. I've clarified that both names for the boy are pseudonyms, that the "Roland" one is used by everyone except Mark O. and Thomas Allen, who use the "Robbie Mannheim" pseudonym. I have also tried clearing the ignorant thicket of ANUPAM's original writing.75.21.157.38 (talk) 11:59, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Good corrections, thanks to 90.206.188.141[edit]

Thank you for the minor corrections made here and there. You've done well in fishing out those nearly impossible to spot errors, and it is really helping this article.75.21.157.38 (talk) 15:50, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Ouija board[edit]

Please stop placing "an" before "Ouija board". It is not "an Ouija", it is "a Ouija". The basic underpinnings here are AMERICAN English and in America the grammar rule says it is "a Ouija board" because if you take away its name, it is "a board", not "an board".75.21.157.38 (talk) 14:14, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I salute you, now back to work![edit]

90.206.188.141, you and some other intelligent souls have made this article so clean and nice to read through! I love it. It looks 1,000% better than even a month ago. What great work.

I hope we can get some admins to come and look at this excellent article.

Now I raise a query, because I don't see a lot of discussion here: WHY is this article titled Roland Doe? In case no one has caught on yet, "Roland Doe" is standard for law enforcement and government when "John and Jane Doe [Mr. & Mrs.]" have an unidentified son.

So the problem is you've created an article with a title similar to "John Doe".

Does anyone agree with me about how stupid that looks? Couldn't we put "The Exorcist" someplace in the title? "The Exorcist Boy" or SOMETHING?

I will look into this. If I find a good idea, I'll post it here. If I get the usual no reply, I WILL CHANGE THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE.75.21.119.216 (talk) 08:20, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Well the title of the article was Robbie Mannheim for a long time. I once asked if this article could be called something like "the case of robbie mannheim" or something since it's not really about Robbie/Roland much at all. Others thought that wasn't a good idea.Then someone thought it was a good idea to change it to "Roland Doe" which I thought was even a worse idea for the reasons you give, but i couldn't be stuffed arguing. I don't particularly think "the exorcism boy" is much better, how about "the exorcism of Roland Doe or Robbie Mannheim? Vespine (talk) 09:29, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Vespine, I'm happy to hear from you, and I agree 100% with you though I only vaguely recall your motion to change the title. Your title is good, I think it needs the word "exorcism". Otherwise we are on the same wavelength.75.21.119.216 (talk) 11:40, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Article title change[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 00:38, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Roland DoeExorcism of Roland Doe — My proposal for a new title is: "Exorcism of 'Roland Doe', a.k.a. 'Robbie Mannheim'". And I thank Vespine for the idea which is entirely Vespine's, really.

All I would add is I do not know how to change titles of articles and ensure redirects to the page. I at least need help with that. How is it done?75.21.119.216 (talk) 11:43, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Update: I did what I could to plea for an RfC or whatever it's called, and I gave them a link to the article. I cannot understand the directions they give for planting a banner regarding the issue.

Hope someone replies.75.21.119.216 (talk) 11:54, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I added the requested move banner which will list it on that page and attract editors to discuss this. I shortened your title suggestion though because "a.k.a." is (as far as I know) never used in article titles. Regards SoWhy 10:40, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Many, many thanks. Hopefully there will be some movement on this topic. I agree that "a.k.a." is likely not a good idea in-title. Somewhere it will say his a.k.a., mainly we just wanted a title that made sense and attracted the people who want to read the true story. We were still sort of debating what title seemed best. User Vespine has the best title, I think. In fact, the only title!75.21.153.58 (talk) 15:50, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

This is great. One thing we'll need to be careful of is the lead paragraph will need a tweak once the page is moved, and I think possibly we can just get rid of the info box. Vespine (talk) 21:56, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Dear Vespine, I agree with you - I hadn't thought of that. I guess I was sort of blocking that out, seeing how it has been a bone of contention how to prepare that box in the first place. As I say, I agree with you on this. You deserve an accolade of some major type for shaping up this article.75.21.153.58 (talk) 11:54, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

This doesn't seem controversial to me. The original page move was months ago and wasn't particularly appropriate given the nature of the term 'Roland Doe'. I've decided to be bold and complete the move for you. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 00:38, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

A few corrections[edit]

I have made some corrections in the data box at the top of the article. Some of it is ridiculous, such as saying the subject's name is Roland Doe. Roland Doe is a common pseudonym, not a name. Robbie Mannheim is an alias, not his name!

Also changed is his religion. He converted to Catholicism and all sources agree on that, so why was he listed as a Lutheran?

Also altered is the nationality. I do not care what your style nonsense dictates. A "country" is not a "nationality". If the country is the United States, then the nationality is "American". Look at Webster's if you don't believe me.

Some of these errors are egregious.75.21.153.58 (talk) 09:13, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

since the move[edit]

I tweaked the lead paragraph to fit the new title. The 2nd sentence probably needs a rewrite, the flow is a little awkward, in particular the ending to the individual involved. doesn't sound great IMHO. Happy if someone wants to give it a go, otherwise I'll try to give it a crack when I have some more time later. Vespine (talk) 00:53, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Hmm, reading it a few more times maybe it doesn't sound so bad.. Does anyone else have an opinion?Vespine (talk) 00:55, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

TechnoSymbiosis, THANKS! It is splendid, and since it was Vespine's idea all along, I think it looks SWEET with the correct heading.

Vespine, I think you are correct about everything. I'm absolutely in agreement that the info box should go. That material is too uncertain and all the data is already in-text. What I wanted to ask is: In which direction should the lead par. go?

I'm going to give it a go right now. Tell me if it works.

I AM ALSO REMOVING THE INFO BOX.76.195.85.160 (talk) 20:17, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

There, other than the crammed-looking nature of the par., I think that's good. Have a look, what do you think, Vespine?76.195.85.160 (talk) 20:21, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Looks good, just tried to "un-cram" the lead a bit more. Vespine (talk) 23:18, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

It's fabulous. Does great credit to the whole thing. NOTE: I altered the grammar in the first sentence of the origin of the claim - it was rusty. I tried to make it more understandable so it is easily read, that this story did not originate from Roland Doe.

Congrats, Vespine. This thing finally looks the way you knew it was supposed to look!76.195.85.160 (talk) 04:25, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Since the move II, lead par. and internal citation[edit]

Just dropping a line that I have (hopefully) streamlined the lead par. further. It looked stilted and I can see why - all fixed now I think. What I want to know is why, though, when citing this, Roland Doe works but The Exorcism of Roland Doe obviously does not!76.195.85.160 (talk) 03:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Exorcism of Roland Doe - sorry, experimenting with this form of the citation to see if it links.76.195.85.160 (talk) 03:53, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

The second one is the one you want - the article title doesn't include the word 'the'. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 03:54, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
You mentioned on my talk page you were interested in nominating the article for an award, along the lines of Anna Anderson. That article is a featured article, which has a very rigorous set of criteria to satisfy. If you're interested in climbing the ladder with this article, I think you'll want to start by looking at the Good Article criteria first and working from there, then submitting it for assessment. Good and Featured articles require a lot of effort to get to a high quality and the assessors will typically pull the article to bits in the process, so be prepared for that. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 04:56, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I had a quick skim of the article and I don't believe it's at an appropriate level to nominate for GA at this stage. I'd strongly suggest reading the criteria and using it as a basis to improve the article. Among other things, the prose could use a lot of work to be more clear and encyclopaedic in tone, and the link to the Catholic Church in the article should not be an external link. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 05:06, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Gracious thanks. Will take under advisement, and thanks for reading it through - it does have many weak spots. My hope is to nominate it in future. If you return here soon, will you please clarify the reference to "the external link to the Catholic Church"? It was one of the rigors required to even get that comment to be left there!76.195.85.160 (talk) 02:53, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

I haven't assessed the validity of the link, but external links shouldn't be directly included in the article body like that. Instead, turn it into an inline citation using <ref></ref> tags. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 03:52, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

TechSym, I apologize but I have my hands full. I must confess, I'm too stupid to get that turned into an inline citation ... hopefully someone else has done it. It was pretty tough figuring out how to insert the thing to begin with, and it is a vital reference that belongs in the article. Though as you say, it belongs as an inline citation. The validity of the link is certainly up to the standards of your assessment!76.195.81.212 (talk) 00:47, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Article protection[edit]

While I appreciate and understand the need for protection here, given the changes that have been foisted on this article, and needed correction ... could someone please begin posting a protection notice HERE? I see some grammatical errors and terminology that requires attention, and cannot get to it!

In other words, will whomever it is protecting the page please stop doing that without notification at least? We'd like to be notified here at the talk page!76.195.81.212 (talk) 21:54, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

The article isn't protected, but I see on your talk page that your IP has been used for vandalism before. It's possible the IP has been given a temporary block from editing as a result. You should consider registering for an account, as IP addresses are shared across multiple users and you may be suffering from a problem caused by another user of your IP address. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 02:17, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

TechSym, I know I have replied to someone about this before. I have not committed any vandalism anywhere here, ever. It appears a school shares my IP range - but so do a few choice troublemakers such as those who regularly vandalize Claddagh ring, which article I helped compose and research. There is naturally nothing I can do to prove I didn't do it, except to state that I'm fairly well recognized by my work here.75.21.98.141 (talk) 04:20, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Jumped back in to say, I was IP 76.195.81.212 - but no longer. As I have explained, my provider alternates our IP addresses for security reasons. We have no control over that, and it appears the provider has no control over it either since they have exposed my city of residence several times!75.21.98.141 (talk) 04:22, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
This is fairly normal for ISPs, particularly considering the exhausted IPv4 address pool. For the record, I never said you did any vandalising, simply that your IP has been pegged before. As I said above, registering an account here would alleviate some of the problems you've been having as your account is unique and won't be used by other people on the same IP address. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 04:07, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Techno, it's been a while since I could post. I wanted you to understand, I wasn't upset at you, nor did I believe you accused anyone of anything. I know you were tracking the IP activity, I can understand that.75.21.149.151 (talk) 06:40, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

All good, I didn't make any assumptions =) Are you still having trouble editing the article? If so, you'll probably want to raise the issue somewhere (probably WP:AN?) to try to get it resolved. I suspect they'll also recommend you register an account though. TechnoSymbiosis (talk) 01:38, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Use of tertiary sources[edit]

Nearly all the details of the exorcism in the article are sourced either directly or indirectly to Allen's book Possessed. While secondary sourcing is preferred, Allen's book is a perfectly fine secondary source. What is odd is using tertiary sources which only parrot Allen's book, providing no synthesis with other sources, or new insights. I suggest that all of the content sourced indirectly to Allen's book be directly sourced to the book to avoid confusion on sourcing. aprock (talk) 17:38, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and cleaned up a lot of the article copy. There was a fair amount of duplication, and unsourced dramatization. I've synched most of the copy directly to the sources provided. I've also removed the citations to A Faraway Ancient Country which is just summarizing History Channel segment. In all cases where that source was used, the content was already better sourced to the existing citations, so no content was affected. I'm not sure the article is quite ready for a GA nomination, but it's much closer. aprock (talk) 18:51, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
The work on this article has been excellent, commendable and I love the way the finished article stands now. It looks just like an encyclopedic article ought to look. I tried so hard for a long time to get it into this shape, and failed. May I just say, the reference section is longer than the article and I think it's remarkably structured for being so long. Djathinkimacowboy 19:06, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Copyright problem[edit]

I have cleaned this article of a substantial copyright problem with several sources, most particularly the Strange Magazine article, from which we had taken over 1,200 words. Wikipedia's copyright policies forbid extensive quotations from non-free sources, and this is no question that this source is non-free; it reserves all rights. Please see Wikipedia:Copy-paste, Wikipedia:Copyrights and Wikipedia:Non-free content. It is permitted to use brief excerpts of copyright content for transformative reasons, but we cannot take substantial content from any source. While there is no precise word count that constitutes infringement, it's worth remembering that in one extreme case, 300 words from a 500 page book were found to infringe. While that was an extreme case, 1,200 words is likely to be substantial from any article. Several of the other sources, too, were far too extensively copied. Wikipedia articles must rely on proper paraphrase to a great extent when the sources are copyrighted. While information is free for reuse, expression is reserved and must be incorporated conservatively within policy. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 01:41, 20 June 2012 (UTC)