2022 was an incredible year for horror, and there are already some exciting horror movies on deck for 2023. One of those films is True Haunting, a haunted-house story adapted from a firsthand account of history’s first televised exorcism. Gary Fleder will direct, with a script by Richard D’Ovidio based on the book, also titled True Haunting, by Edwin F. Becker.
Scheduled for release on January 20, 2023, True Haunting will star Erin Moriarty and Jamie Campbell Bower as Ed and Marsha Becker, a real-life couple whose first home turned out to be haunted. While desperately searching for help, the couple ended up being the subjects of a widely seen 1971 NBC News segment airing an exorcism in the couple’s home. While NBC reported that the exorcism was a success, it made things much worse for the Becker family.
The Becker family moved into the dilapidated home on the northwest side of Chicago in 1970 when the couple were expecting their first child. Ed Becker says that when he first entered the house, he encountered Myra Vedere, an elderly woman whose family owned the home. He said he planned to put her in an assisted living facility after the sale. Myra cursed Ed for moving into a home where he was unwanted. With no home and a baby on the way, the Beckers looked past the creepy woman and purchased the home.
Although the home was built by the Vedere family around 1900, the Beckers were the first new owners in its history. Neighborhood lore is that an ill-tempered man named Ben Vedere had passed away in the home’s bathtub. His sister, Myra Vedere, had been the doomsayer Ed Becker had encountered when he first visited the house. Ben’s wife had also died by suicide in the home after being beaten (and maybe worse) by Ben.
The couple says that after moving into the Chicago home, strange things would happen such as the phone coming off of the hook on its own, cabinet doors opening, items moving around on their own, and hearing ghostly sobs and footsteps at night.When the Beckers rented out the lower level of the home, their tenants also noticed evidence of a paranormal entity. Soon the haunting escalated, with plates flying out of the cupboard and an entity touching Marsha while she was in the shower. Though this was a few years before The Exorcist (1973) hit theaters, the couple called a priest to perform an exorcism. During the initial exorcism, the priest’s brass aspergillum shattered.
The couple then had the home exorcised by members of an independent spiritualist church in Chicago, an event which was filmed by the NBC News crews. The NBC crew wore cross necklaces during the exorcism. The crew described strange occurrences during the exorcism, including an extraordinarily strong gust of wind and ghostly sounds. The reverend who performed the exorcism determined that the haunting was caused by “an old woman who may have been gypped out of some money.” While NBC promoted the segment as a success, the exorcism only increased the malevolent activity in their home. The actual NBC segment with the exorcism is still on YouTube today:
Previously, the Beckers’ story had been told by the television show Paranormal Witness in the twelfth episode of the show’s second season, titled “The Tenants” from October 2012. The episode is currently available on Peacock. After the failed exorcism, the home continued to be unlivable for the Beckers. They eventually fled, selling the home for only $10.