Gina Frost, 57, says she began suffering vivid and horrifying hallucinations after watching the horror film at the cinema with an ex-boyfriend.
She was so tormented by macabre visions of rats running up her walls and other similarly ghastly sights that she locked herself in her room for nine weeks.
Gina claims the iconic film left her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has made her life a misery for the past four decades.
The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair, scared viewers witless in the 1970s.
It deals with a mum’s desperate attempts to free her daughter from demons through an exorcism by two priests.
As she watched the film, Mrs Frost recalls being overwhelmed by the horror scenes and less than a week later, the scary hallucinations had taken a hold of her.
Terrified, the theatre director from Greater Manchester, locked herself in her bedroom for nine weeks in an attempt to escape the horror of her visions.
“I remember people running out of the cinema to be sick and there were girls screaming behind me,” Gina said.
“It was one of the first horror films I’d ever seen. I remember being horrified at the scene where the priest pummels the young girl’s heart with a stake.
“Just one week later I was in my bedroom and I began seeing rats running up and down the walls. I ended up locking myself in my bedroom for weeks because I was so petrifed.
“I thought I was going mad. It took me about nine weeks before I felt like I could go back into the world.
“Ever since then I have been experiencing awful hallucinations that make me feel sick. Often I hallucinate about my own death.
“It’s like I am watching a film in my head where I am being ripped apart and tortured. It is enough to turn anybody’s stomach and it makes me feel ill.”
Mrs Frost’s visions have affected almost every aspect of her life, and the horrifying images can be triggered by anything from a loud noise or a particular item on sale in a shop.
“Not long ago I was crossing a road and I saw a shop window and I saw a display of Chinese swords and other weapons in the window.
“Immediately I knew it was going to trigger a hallucination so I had to find a nice quiet place where I could have a cup of tea,..”
Over the years, the visions that plagued Mrs Frost became much worse, leaving her social life in tatters and her emotional wellbeing in a bad state.
“The hallucinations have taken over my life when it comes to social situations. Ever since I was eighteen I have tried to avoid being in social situations just in case I have a hallucination.
“Between the ages of 18 and 39 the hallucinations were erratic, but over the past then years they have got worse.
“At one point I was having up to three hallucinations a week and each one lasts three minutes. I often feel exhausted afterwards.”
Gina was so frightened by her condition that she hid her hallucinations from her husband John Topliff for fifteen years because she was terrified that he would leave her.
But eventually, after admitting everything to her spouse, Gina was convinced by John to see a doctor where she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and prescribed medication.
“When the doctor told me my hallucinations were a classic symptom of PTSD I was so relieved. I had spent years thinking I was going mad and worrying that I was going to end up being sectioned.
“As soon as I started taking medication the hallucinations came less and less. I still have them, but not as much and they’re not as bad as they were.”
Despite beginning to recover from her condition, Gina has not watched a scary movie since 1973, and it is unlikely that she ever will.
“I haven’t been able to watch a horror film since. Everybody says The Exorcist was the scariest film that was ever made and I have to agree because I have never been able to watch another one, so I have nothing to compare it to.”
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