Occult Detective Countdown 13/20: Lt. William Kinderman / #40DaysofHalloween

I can’t get The Exorcist out of my head, so who better for the next Occult Detective on my list than Lt. William F. Kinderman. Surprised he’d make the cut? Well don’t be. Kinderman, especially in Legion, William Peter Blatty’s sequel to The Exorcist, has all the great hallmarks of a quintessential occult detective.

In The Exorcist novel and film, Kinderman (played brilliantly by Lee J. Cobb) is an unknowing occult detective, in that he is working the homicide of Burke Dennings, whom was murdered by a demonically possessed twelve year old girl, Regan McNeil.

In Legion, and its film adaptation, The Exorcist III, Kinderman (this time portrayed by the legendary George C. Scott due to Cobb having passed away in 1976) is on the trail of a serial killer who is, in fact, the deceased “Gemini Killer” who is occupying the body of Father Damien Karras inside a mental institution under the name Tommy Sunlight. The Gemini Killer is able to leave Karras’ body and possess the bodies of patients suffering from dementia and he uses them to continue his murder spree.

William Kindermen is a kind, good-hearted soul, a meticulous investigator, and a fan of film (It’s a Wonderful Life) and literature (The Brothers Karamazov). His insights, particularly as espoused in the epilogue of Legion, are interesting. He believes that the Big Bang was Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and that humanity represents the fragments of Lucifer’s shattered body and that mankind’s evolution is the Fallen One’s process of putting himself back together again into an Angel.

Heady stuff. A brilliant character on page and screen and one of my favorite occult detectives.

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through a list of some of my favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

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