Photo from the bottom of the Exorcist steps looking up
The Exorcist steps in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

38°54′19.96″N 77°4′12.59″W / 38.9055444°N 77.0701639°W / 38.9055444; -77.0701639

The Exorcist steps are concrete stairs, continuing 36th Street,[1] descending from the corner of Prospect St and 36th St NW, down to a small parking lot, set back from the intersection of M Street NW, Canal Rd NW, and Whitehurst Freeway NW in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., famous for being featured in the 1973 film The Exorcist. The steps were built in 1895 during construction of the adjacent Capital Traction Company Barn for cable cars,[1] serving as a lightwell and public right of way. Before the Exorcist association, the stairs were informally called "Hitchcock steps"[2] for famed suspense and horror film director Alfred Hitchcock.[3]

For The Exorcist, the steps were padded with half-inch-thick (13 mm) rubber to film the fall of the character Father Damien Karras. Because the house from which Karras falls was set back slightly from the steps, the film crew constructed an eastward extension with a false front to the house in order to film the scene.[3][4][2]

In a ceremonial Halloween weekend in 2015 that featured the film's director William Friedkin and screenwriter William Peter Blatty (who also wrote the book on which the film is based), the Exorcist steps were recognized as a D.C. landmark and official tourist attraction by Mayor of the District of Columbia Muriel Bowser, with a plaque unveiled at the base of the steps recognizing its importance to Washington, D.C. and film history.[5][6][7]

See also

Other staircases famous for their use in films:


  1. ^ a b "Why Do the Exorcist Steps Exist in the First Place?". The Georgetown Metropolitan. October 30, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2021. There's an interesting article in the Washington Post from December 1894 profiling the elderly famous author Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth who lived in a cottage perched next door on Prospect. Here it is after she passed away when it became a bit of a tourist trap:...The cottage was demolished in 1942. In 1950 a new townhouse was constructed in its place. That is the Exorcist house
  2. ^ a b "Exorcist Steps in Washington, DC". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 5, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Truitt, Brian (October 7, 2013). "'Exorcist' creators haunt Georgetown thirty years later". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  4. ^ The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist
  5. ^ "Ahead of Halloween, Mayor Bowser to Commemorate "Exorcist Steps"" (Press release). Washington D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. October 26, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  6. ^ Chadbourn, Margaret (October 30, 2015). "'The Exorcist' Steps Declared a Washington DC Tourist Site". ABC News. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  7. ^ Romano, Nick (October 31, 2015). "The Exorcist steps made an official Washington D.C. tourist attraction". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved October 31, 2015.