Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism
A priest's diary, hidden for forty years in a mysterious locked room of a St. Louis mental hospital, has recently come to light, giving us the best-documented exorcism in history - the very exorcism that prompted William Peter Blatty to write The Exorcist. In August 1949, a story in the Washington Post caught the eye of Blatty, then a Georgetown University undergraduate: "Priest Frees Mt. Rainier Boy Reported Held in Devil's Grip", said the headline. The story went on to describe many of the bizarre and harrowing events that Blatty would later draw upon in his celebrated novel, The Exorcist. More than forty years later, the redoubtable Tom Allen has researched every fact and tracked down every living witness to the exorcisms of the Mt. Rainier boy: exorcisms that actually took place over a period of several months in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and - at last, successfully - in St. Louis, Missouri; exorcisms that required a Lutheran minister, a Catholic priest, and - in the end - a whole team of Jesuits in order to succeed. Allen's search began when a detailed diary mysteriously came into his hands, a diary kept by one of the Jesuits. But the evidence he has uncovered in his subsequent investigations is so shocking, so chilling, and so credible that it needs no hyperbole. Suffice it to say that as you read this book you will understand at last the force of the old maxim that truth is stranger than fiction.