Couple Purchased New Home Before Finding Out Its Iconic Horror Film Past

Buying a new home can come with several challenges but one couple in Maryland was shocked to learn about the creepy past of their new home.

In the summer of 2020 Danielle Witt and Ben Rockey-Harris finally found a home just outside of Washington D.C. after months of searching.

Witt told NPR she had done a lot of research on the home and was excited at the possibility of moving to the area. However, in an effort to not fall in love with the home too soon, she did not Google the neighborhood itself.

When their offer was accepted, Witt jumped onto Google and plugged in Cottage City, their new town, to find the shocking results

Their newly purchased home is said to have been the inspiration for the 1973 horror film The Exorcist.

As the story goes, in 1949 a 14-year-old boy was possessed by a demon at his Maryland home and subsequently the subject of multiple exorcisms. The incident was reported at the time and years later was adapted into a novel by William Peter Blatty, NPR reported.

In a story published by The Washington Post in 1949, the reporter wrote, "In what is perhaps one of the most remarkable experiences of its kind in recent religious history, a 14-year-old Mount Rainier boy has been freed by a Catholic priest of possession by the devil, Catholic sources reported yesterday."

The reporter continues that the young boy was the subject of 20 or 30 exorcisms taking place both in St. Louis and in the Maryland home.

Exorcist house
Danielle Witt and Ben Rockey-Harris found out about their new home's spooky house after their offer had been accepted. Max von Sydow and Linda Blair on the set of "The Exorcist." based on the novel by William Peter Blatty and directed by William Friedkin. Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images

"In complete devotion to his task, the priest stayed with the boy over a period of two months during which he said he personally witnessed such manifestations as the bed in which the boy was sleeping suddenly moving across the room," The Post reported.

Rockey-Harris told NPR, " I think we definitely looked up whether or not, like, a prior possession was an escape clause from a house under contract and realized that it wasn't."

He said for Halloween this year he is thinking of getting a Catholic priest costume and a speaker playing "The Exorcist" soundtrack on a loop.

Over the course of the over 70-year history, since the exorcism was said to have occurred in the house, there have been discrepancies in what some people believe to have actually occurred.

In 1999, Mark Opsasnick, a historian in the area set out to find the "real story" of what happened in that house. He published a 26-page report of his findings in an issue of Strange Magazine, The Washington Post reported in a 1999 article.

One of these findings was that despite the claim that the home was in Mount Rainier, as was published in The Post at the time, he claimed the exorcism occurred just a few minutes away in the house in Cottage City. He also claimed in the piece that the boy was never really exorcised but rather was just a prankster.

In his 1999 article, Opsasnick disclosed the address of the home so Rockey-Harris says there are still fans who stop by to snap photos, The Washingtonian reported.

The pair has leaned into the home's past, the magazine said, even using the demon's name from The Exorcist, Pazuzu, as their wifi name.