Thomas B. Allen

Possessed

From the diary of the exorcism, Wednesday, March 16: “...Father Bowdern...began the prayers of exorcism...R was awake and the overhead light in the bedroom was kept burning. R kept his hands outside the bed covers...Three large parallel bars were scratched on the boy’s stomach...The most distinct markings on the body were the picture of the devil on R’s right leg and the word ‘HELL’ imprinted on R’s chest...The devil was portrayed in red. The arms were held above his head and seemed to be webbed, giving the hideous appearance of a bat...two letters ‘GO’ and a third pointed away from the crotch, an indication which might have meant that the devil would leave by way of urination or excrement...”

Whatever your preconceived notions of the devil, demonic possession or of an exorcism may be, it’s safe to assume your view has been shaped, at least in part, by Hollywood--“The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen.” Believe it or not, the passage above is from the real diary of the only documented exorcism sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the 20th century. The full diary is included in the new edition of Thomas B. Allen’s book, Possessed, about the possession and exorcism performed on this adolescent boy given the pseudonym “Robbie” and sometimes referred to as “R.”

If Possessed leaves you with uncomfortable questions about personal beliefs too difficult to wrestle with, you may want to consider taking Allen’s position--“I believe everything about it was over the horizon. I make the distinction in my own mind. I believe in the inexplicable.”

“...with the aid of a hot discovery, an eyewitness diary of the exorcism...Allen has written an impressively sober and fair-minded book.”
--The Washington Post

Selected Works

History
Gone from the Mount Vernon Library since 1858, a great treasure is back—and begins a new life in an exquisite reproduction.
The fascinating story of the 1844 presidential campaign of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism.
A History of the Loyalists in the American Revolution. An accompanying book is The Loyalist Corps: Americans in Service of the King (co-author Todd W. Braisted)
How the North Used Technology to Win the Civil War. (Co-author Roger MacBride Allen)
A great American survival story that begins on a trail of defeat and ends when General George Washington leads a new army out of Valley Forge, heading toward victory.
An exciting narrative about daring slaves and free blacks who spied for the Union during the Civil War.
Because Washington was a great spymaster, the Americans outspied the British and won the Revolutionary War.
"Spy Book" is the definitive reference to the secret world of dead drops, code names, double agents, and black projects.
Culled from archives around the world, 50 documents illuminate the secret and often inaccessible stories of agents, espionage, and behind-the-scenes events that covertly changed history.
The saga of determined World War I veterans, from their historic march on Washington in 1932 to their legacy, the GI Bill, in 1944.
Non-Fiction
A day-by-day account of the real exorcism on which the movie “The Exorcist” was based.
Non-Fiction, ages 10 to 14
A compelling narrative laced with first-person accounts from both American and Japanese survivors.
A List of Books and Articles
by Thomas B. Allen