Undoubtedly, the most enduring and widely known Mount Rainier legend concerns the exorcism. The events began in 1949 with the unsuccessful exorcism and continued later in St. Louis, Mis-souri, where the boy was reportedly freed of the demon. Other than a few newspaper articles in 1949, little attention was given to the story until “The Exorcist” film in 1973.  The film was based on a 1971 novel by William Blatty who retold the story he remembered from a 1949 newspaper.


Local lore places the boy‟s home at 3210 Bunker Hill Road, now a small park with a gazebo adja-cent to the elementary school playground.  In the 1960s, the house was razed (some say it was burned down by the VFD because no one would live in it).  In the 1990s, some local parents still would not allow their children to play at the park, known to some as the “Exorcist Lot” or as “Satan‟s Lot.” Tourists still stop to take photos of the site. After the possession occurred, the boy converted to Catholicism. A few years ago, an investigative reporter determined that the whole epi-sode actually occurred in Cottage City, but exorcising Mount Rainier‟s claim to the urban legend is unlikely to succeed.
House at 3210 Bunker Hill Road after it burned down
Long-time resident Marilyn Mowatt, who knew the boy‟s family, recalled that they had lived in Cottage City but moved to the Bunker Hill Road house to try to escape the strange happenings. She remembered that Father Hughes‟ hair turned white shortly after he attempted the first exorcism. Winfield Kelly who later served as County Executive of Prince George‟s County was an altar boy at St. James Church where Father Hughes served and Kelly also recalled the priest‟s dra-matic physical changes attributed to the stress of the exorcism.  In 1980, Mowatt recognized the grown boy at the funeral of Father Hughes.   (Bryan Knedler, Centennial of a Street Car Suburb, 2010)
For more information check out the long article in Strange Magazine (attachment).
Jimmy Tarlau,
May 14, 2010, 7:25 PM