A Maryland couple were shocked to find their new dream purchase was actually for the house that inspired one of the most feared book and film events of the 20th century.
Danielle Witt and Ben Rockey-Harris were thrilled when they found a 3-bedroom house in Cottage City, Maryland for $50,000 less than its market value and swooped in to close the deal as soon as they possibly could.
But shortly thereafter purchasing the house, they learned it may have been responsible for the fear in the hearts of a generation.
In fact, the house was the site of an actual exorcism on a teenage boy that would go on to inspire the 1971 novel The Exorcist.
"Honestly, the first thing I thought was, oh, God, this is going to tank our resale value," said Danielle Witt to NPR.
"And then the next thought I had was, maybe I better rewatch that, start learning more about what it is that we just bought."
The ritual exorcism that took place in the couple's house took place around 1949, according to archives from the Washington Post.
In fact, it was "only after between 20 and 30 performances of the ancient ritual of exorcism" that the process complete and the "devil finally cast out of the boy."
Robbie Manheim, the boy whose possession inspired the novel and later film version of The Exorcist, is now thought to have struggled with an undiagnosed mental illness rather than an unwelcome demonic possession.
But even with that hindsight, Rockey-Harris and Witt have said they still aren't afraid of the house.
"Demons possess people, not houses," said Rockey-Harris.
Regardless, when they moved in, Witt and her friend did burn sage in the house—just to make doubly sure.