‘Exorcist’ author William Peter Blatty’s house is for sale, just in time for Halloween


Just in time for Halloween, the Maryland house where “The Exorcist” author William Peter Blatty lived for 16 years is on the market. And it could be yours for just $3.2 million.

The six-bedroom Georgian Colonial in the Burning Tree neighborhood in Bethesda was home to Blatty and his wife, actress and former Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Julie Blatty, from 2001 until the author’s death in January.

William Peter Blatty was a prolific novelist and screenwriter best known for his 1971 novel “The Exorcist,” about two priests determined to chase away a demon that has possessed a 12-year-old girl in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. The book has sold more than 13 million copies.


Blatty, who later lived in Los Angeles, was a student at Georgetown in 1949 when he read a Washington Post story about an exorcism of an adolescent boy nearby.

In 1973, the book was adapted into the iconic movie starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair. The film drew considerable controversy for its graphic violence but was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning two, including one for Blatty, who wrote the screenplay.

The Blattys moved to Maryland in 2001 after spending years in Hollywood (before he wrote his iconic horror novel, Blatty had co-written comedy screenplays with Blake Edwards).


Julie Blatty told the Post that she wasn’t initially sure what to make of the Bethesda house. “This was not our style,” she said. “But my husband said we can Blatty-ize it. We grew to love its beauty.”

The listing for the property, built in 1988, describes it as “uniquely beautiful” and “grand and gracious.” The house boasts five full bathrooms, a two-story foyer, a club room and an indoor pool.

The house also might be home to a ghost. Julie Blatty told WTOP-FM that she can sense the spirit of their son, Peter, who died at age 19, in the house.

“Peter made his presence very felt,” she said. “Nothing spooky or scary, just interesting phenomena that led us to believe just because of an accumulation of incidents that it was just the beneficent touch of our son, Peter, letting us know he was still with us and was happy.”

In 2015, his father published a memoir, “Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death,” that encompassed Blatty’s time in Hollywood, his son’s sudden death from a rare heart disorder and the family’s experiences with his spirit afterward.


A brochure for the property doesn’t allude to any ghosts, but does mention the home’s “enormous crystal chandelier,” “expansive cherry paneled study” and “embassy-sized dining room.”

The property is being brokered by Kara Sheehan of Washington Fine Properties.