Thomas B. Allen (author)

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Thomas B. Allen (born 1929) is an American author and historian. He resides in Bethesda, MD. He is also the father of science fiction writer Roger MacBride Allen. Allen is a contributing editor to National Geographic.

Publication and film[edit]

His most famous book to date is Possessed.[1] It is a retelling of the true story of a teenage boy (whom Allen identified by the pseudonym Robbie Manheim) from Mt. Rainier, Maryland who went through the rite of exorcism in 1949. Allen tracked down the sole survivor of the team that performed the exorcism, Father Walter Halloran as well as a copy of the diary kept by the team leader, Father William S. Bowdern. It was upon this case William Peter Blatty based the events of his novel, The Exorcist. First published in hardcover in 1993, the book was reissued as a revised paperback in 2000 to coincide with the release of a made-for-cable film Possessed (2000 film)[2] starring Timothy Dalton as Father Bowdern. The film kept close to the facts as presented in Allen's book for the most part but did add some cinematic scares.

Allen's Possessed has been criticized by Mark Opsasnick, who claims to have proven that the subject of the exorcism on which Blatty based his novel had resided not in Mount Rainier, Maryland, but in Cottage City, Maryland. Opsasnick describes other assertions in Allen's book as questionable or inaccurate as well.[3]


Since publication of the book, Allen has been a frequent guest on talk shows, entertainment shows and history shows that discuss exorcism in general, demonic possession and the case his book details. Allen adopts a neutral point of view as to the reality of possession, preferring to let the facts and witnesses speak for themselves and allowing the reader or viewer to decide for him- or herself if such things are real.

Allen has co-authored numerous books with Norman Polmar. He has also written numerous mystery novels.


  • George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
  • The Shark Almanac: A Fully Illustrated Natural History of Sharks, Skates, and Rays
  • Remember Pearl Harbor: Japanese And American Survivors Tell Their Stories
  • Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent: How Daring Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union During the Civil War
  • Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb with Norman Polmar
  • Rickover with Norman Polmar
  • Mr. Lincoln's High Tech War (2008) with Roger MacBride Allen
  • Time Capsule: The Book of Record (2010) with Roger MacBride Allen


  1. ^ Possessed: The True Story of the Most Famous Exorcism of Modern Time
  2. ^ Possessed film
  3. ^ Opsasnick, Mark. “The Haunted Boy of Cottage City: The Cold Hard Facts behind the Story that Inspired The Exorcist.” Strange Magazine 20 (1999). N.d. 13 Mar. 2009. <>.

External links[edit]