William S. Bowdern

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Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. (February 13, 1897 - April 25, 1983) was a Catholic priest[1] of the Society of Jesus in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. He was the author of The Problems of Courtship and Marriage printed by Our Sunday Visitor in 1939. He was a graduate of and taught at St. Louis University High School; he also taught at St. Louis University. Bowdern participated in an exorcism of Roland Doe in 1949. The incident became the basis of William Peter Blatty's novel, The Exorcist.


In 1949, Bowdern was assisted in the exorcism of an anonymously-named boy by fellow Jesuit priest Walter Halloran. Author William Peter Blatty contacted Bowdern as part of his research for his novel, The Exorcist. In a 2000 TV-movie titled Possessed, Bowdern was played by Timothy Dalton.[2][3]


  1. ^ Roman, James W. (2009-02-17). Bigger than blockbusters: movies that defined America. ABC-CLIO. pp. 200–. ISBN 978-0-313-33995-0. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Opasnick, Mark. "The Cold Hard Facts Behind the Story that Inspired "The Exorcist"". Strange Magazine #20. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  3. ^ Thomas B. Allen (11 November 2013), Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism, BookCountry, ISBN 978-1-4630-0367-8 

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