William “Bill” Blatty, who recently passed on January 12, 2017 at age 89, became my step uncle in 1971 when my mother married his older brother Maurice “Moe” Blatty. At the time Bill was already a famous comedy screenwriter known for such hits as What did You Do in the War Daddy, and A Shot in the Dark as well as many other screenplays. His horror novel THE EXORCIST was now a New York best-seller. On December 26, 1973 his novel became the first blockbuster horror movie. Later he won the Academy Award for best screenplay film adaptation. It was an amazing time. Not only was Bill Blatty a great writer in both comedy and fiction, he was a kind and generous man. During that time my first husband Joe was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Bill Blatty financed Joe’s trip to Mexico for the controversial Laetrile cancer treatments and Moe drove him to and from Mexico's clinic for several days. Although Joe died due to his advanced cancer, the Laetrile treatments gave Joe hope he could beat cancer. Joe passed away Christmas of 1974.
Many years passed. I had lost contact with Bill and his wife Julie until a few years ago when I learned that they had moved from California to Washington, D.C. and had two beautiful sons, Peter and Paul. However, their firstborn son, Peter Vincent Galahad Blatty, died suddenly on November 7, 2006 at the age of nineteen. His parents Bill and Julie were devastated.
Today so many children die young but some of them are born knowing they have a brief mission to fulfill like Bill and Julie Blatty’s son Peter. These children are what authors have termed “New Children” or “Star Children” who possess amazing gifts of telepathy, recall of past lives and heaven, and see spirits and angels. Some of these children are prodigies like artist Akiane who recalled heaven and angels at a very young age and could paint like a master. Akiane's paintings are worldwide famous now.
Peter Blatty understood, as you will read below, that he was a Star Child, here on Earth for only a short time to help "people." My wish is that my step uncle's beautiful written memory of his son Peter Vincent Galahad Blatty will touch your hearts. These children, here for such a short time, teach us powerful lessons. Bill wrote in his last book, Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life after Death, that Peter made his presence known after his death several times, confirming death doesn't exist. It's only a transformation for the physical to the spirit world.
Julie Blatty has generously given me permission to share "A Father Remembers."
A FATHER REMEMBERS by William "Bill" Peter Blatty
When Peter was born, I did something remarkably out of character. All my children had the names of saints: Michael Peter, William Peter, Christine Ann, Mary Joanne, Jennifer Ann. But with Peter, I found myself strangely overcome by a compulsion to give him an added middle name. A very specific one. Galahad. Whose "strength was as the strength of ten", because his heart was pure. I told Julie, Pete's Mom," I don't know, I've just got this feeling that's what he's going to turn out to be". And so he did. It's the rare individual who on first meeting Pete, that imposing young man with the quick, warm smile, didn't sense that he was somehow in the presence of an extraordinary human being. There were never any halfway measures with Peter. Fiercely loyal and fiercely faithful, his love burned brightly and intensely like the love of angels massed before God. For many years he thought everyone was built that way, and so it was easy to break his heart. But like his other namesake, Pete would have cut off the High Priest's servant's ear without a moment of hesitation. He was incredibly brave, and kind. I couldn't drive past a beggar on a median strip without Peter pleading that I give the man money. "We'll hold up traffic, son. Can't do it." "Come on Dad, PLEASE!"
And did I say brave? A former Heights classmate of Peter's came by with a very young dogwood tree this week. He wanted to plant it in our yard in memory of Peter. "In gratitude," he said. He then told me a story of when he and Peter were both 15. The friend had challenged a boy from another school to a fight. They met in a field, surrounded by about 80 boys from both schools. They fought and Peter's friend won the bout. But the vanquished boy threatened he'd fetch a cousin who would then beat the friend to a pulp. Peter's friend said, "Fine. Bring him on. Bring an army." What showed up was almost worse: a hulking, muscular 26-year-old ex-convict who had just been released from prison. Within minutes, Peter's friend was on the ground, taking blow after blow to the face and head, and recognizing that he was in danger of serious injury he shouted," Stop! Stop! I give!" But the man didn't stop. Among those 80 watching the fight were two hulking football players. But they didn't intervene. No one moved. Except Peter. He slipped out of the crowd, walked up to the convict, who was flailing away, and said commandingly, "Didn't you hear him say stop? He said stop! So now do it!" And in an almost mysterious, otherworldly moment, the hulking ex-con looked up at Peter with a numb and bewildered look on his face…and then got up without a word and walked away. On the day he brought the tree to our house for planting, Peter's friend said he'd chosen a species of dogwood called, "Cherokee Brave". Youthful idealism sometimes prompts a boy to utter, "Oh, I'd give up my life for him or her." What made Peter unique was that if he ever said such a thing you knew that Peter would actually do it.
His mom, Julie Blatty kept a diary of unusual statements that Peter had made from earliest childhood, and I think that recounting one or two of them now would give you a fuller, though sometimes haunting and mysterious, picture of Peter. At age three he once asked me, "Dad, how do you learn?" I said, "Well, most people learn from experience or principle, and I guess I learn from both." Pete said, "That's not how I learn I learn from the sky. God teaches me." At the same age the diary records that one day, while his baby brother Paul was being dressed, Peter turned away from looking out a window at the ocean and said, "Mom, do you know why I came here?" His Mother said, "No, son, why?" His answer was, "I came here to help people!" As to Peter's spirituality, which was deeper than the heart of the world, the diary reveals quite an interesting range. When he was six he told his Mother that while he believed everything written in the Bible, he said, and I quote, " But Mom…I just can't get behind a talking snake!" But now jump ahead to a diary entry made in this final year of his earthly life: "Oh, Mom…if I had lived in the time of Christ and had been able to see Him and hear Him, I just know I couldn't have resisted Him!"
So here's just one more glimpse into Peter's breathtakingly beautiful soul. He was 5 years old when he said to his Mother, and this, like the other diary quotes is word for word what he said: "Mommy, when God was making me, I was a little bit scared and a little bit sad…until I saw you." When Peter was two, his Mother was watching him as he packed a little child's tin lunchbox. "I'm a little star boy," he said, and that he was packing his suitcase for a trip. "Where are you going?" Julie asked him. Peter answered, "I'm going to a star."
And now too soon, he has made that journey. Like those memorable comets that now and then flash across the night sky with a sudden and beautiful blazing brilliance and then all too quickly fade from our sight, our beloved little star boy has gone home.
A Mother Remembers......by Julie Blatty
Peter's last year was one of tremendous suffering. Through it all, however, he never lost his faith in the God he loved so much. Friday, November 3rd, he went to confession and Mass with me. He spent his weekend saying,"Look on the bright side mom...I'm good with God!" He called all his closest friends and shared his good news. It was the last thing he said to many of them. Early in the morning of November 7th, our tender and merciful Lord called Peter home. He passed peacefully in his sleep. Our pain is excruciating and our human natures tremble, but there is deep peace within our souls, because we know our beloved child is finally, and forever, at peace. The official cause of death was Myocarditis. It is a rare condition, often triggered by a viral illness, in which a person's own immune system attacks their heart.
You can read more about Peter in Bill's last book Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life after Death on Amazon.