Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption [NOOK Book]

Overview

The legendary bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, whose books have sold over 14 million copies, reveals the amazing true story of his work as an exorcist -- kept secret for more than twenty-five years -- in two profoundly human stories of satanic possession.
In the tradition of his million-copy bestseller People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, Scott Peck's new book offers the first complete account of exorcism and possession by a modern ...
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Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption

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Overview

The legendary bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, whose books have sold over 14 million copies, reveals the amazing true story of his work as an exorcist -- kept secret for more than twenty-five years -- in two profoundly human stories of satanic possession.
In the tradition of his million-copy bestseller People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, Scott Peck's new book offers the first complete account of exorcism and possession by a modern psychiatrist in this extraordinary personal narrative of his efforts to heal patients suffering from demonic and satanic possession.
For the first time, Dr. Peck discusses his experience in conducting exorcisms, sharing the spellbinding details of his two major cases: one a moving testament to his healing abilities, and the other a perilous and ultimately unsuccessful struggle against darkness and evil. Twenty-seven-year-old Jersey was of average intelligence; a caring and devoted wife and mother to her husband and two young daughters, she had no history of mental illness. Beccah, in her mid-forties and with a superior intellect, had suffered from profound depression throughout her life, choosing to remain in an abusive relationship with her husband, one dominated by distrust and greed.
Until the day Dr. Peck first met the young woman called Jersey, he did not believe in the devil. In fact, as a mature, highly experienced psychiatrist, he expected that this case would resolve his ongoing effort to prove to himself, as scientifically as possible, that there were absolutely no grounds for such beliefs. Yet what he discovered could not be explained away simply as madness or by any standard clinical diagnosis. Through a series of unanticipated events, Dr. Peck found himself thrust into the role of exorcist, and his desire to treat and help Jersey led him down a path of blurred boundaries between science and religion. Once there, he came face-to-face with deeply entrenched evil and ultimately witnessed the overwhelming healing power of love.
In Glimpses of the Devil, Dr. Peck's celebrated gift for integrating psychiatry and religion is demonstrated yet again as he recounts his journey from skepticism to eventual acknowledgment of the reality of an evil spirit, even at the risk of being shunned by the medical establishment. In the process, he also finds himself compelled to confront the larger paradox of free will, of a commitment to goodness versus enslavement to the forms of evil, and the monumental clash of forces that endangers both sanity and the soul.
Glimpses of the Devil is unquestionably among Scott Peck's most powerful, scrupulously written, and important books in many years. At once deeply sensitive and intensely chilling, it takes a clear-eyed look at one of the most mysterious and misunderstood areas of human experience.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his 1983 bestseller, People of the Lie, Peck devoted a chapter to exorcism. In this astonishing new book, the megaselling author of The Road Less Traveled reveals his work as an exorcist and attempts to establish a science of exorcism for future research. Peck knows that many readers will be skeptical of or flummoxed by his report, and thus he emphasizes that he himself scoffed at the idea of demonic possession before encountering Jersey Babcock; Peck became involved in her case mostly to "prove the devil's nonexistence as scientifically as possible." But a comment by Jersey at their first meeting "blew the thing wide open." Jersey, a Texas resident who believed she was possessed and who was neglecting her children as a result, said that her demons were "really rather weak and pathetic creatures"-a statement so at odds with, as Peck puts it, "standard psychopathology" that his mind began to change. Peck describes two cases in this book, that of Jersey and the more difficult case of Beccah Armitage, a middle-aged woman who grew up in an abusive family, married an abusive husband and was practicing self-mutilation when Peck took her case. Both cases result in full-blown exorcisms with Peck as the lead exorcist, and both, according to Peck, involved paranormal phenomena, including Beccah acquiring a snakelike appearance. Peck intersperses his calm but dramatic recitation of these cases with set-off commentary, and he concludes the book with a reasoned proposal for a science of exorcism ("An exorcism is a massive therapeutic intervention to liberate, teach, and support the victim to choose to reject the devil"). A report from what is to most of us a strange and distant land, Scott's book probably won't convince crowds, but it's powerful and concisely written enough to interest many, and maybe to give a few pause for thought. (Jan. 19) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743276542
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/2005
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 179,258
  • File size: 380 KB

Meet the Author

M. Scott Peck, M.D. is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Road Less Traveled, with six million copies in print. His other books include Further Along the Road Less Traveled, The Road Less Traveled and Beyond, Meditations from the Road and Golf and the Spirit.
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Read an Excerpt


Preface

In large part, this is a book of personal history and, in particular, an account of two experiences I had during my forties. They constitute, so far as I know, the first full accounts of possession and exorcism by a modern psychiatrist -- which is to say, a medical scientist.

Still, what I write is not autobiography. Here I am not the subject; the subject is Satan and I have included only those experiences of mine that relate to that subject.

To most in our culture the subject of Satan seems esoteric indeed. But then I am not sure how seriously most take God either, beyond a touch of superficial piety. The problem is that ours is a materialistic culture. Materialism is a philosophy or attitude that holds that what you can see and touch and measure is all you get, and anything else is not worth serious consideration. But both God and Satan are Spirit. Since spirit cannot be seen, touched, or measured, it is impossible to obtain hard evidence of its existence and thereby pin it down in our collection box like a captured butterfly.

The evidence of spirit is, at best, indirect. As one very early Christian theologian put it, in relation to God, "The most we can hope for is to get a glimpse of His footprints on the ramparts He has walked."

Because Satan's the lesser of the two spirits, it is even more unusual to obtain glimpses of Satan's manifestations. Still, if we pay attention, it is sometimes possible.

And for some, myself included, the notion of Satan is far from esoteric. In my book People of the Lie, after quoting a description from Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin in which a priest's struggle between good and evil was described in depth, I wrote that the issue of free will is a paradox. On the one hand, there is no question in my mind that we humans possess free will. Indeed, I believe this is the essence of what is meant when we say that God created us in His own image. He gave us free will. Like Himself, we are free to choose. But then I went on to state:

On the other hand, we cannot choose freedom. There are two states of being: submission to God and goodness or the refusal to submit to anything beyond one's own will -- which refusal automatically enslaves one to the forces of evil. We must ultimately belong either to God or the devil. This paradox was, of course, expressed by Christ when he said, "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it. And whosoever shall lose his life, for my sake, shall find it."* As C. S. Lewis put it, "There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan."Ý I suppose the only true state of freedom is to stand exactly halfway between God and the devil, uncommitted either to goodness or to utter selfishness. But that freedom is to be torn apart. It is intolerable. As Martin indicates, we must choose. One enslavement or the other.

In People of the Lie there was a brief chapter, "Of Possession nd Exorcism," which was based on my experiences with two very different cases of satanic possession and their exorcisms. The subject of that book was the entirety of human evil. Because the phenomenon of demonic possession is such a tiny part of the "mystery of iniquity" (a phrase of St. Paul's), my two case descriptions were extremely condensed. While this condensation was appropriate to that book, it did not do justice to the extraordinary nature of both happenings. In the course of those happenings, I was privileged to witness things that very, very few other people have seen. It seemed to me that there should be a reasonably thorough historical record of these almost unique events.

The full account of these two cases, along with my commentaries on each case, constitutes this book. It should be noted that the entirety of both exorcisms was videotaped, and thus the characters' dialogue could be faithfully rendered.

Copyright © 2005 by M. Scott Peck

Handle with Care

Satan is spirit, and spirit is mysterious. Some things can be said about it; most cannot. Those things that can be said, I have tried to say with clarity, but take them with a grain of salt. That is how I take them myself. If and when it seems I am speaking with excessive certainty, I hope you will remember that had I expressed all of my own reservations, much of the book would have been unreadable. My only alternative would have been to write nothing at all. But that, I believe, would have been the greater sin. These things need to be talked of.

Satan is evil spirit. "Evil" is a dangerous word. Speak it carefully -- full of care. It is not to be used lightly. Try your best to do no harm with it. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. Yet remember those three famous monkeys covering their eyes and ears and mouth: See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil. I think the wise person who thought them up was trying to tell us they were stupid little monkeys, monkeys of denial.

The focus of this work has been Satan first, possession second, and only slightly on evil. Readers interested in the general phenomenon of evil should read my 1983 book, People of the Lie.

The pope recently directed that every Roman Catholic diocese should have a diocesan exorcist. People with a serious personal concern about possession in regard to themselves or others should seek out the exorcist in their diocese. How well trained or experienced that person might be I have no idea. Regrettably, on account of my health and retirement, I myself am no longer able to be of any assistance as a clinician or advisor except to the church. Remember that genuine possession is a very rare phenomenon. The diagnosis, like that of evil, is not one to be bandied about.

Copyright © 2005 by M. Scott Peck

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    Bad Psychiatry and Bad Theology

    I do not know what was worse in Dr. Peck's management of the two cases in this book, the psychiatry or the theology. Frankly, I think his ego wrote checks his unfortunate clients were unable to cash. I have the rather uncommon background of being both a practicing psychiatrist with over 25 years experience and a candidate for the Anglican priesthood. I have seen a few properly done exorcisms and have also provided medical treatment and psychotherapy for individuals with problems similar to the two clients in this book. I could say a lot about the first case but will confine myself to asking the author why he thought his psychospiritual ministrations had accomplished a cure. The woman had delusions and heard voices before treatment so she was clearly psychotic. She continued to hear voices regularly afterwards so she merely ended up with a more functional psychosis. A person who has chronic auditory hallucinations is at high risk for a decompensation at any time. Why was she not placed on medication? The second woman was finally placed on some medication, sort of. After years of treating an unresponsive depression, Peck finally prescribed a very subtherapeutic dose of amitriptylene. And his spiritual ministrations were even more inept. The woman was a member of a sacramental church. Her psychiatrist should not have been sharing sips of wine and crackers with her in his office and calling it communion. I was hoping Dr. Peck had written a good book about the interface of the psychological and the spiritual. He did not. I do not know what was worse in Dr. Peck's management of the two cases in this book, the psychiatry or the theology. Frankly, I think his ego wrote checks his unfortunate clients were unable to cash. I have the rather uncommon background of being both a practicing psychiatrist with over 25 years experience and a candidate for the Anglican priesthood. I have seen a few properly done exorcisms and have also provided medical treatment and psychotherapy for individuals with problems similar to the two clients in this book. I could say a lot about the first case but will confine myself to asking the author why he thought his psychospiritual ministrations had accomplished a cure. The woman had delusions and heard voices before treatment so she was clearly psychotic. She continued to hear voices regularly afterwards so she merely ended up with a more functional psychosis. A person who has chronic auditory hallucinations is at high risk for a decompensation at any time. Why was she not placed on medication? The second woman was finally placed on some medication, sort of. After years of treating an unresponsive depression, Peck finally prescribed a very subtherapeutic dose of amitriptylene. And his spiritual ministrations were even more inept. The woman was a member of a sacramental church. Her psychiatrist should not have been sharing sips of wine and crackers with her in his office and calling it communion. I was hoping Dr. Peck had written a good book about the interface of the psychological and the spiritual. He did not. Thomas G. Shafer, MD

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    For an understanding of exorcism, I do highly recommend this book.

    I purchased this book after watching the film The Rite which is based on a true story. Seeing Dr. Peck's book I was morne than interestd in knowing how a clinician felt about exocism, given the fact that many non-believers relate to heads twisting and spitting green pea soup. Dr. Peck does a wonderful analysis of his personal experiences. A step of details lading to becoming an exocist. His personal accounts of Malachi Martin are not the same as you would read on some internet sites which indicated Dr. Peck loathed Malachi Martin. Throughout the book he recounts his dealings with Malachi Martin and although hesitant in the beginning of their relationship over time Dr. Peck comes to admire him. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and feel Dr. Peck is an objective writer of this subject.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Well worth reading

    I bought this book because I believe possession is possible, and I greatly respect Peck, having read three earlier books. Surprisingly, I now have even more hesitations about how to discern between possession and mental illness.
    In this book, I felt a lack of spiritual depth. Perhaps he just did not express it in his writing. I think I felt that a person needed to be an instrument of God, as opposed to taking it into his own human hands, even though calling on God's name. I also missed depth in the spiritual follow-up.
    In addition, I sensed a lack of humility. He never actually nailed the point that humility, or lack thereof, may have been an element in his exorcisms.
    On the positive side, I was intrigued with some of the characteristics of the people, the value of teamwork, and his categorization of evil forces. I think the book is a worthwhile read - in some cases a should-read - for clergy, spiritual directors, and psychologists

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2007

    A MUST READ BOOK

    This is the book about something that most of us ordinary people don't want to know. Now, the time has came when we must be strongly aware growing spiritual emptiness among all the peoples, and overvalued imortance of material possession. This book will open our eyes and souls to the real life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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