Hostage to the Devil - Reissue: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans

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Overview

One On One With Satan

A chilling and highly convincing account of possession and exorcism in modern America, hailed by NBC Radio as "one of the most stirring books on the contemporary scene."

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Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans

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Overview

One On One With Satan

A chilling and highly convincing account of possession and exorcism in modern America, hailed by NBC Radio as "one of the most stirring books on the contemporary scene."

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Newsweek
“Martin is above all serious. He is not speaking about madness, about illusions or the irrational, but about the real beyond all reason.... He presents exorcism as ... a titanic clash of wills that threatens the lives, the sanity, even the souls of all attending.”
Detroit News
“Martin’s polished contemporary sense of traditional theology entices even the skeptical.... Stunningly pertinent ...Will set you thinking-and thinking-and thinking.”
New York (Sunday) Daily News
“The most shattering book on demonic possession isn’t fiction at all but Malachi Martin’s spellbinding work of interpretive reporting.”
The Washington Post Book Review
“In the barrage of books on possession and exorcism, this is undoubtedly the most authoritative and convincing.”
M. Scott Peck
Hostage to the Devil is the first and only textbook on the subject of possession and exorcism in modern times. It is the only work to describe the stages of exorcism and it is obviously based on an enormous amount of personal experience. ... a brilliant work.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060653378
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 82,982
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Malachi Martin eminent theologian, premier authority on the Roman Catholic Church, and former professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute-is the author of such national bestsellers as The Final Conclave, Vatican, The Jesuits, and The Keys of This Blood. His most recent book is Windswept House: A Vatican Novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Michael Strong --
Part One



When the search party reached the disused grain store known locally as Puh-Chi (One Window), the bombing of Nanking was at its height. The night sky was bright with incandescent flares and filled with explosions. Japanese incendiaries were wreaking havoc on Nanking's wooden buildings. It was December 11, 1937, about 10:00 P.m. The Yangtze delta all the way down to the sea was in Japanese hands. From Shanghai on the coast to within two miles of Nanking was a devastated area on which death had settled like a permanent atmosphere. Nanking was next on the invaders' list. And defenseless. December 13 was to be its death date.

For one week the police of a southern Nanking city precinct had been looking for Thomas Wu. The charge: murder of at least five women and two men in the most horrible circumstances: Thomas Wu, the story was, had killed his victims and eaten their bodies. At the end of one week's fruitless searching, Father Michael Strong, the missionary parish priest of the district, who had baptized Thomas Wu, sent word unexpectedly that be had found the wanted man in the barnlike Puh-Chi. But the police captain did not understand the message Father Michael had sent him: "I am conducting an exorcism. Please give me some time." *

The main door of Puh-Chi was ajar when the police chief arrived. A small knot of men and women stood watching. They could see Father Michael standing in the middle of the floor. Over in one corner there was another figure, a young, naked man, suddenly ravished by an unnatural look of great age, a long knife in his hands. On the shelves around the inner walls of the storehouse lay rows androws of naked corpses in various stages of mutilation and putrefaction,

"YOU!!" the naked man was screaming as the police captain elbowed his way to the door, "YOU want to know MY name!" The words "you" and "my" hit the captain like two clenched fists across the ears. He saw the priest visibly wilt and stagger backward. But, even so, it was the voice that made the captain wonder. He had known Thomas Wu. Never had he heard him speak with such a voice.

"In the name of Jesus," Michael began weakly, "you are commanded . . ."

"Get outa herel Get the hell outa here, you filthy old eunuch!"

"You will release Thomas Wu, evil spirit, and . . ."

"I'm taking him with me, pigmy," came the voice from Thomas Wu. "I'm taking him. And no power anywhere, anywhere, you hear, can stop us, We are as strong as death. No one stronger! And he wants to come! You hear? He wants to!"

"Tell me your name . . ."

The priest was interrupted by a sudden roaring. No one there could say later how the fire started. An incendiary? A spark carried by the wind from burning Nanking? It was like a sudden, noisy ambush sprung by a silent signal. In a flash the fire had jumped up, a living red weed running around the sides of the storehouse, along the curved roof, and across the wooden floor by the walls.

The police captain was already inside, and he gripped Father Michael by the arm, pulling him outside.

The voice of Wu pursued them over the noise, "It's all one. Fool! We're all the same. Always were. Always."

Michael and the captain were outside by then and turned around to listen.

"There's only one of us. One . . ."

The rest of the sentence was drowned in a sudden outburst of flaming timbers.

Now, the glass rectangle of the single window was darkening over with smoke and grime. In a few minutes it would be impossible to seeanything. Michael lurched over and peered in. Against the window he could see Thomas' face plastered for an instant of fixed, grinning agony, It was a horrible picture, a Bosch nightmare come alive.

Long, quickly lashing tongues of flame were licking at Thomas' temples, neck, and hair. Through the hissing and crackling of the fire, Michael could hear Thomas laughing, but very dimly, almost lost to the ear. Between the flames be could see the shelves with their gray-white load of corpses. Some were melting. Some were burning, Eyes oozing out of sockets like broken eggs. Hair burning in little tufts. First, fingers and toes and noses and cars, then whole limbs and torsos meltirig and blackening. And the smell. God! That smell!

Then the fixity of Thomas' grin broke; his face seemed to be replaced by another face with a similar grin. At the top speed of a kaleidoscope, a long succession of faces came and went, one flickering after the other. All grinning. All with "Cain's thumbprint on the chin," as Michael described the mark that haunted him for the rest of his life. Every pair of lips was rounded into the grinning shape of Thomas' last word: "one!" Faces and expressions Michael never had known. Some he imagined he knew. Some he knew be imagined. Some he had seen in history books, in paintings, in churches, in newspapers, in nightmares. Japanese, Chinese, Burmese, Korean, British, Slavic. Old, young, bearded, clean-shaven. Black, white, yellow, Male, female. Faster. Faster. All grinning with the same grin. More and more and more. Michael felt himself hurtling down an unending lane of faces, decades and centuries and millennia ticking by him, until the speed slowed finally, and the last grinning face appeared, wreathed in bate, its chin just one big thumbprint.

Now the window was completely black. Michael could see nothing. "Cain . . ." he began to say weakly to himself. But a stablike realization stopped the word in his throat, just as if someone had hissed into his inner ear: "Wrong again, fool! Cain's father.

* This is the only exorcism reported in this book for which I have no transcript and could not conduct extensive interviews. My sole source was Father Michael himself, who recounted these events to me and allowed me to read his diaries.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the New Edition: Possession and Exorcism in America in the 1990s
The Fate of an Exorcist
Michael Strong - Part I 3
A Brief Handbook of Exorcism 9
The Cases
Zio's Friend and the Smiler 29
Father Bones and Mister Natch 83
The Virgin and the Girl-Fixer 173
Uncle Ponto and the Mushroom-Souper 249
The Rooster and the Tortoise 321
Manual of Possession
Good, Evil, and the Modern Mind 409
Human Spirit and Lucifer 413
Human Spirit and Jesus 427
The Process of Possession 435
The End of an Exorcist
Michael Strong - Conclusion 447
Appendix I: The Roman Ritual of Exorcism 459
Appendix II: Prayers Commonly Used in Exorcisms 473
Index 475
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    Father Malachi Martin explores several modern (last sixty years) exorcisms in this text. The reader is introduced to several real world cases of demonic possession including a single failed exorcism which resulted in the death of the possessed. The late Father Martin was one of the last ¿old school¿ exorcists of the Catholic Church and also heard the confession of the Pope in Rome. As such, he is more than qualified to give the churches perspective on this most dark subject. Ultimately the text challenges the reader¿s beliefs with regard to good and evil. I strongly encourage those with an interest in the topic to select this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2006

    this book is for real

    For years, I was skeptical of Satan and demons, mostly because I was a liberal Christian whose theology had no room for demons. Then I had a brush with the real thing. And let me tell you something, folks, things changed for me overnight--literally. I'm here to say that the Evil One is real, that demons exist, and if you're looking for a beginner's book on demoic posession, the rite of exorcism, and the sad state of contemporary theology, then Fr. Martin's book is the book for you. Martin presents five cases of demonic posession. The book is fast paced, full of suspense, and often times reads like a novel. Throughout five cases of posession, Martin discusses how it occurs, how demons operate in the posessed, and how they are expelled from the human beings they love to torment. This book is frightening, and the first case will forever haunt me. The fact that many Catholic dioceses don't have an official exorcist is even more frightening. This is truly sad and a huge victory for Satan. This book is a gold mine for anyone who is coming to demon posession for the first time. The drawback is that it's long and overwritten it's as though Fr. Martin took literary liberties to show off his writing talent. He uses long descriptive passages and poetic imagery, which, while fun at the beginning of the book, soon got annoying. While there are some beautiful passages (Martin is a talented writer) the book could have been half as long. Having said that, don't let it keep you from reading this powerful book. This is a much neglected topic, mostly becasue theology today is so liberal and becasue science seems to be putting God out of the game (which isn't true). To speak personally, I have made a return to orthodoxy becasue of my experience of the demonic realm. I wish I could say that demons didn't exist, but they do. Thankfully, their time of torture and posession will soon end because Jesus Christ is risen, and one day all things will be put under His feet.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2006

    Uh...

    Interesting thoughts contained in this book. As for the 'truth,' as the previous reviewer stated, not necessarily. The accounts are chilling and definitely open the reader's eyes to the evil in the world. I'm not sure I believe it has anything to do with Satan though. I went into the book an agnostic, and I've come out an agnostic. People try to relate experiences and evils to whatever religion they follow, and this is a very elaborate attempt to do that. I'd recommend reading it and looking at the matters outside the box. The man who wrote it obviously thinks he's telling the only truth and wants to convey it in a way to demonstrate that. It seems hard for people to interpret things on their own. Yes, there are evils in the world but that doesn't mean there is a superstitious/out of this world answer to explain its existence. Maybe man is evil by nature. People use the term, 'truth,' rather loosely though. Read the book if you're looking for a scare. But trying to put the events into a real world perspective, it seems kind of silly. People seem to need religion to do what is morally appropriate and I think this book is another way to scare people into acting the way they should without any coaxing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2004

    Truly a Book To Read And Think About It

    This book has opened a lot of things to me that I have often overlooked but now am beginning to see. I am not a religous person but I did read this book late at night usually around midnight to 2 am there was one chapter called the Girl Fixer that caused me to have weird dreams My wife says I started howling like a dog in my sleep. Thats how disturbing this book can make you feel if read before bed but I highly recomend reading it for the insight it gives you into the darker areas of religon and evil that surrounds us all that we will only be able to see if we open our Eyes and Minds to what is really going on around us and not be consumed by the fake reality that TV and Movies and the Media show us what life is all about.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Engrossing...

    I met Malachi Martin years ago in Brooklyn...which made it absolutely impossible to ignore his book. He was even more impressive in person. I was almost unable to finish it simply because it was so disturbing. I cannot imagine how this book can be improved upon with regards to its message.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2006

    I can't Put It Down!!

    I have just started reading the book and I cannot put it down. I suspect that I will be finished soon if I don't get too fightened. I like it because it's not a 'Scary Story' with the purpose to scare. It is an actual account of the experiences in someones life that is meant to inform. Answer Questions. Bring to light the dark and evil. I highly reccomend this book if you really want to know the TRUTH.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    A sobering look at an often sensationalized subject

    I first came across Malachi Martin's "Hostage to the Devil" at the annual book sale at Milton H. Latter Memorial Library on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. I am a Catholic from birth and I have always taken a deep interest in my faith, even in those areas that are considered "old fashioned" or no longer believable. But after reading Martin's book I started saying my prayers much more fervently because he presents the presence of evil as an everyday occurrence in our world. I grew up with the idea that diabolic posession was as shown in the movie "The Exorcist" - namely that the possessed sprout boils on their faces and their heads turn 360 degrees while they fly through the air and spit green pea soup. But through Martin's research I learned that, although unusual effects and occurrences are possible, many cases of partial or complete posession manifest themselves more through the appearance of spiritual confusion, malice, and outright evil deeds. The signs of possession are more in the spirit than in the flesh. The book is a sober and thought provoking. He avoids sensationalism even when describing events which would seem strange and unusual. But most importantly, Martin gives us clear evidence that evil is not gone, that Satan is not dead- but that he lives now, calling himself, as described by the possessed, the Claimant, the Leader, the Daring One, the Prince, and the Angel of Light. And that he hunts human spirits weak in faith to bind them to his will, and that such a person can be freed only by a great effort of skilled prayer and understanding by a qualified priest of the Catholic Church who retain the powers given to the Apostles to cast out evil spirits in the Holy Name of Jesus the Christ. In each case described in the book, the demons yield, though after a battle, to the power of the Holy Name which they can rarely say, more often calling Him- That Person. The mechanism and evidence of posession are laid out clearly. "Hostage to the Devil" is necessary reading for all who understand that evil lives in the world and must be fought by faith and goodness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    As a Catholic, I was shocked that any priest would use profaniti

    As a Catholic, I was shocked that any priest would use profanities and layout in detail sex related activities in the way that has been done in this book. I didn't get very far before I had to delete this book from my library altogether. "Woe to him from whom the scandal cometh". The information concerning possessions in this book could have been related without such description sexual references and fully printed vulgarities.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    Laced with the most descriptive profanities and sexual references

    As a Catholic, I was shocked that any priest would use profanities and layout in detail sex related activities in the way that has been done in this book. I didn't get very far before I had to delete this book from my library altogether. "Woe to him from whom the scandal cometh". The information concerning possessions in this book could have been related without such description sexual references and fully printed vulgarities.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    GREAT BOOK AND IT WILL MAKE YOU PRAY!

    Best book I have ever read. After reading the chapter 'The Girl Fixer' I wanted to figure out who this person was and I came up with tennis star 'Renee Richards' Do a google search of pictures and it will scare you to death. It all fits but of course dates and places do not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2001

    Subtle and Real Evil

    This novel was outstanding and frightening. Any doubt that one has of Satan's existence is cleared away with this novel. It gives an insight into the entity and subtle moves of Satan in his constant but useless quest to steer Christ's children away from Him. Read it. Believe it. And watch for the lies of the enemy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2000

    Cerebral, yet satisfying

    This work very effectively explains the links between the physical and the spiritual in a way that needs small doses to assimilate. There is much detail and many specifics to absorb, but the book is written in a way which makes you feel like you have been there. It may leave you mentally and emotionally exhausted, but that seems to be the only way to grasp the enormity of such a such a harrowing occurrence. It was researched exhaustively and written brilliantly, and is by far the most compelling book I have ever experienced.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2000

    Hostatge held me tight

    This is one of the finest books i have ever read. With its stories the rights and the prayers it is an over all good book i enjoyed it,obviously,immensly.

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    Posted May 27, 2012

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    Posted March 27, 2010

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    Posted August 25, 2013

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    Posted September 19, 2009

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    Posted April 7, 2011

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