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.
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.