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

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9780743254670: Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption

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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Review:

When M. Scott Peck wrote People of the Lie in 1983 he offered readers a fascinating glimpse into the human face of evil. His spiritual/psychological profile of people who were narcissistic as well as evil was especially disturbing because so many of us have faced relatives, co-workers, and even spouses with this destructive combination. However, one of his most chilling chapters in that book was titled "Of Possession and Exorcism," in which he explored an even more sinister form of evil—the possibility that the devil and smaller demonic spirits could entrench themselves into a human’s soul. That chapter briefly described two clients who Peck believed were possessed by the devil. Ultimately he performed an exorcism with each client.

In Glimpses of the Devil, Peck returns to this dark and controversial chapter, expanding upon his beliefs in demonic possession. Like many science-educated professionals, Peck was a skeptic when it came to believing in the devil. But here he gives readers the complete story of his conversion as well as a full account of the two clinical cases that made him a believer as well as an exorcist. Because he videotaped the exorcisms, the dialog and scene work is stunningly authentic and convincing.

Some have criticized this discussion as disappointingly dry. One might argue that Peck’s restraint when it comes to dramatics and sensationalism is this book’s strength. Peck’s mission is not to entertain, but rather to request a more expansive discussion of evil, so that science entertains the possibility of the devil and demonic entities. He also hopes that we will begin a serious discussion of interventions against demonic possession that aren’t limited to the restraints of the Catholic Church.

Fans of Peck may also discover an unexpected gift within this controversial discussion. Peck is now an elder. Once a best-selling icon, he is aging into humbleness, comfortably admitting his mistakes and arrogance when it came to those early exorcisms. This softness and humility seem to elevate his authority, and we can only hope that he will offer more books from this voice in the years to come. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

M. Scott Peck's publishing history reflects his own evolution as a serious and widely acclaimed writer, thinker, psychiatrist, and spiritual guide. Since his groundbreaking bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, was first published in 1978, his insatiable intellectual curiosity has taken him in various new directions with virtually each new book: the subject of healing human evil in People of the Lie (1982), where he first briefly discussed exorcism and possession; the creative experience of community in The Different Drum (1987); the role of civility in personal relationships and society in A World Waiting to Be Born (1993); an examination of the complexities of life and the paradoxical nature of belief in Further Along the Road Less Traveled (1993); and an exploration of the medical, ethical, and spiritual issues of euthanasia in Denial of the Soul (1999); as well as a novel, a children's book, and other works. A graduate of both Harvard University and Case Western Reserve, Dr. Peck served in the Army Medical Corps before maintaining a private practice in psychiatry. For the last twenty years, he has devoted much of his time and financial resources to the work of the Foundation for Community Encouragement, a nonprofit organization that he helped found in 1984. Dr. Peck lives in Connecticut.

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