Glimpses Of The Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts Of Possession, Exorcism, And Redemption, by M. Scott Peck
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is a pretty terrifying read. For some reason, I have read a fair amount of books that deal with the problem of demonology , and this book adds yet another volume to that genre that I am familiar. Before finding this book in my local library’s system, I was unaware that the author had written about his own involvement in exorcisms, which, to put it very mildly, is on the far edge of psychological practice. Despite having begun his exorcism practice–which appears limited to the two cases discussed here, thankfully–when he was but a very new Christian, he certainly wished to convey an understanding of exorcism within a general interest in the problem of evil and in his own growing awareness that there were indeed forces of great evil and that human beings readily recruited themselves to it. Moreover, the author has some very similar views as I do about the way that Satan tends to target those who are viewed as threatening to him and that, frequently, this targeting is done through child abuse and neglect of some kind, sometimes making for generational patterns of evil and abuse.
This book takes about 250 pages to discuss the author’s thoughts on two exorcisms he engaged in during his time as a practicing psychiatrist. After introducing the subject and his own interest in the area, he talks about his mentoring of sorts by the late exorcist and generally scandalous and unreliable man Malachi Martin. The first four chapters look at the author’s first exorcism, with a woman named Jersey, going through a diagnosis (1) of demon possession, an account of the four-day long exorcism itself (2), the follow-up treatment (3), and some commentary on some insights that the author gained from the experience (4). The second part deals with a darker experience, an unsuccessful exorcism of a woman named Beccah, also looking at the diagnosis (1), the unpleasant and ultimately unsuccessful three-day exoricism (2), and the intermittent follow-up that took place afterwards (3). The author then closes with a discussion of what possession is and provides an epilogue that seeks to place demon possession as a scientifically viable, if highly controversial, diagnosis. Throughout the reader gets a good sense of the way in which people become ensnared by evil and how difficult it is to break free from it.
By and large, this book is pretty humble and unsparing. The author admits his own faults and comments on areas where he was not quite as competent as he could have been. This is readily understandable, though, since the author only had two exorcisms over the course of a long and busy career, and exorcisms appear to be a rather rare sort of phenomenon even for the best of practitioners. The author’s discussions point to the way that people are exposed to the influence of demons by showing an interest in writings that deal with astral projection and New Age spirituality and demonism, and show that demons often begin their influence with people during childhood in the context of abuse and neglect from their parents. As someone who has seen the demonic destruction of families and engaged in my own long and bitter spiritual struggles, this is a book that I found rather chilling and also rather insightful. If Peck does not come off as the most competent of exorcists in this book, he does at least demonstrate to the reader his own glimpse of the horrors of satanic involvement in people and the ways that people can be caught up in great evil.
 See, for example: