'The Patient Is the Exorcist': Interview with M. Scott Peck

Breaking a decades-long silence, the author of 'The Road Less Traveled' describes the exorcisms he conducted on two women.

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck is known for his best-sellers "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of the Lie." While most readers are familiar with the spiritual bent of Peck's works and his struggle to come to terms with human evil, few realize that Peck himself conducted exorcisms in the 1980s.

After twenty years, Peck describes these exorcisms in his book "Glimpses of the Devil." In this Beliefnet interview, Peck discusses why he thinks demonic possession needs to be recognized--and grappled with--as a reality.

Can you talk a little bit about your own beliefs? Religiously speaking, how were you raised?

I was raised in a pretty profoundly secular home. Only after her death did I realize my mother was what I came to call a crypto-Christian. In some ways, I am grateful that I was raised in a secular home, because that meant that I didn't have any old religious baggage to carry with me. I was free to go and think what I wanted.

Even though it was a secular home, as I look back on it, I was a freakily religious kid. From the age of three on, as far back as I remember, I just knew there was a God behind everything.


My first contact with religion was taking a world religions course my senior year in high school. I immediately gravitated toward the mystical writings of Hinduism and Buddhism and the Upanishads and then Zen Buddhism. I kind of stayed with that until my late twenties.

I was what you might call a mystic, but definitely not a Christian. Christianity made no sense to me. I didn't believe Christ was divine, I didn't know where all this stuff in the Bible came from.

I found myself thirsting for something a little more solid and gravitated somewhat from Zen to Sufism and got interested in the Muslim mystics, the explosion of Muslim mystics in the 13th century in Persia.

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