Glimpses of Demons

An exorcism team encounters the demons 'Damien' and 'Josiah' in a troubled wife and mother.

In this excerpt from "Glimpses of the Devil," psychiatrist M. Scott Peck describes an exorcism he conducted on a 27-year-old wife and mother he calls Jersey. Sexually abused as a young teenager, Jersey's behavior in her twenties became more and more erratic. She finally sought help from the family psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Lieberman, telling him, "I'm possessed." Though the family was not Catholic, Jersey's mother consulted Father Terry O'Connor, a Catholic exorcist in the diocese. Jersey was eventually referred to Peck, who gathered a small group of clergy and mental health professionals to perform a deliverance, and then a full-scale exorcism, on Jersey. The team included Bishop Worthington, a conservative Episcopal bishop. This excerpt begins on day three of a four-day exorcism.

Reprinted with permission of the Free Press.


In the first session after lunch Jersey quickly began to speak in a touchingly realistic way about her possession. "I've been possessed for fifteen years now," she said, "and all that time it is as if nothing happened to me, as if I hadn't even lived. I know I'm supposed to be twenty-seven, but the reality is that I am still twelve years old. I have two children but I know nothing about being a mother. I know nothing about being a wife. I'm just twelve years old. How can I be expected to raise my two children or be a wife? Don't you see? It's hopeless."

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This was the most real Jersey had yet been, and we told her so. We told her it was not an imaginary problem but the actual position she was in. We said the only way she could make it would be with a great deal of help, and we outlined one by one the specific ways in which she could be supported. I explained again how immediately after the exorcism she would see me for approximately three weeks of intensive psychotherapy-a period when she would not have the responsibility of a wife and mother-and when back home, she could see a psychiatrist of her choice as frequently as she desired. Jersey immediately elected Dr. Lieberman, even though he had failed to help her twice in the past. It was a wise choice I knew, thinking of the man's extraordinary flexibility. We then went through a whole number of other kinds of support she could have and finished by telling her how we would find a small Christian church community for her to work with.



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