The Penguin Book of Exorcisms
Haunting accounts of real-life exorcisms through the centuries and around the world, from ancient Egypt and the biblical Middle East to colonial America and twentieth-century South Africa
A Penguin Classic
Levitation. Feats of superhuman strength. Speaking in tongues. A hateful, glowing stare. The signs of spirit possession have been documented for thousands of years and across religions and cultures, even into our time: In 2019 the Vatican convened 250 priests from 50 countries for a weeklong seminar on exorcism. The Penguin Book of Exorcisms brings together the most astonishing accounts: Saint Anthony set upon by demons in the form of a lion, a bull, and a panther, who are no match for his devotion and prayer; the Prophet Muhammad casting an enemy of God out of a young boy; fox spirits in medieval China and Japan; a headless bear assaulting a woman in sixteenth-century England; the possession in the French town of Loudun of an entire convent of Ursuline nuns; a Zulu woman who floated to a height of five feet almost daily; a previously unpublished account of an exorcism in Earling, Iowa, in 1928--an important inspiration for the movie The Exorcist; poltergeist activity at a home in Maryland in 1949--the basis for William Peter Blatty's novel The Exorcist; a Filipina girl "bitten by devils"; and a rare example of a priest's letter requesting permission of a bishop to perform an exorcism--after witnessing a boy walk backward up a wall. Fifty-seven percent of Americans profess to believe in demonic possession; after reading this book, you may too.
For more than seventy-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 2,000 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About this Author
Joseph P. Laycock (editor) is an assistant professor of religious studies at Texas State University and a co-editor of the journal Nova Religio. He is the author or editor of several books about religion, including Speak of the Devil, Spirit Possession Around the World, and The Seer of Bayside, and has written for Quartz and The New Republic. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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