Joseph P. Laycock

The Penguin Book of Exorcisms
  • The Penguin Book of Exorcisms

  • Perfect for Hallowe'en: haunting accounts of real-life exorcisms through the centuries, from ancient Egypt and the biblical Middle East to colonial America and twentieth-century South Africa

    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 own time. Unsettling and chilling, 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 of an entire convent of Ursuline nuns in a French town; a Zulu woman who daily floated to a height of five feet; the exorcism in Earling, Iowa, in 1928 that inspired the film 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 backwards up a wall. . .

Joseph P. Laycock 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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