There are many incredible fiction horror novels out there, and some of them dive deep into the world of demonic possession. But how much of these stories are true? What is demonic possession really like? These 5 non-fiction books explore the dark world of demons, and the real, innocent victims they find to possess. Prepare to witness demonic possession at its finest.
1. The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel
Religious Anthropologist Felicitas Goodman recounts and breaks down the possession of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman whose life went on to inspire the 2005 horror film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. In 1976, Anneliese underwent a series of exorcisms.
She, along with two priests from the Catholic Church, believed that six demons had possessed her, and were slowly taking over her, body and soul. The case was made famous when Anneliese’s parents and both priests were arrested and charged with negligent homicide following the young woman’s death.
In this book, Goodman explores every angle of this case, from extensive interviews with Anneliese’s friends, to analyzing transcripts from the trial. Her cultural and religious background provides a unique perspective on this tragic tale, and speculates about what truly killed Anneliese Michel.
2. Hostage to the Devil
This 1976 book by Malachi Martin continues to terrify readers, decades after its publication. In it, he explores and investigates five real cases of demonic possession, from biographical background about the victims, backgrounds on the priests that helped them, and each stage of their subsequent exorcism. This chilling book provides a fresh, modern take on exorcisms in the United States, and how each victim believes they came to be possessed.
From a dental hygienist, to a man who practically lived as a hermit, this book centers on five victims who truly hailed from all walks of life. Martin managed to tell us of their individual struggles and encounters. He also explains that every possession is different, and must be treated as a unique instance. Described as very chilling, if you do intend to read this book, its suggested that you read it during daylight hours. Many readers have complained of not being able to sleep after reading Hostage to the Devil.
3. Beware the Night
This 2001 nonfiction book was co-authored by Lisa Collier Cool and Ralph Sarchie, the sixteen year NYPD veteran who experienced the contents of the book firsthand. Working the midnight shift in the Bronx, Sarchie began to encounter many terrifying and supernatural things. When he realized that he was dealing with people who were truly possessed by the devil, the police officer made it his mission to assist priests in exorcisms, and fight the devil right beside them.
In the book, Sarchie recounts some of the most extreme cases of demonic possession and devilish encounters he experienced while on the force. His eyewitness accounts and extensive research helped many local priests understand the magnitude of these cases. Sarchie is a devout Catholic, and he felt it was his mission from God to help save the souls of others in any way that he could. While some of Sarchie’s opinions may feel slightly condescending to agnostic readers, the book is still a gripping read, and shows how hope and preservation prevailed when fighting true evil.
4. The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism
This 2008 book, written by David Kiely and Christina McKenna, examine ten Irish, modern day cases of exorcism, and the many intricate details behind each case. Unlike most other books on the topic, Kiely and McKenna profile the lives and work of two active exorcists: Canon William Lendrum, who is a Protestant, and Father Ignatius McCarthy, a Catholic priest. Both holy men give their personal accounts of the exorcisms they have performed, and the history of this ancient practice.
Several other members of the clergy are interviewed, as well as witnesses, family members, and the ten unfortunate victims who fell prey to demons. A majority of the accounts are recent, and provide a modern take on the historic ritual of exorcism. What readers seem to most enjoy about this gripping, well researched read is the fact that authors Kiely and McKenna try to provide the information in a neutral, logical manner. What they feel about the priests or the ten victims is clearly not important to them. What is important is providing a modern glimpse into the world of exorcism, and the many people involved in each case.
5. The Day Satan Called: A True Encounter with Demonic Possession and Exorcism
This gripping nonfiction book was written by Bill Scott in 2011, and recounts a dark period of his life that continues to bother him to this day. Scott and his wife, both devout Christians, met a young lady who was a member of a local Satanic network. Believing herself to be possessed by a demon, the young lady begged for help and sanctuary. Feeling it was there Christian duty, Scott and his wife invited the young woman to temporarily move in with them.
They spent countless hours praying together, hoping that, together, they could combat the evil that the young lady had both seen and experienced. Instead of banishing the demon, they inadvertently let the demon into their home. Scott and his wife began experiencing a plethora of dark occurrences, from strange visitors, to objects falling and moving on their own, to hearing the voice of Satan emanate through the house. Both Scott and his wife were terrified and feared for their lives, but they also knew that they could not abandon the girl in her time of need.
This grisly tales follows the eighteen-month nightmare that Scott and his wife experienced; from the time they first opened their door to the young woman, to the final showdown with the devil. Both proved that with dedication and faith, good could, finally, triumph over evil.
The Ultimate Battle
Whether you’re a devout Christian or Catholic or a staunch agnostic, these five accounts of demons will have you on the edge of your seat, shocked that real people had to encounter such extraordinary suffering. Follow their stories, and those of the priests who helped them, as they face the ultimate evil and attempt to save their own souls. Countless accounts of possession have been glamorized by Hollywood films, but these are real people, facing real life struggles against supernatural forces.