Monday, October 02, 2006

Hostage to the Devil, by Malachi Martin

Hostage to the Devil
Malachi Martin

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. This book scared me so badly that I had to stop reading it--in order to pray. I said prayers I haven't said in years.

In fact, this weekend, I was struck down by a plague-like affliction (ok, it was a respiratory virus that has been making the rounds at my school) and some where, in the middle of a fever-ravaged night, I kept waking, swearing the devil was trying to possess me. Blinded by fear (and fever...and NyQuil), I prayed again and again as I fell back to sleep. If I remember correctly, I prayed IN my sleep.

Now that's a damn good book.

Of course, here sit I, blithely recalling those fearful moments in order to mock them for my stupid book blog. So Hostage to the Devil apparently didn't make that deep of a connection...or did it? Let's see.

Malachi Martin is another of those Vatican-types who has written a book on exorcism. However, unlike his peer Gabriele Amorth, Martin really gives you the nitty-gritty. He details what happens to the exorcist, explaining the assault that takes him over: for example, his senses become confused, he hears colors, he tastes sights, he smells sounds, etc. He is subject to the most awful revelations of personal sins and mistakes. Sometimes, he may even be physically wounded, as in the case of one exorcist who found his nether regions torn and cut and needing many stitches.

Martin outlines a brief overview of exorcism, then details five accounts. He tells every side of the story, having meticulously compiled his research from interviews, diaries and journals, witnesses, and the like. He begins in the midst of the exorcism only to pull back and explain the history of both the possessed and the exorcist alike.

I found it interesting that in all cases, the possessed is aware of an intruding presence before giving himself (or herself) over to it. Almost every case of possession occurs with this acceptance. So that made me feel better. No devil will be sneaking up on me, no sir!

Unfortunately, at the end of the book I was bewildered to find, as an appendix, the Roman Catholic Church's Rite of Exorcism. In full. Now, according to both these books, only a qualified exorcist can ever hope to effectively perform this rite. For anyone else to do so would cause horrific disaster. If that is true, I can't help but wonder: why publish it here? Surely the world is peopled with enough morons not to invite such temptation. If it's as serious as they say, you'd think they'd want to keep a lid on it.

And then I had to ruin all this belief by Googling Malachi Martin (for the pics, natch), thus bringing me to his Wikipedia entry. Apparently he has a reputation for being less-than-trustworthy. Does that discredit Hostage to the Devil? God, I hope not. It's just too damn good.

But, if even an eighth of this book is true...that's enough for me. So am I converted? Now a believer?

Not necessarily. But, as they say, forewarned is forearmed (or something like that) and a heightened awareness never hurt anyone. So now I'll be watching, all you devil-worshippers (which both authors stress are appearing in greater numbers than ever before. Really? Cause that's just lame. Even Marilyn Manson hopped off that train, or so I thought).

Bibliolatry Scale: 5 out of 6 stars (but very disturbing, so watch out)

1 comment:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

i had nightmares whilst reading salem's lot by stephen king.