Magazine article The New Yorker

The Devil Inside

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Devil Inside

Article excerpt

In the years since William Friedkin's 1973 horror extravaganza, "The Exorcist"--which was rereleased with considerable fanfare last year--the archaic rite of casting out demons has become more popular than ever. So argues the Fordham professor Michael Cuneo in his AMERICAN EXORCISM (Doubleday), a recently published history of the contemporary resurgence of exorcism and belief in demonic possession. Cuneo sat in on dozens of exorcisms, finding that these days the controversial procedure (typically scorned by Catholic officials) runs the gamut from Linda Blair-style "puke-and-rebuke sessions" to mellow suburban affairs attended by hot chocolate, cookies, and potato chips.

Then there are modern evangelicals like Doris M. Wagner, who, in HOW TO CAST OUT DEMONS: A GUIDE TO THE BASICS (Gospel Light), asks, "How in the world did a little old grandma ever get involved in such yucky stuff? …

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