Friday, October 19, 2012

Hostage of the Devil, A Review

I read this book quite a while ago but it left a strong mark on my innocent mind; so strong indeed that I remember passages of the stories within this book almost literally, as if I'd read them yesterday. And they are just as powerful today, though my mind is slightly less innocent.

Let me start by saying that this is not light reading. Malachi Martin was an Irish Catholic Priest, studious of Theology, and professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute, among many other things. He received two Guggenheim fellowships and was highly critical of the Church throughout his life, which made him a controversial figure supported by its most orthodox factions, and regarded with disdain by those in favor of a laxer Church.

If you want a clearer picture of just how high up the ladder he was, it is alleged that he was outside the door of the papal living quarters while Pope John XXIII opened the Third Secret of Fatima. Now, weather you are with him or you think he was nuts, I wouldn't just take lightly what such an informed men had to say about what happened during real exorcisms. And that in itself is scarier than any movie shown in theaters this Halloween.

Hostage of the Devil is a far cry from those stories we've grown so used to these days. There is little said about speaking in tongues, arching backs, cold rooms, or any special effects Hollywood has fed us up. He relates five cases of possession dating from the modern era in which he aided, but wasn't the priest in charge.

There is a lot of philosophy in this book regarding the question of what opens a soul to become possessed, but it is never preachy or difficult to read--remember, I was a teenager at the peak of my religious rebellion when I read it for the first time, and I wasn't bored or annoyed at all.--Martin then, proceeds to relate how the ordeal began for each of the five subjects, how it grew from a thought, to seeing things, to the actual feeling of someone else in your body. And, of course, how it got resolved, how long it took, and what was the price for everyone involved.

Martin makes it a point to show that an exorcism is a war fought in the minds and hearts of those involved, that there are no objects moving by themselves or bleeding walls, and just how high the stakes can be for the participants. A riveting book which intention is to inform rather than to scare, but that scares just the same because of its realism. I could see myself in each of the stories because the characters depicted are regular Joe's, and it left me wondering if I could be next.

This is a book for those interested in knowing what really happens behind closed doors; for those who wonder if the darkness outside their window can creep in; for those who want serious talk about serious evil without any props. If you think you can take it, what better time to do it than during Samhain, then.


Anonymous said...

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Gina said...

Actually, it doesn't cost a dime! =) I mean, you can open a blog with blogspot or wordpress for free. It is a lot of work to gain readership but it is worth it. As promotion, you may sometimes want to give away stuff, which you'll pay for, of course, but you decide how much you want to spend, if any. I haven't spent much money building this blog, and though it is still a work in progress, I think I've grown a lot! ;)

Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by.

Michael Pierce said...

This book sounds freaky. I read The Exorcist when I was a teenager, probably going through a similar religious rebellion. I find the scariest things for me are usually religion based...maybe that was the ultimate intention. I'll have to check it out when I feel brave enough.

Gina said...

The Exorcist scared me a lot and remains one of my favorite stories to this day because it is not only horrific, but heartbreaking. I cried when Carras died in the end... Hostage of the Devil is scary because it's real and that adds a very dramatic vein where everything turns into a fight to the death. I truly hope you give it a chance, Michael. I think you'll enjoy it!

Penelope Crowe said...

This book scared the @#$ out of me.
I started to read it in my 20's and literally threw it in the river near my house.
Tried again in my 40s--finished it then regretted reading it.
Way to scary.
But loved every second of it.

Gina said...

Penelope, I can see you throwing the book into the river, LOL. I also read the book on my early years but it is one that I won't forget ever...

Thanks for commenting!