With the subtitle 'True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism', one might be tempted to assume that this book is a byproduct of the "Satanic Panic" era of film and literature. I can assure you that isn't even close. I can also assure you that if you've even the most remote understanding of religion (and a healthy ability to suspend disbelief) you will be terrified while reading this book. Publisher's weekly wrote on the cover: "...don't read this at home alone at night". I feel I should have listened.
The Dark Sacrament recounts 10 contemporary cases of demon possession, haunted houses, and exorcisms. It also serves to showcase the work of two living, active exorcists - Reverend William H. Lendrum and Father Ignatius McCarthy, a Cannon and a Monk respectively.
While not all 10 stories will top the most incredible things you've read in the realm of fiction, it's the fact that they're non-fiction that sets them apart from tales like The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror (which I will post about at another date). These stories are all too believable, where their fictional counterparts aren't always.
Here, I'll give you a taste of just two of them. Ready?
In The Housewife and the Demon Dubois, we're told story of a County Antrim woman named Julie, whose innocent toying with a homemade Ouija board turned her life upside down for 15 years - one of the longest cases of demonic attack in recorded history.
Mr. Gant and the Neighbor from Hell is the story of a demon that traveled with its unfortunate victims from a cruise liner to their home in a quiet town in Northwest Ireland, ending in an encounter so terrifying that the victim is transformed from a healthy, virile man into a nervous wreck.
Also included in the book are some interesting pieces of writing; The Prayer to Archangel Michael, St. Patrick's Breastplate or the Lorica of St. Patrick, and a few prayers of Exorcism.
I won't have to (read: don't want to) go any further in explanation in order for the reader to get the idea that we are not alone in this world, or so the author would have us believe. I can honestly say, though, that just the thought of this book and the stories within still gives me the chills.
Though it was an incredible read, and very scary, I won't be reading this one again for fear of becoming totally transformed by goose pimples.