The Vatican’s Exorcists by: Tracy Wilkinson

From unbiased reporter Tracy Wilkinson unravels the truth about the Vatican, its priests, and exorcisms. Written in a point of view that neither discredits nor acknowledges the existence of the demonic, the book provides testimonies of exorcists and equally counters those testimonies with those from doctors and psychologists.

Wilkinson’s research was done thoroughly and well pieced together in this book. She explored many avenues behind the Church and Catholic teachings, as well as sitting in on an exorcism personally. Her work provided no majority so the book remained in perfect balance of both religious and psychological belief systems.

Books that change my perspective are always worthy of a review. This book expanded the possibilities of what really happens behind religious leadership’s doors. I never would have thought religious leaders to use the devil as a scare tactic, but this book pointed out that many do exactly that to gain followers. So many details like that were included, and I walked away from reading this stronger as a Christian, and more aware of the wiles of the devil.


“These priests and other Vatican officials cannot say demonic possession is an impossibility because it is contained in Church dogma. But they fear—with justification—that this uncomfortable topic will be misinterpreted and sensationalized. They would rather it not be highlighted at all, in deference to more positive, life-affirming aspects of the religion.” (page 3)

“The rhythmic incantations of the priest, the patient’s inward focus, the isolation—all can submerge a patient into a trance, a hypnotic-like state that allows subconscious role-playing. A kind of emotional contagion sets in that signals certain behavior to the patient. A good hypnotist can make a patient bark like a dog. An exorcist, less explicitly and unintentionally, could make a patient talk like the devil.” (page 151)


I read this book a month before the show Evil aired on CBS, and thought it must have had some influence on the plot of the television series. Some of the facts in the book were stated in the pilot of Evil by the character David Acosta, and the premise of the book is reflected in the show as the challenge of religion versus mental illness when it comes to the possessed or demonically influenced. Closely similar, both works are worthy of checking out!

2 thoughts on “The Vatican’s Exorcists by: Tracy Wilkinson

  1. What a very interesting concept. I never would have though of priests like that. Like they would intentionally use hypnosis in their practices as a scare tactic. How interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book was especially great because despite that reality of priests and the Church, Wilkinson did not fix that as the standard for all priests and skew the opinion of us against all church leaders. But yes, hard to believe that has occurred among so much more.

      Liked by 1 person

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