From Witchcraft & Satanic Rites to Demon Possession

By RICHARD SMOLEY The supernatural: the images that come to mind when that word is uttered often are ones that arouse anxiety or dread. Why? To begin with, you can only be afraid of something that you believe is real. A child has a nightmare and wakes up; the parent consoles by saying “it was all just a dream” or “it was all imaginary.” What is imaginary cannot hurt you, and there is no reason to fear it. Only what is real can hurt you. But, then, what exactly is real? This is a long and … [Read more...]

The Necronomicon

By SIMON In 1977, America had barely heard of Iraq or of Saddam Hussein. The first Gulf War was more than a decade away; the second, more than twenty-five years away. The attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City – the first during the administration of American President Bill Clinton, the second during the administration of George W. Bush – were likewise in the distant and unimaginable future. In New York, those of us who lived there were consumed with news of the Son of Sam … [Read more...]