Book Review: Confrontation with Evil by Steven A. LaChance

30268338Title: Confrontation with Evil

Author: Steven A. LaChance

Genre: Nonfiction, True Haunting, Exorcisms

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Known as the 1949 St. Louis Exorcism, the story of possessed child Roland Doe was immortalized in the groundbreaking novel and film The Exorcist. Much has been written about the case, but the truth has been shrouded in secrecy…until now.

Join Steven A. LaChance, as he shares the shocking evidence for how a family’s grief over the death of an aunt progressed into a full-blown demonic possession. While the conventional story is that Roland Doe brought the demonic infestation upon himself, LaChance convincingly suggests an alternative interpretation, and provides new insights into the nature of possession itself.

The events of 1949 culminated in grueling exorcism rites, but the story doesn’t end there as LaChance guides readers through the stunning aftermath that forever changed the Catholic church and the city of St. Louis.

In Confrontation with Evil, Steven A. LaChance investigates the 1949 exorcism on Ronald Doe (pseudonym), a young boy who suffered terrible fits, and was seemingly under demonic possessoin. This case inspired the 1973 movie, The Exorcist. LaChance researches the people involved in the case, their motivations (from the boy’s mother, who seemingly deliberately contacted spirits or demons, to the priests putting their own souls on the line to help the boy). One of the priests left a diary of the events, and through that diary, LaChance discusses what happened to the boy.

The last third of the book is spent on a rundown of the places involved in the exorcism, which the author visits now decades later. He even manages to find some paranormal evidence in some of the places, and communicates with a spirit who he believes to be Father Bowdern, one of the priests involved in the case who passed away.

Now, while sometimes bordering on being entertaining, overall the book is kind of dry. It doesn’t really offer a lot of new info, especially to people who’ve read or investigated anything related to exorcisms before. It’s just a feeling of ‘same old, same old’. There’s no real emotion behind it. First that happened, then that happened, but the author never really manages to make any of the people involved sound realistic in his writing. I know it’s nonfiction, but I can’t sympathize with people if I just hear a rundown of what they did. “The boy had a seizure, the boy had a fit, the boy cussed”, and so on, doesn’t really make me sympathize with the boy. The writing just wasn’t on par, and didn’t make me feel involved in the case.

The author also comes up with some wild – really, really wild- theories, starting with how the mother invited the demon into their house (which I was somewhat willing to believe) to the Vatican willingly allowing the devil to possess a priest so they could do research, to the devil infiltrating in the Vatican itself, which was just waaaay too far-fetched for me.

Also, repetition. Some parts of the book were really drawn out, and repetitive. If you don’t know anything about the exorcism case, this is a good place to start, but if you’re already quite aware of what happened in 1949, you won’t learn a lot of new things.

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