The New York Post ran an article on a retreat center that performs exorcisms on soldiers suffering from PTSD and Jennifer Percy’s book Demon Camp:
“Army machine-gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend and seven other members of his unit when a Chinook helicopter — one he was meant to be on — crashed in Afghanistan.
The 2005 tragedy haunted him when he returned to his home in Savannah, Ga. At night, a tall, shadowy figure crept into his room. Sometimes the Black Thing would threaten to kill him; other times it would choke his dead best friend.
The dark figure, a ‘Destroyer demon,’ punished him, he said, ‘for killing and for living.’
I have not read the book, but I think it’s a good sign if some are beginning to see that PTSD is both a spiritual and a psychological problem. Pumping veterans full of drugs will probably not be enough to heal them. This calls to mind William Halloran, who was the Jesuit Catholic priest who, at the age of twenty-six, assisted in the exorcism of the young Roland Doe; this was the case that inspired William Peter Blatty to write his novel The Exorcist. Halloran later became a paratrooper chaplain in Vietnam during the war. He said that he saw more evil in Vietnam than he ever did in Roland Doe’s bed. And let’s not reduce this to the tired statement “War is hell.” War is worse.