Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

A rite by which unwanted or evil Spirits are expelled. Usually they have been in Possession of a human Soul. In fantasy novels, rites of exorcism may be elaborated upon with the utmost freedom. In Supernatural Fictions, where the rite may well constitute part of a genuine belief system being imparted to the reader, exorcisms are less imaginative. In Horror, where novels like William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist (1971) – filmed as The Exorcist – have been popular, the rite of exorcism is rarely very successful, and the evil spirit is as likely to incorporate the exorcist as to be driven out into the cold. [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.