Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In The Exorcist, why does the demon that possesses Regan react to the “fake” holy water sprinkled by Father Karras?

It’s hard to believe that the demon mistakes the tap water for water blessed by a priest. It certainly makes the entity that much less frightening.

share|improve this question
I think the demon was fooling around with the father. – Mistu4u May 3 '13 at 6:57
Great question. That part always confused me. None of the explanations in these posts help. Did the novel explain it better? I never read it. – user8856 Mar 30 '14 at 2:56
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It may be the case that demon is cunning and want to make a doubt in the mind of the Karras, already having lack of faith in Demons and ghosts. As we have seen that Demon plays with Karras's emotion related to his mother too.

Demon read on mind and emotions so its not possible that he got fooled by tap water at all.

share|improve this answer
I agree with that assessment, but Holy Water is a myth in itself, as water is a good conductor of energy, the act of passing positive energy onto a negative body is more the association it would hold, so by the simple act of touching the water a person of "light" would make it a weapon, the blessings Catholicism make on water to make it "Holy" are just like a mantra that focuses the state of the "Blesser" to that "light" condition. – Raytrek Mar 30 '14 at 10:20
@Raytrek I do not believe it is a good idea to make a myth out of the Holy Water. I do not mean to make assessments on all beliefs here, but the Orthodox Church(and I am almost sure it also applies to the Catholic Church - they are very similar) considers that the water is made holy by the action of the Holy Spirit, called by the priest's prayers. So it is not the energy of the priest, it is the doing of God(the Holy Spirit). So, because the film seems to be taking religious beliefs seriously, your comment seems to be inadequate in this case. It is a point of view, but not applicable here. – Dragos Mar 31 '14 at 11:54
Some people believe the Holy Spirit is a distinct individual, others consider it an active force that moves those touched by it to the work of God. It is really just semantics. – Raytrek Mar 31 '14 at 17:26
@Raytrek, I believe Dragos was commenting on this statement of yours "...but Holy Water is a myth in itself" – bobbyalex Apr 2 '14 at 2:12
Yeah, I was saying that Holy Water is a conductor of Holy Spirit, not a container of it, the myth is that it is a container or even a source of Holy Spirit in itself, I don't think that is a logical assessment of how it would work. – Raytrek Apr 2 '14 at 22:09

According to Damien Karras, the demon's reaction to the tap water could mean that the possession is not genuine. This would therefore weaken his case for an exorcism. So, it could be that the demon was deliberately reacting to the tap water so Karras would not get permission to perform the exorcism.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.