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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.

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I think the demon was fooling around with the father. –  Mistu4u May 3 '13 at 6:57
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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. –  roosh Mar 30 at 2:56
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1 Answer

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.

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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 at 10:20
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@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 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 at 17:26
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@Raytrek, I believe Dragos was commenting on this statement of yours "...but Holy Water is a myth in itself" –  Bobby Alexander Apr 2 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 at 22:09
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