And yet I think the demon’s target is not the possessed; it is us…the observers…every person in this house. And I think—I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity, Damien: to see ourselves as ultimately bestial, vile, and putrescent; without dignity;ugly; unworthy.
When actress Chris McNeill’s—11-year-old daughter Regan starts acting out uncharacteristically—swearing, “speaking,” with a new friend via ouija board who hates her mother—and her environment begins to change—freezing cold room, a bed that starts shaking on its own—she seeks out the help of a priest to get to the bottom of things, after modern medicine fails. The Priest, Father Damien Karras, a man in the midst of experiencing a crisis of faith and on the cusp of leaving the church, visits the McNeill household, and with help from another priest discovers it’s a case of demon possession. Readers follow along as the priest sets out to expel the powerful demon Pazuzu from Regan’s body.
I’ve seen the film adaptation of The Exorcist (and the parodies) but I found that with the book you really realize how long, and how much Regan suffered throughout the possession. It was quite terrifying, reading about this girl who had zero control over her body and being made to do and say things that were disturbing and obscene. The book puts into perspective just how exhausted everyone in that house was throughout the ordeal and is made especially suspenseful by the slow buildup to the actual exorcism. Author William Peter Blatty sure has a way with words.
One thing I don’t quite understand is where the demon went in the end. Did it posses someone else? Did it cease to exist? I’m not really sure…Overall it was a creepily amazing read.