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Sifting science: Stratification and The Exorcist

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The presentation of science in both the book (1971) and the film (1973, rereleased 2000) The Exorcist is complex. Critical to its understanding is the archaeological prologue, which introduces the theme of the scientific method as it applies to archaeology – although it is later mirrored by psychiatry – and the related imagery of sifting and stratification. This theme and these images recur during both text and film, before being inverted by the senselessness of Regan’s possession.
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Keywords: archaeology; exorcism; possession; psychiatry; scientific method; stratification

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Waikato

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • Horror Studies intends to serve the international academic community in the humanities and specifically those scholars interested in horror. Exclusively examining horror, this journal will provide interested professionals with an opportunity to read outstanding scholarship from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including work conceived as interdisciplinary. By expanding the conversation to include specialists concerned with diverse historical periods, varied geography, and a wide variety of expressive media, this journal will inform and stimulate anyone interested in a wider and deeper understanding of horror
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