Father Damien Karras, SJ (novel: 1928 - 1971; film: 1935 - 1975) is a fictional Greek-American character from the novel The Exorcist, its sequel Legion, and their film adaptations.

Father Karras is one of the priests who exorcises the demon from young Regan MacNeil. He is a Jesuit psychiatrist suffering a crisis of faith. Karras somewhat fits the literary concept of a "whiskey priest". Father Karras searches for proof to lead an exorcism, yet during his investigation he comes to realize that there is no better way for God to prove His own existence than to reveal the foul presence of Pazuzu. During the exorcism, Pazuzu frequently brings up the subject of Karras' mother's death and how he was not there to see her die, which seems to trouble Karras emotionally.

Father Karras dies by throwing himself down a flight of stone steps in order to purge the demon from his own body after having coaxed it out of Regan's.

In the sequel, Legion, it is revealed that after the demon departed, another evil spirit invaded Karras' body. Karras was found wandering and amnesiac and was placed in the care of a mental hospital near Washington DC. While incarcerated there, the spirit suppresses Karras's personality and makes forays into the bodies of other patients in order to commit a series of ritual murders.

In the films The Exorcist and The Exorcist III, he is played by Jason Miller (who was in fact educated at the Jesuit-run University of Scranton).

Fictional character biography

Damien Karras was born on April 12, 1935 to a Greek family. He became a Jesuit priest on July 30, 1957. Over the years, the priest began to doubt the existence of God, the Devil, and many Biblical or supernatural beings. Still a Jesuit, he decided to become a psychiatrist.

On October 9, 1975, along with fellow-Jesuit Father Lankester Merrin, Karras attempts to exorcise 12-year-old Regan MacNeil (who was possessed by the demon Pazuzu). In the process, Merrin dies from exhaustion (probably a heart attack) and an embittered Karras attacks the possessed child forcing the demon to channel unto him instead. Karras, now possessed with Pazuzu, throws himself out off the window of the MacNeils' residence, tumbling down the stairs of M Street to his death.

At the same time that Karras died, a criminal by the name of James Venamun (the infamous "Gemini Killer") was executed. Pazuzu left the body of the dead Karras and placed Venamun's soul unto Karras's body. The body was interred. Soon, since there was still a soul in Karras, the body escaped his grave and he was found roaming the streets of Washington DC. Soon, he was placed under the care of a mental hospital. He remained in Cell 11 for fifteen years.

His brain and bone tissues mended over time so he was again alive, but he alternatingly displayed his own personality and that of Venamun. Also, the spirit of Venamun left Karras's body by night to invade the other patients in the ward, making them commit murders for him without Venamun taking the blame.

During the course of an exorcism, Venamun is forced to abandon Karras's body and Lt. William Kinderman shoots Karras several times, ending Karras's life for good.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Damien Karras. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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