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Visiting Pazuzu: A look a the demon from the Exorcist

One of the most impressive attractions at The University of Chicago is the Oriental Institute.  This museum features a sizeable exhibition on Assyrian and Babylonian art and history.  As I walked through this lovely museum, I was surprised to see the small statue seen in the photo above.  As a fan of the movie The Exorcist, I recognized this figure immediately.   It was Pazuzu and the plaque beneath read "Pazuzu; 1st Century BC Protective Deity".   This seemed very contrary to what I had seen of Pazuzu in the Exorcist so I decided to spend some time exploring who Pazuzu was in mythology and history.
In the movie, The Exorcist, based on the book of same name by William Blatty, Pazuzu is the primary antagonist.  At the beginning of the movie, the primary priest and exorcist is seen standing face to face with a giant statue of Pazuzu. This foreshadows the battle that is to come.  Pazuzu is the demon that the two exorcists fight.  He is the demon that possesses a little girl an…

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