October 27, 2023 | Sarah Ng

"The Exorcist" Was Linda Blair's Worst Nightmare

Linda Blair’s role as Regan in The Exorcist was her first major acting gig—but her experience on set was also a horror story.


Sign up to our newsletter.

History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

A Chilling Set

During the harrowing exorcism scenes, Blair wore a thin nightgown, which wasn’t enough to shield her from the shockingly cold temperatures on set. To make her breath visible, the production team used air conditioners, causing the temperature to often dip below zero. While the crew dressed appropriately, Blair had no choice but to endure the bitter cold. But it only gets worse.

Linda Blair In The ExorcistSilver Screen Collection, Getty Images

A Lasting Injury

During the scenes where Blair thrashes her body around due to possession, she wore a harness attached to a mechanical bed. But on one chilling occasion, her lacings came loose, which injured her in a terrible way: "I'm crying, I'm screaming, they think I'm acting up a storm. It fractured my lower spine. No, they didn't send me to the doctor, it is the footage that's in the movie.”

Lastly, Blair’s makeup routine took anywhere from two to five hours to complete, which was already a difficult process, but to make matters worse, the glue used to secure her prosthetics painfully burned her face.

Linda Blair On The Set Of The ExorcistAvalon, Getty Images

Sadly, Linda Blair’s spinal injury continued to haunt her into her adult years, and she even developed scoliosis. But no matter how much of an ordeal The Exorcist was for her, Blair still believes that the film was one of the most formative chapters of her life.

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.