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Ed Warren and Lorriane are trying to prove the court the defense's innocence based upon the defendant's claim of demonic possession:

Ed Warren: So, what now? We've never had to prove a possession after the fact.

Lorriane: Demons don't just disappear like this.

What does "the fact" refer to?

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  • It's after the fact/act/state of being possessed. Slightly weird "pseudo-legalese" phrasing. I assume the context is that previously, they've only ever had to prove that someone is possessed, not was possessed in the past. Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 15:46
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    It's part of the phrase after the fact.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 16:39
  • "After the fact" is really a mistranslation of the latin phrase "ex postfacto", which actually means something more like "from after it was done". It isn't related to 'fact' meaning a true statement. Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 18:52

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"After the fact" is an idiom meaning "after the event occurred".

Like if you say, "The boss gave his approval after the fact", that means he approved it after it was already done, rather than giving permission in advance.

In this case, I'd have to see more context, but I'd guess that Mr Warren is saying that it would be difficult enough to prove that someone is demon-possessed at the time that you are claiming that they are possessed. Trying to prove it after the (alleged) demon has left them and they are no longer possessed would be extremely difficult.

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