There is a lot of debate within the paranormal community about the existence of demons and demonic hauntings. It goes even further when you mention the word ‘exorcism’ and if they are right to perform and who should be performing them. Regardless of your opinions of beliefs in the matter, there is one story that will come to every investigator’s mind. Anneliese Michel. This is the heartbreaking story recently portrayed in a popular movie – The exorcism of Emily Rose.
WARNING: The article contains graphic pictures and audio which some may find disturbing.
Anneliese Michel was born in Germany in September 1952. She died at the age of 23 on July 1st, 1976 of dehydration and malnutrition. What is more horrifying is that she died under her kitchen table after being left there for 2 days after an exorcism. She had been through 67 in total at her own will. How did a happy in love devout religious girl go from being a cheerful studious girl to skin and bones, badly bruised and forced to eat insects and lick up her own urine from the floor? The people involved in the case being her father, mother, and 2 exorcists were charged with negligent homicide after a lengthy trial. Their defense? She was possessed by demons.
Anneliese’s mother Anna fell pregnant with her first child before she married Anneliese’s father. Having a child out of wedlock bought great shame upon her and she was forced to wear black on her wedding day. Annaliese’s sister died at the age of 8 years old however when her mother describes Annaliese she uses the word obedient. It is thought she was made to or felt obliged to pay penance for her mother’s sins. Her parents were so very deeply religious that it is thought they were blind to what was really going on here because they could not see past their faith. It is even said that Anneliese was troubled so much by the sins of others and would sleep on a stone-cold floor to repent for the sins of the local drug addicts that slept at the train station. She was almost obsessed and held an anxiousness to be rid of any sort of sin. She was not your ordinary young girl.
At the age of 17 (1968), Anneliese was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering from unexplained seizures and convulsions. It is also claimed that after her seizures she felt like she was being held down by an unseen force. She was put on medication and finished school and went on to study to become a teacher. Her health deteriorated and she complained that she started having demonic visions while she was praying. She would see devil’s faces on the wall. She also said she heard devilish-sounding voices telling her that she was damned. She twice consulted with priests and was refused. By 1973 she was severely depressed and contemplating suicide. She was receiving \medical help from a medical institution but by 1975, after seeing no results, her family decided to seize medical intervention. She was seen to It is worth considering that since this case, her symptoms have been compared to schizophrenia. It is unknown if she received treatment for schizophrenia as with the correct medication, this should have helped her symptoms.
After all medical treatment stopped, her problems became worse. The family eventually approached the third priest of the Roman Catholic church who agreed to an exorcism. 1-2 four-hour sessions were held every week for the next 9 months and a total of 67 exorcisms. She started performing up to 600 genuflections a day. This is an act of kneeling and then rising again as a sign of respect. This caused her to eventually rupture her knee ligaments. In her weaker stages, it is said her parents would hold her up to perform these as they are an important part of the exorcism ritual. She would hide under her kitchen table and bark like a dog. She refused to eat, only eating insects and spiders. She didn’t leave the area to go to the bathroom and when she was thirsty she would lick her own urine off the floor. She even ate the head of a dead bird and would just scream for hours. The exorcisms themselves were brutal. Annaliese was often held down or chained to a chair. During the exorcisms you can hear her growling, gurgling, screaming in pain and it is said that she spoke in several languages. She identified to be possessed by a number of demons including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, and Adolf Hitler. Hitler is an interesting one as I haven’t come across his name on the list of demons. This has been confirmed by several sources as being genuine however I cannot personally confirm it is. Here are some of the audiotapes.
Anneliese died on the 1st of July 1976 after 67 exorcisms. She was buried at the local cemetery in the outer section reserved for suicides and illegitimate children due again to her parent's strong religious ties, as they obviously felt some shame towards her. It is said that some pilgrims visit her gravesite as they believe she can free lost souls. Her parents and the 2 priests involved were charged with negligent homicide and were given a 6 month suspended jail sentence with 3 years probation. In 1984 ashamed of this past, German bishops petitioned Rome to review the rite of exorcism. These were not adopted at the time however in 1999, the Vatican published a revised rite of exorcism. This is the first time it was updated since the 17th century and it called for any priest performing an exorcism to be qualified to do so which included medical training. It is even said there are no more exorcisms performed in Germany (but with demons being all the rage again these days who knows for sure).
In 2005 an exorcism was carried out on a Nun in Tanacu Romania. A priest and several other nuns performed the exorcism by tying the 23-year-old to a cross, putting a towel in her mouth, and denying her food and water. She died 3 days later. I am not going to preach to you about religion as it is something very personal to each and every person. The religion you follow if any also determines if you believe in demons, so I am going to leave that alone on this occasion as well. What you can see here though regardless of any sort of belief, is that torture and starving people because you think there is a demon inside of them is a form of abuse and is just not acceptable. No human being should be subjected to this regardless of what religion teaches us. I realize I may cop some criticism but this is my personal opinion on the matter. I leave with you this. If you are contacted for any case in which a ‘demon’ is suspected. Please do not handle this on your own. Refer them to the appropriate medical facilities to seek help and treatment. A lot of the symptoms in ‘demonic cases’ mirror those of schizophrenia. It is important that they seek help from a qualified medical professional that can diagnose and treat these symptoms such as a psychiatrist. The first stop would be visiting a GP or hospital for a mental health check where they can then give a referral to see the appropriate medical professional. If they pass all medical tests and still insist to go through an exorcism of their own will, do not do it yourself. It should only be performed by a qualified priest because they at least are supposed to be medically trained in this circumstance ( I don’t agree this is the right way to treat a ‘supposed demonic possession’ but if this is what they are insisting, it should at least be done right). Just because you have done an online demonology course does not mean you are qualified to perform an exorcism or that you are an expert on demons. At least a priest has been trained in the ways of the church and has devoted their life as such to these teachings and again they are supposed to receive medical training as part of this. I again don’t agree this is the right course of action but there will be some people who will refuse medical help and try to go down this route due to their religious beliefs. As you can see above, it is a serious thing and people can die. You most certainly do not want this on your conscious and to any paranormal investigator out there, you are out of your league and need to walk away. As with any sort of private case, you have a moral responsibility here to a human being in need and this should be your first priority. Get them the medical help they need and if they refuse treatment, well there is also so much that you can do for a person before you have to walk away but that is for another time as well.
The exorcism of Anneliese Michel will remain the most famous case of supposed demonic possession and exorcism in history. There are even rumours that her possession was perfectly timed with the release of the 1973 book ‘The Exorcist’ and that she was inspired or influenced by this book. In any case, it seems that Anneliese had her own demons that she was dealing with. In 2013 a movie based on this story hit theatres and the case became popular once again. I have not seen the ‘Exorcism of Emily Rose’ so I cannot tell you how different it is from the real story but I am told it is actually a great movie and if anything it didn’t exaggerate things enough when compared to the real case. However you have heard of this case when dealing with any future ‘demonic’ cases, I ask you to remember the outcome of this case. I truely hope Anneliese is at peace from her inner demons.
Don't forget to follow the Facebook page for regular updates
Join the mailing list to receive weekly updates of NEW articles. Never miss an article again!
Buy the latest and past issues Haunted Magazine
Check out the books written by LLIFS