The cinema audiences were filled with terror after watching The Exorcism of Emily Rose back in 2005. What they didn’t realize is that this film was based on a real-life case!
It started back in 1969 when a German girl named Anneliese Michel had her health suddenly take a turn for the worst.
Anneliese Michel was born on September 21, 1952. She was the proper young lady while growing up in a deeply religious family. Everything turned sour when she was 17 and began having epileptic seizures and convulsions. She was diagnosed with severe psychosis and temporal lobe epilepsy.
She was sent to a psychiatric hospital for a cure, but instead went into a deep depression.
Three years after the initial diagnosis, Anneliese refused to tolerate religious articles, and started to have hallucinations. Shortly after that, she claimed she could see demons and hear voices that condemned her to hell.
Despite her medical treatment, nothing helped. She became suicidal. This lead her family to believing that she was possessed by demons.
Anneliese’s parents went to the priests and requested a Catholic exorcism to try and help her, but were denied. The priests recommended that they continue with the medial treatment.
In 1975, the family was granted permission by Bishop Josef Stangl to perform a clandestine exorcism on Anneliese.
Things had gotten so bad with Anneliese at that point that her voice and face started to change into something they described as “demonic”.
She started to tear her clothes off, lick her own urine, and eat coal.
Reports say that the demons who that supposedly possessed her included Cain, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Hitler, Fleischmann (disgraced priest from the 16th century), and Lucifer.
It got to the point where Anneliese refused to eat. She talked about dying as a martyr.
67 exorcisms were performed on her in the span of 10 months. She died of dehydration and starvation on July 1, 1976 at the age of 23. The priests claimed that the exorcisms were a success, and that she was freed from the demons that possessed her.
Just when the family thought they would finally get some peace, the priests that performed her exorcism were arrested and charged with negligent homicide. They paid a fine and were sentenced to six months in jail. The sentence was later reduced to three years of probation.
Many questions are still surrounding Anneliese Michel’s case. It’s referred to as an example of negligence, abuse, religious hysteria, and a psychological disorder misidentified.
Many family members and close friends believe the priests and the bishop helped Anneliese, and that she was truly possessed all along.