The Terrifying Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

In 1973, a young woman named Anneliese Michel underwent a terrifying exorcism that became a tragedy. However, the events of her exorcisms still haunt experts and witnesses to this day. Anneliese Michel had been experiencing strange phenomena for years leading up to her exorcism- she would see visions and hear voices.

The events surrounding her ordeal were the basis for a movie called The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Anneliese Michel is said to be one of the most possessed people in history, and her story is genuinely chilling.

In this blog post, we will look at the events leading up to her exorcism and the horrific details of the ritual itself.

Anneliese Michel

Anneliese’s Early Life

Anneliese Michel was born in 1952 in a small town called Klingenberg in Bavaria, West Germany; her family was devout Catholics. Her father sought to become a priest, and three of her aunts were already nuns.

Unfortunately, Michel’s mother believed that her family was already dealing with a cloak of shame that the entire family had to atone.

Anneliese Michel

Anneliese and her three sisters endured a life of austerity. The girls were not allowed to play with other children and spent most of their time indoors praying.

Unfortunately, Anneliese grew up getting sick on many occasions; she had to battle measles, mumps, and scarlet fever at a young age. In addition, the young girl was skinny and often suffered from other ailments.

In 2005, Anneliese’s mother told the Telegraph that having a child out of wedlock in 1948 brought great shame to her family name. At the time, they made her wear black on her wedding day to signify her sin.

Afterward, her mother worked hard to atone for those sins and practiced extreme purity. Naturally, this pressured Anneliese to regularly atone for the sins of others while having to sleep on the floor as a penance for the drug addicts who slept on the ground themselves.

Her family also attended Mass twice a week and the family’s other activities. Anneliese struggled with the harsh life but suffered in silence, and by 16, she was diagnosed with physical and psychological disorders.

The Beginning of Anneliese’s Possession

In 1968, Anneliese’s life started to take a drastic turn. At 16, she experienced inexplicable blackouts. According to historical accounts, Michel would go into a trance-like state during the first blackouts and walk around aimlessly. Unfortunately, she would wet the bed during these “trances.”

Her friends and family described these trances as disturbing; unfortunately, Anneliese’s problems were just beginning. She suffered the same attack and wet the bed again a year later. Afterward, it seemed that Anneliese had more hardships to come.

Sources say that when her family took her to the doctor, the visit was a waste of time since the physician could find nothing wrong with her. Then, in 1970, Anneliese was hospitalized with a case of tuberculosis; while recovering, Anneliese claimed that she could hear odd sounds and voices and experienced euphoria.

The family decided to visit a neurologist to determine what was wrong with her. Shortly after meeting with the neurologist, she was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. She could suffer from seizures, loss of memory, and experience visual and auditory hallucinations.

Her traumatic life also had her in the grip of depression and anxiety, to make matters worse. As a result, she started to hear voices that no one else could hear and see things that weren’t there.

From Diagnosis To Deterioration

One might consider that Anneliese’s life would turn for the better once she was diagnosed correctly, but that was not the case. Her mental state continued to decline, especially since her epilepsy can also cause Geschwind syndrome, a disorder plagued by hyperreligiosity.

She was prescribed Zentropil to help control her seizures, but the drugs did not deter her attacks. Anneliese registered for the University of Wurzburg in 1973 and continued her studies. Yet, she fell more into depression and believed she was ‘damned.’

Believing demons possessed her, her situation continued to worsen. She would have daylight hallucinations of “devil faces” everywhere she looked, complained of a sore throat, and had her tonsils removed.

Soon after, Anneliese became averse to religious symbols, stopped attending Mass, and refused to drink holy water or eat in front of a crucifix.

While her parents did what they could to help their daughter, Anneliese’s behavior became more bizarre. Reports indicate that she licked her urine from the floor, stripped naked, and ate insects.

Her mother mentioned a disturbing behavior where Anneliese compulsively performed hundreds of squats a day until she ruptured the ligaments in her knees.

At this point, she crawled under the table a barked like a dog for two days. Her family wanted to seek further medical attention, but Anneliese begged for religious intervention even after being denied an exorcism twice before.

Anneliese Michel’s Exorcism

As a last resort, her parents took her to Ernest Alt, who believed in her possession, stating, “she did not look like an epileptic,” and Alt petitioned the local Bishop Josef Stangl for help.

Bishop Josef Stangl

Father Arnold Renz, a priest who was experienced in carrying out exorcisms, and Ernest Alt, performed the rite. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church was hesitant to perform an exorcism on Anneliese Michel.

They only agreed to do so after much convincing and only after obtaining compelling evidence of her possession.

On September 24, 1975, Father Renz would perform the first of many rituals. The first exorcism revealed at least six demons inhabiting Anneliese’s body at the time.

Six demons known only as Lucifer, Cain, Judas Iscariot, Adolf Hitler, Nero, and Fleischman ( a disgraced priest) all contended for dominance inside her body.

They restrained her for hours during these recorded sessions while the priests performed the rites, but to no avail. Slowly but surely, Anneliese stopped eating, and her body began to diminish.

By the 67th exorcism, Anneliese was unrecognizable; she had wasted 68 pounds and was covered in bruises and bedsores; Anneliese was also dehydrated and malnourished, and her hair had started falling out. Nevertheless, the exorcisms continued until she died of malnutrition and dehydration in July 1976.

The Aftermath

Believing that Anneliese had sacrificed herself for the sins of youth, the priests and her family thought her to be a martyr. Unfortunately, the state of Bavaria did not see it that way and charged all four individuals with negligent homicide. The defendants all pleaded not guilty.

Michel’s gravestone

Despite the audio recordings of the exorcisms and Anneliese’s testimony of her possession throughout them, all four individuals were found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail (which they all served) and three months probation. However, autopsies show that her brain showed no signs of epileptic damage, even on a microscopic level.

Anneliese Michel’s life was plagued by tragedy, mental illness, and religious fervor. Unfortunately, her story ended in death. But even still, her legacy continues as a reminder of the lengths people will go to to be rid of something they believe to be evil.

Her story blurs the lines between science and the supernatural, forcing us to acknowledge that there are still things in this world that we cannot explain.

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