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The Disturbing Exorcisms and Death of Anneliese Michel

Anneliese Healthy and Young vs. Anneliese Close to Death

Anneliese Michel was born in Germany on September 21, 1952. She grew up in a devoutly, somewhat extreme, Catholic family. Pictures of her taken in her childhood show a vibrant, pretty girl on her way to becoming a gorgeous woman. She had shining black hair, an open, honest face and a stunning smile. By the time she was 23-years-old, she was emaciated, heavily bruised, scarred and deranged. She was supposedly taken over by demons and fought for nearly eight years before finally losing her battle with evil. Later, her death was labeled negligent homicide, but was there anything anyone could have done for Anneliese Michel? Were those who were with Anneliese really fighting Satan?

Four years before Anneliese was born, her mother, Anna Michel gave birth to an illegitimate daughter. This was a source of shame for the Catholic family. After she married and gave birth to Anneliese, she apparently harbored feelings of guilt about her first daughter. Unfortunately, Anneliese’s older sister died at the age of eight, but Anneliese reportedly felt like she needed to repent for her mother’s sin. She supposedly spent much of her time doing penance for her mother, sinful youth and bad priests.

Anneliese’s supposed symptoms of possession began in 1968. Anneliese was a 16-year-old high school student. The symptoms were convulsions and they were eventually diagnosed as epilepsy by a neurologist. Anneliese Michel took medicine for her condition and continued her life to the best of her ability. She finished high school and went on to college, where she studied to become a teacher. Apparently, the medicine was not helping her much. Her problems only got worse.

Over time, Anneliese Michel complained of seeing disturbing visions while saying her prayers. Later, evil voices giving her commands followed. Finally, Anneliese began showing an aversion to religious iconography. An older woman, a friend of the Michel family, noticed this while on a pilgrimage with Anneliese. She said that Anneliese smelled “hellishly bad” and took her to see some priests. Many of them said Anneliese needed a doctor. However, one eventually said Anneliese needed an exorcism and an exorcism was eventually granted.

In 1975, Anneliese Michel and her parents stopped seeking medical advice and gave over Anneliese’s fate to the Roman exorcism ritual. Anneliese, the priests and her parents truly believed she was possessed. Anneliese Michel herself said that Judas, Nero, Hitler, Cain, Lucifer and others were inside of her. Over the next ten months, Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt performed 67 exorcisms for the tormented girl. It is important to note that every action taken during these rituals was condoned by Anneliese.

Sometimes, the seriously ill Anneliese would perform hundreds of genuflections during these rituals. It is rumored that her parents held her up for them when she got too weak to do it herself. It is not hard to imagine this being necessary, given that Anneliese stopped eating altogether for some time before she died. She believed it would lessen the evil’s control over her. There are claims that Anneliese spoke several different languages (or the demons and evil souls that possessed her did) during the exorcisms. The author of this article cannot verify such claims, as she does not speak the languages Anneliese supposedly spoke in the tapes.

It is certain that medicine was not saving Anneliese Michel from whatever tormented her, but there is no questioning that things got worse for her when she gave herself over to exorcism. She allegedly urinated and defecated on the floor frequently, also licking up her own urine. She ate insects, growled at religious icons and sat under her kitchen table barking for two days. Surely, her family was afraid of her, but a medical professional probably would not have left her under the table for two days or let her starve to death, which is eventually what she did.

Anneliese Michel died of dehydration and malnutrition on July 1, 1976. The 23-year-old woman weighed 68 pounds at the time of her death. Josef Michel (her father), Anna Michel and the two exorcists were eventually charged with negligent homicide. During the trial, evidence of the possession worked both for and against the defense. Forty-two of the exorcisms were audio-recorded and there were various pictures of a seriously ill-looking, bruised and sore-covered Anneliese. Anneliese is horrifying in these tapes which works for the defense that she was possessed, but is certainly not conclusive. If nothing else, the tapes made it clear that Anneliese was seriously ill and no one was making her eat. It is certain that possessed or not, Anneliese should have been cared for better.

There is no way to prove or disprove supernatural occurrences, such as exorcisms. That makes it difficult to know what really happened to Ms. Michel. However, it is possible to prove that there is some evidence that epileptics are at an increased risk of displaying symptoms of schizophrenia and it is has been posited that Michel suffered from dissociative personality disorder and schizophrenia. That, combined with her religious background, could easily account for the events leading to her death, but one can never be certain, of course.

Warning: The video below is very disturbing

Sources
Questioning the Story, retrieved 4/8/11, chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/emilyrose.php
Slater, Eliot & Beard A.W., The Schizophrenia-like Psychology of Epilepsy, retrieved 4/8/11, bjp.rcpsych.org

About Shelly Barclay

Shelly Barclay writes on a variety of topics from animal facts to mysteries in history. Her main focus is military and political history. She is a writer for the Boston History Examiner, Military History Examiner and the Boston American Revolution History Examiner. She also writes for a local historical society newsletter. Shelly was a professional cook for 10 years and still has a passion for food. She cooks and writes about cooking nearly every day. She produces a wide variety of content, on top of her niches. Shelly is a stepmother, a former military, current veteran wife, sister of four and aunt of seven (so far).
  • Dave Considine

    I suggest to the author of this article “not” to make such rash and untrue
    comments in regards to a subject that you know little or nothing about…

    Dave Considine L.R.D+ C.I.E

  • imafunker2

    The audio IS very disturbing…if you’re 16 years old. Otherwise, logic tells me that these so-called “Exorcism tapes” are clearly a hoax. Adding the cheesy cathedral horror movie music doesn’t help its case to be taken seriously.

    • Kyle Zura

      If this is still happening hit me up. I’ll do everything I can to help

          • http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/514186/shelly_barclay.html Shelly Barclay

            That’s mighty uncalled for.

      • MCantoneArt

        Regarding the caption “Anneliese healthy and young vs. Anneliese close to death”, it should be corrected. In the “close to death” picture, Anneliese IS dead. That was one of three that the police took when Anna Michel (Anneliese’s mother) informed them of her daughter’s death. Also, the picture is cropped. I saw the complete picture in a documetary and Anneliese was clutching a rosary.

      • Naysayer

        She was obviously completely nuts. He religious fanatical back ground mixed with mental disorder and seizures will make a normal lady do this.

      • Mico

        All of them.

      • Mico

        The world would definitely much better w/out these Religions…and WTC buildings is more likely still stands today.

        • Lisa

          which religions would the world be better off without? Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism. Are there some “better” than others? Which ones are we better off without?

      • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/514186/shelly_barclay.html Shelly Barclay

        I cannot say that I disagree with you. Religion does certainly have a dark side.

      • http://slrman.wordpress.com James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

        Once again, the evils of religion rear its ugly head. How many others have been tortured, maimed, and even killed in the delusional beliefs brainwashed into them from infancy?

        Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. For example, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, 9/11, and family planning clinic bombing in the USA. Then there were the crusades, the inquisition, witch burnings, and the dark ages. Get the idea?

        Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

        • Nathan Goss

          The catholic church didnt do anything wrong. The girl got medical attention, but for whatever reason, it didnt seem to help. So she saught help else where. The.Catholic church takes exorcism very seriously. In fact its very difficult to get the Catholic church to preform a.exorcism. the victim will be heavily scrutinized, because they need to meet a very specific set criteria before the church will agree to help. Most “possesion” incidents the church investigate end up being a mental disorder. In fact the majority of exorcism requests are denied. So to get help from the church, requires serious effort. (For example you would need to provide documentation from a psychiatrist saying you had been evaluated and there was no sign of a mental disorder) I feel like you have this idea that, foolish people though this chick was possessed, So she never got any medical treatment, then these priests showed up and tried to “faith heal” her. That isnt how it happened. I think she was receiving medical treatment, want doing anything, contacted Catholic church asking for an exorcism, the church investigated the situation for a period of weeks it months until they determined she qualified for the exorcism. Meanwhile the woman continues to receive treatment until the church agreed to preform an exorcism.

          To me it appears you disagree with religion, preferring a world where actions and decisions are made using factual information. At least, that’s what you think you want. your comment was hypocritical, and you were doing the things you accused religion of doing. You probably think you have a scientific mind set, but.it doesnt look that way to me. In science, you observe phenomena, record the information, and when enough data is present, you come to a conclusion. What your doing is, starting with a pre supposition (religion is bad) then you go look for information that supports your belief. Which is exactly what religious people do. They think the earth is 6000 years old, and people and dinosaurs co-existed. So.the concept of evolution.challenges this mentality. So in their mind, evolution couldn’t have happened, then they go look for information that supports their idea. You believe religion caused most of the problems in the world. Im fairly certain you didnt make a list of all the bad things that ever happened and organized them into groups based on what initiated them. No, you went and looked for incidents that support your idea. Which is ridiculous. More people died in World war one and two, then all the incidents you mentioned combined. Civil war, the trail of tears, the holocaust, Vietnam, korean war.I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. Im actually an atheist myself, and im not to fond of religion myself. But if your going to fault religion, dont do the.exact thing you faulted religion with, litterally two sentences later.

          • imafunker2

            I’m not sure how you got all of that from the short comments provided by the reader. Your strange, disjointed, poorly spelled and worded attack read like ramblings from an unsound mind.