Possession- true or not? I’ll let you decide for yourself after this post.
- Anneliese Michel
- Born- September 21, 1952(Leiblfing, Bavaria, Germany)
- Died July 1, 1976 (aged 23)
- Cause of death- Starvation and dehydration.
- Resting place- Klingenberg am Main, Bavaria
- Nationality- German
- Known for Demonic possession, death after exorcism.
- Religion- Christian (Roman Catholic)
Anneliese Michel (September 21, 1952 – July 1, 1976) was a German Catholic woman who was said to be possessed by demons and subsequently underwent an exorcism. Two motion pictures, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Requiem, are loosely based on Michel’s story.
Anneliese Michel was born on September 21, 1952, in Leiblfing, Bavaria, Germany to a strict Catholic family. When she was sixteen, she suffered a severe convulsion and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Soon, she began hallucinating while praying. In 1973, she suffered from depression and began to hear voices telling her that she was “damned” and would “rot in hell”.
Being admitted to an unnamed psychiatric hospital did not improve Michel’s health. Moreover, her depression began to deepen. She grew increasingly frustrated with medical intervention as it did not help. Long-term medical treatment proved unsuccessful; her condition, including her depression, worsened with time. Having centered her life around devout Catholic faith, Michel began to attribute her condition to demonic possession. Michel became intolerant of sacred places and objects, such as the crucifix, which she attributed to her own demonic possession. Throughout the course of the religious rites Michel underwent, she was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, which she may or may not have stopped taking.
In June 1970, Michel suffered a third seizure at the psychiatric hospital she had been staying in and was prescribed anti-convulsants for the first time. The name of this drug is not known (Gambutrol, mentioned in a movie loosely based on her story, is a fictional drug) and it did not bring about immediate alleviation of Michel’s symptoms. She also continued talking about what she called “devil faces”, seen at various times of the day. Michel became convinced that conventional medicine was of no help. Growing increasingly adamant that her illness was of a spiritual kind, she appealed to the Church to perform an exorcism on her. That same month, she was prescribed another drug, Aolept (pericyazine), which is a phenothiazine with general properties similar to those of chlorpromazine: pericyazine is used in the treatment of various psychoses, including schizophrenia and disturbed behavior. In November 1973, Michel started her treatment with Tegretol (carbamazepine), which is an anti-seizure drug and mood stabilizer. Michel took this medicine frequently, until shortly before her death. Anneliese went on a pilgrimage to San Damiano with a good friend of the family, Thea Hein, who regularly organized such pilgrimages to “holy places” not officially recognized by the church. Because Anneliese was unable to walk past a crucifix and refused to drink the water of a holy spring, her escort concluded that she was suffering from demonic possession. Both Anneliese and her family became convinced she was possessed and consulted several priests, asking for an exorcism. The priests declined, recommended the continuation of medical treatment and informed the family that exorcisms required the bishop’s permission.
Eventually, in a nearby town, they came across vicar Ernst Alt, who, after seeing Anneliese, declared that she didn’t “look like an epileptic” and that he didn’t see her having seizures. He believed she was suffering from demonic possession. Alt urged the bishop to allow an exorcism. In September 1975, Bishop Josef Stangl granted Father Renz permission to exorcise according to the Rituale Romanum of 1614,but ordered total secrecy. Renz performed the first session on September 24. Once convinced of her possession, Anneliese, her parents, and the exorcists stopped seeking medical treatment, and put her fate solely into the hands of the exorcism rites. Sixty-seven exorcism sessions, one or two each week, lasting up to four hours, were performed over about ten months in 1975 and 1976. At some point, Michel began talking increasingly about dying to atone for the wayward youth of the day and the apostate priests of the modern church, and refused to eat. At her own request, doctors were no longer being consulted. On July 1, 1976, Anneliese died in her sleep. The autopsy report stated her cause of death as malnutrition and dehydration from almost a year of semi-starvation while the rites of exorcism were performed. She weighed 68 pounds (30.91 kilograms).