The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a 2005 American horror movie which is considered as one of the scariest movies of all time. Though it is quite popular, some didn’t know that it is inspired by the real-life story of Anneliese Michel, a beautiful German Girl who underwent Catholic exorcism rites in 1975 and died the following year.
WARNING: This article includes real photos of Anneliese Michel and actual audio taken by the priests during the exorcism which you might find disturbing.
Anneliese was described as an intelligent, compassionate, kind, polite and a deeply religious girl. She was very knowledgeable of the Catholic faith, which she quietly and faithfully put into practice. She once had a normal and happy life, a teen pursuing all the normal things just like other young ladies do.
But in 1969, when Michel was seventeen, things started to change. She began experiencing epileptic seizure and regular convulsions. Medical doctors gave her a diagnosis of strong psychosis and temporal lobe epilepsy and treated her at a psychiatric hospital. However, Michel’s treatment in the mental facility did not improve her health, instead worsened her depression.
By the time she was in her 20’s, she had become intolerant of various religious objects such as the crucifix. Reports said that her severe depression led to hallucinations such as seeing demons and hearing voices that tell her she was “damned” and would “rot in hell”. Despite medications and treatment, her condition worsened and became suicidal, convincing her family to believe that she may have been possessed by demons.
Because her long-term treatment didn’t make her better, Michel’s parents sought religious help and appealed to a Catholic priest for an exorcism. But the priests declined and recommended the continuation of medical treatment. However, after much hesitation, Fr. Ernst Alt and Arnold Renz decided to help them after getting permission from Bishop Josef Stangl in 1975, and performed a secret exorcism rites on Michel for 10 months.
Reports said that in her episodes, she would make demonic voices and faces, tear her clothes apart, eat coal and lick her own urine. It is said that the demons lurking inside the girl identified themselves as Lucifer, Cain, Judas Iscariot, Nero, and Hitler. Later Anneliese began talking of dying as a martyr and refused to eat towards the end.
On July 1, 1976, at age 23, Anneliese Michel died of extreme dehydration and starvation after 67 exorcisms. Though she passed away the priest claimed that she was finally freed from the demons possessing her because of the exorcism just before her death.
Consequently, her parents and the priests involved in the exorcism were charged with negligent homicide, and were sentenced to six months in jail (reduced to three years of probation), and a fine. The case has been cited as an example of a misidentified mental illness, negligence, abuse and religious hysteria.
Watch this eerie video and decide for yourself.
Anneliese Michel’s death was very controversial, and it was a media sensation because of the many unanswered mysteries behind it. Was it really demons or her psychosis which led to her death?