The Exorcisms of Anneliese Michel: A True Tale of Demonic Possession in Germany

Our journey today isn’t going to be one filed with exciting travel destinations, tourist hot spots, and fun adventures. Instead, we are going to travel back in time. Picture a Bavarian town in the 1970s. Doesn’t seem too disturbing, right? Well, if you were a young German woman with the name Anneliese Michel, then it sure as hell was. This is going to be a story about religion, science, exorcism, the supernatural, and death. So, let’s explore the tragic and short-lived life of an innocent girl suspected to be possessed by demons.

The Beginning of Anneliese’s Torment

Anneliese Michel was born in 1952 in West Germany, growing up deeply devout in a strict Catholic family. Her childhood and early teenage years seemed to be more than ordinary. She had dreams of becoming a teacher, loved going to church, and even got into a loving relationship. However, her troubles began in 1968 when she was just 16 years old. Anneliese started to experience episodes of losing consciousness.

Even though her family thought it was weird, they weren’t concerned at first. However, after she started having terrifying hallucinations while praying, the panic began.

By 1973, Anneliese’s condition had deteriorated significantly. She started exhibiting symptoms such as convulsions. And initially, everyone suspected that she was suffering from epilepsy. However, the treatments prescribed to her showed no signs of improvement. As her physical and mental health worsened, Anneliese, deeply religious and increasingly desperate, began to interpret her condition through the lens of her faith. She reported seeing demonic faces during her daily prayers and hearing voices whispering horrific things.

The Exorcism Sessions and the Tragic Ending

It was these experiences that led Anneliese, along with her family and some members of her church, to believe that her condition was not medical but spiritual. After years of hesitation, the Church appointed two priests in 1975 to carry out the exorcism. Poor Anneliese underwent 67 exorcism sessions, sometimes lasting up to four hours.

The exorcisms were gruesome. Audio recordings from these sessions are still available to listen to. However, I would strongly advise you against it. It’s just way too brutal. But to give you an idea of what they sound like, it’s basically Anneliese growling, hissing, and speaking in different voices. The sessions were marked by her reciting prayers, growling at religious icons, exhibiting superhuman strength, and even harming herself.

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To make a long story short, because the exorcism sessions didn’t seem to make Anneliese any better, she decided to fast. Why? Because she strongly believed that this would weaken the demons that were possessing her. On July 1, 1976, Anneliese Michel died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration, weighing just 68 pounds at her death. Autopsy reports indicated she had suffered broken knees due to constant praying, and she was unable to move without assistance in her final days.

What Happened After

So, what happened after her death, and was she really possessed by demons? The aftermath led to a highly publicized trial where the two priests and Anneliese’s parents were charged with negligent homicide. The court ruled that she was not possessed but rather mentally ill, and her death could have been prevented. The priests and her parents were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence and were sentenced to six months in jail (which was later suspended) and three years of probation.

To this day, no one knows for sure what really happened to Anneliese. Her parents claimed that it was really the work of the devil to their last day. Anneliese Michel’s story continues to evoke emotion and debate, remembered through films, documentaries, and books that attempt to unravel the complex interplay of faith, medicine, and the human psyche.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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