Anneliese Michel: A Tale of Tragic Possession

Born in Bavaria in 1952, Anneliese Michel exhibited her first signs of distress in 1968 with a blackout, paralysis, and a terrifying vision. Despite an initial diagnosis of epilepsy, her ailments progressed, encompassing pneumonia, tuberculosis, and pleurisy. As medical interventions proved insufficient, Anneliese began experiencing more profound supernatural episodes, including grim visions, unexplained stenches, and auditory disturbances.

Her behavior grew increasingly disturbing, prompting her deeply religious family to consider demonic possession as a possible explanation. Key events, such as Anneliese’s aversion to religious shrines, being burnt by holy water, and displaying physical changes like jet-black eyes, further fueled these suspicions.

While her health declined, her spiritual and emotional turmoil intensified. She oscillated between doctors and religious figures, searching for relief. Father Ernst Alt, who believed he had psychic connections with Anneliese, emerged as a significant figure during this time. Despite the skepticism of many, including the local Bishop, Alt became convinced of Anneliese’s possession and pushed for an exorcism.

In 1975, her distress peaked. She was tormented by demonic visions, exhibited erratic behavior like consuming insects and defiling religious symbols, and displayed physical symptoms such as swelling and displaying inhuman strength. Recognizing the gravity of her condition, the Church summoned its foremost exorcists, including Father Rodewyck and the knowledgeable Father Renz.

Under their guidance, Anneliese underwent multiple intense exorcisms. During these sessions, she identified several possessing demons and displayed a plethora of alarming symptoms. By October 31, 1975, the priests believed she had been cured, only to be confronted later by a more resilient demon.

The subsequent months were harrowing. Anneliese’s health plummeted, but she remained convinced of her imminent liberation from her demonic oppressors. In a tragic turn, she succumbed to her afflictions and passed away on June 30th, 1976. An autopsy revealed death by starvation but lacked typical signs of her diagnosed conditions.

The aftermath saw Anneliese’s parents, Father Alt, and Father Renz charged and subsequently found guilty of negligent homicide in 1978. They faced six months in prison and were burdened with court costs.