Searching about the weird tale of Anneliese Michel? You have come to the right place. We take a look at one of the persons who have been searched for quite a bit online, as people look forward to knowing more about her, and her life. It’s a real story, and we hope we can do justice for it.
“Only after you’ve done the exorcism,
then you’ll understand that
ghost’s also a species.”
~ Toba Beta
It is still an unsolved mystery as to whether Anna Elisabeth Michel died due to health issues or demonic possession. Let’s find out all the weird tales regarding the death of Anneliese Michel and her tale.
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Anna Elisabeth Michel was a religious girl born in Bavaria, West Germany, in 1952. She was brought up in a strict Catholic family. Her father, Josef, was a trainee priest.
Three of her aunts were nuns. She is well known for the Catholic exorcism process she went through. It was believed by the Church and her parents that she was possessed by demons.
Let’s discuss all the details and facts first, and then I would leave it up to you to conclude, why she died, and who is responsible for the death.
The Weird Tale of Anneliese Michel: The Story
On September, 1968 at sixteen years old, Anneliese Michel experienced seizure for the first time. She experienced a similar episode on August, 1969 and her mother took her to their family doctor, Dr. Vogt and a neurologist named Dr. Luthy.
Dr. Luthy brain scanned her and found nothing wrong so they came to conclusion that it was an episode of temporal seizure.
She experienced this similar thing twice, one in 1970 and another in 1972, where doctors prescribed her Anticonvulsant medication and an anti-seizure medication named Dilantin.
But in both the cases her EEG (Electroencephalogram, a test to conclude the irregularity related to electrical activity of brain) was normal with minor irregular pattern.
In September 1973, in a neurological visit with Dr. Luthy, Anneliese described horrific visions of demonic hallucination that were tormenting her, telling her that she is damned. She even said that the devil was inside her.
Apart from that, she also reported smelling burnt faeces and many around her could also smell it. Anneliese’s mother, Anna Michel went to Dr. Luthy and he suggested her to see a Jesuit (religious official). Anneliese’s parents started looking for a Jesuit.
On November 1973, Anneliese was diagnosed by a Freudian psychiatrist and he declared her as a neurotic with possible epilepsy, another neurologist found epileptic patterns too and put her on Tegretol (carbamazepine).
In July 1975, her condition got worse. She barely slept, and she ate spiders, flies, and coal and even licked her own urine up from the floor.
She destroyed crucifixes and holy pictures from the walls. She began showing abnormal behaviour, she used to tear her own clothes, and she crawled beneath a table and behaved like a dog for two days.
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Anneliese also exhibited quote “Close to superhuman” and according to her sister, was “as if she were a rag doll”. She was even seen squeezing an apple in one hand saying, “Fragments exploded throughout the room”.
Father Rodewyk, an expert in exorcisms, was convinced that Anneliese was possessed and he even compared her symptoms with schizophrenia. Although an old woman who diagnosed Anneliese at first claimed that she is possessed, and to examine her she took her to a pilgrimage and she observed how Anneliese was refusing anything holy near her and she smelled “hellishly bad”.
At first, the church denied to help Anneliese. However, Pastor Alt gave evidences of possession to Bishop Josef Stangl, along with a letter written by Anneliese to the Bishop, explaining that she wanted to suffer for other people. Bishop Stangl approved of Catholic exorcism in accordance with the Rituale Romanun of 1614, led by priest named, Arnold Renz.
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On September 24, 1975 the first exorcism was performed. Father Renz and Father Alt allowed some of the exorcism treatments to be recorded. In the exorcism sessions they try to reveal the demons that possessed Anneliese. In one session, Judas explained that Hitler is unlikable in hell since he has a habit of bragging. In total, they recorded 42 audio recordings.
Here is a video of some of the audio recordings.
Anneliese mentioned the names of demons, Judas, Nero, Cain, Hitler, Belial and Lucifer himself. She even mentioned another demon named Valentin Fleischmann. Also, she provided some accurate details about the real Fleischmann, who was an excommunicated priest, which was not known by the Church.
Additionally, she talked about many damned souls who had exhibited themselves through her. Although as a Catholic she knew that taking one’s own life is an unforgivable sin, she did try to take her life at times.
By May 1976, Anneliese’s condition got worse and she started biting herself. Her family had to tie her up and more dangerously she refused to eat, and was “not being permitted to eat.” She weighed less than 80 lbs, still exhibited great strength.
By June 1976, Anneliese’s entire face sunken and she refused to visit doctor even though she had high fever.
On June 30, 1976 Anneliese had another exorcism, only saying, “Please…absolution.” Her last words to her mother, Anna were, “Mother, I’m afraid.”
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The next morning she was found dead in her room. She died at the age of 23 after 67 exorcisms, which had ruptured the ligaments of her knees due to the 600 genuflections she had to go through on that physical state, within a period of 10 months. Reports said, the time she died, she weighed only 68 lbs. She was suffering from pneumonia and high fever and she died due to starvation, emaciation and malnutrition.
In 1978, Mr. and Mrs. Michel, along with Father Renz and Father Alt, were accused of committing homicide, and the case went to trial.
As defence, they presented eye witnessed testimony, audio recordings of exorcism, and about the medical treatment, priests said it might have included electro-shock therapy, force-feeding and even tranquillizing, but “All against her will.”
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But autopsy revealed that Anneliese had a healthy brain and there is no such symptom that could cause an epileptic seizure, “not even on a microscopic level.” Even after examination there was no sign of ulcers on her body which is frequently found in victims of starvation.
According to the prosecution, that the drugs prescribed by neurologists, had the side effect of depression and suicidal thoughts and due to several exorcism exercises, Anneliese started believing that she had demons inside her. Prosecution also claimed that if the suspects had force feed her, even a week before her death, then she would have survived.
At the end, court went on favour of the prosecution and sentenced Mr. and Mrs. Michel, Father Renz and Father Alt to 6 months prison, 3 years suspension (for the priest) and payment for all court costs.
The court ruled that Anneliese was unable to make decisions for herself and should have been forced to submit to medical care.
Some psychology experts who testified during the case trial introduced, “Doctrinaire Induction”, and stated that probably Anneliese started believing that she is possessed because of the terms or things introduced to her during the process of exorcism by the priests.
On Februaury 25, 1978, after two years of the death of Anneliese Michel, her dead body was dug up and moved to a new casket lined up with tin. Reports said that a Carmelite nun had a vision that Anneliese’s body was still intact and hence, her parents moved her deceased body. After that, they weren’t allowed to go in front of the grave but it is still visible from the window of their house.
The life of Anneliese Michel and her story of exorcism is immortal since it has been preserved as book, podcasts and movies.
The book is named, ‘The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel’, and it is written by Felicitas D. Goodman. There are three films based on the life of Anneliese Michel, ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ this movie focuses on both the process of exorcism and the court trials, directed by Scott Derrickson on 2005.
A German drama based on the fact of epilepsy of Annelise Michel is ‘Requiem’ directed by Hans-Christian Schimd on 2006. In 2011, another found footage horror film based on Anneliese’s life was made by Jude Gerard Prest named, ‘Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes, or ‘Paranormal Entity 3: The Exorcist Tapes’.
The podcasts based on her life, Case 11: Anneliese Michel, an episode of the Casefile True Crime Podcasts on March 2016 and also on episode 66 as My Favourite Murder on The Devil’s Number.
So, now you know the details about the life, the process of exorcism that Anneliese Michel had to go through, and the court trials after her death. Comment down below what do you think about the story, who do you think is responsible for the death.