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The Story of Anneliese Michel

by Angela Shiflett 4 months ago in supernatural
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A Terrifying Demonic Haunting

Demonic Hauntings have gained an immense amount of popularity in the past several decades. This is mostly due to the release of movies such as Paranormal Activity, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hereditary and television shows such as A Haunting, The Demon Files, and Paranormal Survivor. Through these media types and others – such as books and documentaries – it is believed that demons are among us and they have the capability of detrimentally impacting lives.

Anneliese Michel is the Real Emily Rose

Throughout history, those that practice religion professionally and paranormal researchers have been introduced to real demonic hauntings that have provided us with information on what happens when this takes place. We were introduced to the real story of a demonic haunting when the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose was released in the year of 2005. While many parts of the movie were enhanced to add to the storyline, the real story occurred to a girl by the name of Anneliese Michel.

Basic Background Information

Anneliese was a devout Catholic who grew up in West Germany during the 1960s. At the age of 16, she experienced a blackout while at school. Immediately thereafter, she walked around in a trance-like state. Approximately one year later, she experienced a similar event – but at home, in bed. She experienced convulsions, went into a trance, and wet her bed.

The family knew something was wrong. They immediately set up an appointment with a neurologist who would – eventually – diagnose Anneliese with epilepsy that stems from the temporal lobe of the brain. It causes seizures, results in the loss of memories, and induces both visual and auditory-based hallucinations. This condition can result in the development of Geschwind syndrome, which results in intense religious-based beliefs and episodes.

Surrounded by Demons

Anneliese was a religious young woman. Soon after her diagnosis, her praying intensified. She started experiencing hallucinations that were quite ominous. She claimed to see the devil’s face and that demons informed her through faint whispers that she would face intense damnation for her sins. She came to believe she was possessed and started begging priests to help her; however, her requests were rejected.

As a result of her belief of possession, Anneliese started ripping clothes from her body, performing hundreds of squats a day, and engaging in other erratic behaviors. She would consume spiders and also eat coal. She attended a religious pilgrimage with a woman who was part of the church that the family attended.

During the event, the lady from their church recognized many unusual characteristics in Anneliese. First, she would not walk in close proximity to an image displayed of Jesus. There was a spring of holy water that Anneliese did not want to drink from. The family requested an exorcism but no one would agree to perform the exorcism.

Eventually, a priest named Ernst Alt believed she was possessed and he petitioned Bishop Josef Stangl for approval for the exorcism. It was approved but had to be done in secret. A local priest named Arnold Renz would be assigned to performing the exorcisms.

The Exorcisms

For a period of ten months, Both Priests – Alt and Renz – would perform a total of 67 exorcisms. In some, the sessions would be up to 4 hours long. Anneliese revealed through the sessions that she was possessed by a wide variety of demons. These included Belial, Judas Iscariot, Lucifer, Hitler, Cain, Nero and a disgraced priest by the name of Fleischmann. Communication in the form of harsh words and low growls would come from the mouth of Anneliese that reflected what these evil forces were thinking and saying.

Death for Atonement

During the exorcisms, Anneliese Michel would often inform the others that the wayward youth and the apostate priests of the church needed atonement. She went on to say that she was willing to die so that they could be atoned. She prayed so intently upon her knees that the tendons in them ripped and the bones – eventually – broke.

She typically had to be restrained during the exorcisms. This way, the rites could be properly performed. As time progressed, she quit eating and quit drinking. On July 1st 1976, Anneliese Michel died of dehydration and malnutrition. She was only 23 years old at the time of her death.


While the people in Anneliese’s life tried diligently to assist her in overcoming her demonic haunting, they were unsuccessful. These people included two priest - Arnold Renz and Ernst Alt - as well as her parents who were named Anna and Josef. In the end, all four of these individuals were found guilty of a charge called "Negligent Homicide".

The priests were given suspended prison sentences and three years of probation. They also had to help in paying legal costs. The parents were exempted from being punished due to the suffering that they had endured. Despite the fact that local government officials often observed her bizarre and uncontrollable behavior, they were convinced that the four individuals were guilty of her death as it was believed that her illness caused her behaviors and that was not addressed.

Popular Culture

There are a few movies that are based on the story of Anneliese Michel:

1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

2. Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes

3. Requiem

BuzzFeed Unsolved featured the case and associated theories in the year of 2016. It was discussed in two podcasts, Casefile: True Crime Podcast and My Favorite Murder. Additionally, the song “Annalisa” by Public Image Ltd is about the case and “Communion of the Cursed” by Ice Nine Kills utilized real audio from the exorcisms in their song.

Mental Illness or True Demonic Haunting?

Most demonic hauntings are often labeled as a case of mental illness - such as schizophrenia. Unfortunately, many feel that there are a number of individuals that are - in fact - possessed but are not given the right to blessing and exorcism due to the belief that they suffer from a mental illness. Today, exorcisms are typically not performed unless the bishop, a physician, a psychiatrist, and others on a specialized team approve the procedure.

The Mystery Continues

While the story of Anneliese is just one of the many demonic haunting cases and considered one of the most well documented recorded events of demonic hauntings, many still consider demonic possession to be one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries. Is the possession real? Do demons haunt people? Do they possess the bodies of individuals? Are demonic hauntings and all the experiences associated with them simply a figment of the imagination? We will let you decide…

Thank You!

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About the author

Angela Shiflett

Angela has worked as a professional content creator for just over 18 years. Her topics are typically created as a result of her life experiences and passions. She strives to deliver content that is helpful, intriguing, and entertaining.

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