The Life of Anneliese Michel
Anneliese Michel was born in Klingenberg, Bavaria in Germany on September 21, 1952, to Josef and Anna who were devoutly Catholic. As Anneliese was growing up she would regularly attend mass twice a week. The Michel family did not follow the reformations of Vatican II.
As the 1960’s ended and the 1970’s began Anneliese started to enter trance-like states that turned into convulsions. Her family took her to a neurologist that diagnosed her with epilepsy in her temporal lobe. Over the next 5 years, all types of modern medicines were used in an attempt to help Anneliese, but her seizures and hallucinations continued. She suffered from both visual and auditory hallucinations that became more regular and severe in nature. Anneliese and her family began to believe that she had become possessed by a demon or demons. They sought help from the Catholic Church. The life and exorcisms of Anneliese Michel were later used to make the movie, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”
Josef and Anna Michel along with two priests named, Ernst Alt and Arnold Renz began to perform what would end up being 67 exorcisms over a ten-month period in late 1975- June 30, 1976. During that period of time, Anneliese would often refuse to eat, and she became violent towards her family and even herself. Anneliese would genuflect (when one bends and lowers the body onto one or both knees as a sign of respect while worshiping) so violently that she eventually broke both of her kneecaps. Each exorcism would take several hours and during them, Anneliese stated that she was possessed by five demons including Lucifer, Cain, Judas, Hitler, and Nero.
July 1, 1976
Anneliese Michel endured her final exorcism on the evening of June 30, 1976, because by the next day she had passed away. At the time of her death, Anneliese weighed only 68 lbs and it was determined by the medical examiner that she died of malnutrition and dehydration. Anneliese was only 23 years old when she died.
The aftermath of the Exorcism of Anneliese Michel
The Priests Ernst Alt, Arnold Renz, and the parents of Anneliese, Josef and Anna Michel were charged in her death. There were many hours of her exorcisms that had been recorded and those tapes were used to defend the actions of the four defendants during their trial. The priests were found guilty of manslaughter as a result of negligence and were sentenced to 6 months in jail. Their sentences were later suspended. The parents of Anneliese were not sentenced to any jail time as it was felt that they had suffered enough.
In 1984, the Catholic Church released a ruling that had determined that Anneliese Michel was not possessed but had suffered from mental illness. It is interesting to note that the church published a revised exorcism rite in 1999. The exorcism rite had not been changed by the church since the 1600’s.(the13thfloor.tv)
It has been reported that Anneliese Michel wanted to die for the sins of others in a hope that her sacrifice would save others in the future. I am left hoping that she accomplished her goal and that she is has been able to rest in peace.
The Other Half