You may have heard of the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose. It follows the story of a young girl who is seemingly possessed by the devil. Well, did you know the movie was based on a real person? Meet Anneliese Michel, and the woman who had real-life exorcisms:
Anneliese was born in 1952 in Germany and was raised a strict Catholic. She was described as nice and very likable by those who knew her.
When Anneliese was 16, she experienced her first "episode," in which she lost consciousness. Later that same night, she felt like something was pressing down on her, holding her down. Following that, she had another episode and was taken to two doctors who believed her episodes might be related to seizures.
Over the next three years, she would have similar episodes, despite her brain scans coming back normal.
However, in spring 1973, things took a turn for the worse. Anneliese reported hearing knocking in her bedroom — which her sisters heard as well. She also reported hearing a voice damning her to hell.
And the weirdness doesn't stop there. Anneliese's mother reported seeing her daughter staring at the Virgin Mary with "jet black" eyes. In her next visit to the doctor, Anneliese told him she saw demons and felt like "the devil was inside of her."
When the doctor was unable to help, Anneliese's mother sought the help of a priest named Father Alt.
Despite seeking the help of medical and religious leaders, her condition worsened. Anneliese barely slept, ate spiders and flies, and even began drinking her own urine. She also displayed strength that seemed "superhuman."
On September 24, 1975, the first exorcism was performed on her by a priest named Father Renz.
Father Renz allowed a few of the sessions to be recorded, and the audio of it is truly disturbing. In it, Annelise's voice is unrecognizable.
One of the most chilling details from her exorcisms was when Anneliese mentioned Valentin Fleischmann as one of her demons. Fleischmann was a priest who had been excommunicated from the church for bad behavior — and someone Anneliese would have no reason to know about, yet somehow she was able to provide accurate details of his life.
Anneliese also refused to eat and said she was "not permitted" to do so. Yet despite her being under 80 pounds and severely malnourished, she still exhibited an incredible amount of strength.
Toward the end of her life, Anneliese refused medical treatment, dying of starvation at the age of 23 after 67 exorcisms.
So what really happened to Anneliese? For now, the case remains unsolved.