Anneliese Michel goes down as one of the most possessed people in history. She was exorcised a whopping 67 times, something that experts and witnesses can’t explain to date. Hers was a harrowing experience; her life was full of pain that not many can relate to. Here are some heart-wrenching Anneliese Michel facts.
1. She Endured a Life of Austerity during Childhood
Anneliese Michel was a German woman born into a Roman Catholic Family in 1952. Along with her three sisters, she endured a life of austerity. They were not allowed to go out to play or socialize with others. Instead, they remained indoors, praying and exercising peculiar religious rituals.
2. Her Childhood Was Marred with Sickness
On many occasions, Anneliese Michel battled an illness. She was diagnosed with measles, scarlet fever, and mumps when she was very young. When she was 16, she suffered a seizure, which was diagnosed as temporal lobe epilepsy, before suffering depression soon after.
3. She Started Hearing Voices When She Was 20
By the time she reached 20, it was evident Anneliese Michel was not like any other person; she was different. She started hearing voices telling her that she was “damned and destined to “rot in hell;” she became intolerant of various religious objects. Even with medication, her condition worsened; she became suicidal at one point.
4. Anneliese Michel Was Exorcised 67 Times
Being staunch catholic members, the family was convinced that Anneliese Michel was possessed by a demon. They arrived at the decision after the person who escorted her to San Damiano reported that Michel could not walk past a crucifix.
Even though the first appeal to the Catholic Church to exorcise her was rejected, Michel’s parents finally got their wish. In 1975, two priests were tasked with exorcising her; they conducted 67 sessions.
5. There Is a Chance Anneliese Michel “Paid for Her Mother’s Sins”
Long after her death, Anneliese Michel did an interview with a reputable media outlet in 2005. Here, she stated that God told them to exorcise their daughter and insisted that she had no regrets. Interestingly, the mother admitted that she had a child out of wedlock in 1948, a time when such a thing was hugely despised and brought shame to the family.
Consequently, she wore black clothing on her wedding day to highlight her sin. She was further required to practice extreme purity. Such actions were thought to have pressured Anneliese Michel to do what her mother was doing. They would sleep on the floor, attended church more than others, and she was denied a chance to play with others. For a 16-year-old, that would be terrible and bound to cause harm.
6. She Ate Insects and Drank Her Urine
Over time, Anneliese Michel became very aggressive. She injured herself, ate insects, and drank her own urine. Taking neuroleptic medications didn’t work; she began hurling objects and growling endlessly.
7. Anneliese Michel Died of Malnourishment and Dehydration
After the prayers by the priests, Michel’s parents stopped seeking medical intervention for her. Anneliese Michel stopped eating and didn’t drink any water. A year later, an official autopsy revealed that she died of malnourishment and dehydration. Her parents and the two priests who prayed for her were convicted and charged with negligent homicide. They were found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail, which was reduced to three years of probation and a fine.
8. Her Body Was Exhumed Two Years After Being Buried
Even in her death, Anneliese Michel didn’t find peace. Two years after her burial, Michel’s family demanded that her body be exhumed because they thought she was laid to rest hurriedly and in a cheap coffin. They eventually got their wish; the body was exhumed and placed in a new oak coffin.
9. Anneliese Michel’s Body Didn’t Decompose Consistently
According to medical experts, when Michel’s body was exhumed, it did not show any signs of consistent deterioration, which was strange. It was so bad that the family members and priests were discouraged from viewing the body while at the mortuary.
10. Anneliese Michel’s Gravesite Remains a Pilgrimage
Today, a smaller chunk of Catholics still view Anneliese Michel’s gravesite as a pilgrimage. They are convinced that she paid for her sinful youth and the acts of the wayward priests. After Michel’s death, the number of exorcism cases significantly reduced, despite Pope Benedict XVI’s unwavering support. In 1999, Pope John Paull II restricted the activities, with exceptions only for the most severe and rare cases.
11. Anneliese Michel’s Former House Was Razed Down in 2013
About three decades after Anneliese Michel died and was buried, the house that she lived in caught fire and was razed down. Some believers attributed the incident that happened in 2013 to the exorcism case, but the police ascertained it was an act of arson.
12. Her Story Has Inspired Several Films and Podcasts.
Undoubtedly, Anneliese Michel’s story was extraordinary. As such, it became an inspiration for some popular films and podcasts. They include The Exorcism of Emily Rose, First Issue, and the Last Podcast on the Left.