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The True Story of Anneliese Michel

This is not an urban legend. It is a true story about a young woman in Bavaria, Germany who was thought to be possessed by evil spirits and went through a grueling exorcism. Sadly, Anneliese Michel (aka: Emily Rose) did not survive and the controversy regarding her exorcism remains to this day.

Anneliese Michel was brought up in a hard-working, faithful catholic family. She was a typical girl who moved to a big city after receiving a scholarship. Not long after starting classes, this 19-year-old college freshman began exhibiting bizarre behavior, typical to those who were thought to be possessed.

Distraught, Anneliese then seeks medical advice and the doctor tells her that she experienced a grand-mal seizure and that she has epilepsy. Anneliese then turns to her priest who believes that she is possessed by an evil force.

As time passes, it is clear to the priest and her parents that an exorcism must be performed to save her. It was approved by the diocese and began, strangely enough, on Halloween. Lasting for several months, the procedure was very difficult for Anneliese, the priests, and her family.

Anneliese was often violent and her behavior was what most people would find repulsive. She engaged in self-mutilation, attacked family members, ate insects, was verbally abusive, and destroyed religious symbols. This all took it’s toll and Anneliese died a tragic death in 1976, which embarrassed the church and outraged others.

Forensic evidence concludes that Anneliese starved to death and subsequent investigations into her untimely death leads to arguments as to whether Anneliese was really possessed by evil spirits or had epilepsy. Two priests and her parents (who truly believed that she was possessed) were accused of negligent homicide and later found guilty of manslaughter.

This all will be depicted on the big screen in September, 2005, with the release of a movie called “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. The movie hasn’t been released to the general public yet and how accurate it is to the facts remain to be seen. Early reviews are divided and the question still remains. Was the behavior that Emily Rose exhibited that of an epileptic, or that of someone truly possessed by demonic spirits?

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