On March 30, 1978, the trial began in the district court of Aschaffenburg Germany, of Josef and Anna Michel and Father Arnold Renz and Father Ernst Alt. The four were charged with negligent homicide in the death of Anneliese Michel. The courtroom sitting area was occupied primarily by media persons from Germany and abroad. Anneliese, her family, a few close friends, and the two priests involved and their Bishop, all believed that Anneliese suffered from possession. At the time, it was the first official and public case of exorcism in Germany in approximately 50 years, and the only known case to have been recorded on audio tapes. After sixty-seven exorcism sessions, Anneliese died on July 1, 1976 of what appeared to be starvation…
“The Klingenberg case was for all those involved, a breathtaking experience. Someone on the outside cannot possibly appreciate this experience. Man’s imagination is stretched past the limit when it comes to demonic possession.”
– Father Ernst Alt, exorcist of Anneliese
Anneliese was a very religious young woman who loved of, life, music, and poetry. After suffering brain damage from a supposed epileptic fit, her classmates said she became “overly religious” all of a sudden, and “very withdrawn.”
This is when her state of well being went into serious decline…she suffered from terrible bouts of depression and, what some think were hallucinations, and all along nobody knew what was wrong with her.
In the summer of 1970, Anneliese was staying in a psychiatric ward when she had another major seizure. She reported that she “saw devil faces” and “heard evil voices” and doctors were quick to diagnose her with schizophrenia.
“Whatever the less discerning theologians may say, the devil, as far as Christian belief is concerned, is a puzzling but real, personal and not merely symbolic presence. The more one understands the holiness of God, the more one understands the opposite of what is holy, namely the deceptive masks of the devil.”
– Pope Benedict XVI
“The battle against the devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel, is still being fought today, because the devil is still alive and active in the world. The evil that surrounds us today, the disorders that plague society, man’s inconsistency and brokenness, are not only the results of original sin, but also the result of Satan’s pervasive and dark action.”
– Pope John Paul II at the Sanctuary of Saint Michael May 24, 1987
“She died to save lost souls, to atone for their sins. Anneliese was a kind, loving, sweet and obedient girl. But when she was possessed, it was something unnatural, something that you cannot explain.”
– Anna Michel, the mother of Anneliese Michel, 2005
Nothing seemed to improve her health; and her depression worsened. Long term treatment did not help either, and she grew increasingly frustrated with the medical intervention. Being a devout Catholic, she began to attribute it to demonic possession.
Annaliese became intolerant of sacred places and blessed objects, such as the crucifix; and she began speaking in ancient languages that she couldn’t possibly have known.
Above: The last photographs taken of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who experienced, according to many experts, a true case of demonic possession during a horrendous 30 days in 1976.
Finally, her religious family ordered an exorcism on their daughter. By this point, Annaliese was frail and wasting away—she barely weighed six stone. She would eat only coal from the fireplace, which caused her teeth to fracture; and her own feces.
After 30 long days of fighting for her life, Annaliese finally succumbed—the doctors said cause of death was malnutrition and dehydration.
But some of us know the real reason.