The horrifying real life 'possession' of Anneliese Michel
Licking up her own urine from the floor, possessed by six entities including Hitler and Lucifer himself, and bound by chains as priests battled to save her soul - Annaliese Michel's shock death was the basis of 2005 film The Exorcism of Emily Rose... but they didn't tell the whole story.
It's not often that true events are more unsettling than the horror films they inspire... but that can't be said for the case of Anneliese Michel.
The 23-year-old German girl died from starvation after undergoing a staggering 67 exorcisms between September 1975 to July 1976. The religious rites were practiced constantly and lasted up to 4 hours at a time; unfortunately on July 1, 1976, Annelise tragically died from malnutrition and dehydration. Two years later her parents dug her up to see if she had decomposed after a nun had a vision she was still pristine. Her dad claims Satan's handprints were visible over the casket.
Her short life was reasonably normal until she turned 16. She was born in 1952 in to a strict Catholic family. Her mum had already lost a child, so Anneliese's mum put even more pressure on her to lead a pious life, demanding that she attended mass twice a week and keeping a very close eye on her.
Later Anneliese would develop neuroses related to religious iconography as a result of the punishments inflicted on her by her zealot parents. She became fearful even of churches.
Anneliese enjoyed school and was described as happy and well-liked by her teachers, and excelled at languages. But when she was 16 she blacked out in class and according to friends seemed to go in to a trance-like state for a few minutes. That night she woke up with a 'heavy feeling on her body' and wet the bed. She didn't go to school the next day but her family decided she was fine, and there were no further incidents.
A year later, something similar happened, but a doctor and neurologist found there was nothing wrong with her.
In February 1970, she was hospitalised with tuberculosis where a third incident happened, and saw her cruelly mocked by other patients after she soiled herself on the ward. It was during this time in hospital Anneliese claimed that she began to see colours, heard sounds and experienced euphoria while saying a rosary. She was diagnosed with epilepsy.
In 1973 she began suffering hallucinations while praying and became convinced that she was damned and the Devil was inside of her.
Now, as well as begging doctors for help, she also turned to priests - but her behaviour was more than either seemed able to handle.
After months of pleading from her parents, the church agreed to perform an exorcism.
Fathers Arnold Renz and Ernst Alt, two priests from the local parish, were given the job of performing a 'secret' exorcism. She stopped taking her medication on the priests' orders - they were convinced this was not a medical situation.
Anneliese is said to have licked her own urine from the floor, eaten coal, stripped naked and eaten insects.
One night as she ate dinner, Anneliese’s hands reportedly swelled up to a huge size. She cried out, “I have black hands… My Saviour, forgive me!” At the same time, she could see diabolical faces on the wall which she described as having “7 crowns and 7 horns.”
It was around this time that her mother reportedly caught Anneliese staring at a statue of the Virgin Mary in their home, and her eyes were jet black, and her hands looked like paws with claws.
Her father took her to a shrine, the Mother of God of San Damiano. Anneliese claimed the ground burned her feet and she was unable to enter the chapel. The holy water also burned her, and she tore her rosary. She claimed a saint medal her father bought her suffocated her.
It was added that she began to speak with a voice so deep, she sounded like a man, and she exuded a foul odor.
As she began avoiding religious items like crosses and holy water, priests realised she was showing signs of demonic possession. Over the next ten months, Anneliese underwent 67 one-hour exorcism sessions - and the clergymen noted at least SIX demons inside of her - each of them more evil than the last.
They claimed Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann, a disgraced Priest from the 16th century were all using her body as a vessel.
As the exorcisms went on, Anneliese stopped eating and became increasingly frail.
But she still had to be held down and even chained up while the priests tried to force the demons out of her.
When she died in 1976, her autopsy revealed she had fractured teeth, bruised limbs, broken knees, and black eyes - but before she died the priests claimed to have seen stigmata on her hands and feet.
They took these marks - said to represent where Jesus was nailed to the cross - as a symbol that her soul had been freed.
But while we might hope that Anneliese finally found peace in death, a nun told her parents that she had had a vision that their troubled daughter's body was not decomposing, a final sign from God of her Holy sacrifice.
In 1978, two years after her burial, they persuaded authorities to exhume their daughter, claiming that they wanted to rebury her in a more expensive coffin - but really it was to take a final look to see if the nun's vision was true.
Authorities recorded normal levels of decomposition, but her father claimed the opposite. The priests who carried out the violent exorcisms were banned from seeing her remains at all.
The priests and Anneliese's parents were found guilty of negligent homicide in 1978, and all received fines and jail time.
Anneliese's legacy lives on today. As well as hours of disturbing recordings made during her exorcisms posted on YouTube (warning, scary AF), her grave is a pilgrimage site.
In 2013, a fire broke out in the house where she lived, and, although the local police said it was a case of arson, some locals attributed it to Satanists performing dark rites on the property.
There is also this photo of her exhumed coffin... which her dad claims show's the handprint of Satan himself...