The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

16M+ views   |   250K+ likes   |   7K+ dislikes   |  
15:06   |   Nov 12, 2016


The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel
The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel thumb The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel thumb The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel thumb


  • - [Man In Gray] So we're about to discuss
  • a case of demonic possession so chilling
  • and controversial that it actually became
  • the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
  • What follows is the true story that inspired that,
  • The exorcism of Anneliese Michel.
  • - Ooh.
  • - It's one of the few actual cases of demonic possession
  • that went to court.
  • - Alright, wait did they like sue the demon?
  • - You'll find out. - Okay.
  • - [Man In Gray] Born in 1952 in the small town
  • of Klingenberg, in Bavaria Germany, Anneliese Michel
  • was raised as a strict Catholic and was described
  • as very bright and likable.
  • In September 1968, when Anneliese was 16 years old,
  • she experienced her first episode of losing consciousness.
  • And later that night, she felt as if something
  • was pressing down on her chest, pinning her to her bed.
  • 11 months later in August 1969, a similar event occurred
  • and her mother took Anneliese to their family doctor,
  • Dr. Vogt and a neurologist, Dr. Luthy
  • who examined her and even ran an EEG, a brain scan,
  • but found nothing wrong.
  • They hypothesized that it could possibly be
  • a form of seizure.
  • Over the next three years, Anneliese would have
  • two more similar episodes and was prescribed
  • two medications, an anticonvulsant medication
  • and an anti-seizure medication called Dilantin.
  • On both occasions, an EEG would come back normal
  • with some minor irregular patterns, but nothing
  • that would definitively explain her symptoms.
  • - [Man In Red] What year was this?
  • - [Man In Gray] This was in 1969.
  • - [Man In Red] Okay I'm fine with that so far,
  • that sounds real.
  • - Okay.
  • - Spiders on me, sorry if I blew it on you.
  • - [Man In Gray] It was in Spring 1973
  • that things took a turn for the stranger.
  • Anneliese began to hear knocking sounds in her bedroom.
  • Sounds her sisters would hear as well.
  • But even more alarming, Anneliese also reported hearing
  • a voice damning her to hell.
  • Her mother was further rattled when she witnessed
  • Anneliese furiously staring at a statue of
  • the Virgin Mary with, quote, "Eyes turned black, jet black.
  • "And her hands seemed to turn into thick paws with claws."
  • - [Man In Red] Those are some chunky paws on her daughter.
  • Uh oh!
  • - [Man In Gray] You know what, let's move on,
  • let's not get caught up on the bear hands.
  • You know what I shouldn't have even said that part.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah we can't move past her having paws.
  • - [Man In Gray] I know, I knew you weren't going to like
  • that, I'm just gonna move past.
  • - [Man In Red] She had like kitty cat paws.
  • - [Man In Gray] In September 1973, in a neurological
  • visit with Dr. Luthy, Anneliese described horrific
  • visions of demon faces that were tormenting her,
  • and stated that she felt that the devil was inside her.
  • She also reported smelling something that had the
  • aroma of burnt feces, a stench that many around her
  • reported smelling at later times.
  • - [Man In Red] Why do all these people know
  • what burnt feces smells like?
  • - [Man In Gray] Well I can imagine it just
  • smells like feces with a little smokier.
  • - [Man In Red] Like shit on fire.
  • Fuck, fuck is that a bee?
  • - See what you get?
  • This is what you get.
  • Oh fuck!
  • (laughing)
  • Around this time, Anneliese's mother described
  • these strange occurrences to Dr. Luthy,
  • who according to Mrs. Michel, advised them
  • to consult a Jesuit, a claim that Dr. Luthy
  • would later deny.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah that's a bad doctor.
  • - [Man In Grey] Yeah, if he said that.
  • - [Men In Red] Don't go see a Jesuit.
  • - [Man In Gray] That is fucked up, right.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah.
  • - [Man In Gray] Whether or not that's true,
  • the family definitely searched for a priest,
  • and eventually found a priest named Father Alt.
  • In November 1973, Anneliese met with a Freudian psychiatrist
  • who diagnosed her as a neurotic with possible epilepsy.
  • And another neurologist found she had quote,
  • "epileptic patterns" and took her off Dilantin
  • and put her on Tegretol, a much stronger drug.
  • In July 1975, Anneliese's extremely odd behavior worsened.
  • She barely slept and prayed fervently all night.
  • She ate spiders and flies and even licked her own urine
  • up from the floor.
  • She destroyed rosaries, crucifixes, and holy pictures
  • on the walls.
  • Anneliese also exhibited strength that was quote,
  • "Close to superhuman," throwing her sister, quote,
  • "As if she were a ragdoll."
  • And incredibly was observed effortlessly squeezing
  • an apple with one hand into, quote,
  • "Fragments exploded throughout the room."
  • - [ Man In Red] I bet I could squeeze an apple
  • until it exploded.
  • - [Man In Gray] I bet you a million dollars you couldn't.
  • - Here we go.
  • I mean, this is Germany, this is before preservatives.
  • - You hear that in the distance?
  • It's the excuse train coming.
  • (laughing)
  • - Wait for it.
  • You're full of shit, Ryan.
  • - [Man In Gray] Now you get to see two hands.
  • - She definitely used two hands.
  • - [Man In Gray] It said one hand.
  • (straining)
  • - Okay.
  • But still, that's not like an amazing metric.
  • - [Man In Gray] A priest named Father Rodewyk,
  • a man considered an expert on exorcisms by his peers
  • reported that he was convinced that Anneliese was possessed
  • and after deliberation with the bishop, an exorcism
  • on Anneliese was formally approved.
  • It was to be carried out by a priest named Father Renz.
  • On September 24, 1975, the first exorcism rite was performed
  • Father Renz allowed some of the exorcism sessions
  • to be recorded and 42 audio recordings of the exorcisms
  • were made in total.
  • I'm going to play some clips from those recordings.
  • But fair warning, these recordings are perhaps
  • the most disturbing pieces of audio I've ever heard.
  • (speaking in German)
  • - [Man In Red] You know, she's screaming.
  • She's giving it 110%.
  • - [Man In Gray] I mean, do you think that sounds
  • like it came out of a girl, like?
  • - [Man In Red] Yes, it sounds like a girl
  • doing a funny voice.
  • Uh?
  • - [Man In Gray] Your unrelenting skepticism is exhausting.
  • (laughing)
  • It drains me of all happiness and energy
  • and I hope you know that.
  • (speaking German)
  • - [Man In Red] That's all, we're all here!
  • It's all, I ran out of evil people to think of, uh.
  • The blonde man from Die Hard is also in here.
  • Skeletor from Masters of the Universe.
  • Heath Ledger's Joker!
  • (laughing)
  • Not Jack Nicholson, he was too cartoonish!
  • - [Man In Gray] You had your fun, you ass?
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah, I've had my fun.
  • - [Man In Gray] Okay.
  • Anneliese also named Fleishmann as one of her demons.
  • And provided accurate details of the real Fleischmann
  • who was a priest in the 1500s that was kicked
  • out of the church for bad behavior.
  • These details came as an icy shock to Father Alt
  • who claims Anneliese would have no way of knowing Fleishmann
  • - [Man In Red] That is the only thing that is strange to me.
  • All of the other stuff is just things that a person could do
  • - [Man In Gray] To learn more about demonic possession,
  • we sat down with Father Gary Thomas, a Vatican-approved
  • exorcist who explains to us different signs of possession,
  • all of these, Anneliese had.
  • - One would be an aversion to the sacred, so a person
  • walks in this church and can't look at a crucifix,
  • and their eyes are, you only see the whites of their eyes.
  • Another would be knowledge of hidden things,
  • where the demon will begin to tell you things about yourself
  • that the person themself would have no way of knowing.
  • Another would be possessing a kind of inordinate
  • physical strength they don't normally possess.
  • Then the last sign is a sort of epileptic-like seizures
  • on a person's face and the movement of their arms and legs
  • in a way where they lose complete control.
  • - [Man In Gray] By May, Anneliese became even worse.
  • Banging her head against the wall and biting herself
  • and others to the point where her family had to tie her up
  • to prevent her from hurting herself.
  • But most dangerously, Anneliese refused to eat,
  • she described it as, quote, "Not being permitted to eat."
  • Despite being quite frail, likely weighing under 80 pounds,
  • she exhibited great strength
  • when people tried to restrain her.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah, I Just feel bad for her at this point.
  • - [Man In Gray] Yeah, I do feel bad for her.
  • - [Man In Red] She's definitely tortured.
  • - [Man In Gray] By June, Anneliese's entire face
  • was sunk in, she also refused a doctor visit
  • even though she had a very high fever.
  • On June 30, Anneliese had another exorcism,
  • only saying "Please, absolution."
  • The next morning, her family went to her room
  • and found her dead.
  • Despite seeking medical attention early on,
  • Anneliese refused to submit to medical attention in the end,
  • as she and her family ultimately placed all faith
  • of recovery into the exorcisms.
  • She died of starvation at the age of 23 after 67 exorcisms.
  • Weighing only 68 pounds at the time of her death.
  • - [Man In Red] Do you think that just made her, like,
  • buy into it more?
  • If people started exorcising me on the reg...
  • - [Man In Gray] Exorcising you on the reg?
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah, I might eventually be like,
  • I guess I'm demons!
  • - [Man In Gray] I would agree with that frame of mind,
  • but Anneliese's belief that she was possessed
  • predates all the exorcisms or the priests
  • or any of that stuff.
  • After her death, Anneliese's parents and the two priests
  • were accused of negligent homicide.
  • And the case wen to trial in 1978.
  • What follows are the two sides of that case.
  • First, let's review the position of the defense.
  • The defense presented eyewitness testimony
  • and formally submitted the recordings
  • as evidence of possession, and idea that the court
  • never seemed to take seriously.
  • From a non-religious standpoint, the defense argued
  • that Anneliese was permitted
  • to deny medical treatment, as was her lawful right.
  • For what it's worth, medical treatment might have
  • included tranquilizing her, force-feeding her,
  • and electroshock therapy, quote,
  • "All presumably against her will."
  • Family friend Thea Hein recalled in her testimony
  • that in 1976, a few months before Anneliese's death,
  • Anneliese reportedly quote "Begged on her knees"
  • for Hein to not suggest medical attention to anybody.
  • Also worth noting is the fact that Father Alt
  • actually looked for medical help towards the end.
  • And on May 30, his friend Dr. Richard Roth
  • visited Anneliese out of what he claims was
  • scientific curiosity, and not as a physician.
  • - [Man In Red] He technically was just like,
  • "Look, I'm not here as a doctor,
  • "I just wanna see some of this crazy shit."
  • - [Man In Gray] I know, who fucking says that?
  • - [Man In Red] "I want to see this girl eat some spiders!"
  • - [Man In Gray] That's like something you say when
  • you go to the zoo, not when you go see
  • someone that's tied up.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah, that is a bad man right there.
  • - [Man In Gray] In his visit, Dr. Roth
  • claims Anneliese had no external injuries,
  • although Father Renz noticed she had several bruises,
  • a swollen cheek, and black eyes.
  • An interesting contradiction, to say the least.
  • Dr. Roth also denied saying quote, "There are no injections
  • "against the devil."
  • End quote.
  • - Shady.
  • - Shady as fuck, yeah.
  • Curiously, in spite of all the supposed
  • epileptic attacks, an autopsy revealed
  • Anneliese had a healthy brain with no damage
  • that could have caused epileptic seizures.
  • Quote, "Not even on a microscopic level."
  • What say you to that?
  • - [Man In Red] I mean, you know, oh look I'm not a
  • what's a brain scientist?
  • What do you call those?
  • - [Man in Gray] A neurologist?
  • - [Man in Red] Yeah, there we go, sorry it's been a long day
  • I'm not a neurologist, I don't know what the...
  • - [Man In Gray] It's funny that you said that
  • because the neurologist said the exact same thing.
  • - [Man In Red] He said "I'm not a neurologist?"
  • - [Man In Gray] Probably, it sounds like it.
  • He might has well have.
  • Yeah fuck, I don't know, go visit a Jesuit.
  • - [Man In Red] Yeah - [Man In Gray] Jesus Christ.
  • - [Man In Red] Just get your shit stink out of my office.
  • - [Man In Gray] And even more curious was the court's
  • seeming nonconsideration of facts such as her pupils
  • being unusually dilated, and the absence of ulcers
  • on her body, which are frequently found on victims
  • of starvation.
  • - [Man In Red] Okay, alright.
  • - [Man In Gray] Any quotes on that?
  • - [Man In Red] I mean, you know.
  • - [Man In Gray] This is great, the tables have turned
  • in my opinion.
  • Now let's review the position of the prosecution.
  • The prosecution argued that Anneliese had epilepsy
  • and psychosis and that the parents and two priests
  • were liable for failing to act to save her life.
  • The defense tore down notions of possession,
  • they questioned the credibility of Father Alt,
  • with the conclusion from two experts that Father Alt
  • exhibited signs of schizophrenia.
  • - [Man In Red] Whoa whoa whoa!
  • - [Man In Gray] Yeah, that's weird.
  • - [Man In Red] That's weird.
  • - [Man In Gray] He wasn't the guy that was doing
  • the exorcisms, but he was the guy that initially
  • helped Annaliese in the beginning.
  • The prosecution also argued that the medications
  • given successfully suppressed the epilepsy-like seizures.
  • And argued that that suppression morphed into, quote,
  • "A delusional psychosis associated with epilepsy."
  • They argued that Anneliese's psychosis was exacerbated
  • by the exorcisms which only played into her fantasy.
  • To piggyback on that, Anneliese often went through phases
  • between exorcisms where she behaved normally.
  • Even though she would behave a possessed person
  • during exorcisms, it's unclear if the epilepsy-like
  • seizures were stopped by medication or if they
  • actually stopped on their own.
  • But Anneliese's psychotic visions predate the alleged
  • medical suppression.
  • - [Man In Red] Weird, sorry sorry.
  • - [Man In Gray] Weird, basically they're saying that
  • the psychosis was brought on by the suppression
  • of the drugs, but the psychosis predates the drugs.
  • Exactly.
  • In the end, the court ruled in favor of the prosecution.
  • Sentencing the four defendants to six months in prison,
  • with suspension for three years, and payment
  • for all court costs.
  • The court ruled that Anneliese was unable to make
  • decisions for herself and should have been forced
  • to submit to medical care.
  • Professor Felicitas D. Goodman, an author of a book
  • on the case notes the theories that Anneliese was epileptic
  • were presented as, quote, "A statement of undisputable
  • fact, not conjecture, as in fact, they had been."
  • How do you tell the difference between possession
  • and mental health?
  • - Sometimes both are going along side by side.
  • You have to determine what is the root cause
  • of the suffering of this individual.
  • You start out with a discernment.
  • And the discernment involves myself
  • and a whole team of people.
  • I have a medical doctor, a clinical psychologist
  • and a psychiatrist, in fact a formal exorcism
  • only happens as the last resort.
  • - Given the evidence that we've seen,
  • in all the strange occurrences, and the voices,
  • I think there's sufficient evidence to not conclusively
  • rule out that she was possessed, beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • - Sure.
  • - So you acknowledge?
  • - I acknowledge there's a lot of factors in this case.
  • I personally think there's something going on
  • with mental health, and I also think that
  • 67 exorcisms probably don't leave your mind in a good spot.
  • - I could see both sides.
  • I can see how it would be mental health,
  • I can see how it would be possession,
  • I lean towards possession.
  • That being said, she should have gone to the hospital.
  • - Yeah, get that girl to a hospital.
  • - She's possessed or not, fucking force her
  • to go to a hospital and let the doctors be like
  • "Holy shit, the shit's floating around."
  • - PSA, if your kid's eating spiders.
  • - Don't take them to an exorcist.
  • Or take them to an exorcist but do it at the hospital.
  • - No, don't take them to, take them straight to the hospital
  • - You can do both, that's what I'm saying, you can do both.
  • You can have it happen at the hospital.
  • - Okay fine, yeah.
  • - [Man In Gray] Regardless of the court ruling,
  • many have debated what actually led to Anneliese's death.
  • Was it a case of mental illness, possibly epilepsy,
  • or was this a legitimate case of demonic possession?
  • Whatever the real reason may be, the case of Anneliese
  • Michel is a tragedy and will always remain unsolved.
  • (eerie music)
  • - Looks like we're done here.
  • - No we're not, I'm going to crush this.
  • I'm gonna get some juice out of this thing.
  • - I don't know what's making me happier, the fact that
  • you can't get it, or the struggle in your face
  • as you see your case slipping through your fingers.
  • - This is not my case slipping through my fingers.
  • - Like grains of sand, just falling.
  • (eerie music)

Download subtitle


One of the most chilling cases of demonic possession of all time.

Check out more awesome videos at BuzzFeedBlue!


Bite-size knowledge for a big world from the BuzzFeed crew. New videos posted daily!

SFX Provided by AudioBlocks
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
Body Eater
Licensed via Audio Network
Cheat The Gallows
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
Emerging Terror
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
In The Beginning
Licensed via Audio Network
Satans Breath
Licensed via Audio Network
Licensed via Audio Network
Forbidden Forest
Licensed via Audio Network
Night Terrors
Licensed via Audio Network
Motive and Opportunity
Licensed via Audio Network

Portrait of woman
Plume Creative/Getty Images
Age is just a number after all
shapecharge/Getty Images
Priest holding Bible
isitsharp/Getty Images
Portrait of a priest holding a bible
Image Source/Getty Images
Summer rain on deck
lovro77/Getty Images
Hairy House spider isolated on white
CreativeNature_nl/Getty Images
Honest portrait of a business woman.
Ezra Bailey/Getty Images
Antagain/Getty Images
fx Reel to Reel Tape Recorder
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images
Tablets spilling out of a bottle
Snap Decision/Getty Images
Portrait of mid adult doctor with colleagues in background, standing in hospital ward
Caiaimage/Martin Barraud/Getty Images
Confession of a sinner
MireXa/Getty Images
idal/Getty Images
Confident doctor standing by CT scanner
Morsa Images/Getty Images
Doctor standing in hospital room
Sam Edwards/Getty Images
Best of Month!
Jon Lovette/Getty Images
Room in the San Juan Capistrano Mission
JayBoivin/Getty Images
Yuri Tuchkov/Getty Images
Figurine Of Jesus And Virgin Mary On Table By Wall At Home
Titien Wattimena/Getty Images
wild creature
Messtor/Getty Images
Autopsy tables in morgue
DenBoma/Getty Images
High as a kite
PeopleImages/Getty Images
Close-Up Of Microscope
Christopher Plata Lopez/Getty Images
Portrait of woman with school books
Comstock/Getty Images
Courtroom 1
ftwitty/Getty Images
Evil female eyes
Nastco/Getty Images
Low Angle View Of Moon In Sky
Itaru Sugita/Getty Images

Footage provided by VideoBlocks

Screenshot from "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" by Sony Pictures

Exorcism Tape Audio from Father Arnold Renz.

Made by BFMP www.buzzfeed.com/videoteam.
Father Gary Thomas