Religion takes a number of forms, but faith is a universal concept. There are times when faith is tested and shaken. This is the reason why it is terrifying when it happens in our world. Demonic possessions take place and our faith is tested.
Anneliese Michel was a normal German girl, trying to live her life according to her beliefs. She was a devout Catholic and everyone around her saw it. She was seen as deeply religious and would always attend mass at least twice a week. No wonder the world was shocked at the news that she died due to demonic possession.
The Exorcism Of Anneliese Michel
The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel is one, if not the most famous exorcism story in recent history. One of the reasons is due to the fact that there are arguments that Anneliese could have been saved if only she was treated in a medical facility weeks before her death. However, others believe that it was futile since the same has been tried early in her possession but have failed.
Annaliese Michel suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy and was diagnosed when she was sixteen. When they tried treating her in a psychiatric hospital, it seemed that the treatment and medicine failed to work. She was brought to a un-sanctioned pilgrimage and she seemed to be avoiding or afraid of sacred places and objects.
When Bishop Josef Stangl granted the exorcism, priests Arnold Renz and Ernst Alt performed the rite according to the Rituale Romanum of 1614. During the course of the exorcism, six demons spoke through her, namely Judas Iscariot, Lucifer, Hitler, the fallen priest Fleischman, Nero, and Cain. She even spoke in different languages; some are already lost and forgotten. Here is a popular YouTube video illustrating the ordeal.
The parents and both priests, Ernst Alt and Arnold Renz, are charged with negligent homicide. Doctors testified that Michel was simply suffering from mental illness and epilepsy. The church defended their priests and claimed that the exorcism was legal within the purviews of the German Constitution.
In the end, the accused were found guilty of manslaughter. The priests and the parents suffered six months in prison and three years of probation. The punishment is luckily suspended resulting from the request of the prosecution due to the suffering already endured by the family over the death of Anneliese.
Scepticism Of The Story
A lot of people, especially in the medical and scientific field, believe that Anneliese Michel was not possessed. She was merely suffering from a mental condition exacerbated by the exorcism performed on her. Reports claim that she did not eat until the day of her death.
The doctors that analyzed her case associated her death to a mental illness expounded by her religious belief. While suffering her conditions, she quickly believed that she was possessed by demonic spirits. Due to her strong religious beliefs, no doubt her mind would accept it and treat it as reality. Hallucinations of demons would surely look real and convincing to her.
In 2013, the house where Anneliese Michel lived burned down. Official reports claimed that the cause was arson and nothing more. Others claim that it was related to her exorcism.