The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel


– [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)

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