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Anneliese Michel: Life, Nature, And More

The healthy baby girl Anneliese was born on September 21, 1952. Anneliese’s upbringing with her parents and three sisters was anything but simple. Her family was devoutly Catholic, toying with the more extreme tenets of the faith.

For the Michel family, the Vatican II reforms were to be disregarded; there was no easy atonement for sin, and one could not survive on sin atonement alone. Anneliese spent the winters sleeping on cold wooden floors in the hopes that God would accept her sacrifice as atonement for faithless drug addicts.

Anneliese would experience her first seizure in 1969. Doctors informed Anneliese’s family that she had temporal lobe epilepsy, which, among a long list of side effects, could induce mood swings, hallucinations, and loss of awareness. A neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic in Wurzburg diagnosed her with Grand Mal epilepsy at that time. She was identified as having epileptic psychosis (temporal lobe epilepsy).

Anneliese would experience several seizures over the next three years, but brain scans did not reveal any major signs. Anneliese began to hear knocking in her bedroom during the early 1970s, and so did her sisters. While praying, Anneliese began to experience diabolical hallucinations. She also began to hear voices, that told her that she was damned.

Anneliese And Woman

Anneliese received her first unofficial diagnosis from an older woman who joined her on a journey. She saw that Anneliese avoided walking past a certain figure of Jesus and that she refused to drink water from a holy spring. The woman also asserted that Anneliese had a foul odor.
Doctors attempted to administer anti-seizure medication to Anneliese, but it had little effect on her convulsions.
Anneliese’s parents reportedly discovered her staring at a statue of Mother Mary for hours with her eyes “jet black.” Her parents would also remark that Anneliese seemed to have ‘superhuman strength’, flinging her sister across the room ‘like a rag doll’. Anneliese carried out a number of really frightening behaviors. She licked the floor with her own urine. She consumed insects, spiders, and coal. She bit off the dead bird’s head. She crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days in one case. She could frequently be heard wailing for hours through the walls. It became routine for her to rip off her clothes and urinate on the floor.
Anneliese’s seizures intensified as the spring of 1976 advanced. She began biting and scratching members in her household. Anneliese would beat herself when she could not get her hands on any of her sisters.
She stated that the demons would not allow her to eat. She fractured her kneecaps by repeatedly falling to her knees and swiftly rising to her feet hundreds of times every day. Anneliese believed that she, too, was possessed.
Nonetheless, her parents had faith in the religion and did not seek medical assistance. Anneliese would tell anybody who would listen that she was willing to die to atone for “the wayward youth of the day and the apostate priests of the modern church” during her lucid periods.

Anneliese Michel 2.jpg
Pic: Wikipedia

Anneliese continued to refuse to eat, but she now made it obvious that it was her decision and not the devils within her. In her weakened condition, Anneliese contracted pneumonia and a fever. She got malnourished, losing almost 100 pounds. Nevertheless, the two priests continued with the sessions.
The final exorcism occurred on 30 June 1976. Anneliese was too fragile to perform the genuflections on her own, so her parents assisted her. On the tape, Anneliese delivers her final words. She instructs Renz and Alt to “ask for forgiveness” before focusing on her family. Anneliese says “Mother, I’m terrified” through tears.
Anneliese Michel passed away on the morning of July 1 due to starvation and dehydration. The coroner’s report indicates that she weighed only 68 pounds. Broken kneecaps as a result of prolonged genuflections. She was reportedly unable to move without assistance and had contracted pneumonia.
After conducting an inquiry, the state prosecutor concluded that Michel’s death may have been averted a week before her passing.
In 1976, the state charged Ernst Alt and Arnold Renz, the parents and priests of Michel, with negligent homicide. During the trial, Michel’s body was excavated and tapes of the exorcisms performed in the eleven months preceding her death were played in court. Erich Schmidt-Leichner represented the parents; the Church provided funding for their attorneys. The state suggested that none of the relevant persons be imprisoned; instead, a fine was recommended for the priests, while the prosecution ruled that the parents should be spared from punishment since they had “suffered enough,” a requirement under German penal law, cf. 60.
The trial began on 30 March 1978 in the district court and attracted considerable attention. Before the court, doctors testified that Michel was not possessed, stating that this was a psychological effect resulting from her strict religious upbringing and epilepsy. However, the doctor Richard Roth, who was requested by Alt for medical assistance, allegedly told Michel during the exorcism, “there is no injection against the devil, Anneliese.” Schmidt-Leichner stated that the exorcism was legal and that the German constitution guaranteed the free exercise of religion by its citizens. To support their argument that Michel was possessed, the defence produced audio captured during the exorcism sessions, which occasionally allegedly featured “demons squabbling.” Both priests reported that the demons identified themselves as Lucifer, Cain, Judas Iscariot, Belial, Legion, and Nero, among others, and that she was eventually liberated due to her exorcism shortly before her death.
The bishop stated that he was unaware of her grave health condition at the time he approved the exorcism and refused to testify. The defendant was found guilty of negligent manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in jail (which was later suspended) and three years of probation. It was a much shorter penalty than anticipated, although the prosecution had asked for the priests to receive simply a fine and the parents to be found guilty but not punished. The approval of such an antiquated exorcism ritual by the Church aroused public and media attention. According to John M. Duffey, mental illness was misdiagnosed in this case.
After the trial, the parents requested permission from the authorities to exhume their daughter’s remains. The official reason given to authorities by Michel’s parents was that he was buried in haste and in a cheap casket. On February 25, 1978, over two years after her burial, her bones were reinterred in a new oak casket lined with tin. According to the official records, the corpse displayed evidence of persistent deterioration. The alleged exorcists were discouraged from viewing Michel’s skeletal remains. Arnold Renz later claimed that he was denied access to the mortuary. Her grave became and continues to be a centre of pilgrimage.

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