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Anneliese Michel (1952–1976) was a Catholic woman from Germany who was said to be possessed by six or more demons , including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, and Hitler. Two motion pictures, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Requiem are loosely based on Anneliese's story.
In 1968, when she was 17, Anneliese began to suffer from convulsions. It was then that a neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic Wurzburg diagnosed her with Grand Mal epilepsy.
Soon, Anneliese started experiencing hallucinations while praying and she carried out a number of highly disturbing actions. She licked her own urine off the floor and ate flies, spiders, and coal. She bit off the head of a dead bird. In one instance, she crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days. She could often be heard screaming through the walls for hours.
An exorcist from a nearby town examined Anneliese and concluded that she was demonically possessed.
In 1975, her parents gave up on the doctors from the psychiatric clinic. They chose to rely solely on the exorcisms and the church for healing.
Anneliese endured 67 rites of exorcism over a period of 10 months. Over time, the ligaments in her knees ruptured due to the 600 genuflections that she performed obsessively during each exorcism session.
According to the autopsy, on July 1, 1976 Anneliese Michel succumbed to the effects of severe dehydration and malnourishment.
At the time of her death, she weighed only 68 lbs. from almost a year of semi-starvation during the rites of exorcism. She was also suffering from pneumonia and a high fever.
She was buried next to her illegitimate sister Martha at the outer edges of the cemetery. This area is normally reserved for illegitimate children and suicides.
During the trial in 1978, there were four defendants. They were Father Arnold Renz, Pastor Ernst Alt, and Anneliese Michel's parents, Josef and Anna. All four were found guilty of negligent homicide and sentenced to six months in prison, suspended with three years' probation.