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Audio of exorcism performed in Germany, 1976

“The first person to recognize that Anneliese Michel was possessed by demons was an older woman accompanying the girl on a pilgrimage. She noticed that Anneliese would not walk past a certain image of Jesus, refused to drink water from a holy spring and smelled bad — hellishly bad. An exorcist in a nearby town examined Michel and returned a diagnosis of demonic possession. The bishop issued permission to perform the rite of exorcism according to the Roman ritual of 1614.”

The problem was, of course that it was 1976. After 6 months ad 67 exorcisms, Anneliese was dead at the age of 23, presumably from starvation or malnutrition.  Her last one was the last exorcism sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

Later the whole ordeal was made into a movie, The Exocism of Emily Rose.  The movie focused mainly on the court case which pitted faith vs secularism, with the main argument used being “if the bible is true, the she must be possessed. Unfortunately, this was all happening in a very secular Germany that prided itself on logical thinking.

The spoiler is of course that her parents and two priests were convicted of negligent manslaughter.

According to court findings, she experienced her first epileptic attack in 1969, and by 1973 was suffering from depression and considering suicide. Soon she was seeing the faces of demons on the people and things around her, and voices told her she was damned.

Under the influence of her demons, Michel ripped the clothes off her body, compulsively performed up to 400 squats a day, crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days, ate spiders and coal, bit the head off a dead bird and licked her own urine from the floor.

67 Exorcisms were performed on Anneliese by priests, with 42 of them recorded to tape.  This is one of them, taken from a 3-disc collection called “Okkulte Stimmen – Mediale Musik: Recordings Of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007″ compiled by the German label Supposé.  Don’t blame me if you can’t sleep at night after this:

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The full story of the case is also worth reading, it’s a story of faith vs secularism in the German courts.