Possessed Or Schizophrenic: The True Tale Of Anneliese Michel (Emily Rose)
Demon Possession, Exorcism, Death-
When I first saw the trailer for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I got genuinely disturbed. Not just because it was another “possessed woman” movie, but because I was familiar enough with the story already to know that this WASN’T a film about a possessed girl. It was a film about the trial for her unnecessary death. A death that resulted from 67 exorcisms the young girl was forced to endure. And years later, people still don’t know how they feel. Was she or wasn’t she? Truth be told, she said she was possessed, and claimed to have seen demons. But most borderline schizophrenics would experience the same things. I always thought that it was a case of negligence on her family’s part, and the church’s part. But then I heard the actual audio tapes from the exorcism, and honestly, it skewed me. I will be sharing them with you a little later in the article, but be forewarned, they are extremely unsettling, as is the whole case and the story surrounding the short life and the sad death of Miss Anneliese Michel.
You know her as Emily Rose from the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, that came out in 2005. Most people remember that film for one reason: Jennifer Carpenter‘s mesmerizing performance as the titular character. A few noteworthy things to know are no effects were used to help her with the voices or contortion at all, that was all her. The final scene, in the barn, is said to have been so unsettling to crew members who were filming, they actually became afraid of the actress during the scene, and would not approach her afterwards. But what most don’t know is just how true, and just how accurate that film was.
I will admit, between Dexter, Quarantine, and Emily Rose, Jennifer Carpenter has earned my horror respect.
It all started for Annaliese Michel when she was seventeen. She began to hear voices and see demons, and told her parents she was damned. What people need to understand is that would be the age when symptoms for schizophrenia would begin to likely present themselves. And the symptoms of schizophrenia are extremely similar to what Emily Rose described. Depression bouts paired with audible and visible hallucinations would be unnerving for any of us. But after many strange episodes and nothing be resolved by the medical community, her family decided to turn to the church for help. And thus, they started her “treatment”, which consisted of violent exorcisms, day in and day out. To understand the toll this took on the young girl, I need to show you what she looked like before the exorcisms began:
How she looked when her symptoms first presented themselves.
And this is how she looked near her death:
I cannot properly sum up how disturbing I find this photo.
Now I need people to understand, I have seen what they saw in her. I worked for almost six years with dual-diagnosed children and teens (victims of assault and sexual trauma, as well as deep psychological problems), and I would see them when they would “break”, and almost everything they mention Annaliese doing, I have seen. Pissing on the floor? Yes. Speaking in seemingly different languages? Yes. Unbelievable bouts of strength? Yes. From the contortion, to the violent, sexual outbursts, I have seen it all. And I can completely understand why people would mistake it for possession. Yet, you need to know, it’s not. It is a multitude of bad things, all lining up to make “the perfect storm” of trauma and madness. And in those cases, when I saw a sixteen year old kid fling five grown men off him with little effort, laughing the whole time, I got chills. I can understand, I really can. But the fact is, her parents could have explored more venues before making her go through what she went through, which, ultimately, killed her.
So who was it, the church or the Devil, that killed Anneliesse?
So I need to ask, do you know what genuflection is? It is the act of falling on one knees in an act of repentance. By the time she had died, both Anneliese’s knee caps had blown out as the result of the SIX HUNDRED times she was forced to get on and off her knees. Before her death, she was so weak, her parents would do the act for her, lifting her and bringing her to her knees, then lifting her again, which is what you see in the main photo of this article. I need you to really think about what I just said. She did so many genuflections, both her knees were done. Shattered to bits. Can you even fathom what would drive a parent to do that? Religion is a powerful drug.
And what about food? The poor girl was sixty-eight pounds when she died, because she had been refusing food and drink weeks before her death. Devil or not, you get that girl to a hospital (even though she refused) and you get her on an I.V that will keep her nourished and hydrated. I am not even a parent, and I cannot fathom a parent forcing their child to endure what these two parents did. And don’t even get me started on the priests.
What you are looking at is not possession, it is abuse.
Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst were the two men who commandeered all of the sixty-seven rites of exorcism she went through. The girl wasted away to nothing, was babbling incoherently most of the time, and pissing herself. And yet, instead of actually providing her help, they yelled prayers at her, held her down, and put her through far more than her young body and mind could endure. Just look at those pictures. I know they are unsettling, but what do you see? A young girl (with two black eyes, in obvious pain) being abused. Leave it up to the Catholic church to call abuse something else, huh? Nothing shocking about that.
But now into the supernatural stuff. What if, let’s just say, she was possessed? I know that shouldn’t be an option, but what if. She said the Devil was in her. Perhaps, she was right. Eating bugs and drinking piss off the ground and speaking in languages unknown to her could be seen in such a light, after all. She said that she was “damned”. What if she was?! Even her last words were incredibly disturbing:
She cocked her head, looked at the priests and said: Beg for absolution. Then she sort of snapped back in to her body, looked at her Mother with wide, panicked eyes, and said ” Mother, I’m afraid…” and then she just died, eyes open.
Either way, good or evil, religion ruined this girl.
The priests WERE found responsible of negligence, but what happened after that, no one seems to know. Eventually, the audio recordings from one of the exorcisms leaked out, and even though I have experienced phenomenon that is similar, there is something undeniably otherworldly about how she sounds at times during this tape. Listen for yourself, but be aware, this is the kind of stuff that seeps into your brain and stays there:
To the people who think she was mimicking The Exorcist. She displayed her first traits of possession two years before that film came out.
The problem with the recording is that it only tends to make us all ask more questions. Questions like was she or wasn’t she? Also, it makes us wonder, what the fuck would YOU do if that was your child? It is an unbelievable thing to have to ask yourself, and a question that is almost impossible to answer. But the one thing you DON’T do? Let your child dehydrate and stave to death slowly, while your force them to “exorcised in the name of Christ.”
Honestly, did they think that having the “demon” purged would suddenly undo all the physical damage the rites had done to her? Truth is, there is a reason the case is always such a hot button topic for people. Because really, never has a case been more polarizing. What would you have done differently? How would you have handled that? Was letting their daughter waste away and die in front of them the right thing to do, or did they not have a choice? I mean, was the Devil really inside Anneliese Michel, and was he not leaving until he took her with him?
The truth is, there are some questions you really don’t want the answer to.
I just hope the poor girl finally found some peace in the deep sleep that is death.