Anneliese was a normal, religiously nurtured girl born on September 21st, 1952. It wasn't until 1968 when everything began to change. Out of the blue, she began shaking and was unable to control her body. She couldn't call out to her parents, Josef and Anna or three sisters. She was diagnosed with "Grand Mal" epilepsy by a neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic Wurzburg, and admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Soon after, Anneliese began seeing devilish grimaces during prayer and believed she was possessed. There seemed to be no other explanations for what she was seeing. The images followed by voices who were giving her orders all of which she mentioned only once to the doctors. Anneliese began feeling that medicine wasn't going to help her and looked to alternatives.
In 1973, her parents visited many pastors requesting an exorcism but were denied with the recommendation that their daughter continue with medication and treatment. The requirements in which a Bishop can approve an exorcism include an aversion to religious objects, speaking in different languages the person has never learned and supernatural powers.
In 1974, Pastor Ernst Alt requested a permit to perform an exorcism after supervising Anneliese for some time. His request was denied stating that she should live even more of a religious lifestyle in order to find peace. Unfortunately, the attacks became worse. She insulted, beat and began biting other members of the family. The only things she was "allowed" to eat were spiders, flies and coal and even began drinking her own urine. She could be heard screaming throughout the house for hours while breaking crucifixes, destroying paintings of Jesus, and pulling apart rosaries. Anneliese began committing acts of self-mutilation at this time, and the act of tearing off her clothes and urinating on the floor became commonplace. It makes you wonder how much abuse a person must go through before the church will allow a religious intervention.
The Bishop of Wurzburg, Josef Stangl, assigned Rather Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt to perform an exorcism after making an exact verification of the possession in 1975. It had been around seven years from the time her possession began to when the exorcism was permitted. Can you imagine going through seven years of that? I don't think I could. It was determined that Anneliese must be saved from the possession by several demons, including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann, a disgraced Frankish Priest from the 16th century, and some other damned souls which had manifested through her. From September '75 until July '76, one or two exorcism sessions were held each week. Anneliese's attacks were sometimes so strong that she would have to be held down by 3 men, or even chained up.
The attacks, however, did not stop. In fact, she would more often find herself paralyzed and falling unconscious than before. The exorcism continued over many months, always with the same prayers and incantations. Sometimes family members and visitors, like one married couple that claims to have "discovered" Anneliese, would be present during the rituals. For several weeks, Anneliese denied all food. Her knees ruptured due to the 600 genuflections she performed obsessively during the daily exorcism. Over 40 audio tapes record the process, in order to preserve the details. The last day of the Exorcism Rite was on June 30th, 1976. The following day, Pastor Ernst Alt informed the authorities in Aschaffenburg and the investigation began immediately.Tomorrow's post: The trial.
Also don't forget to check out my new renter this week. Erin from Whatever Blows my Skirt. She has listed her five favorite things and I have to say the Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie sounds pretty good.