The Story of Anneliese Michel: Exorcism, Mysticism, and Redemptive Love

Here’s a very interesting story about Anneliese Michel, the German girl whom the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on. Anneliese conveyed various symptoms of possession in the 1970s, had a series of exorcisms performed, and unfortunately died in 1976 of what the autopsy revealed was malnutrition.

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What is less known about Anneliese is that she may have very well been a victim soul, chosen by God for great suffering for the redemption of sinners. Reading this story about her I also found out that she kept a diary in which she recorded conversations with Jesus and Mary—experiencing various mystical phenomena in addition to the possession. According to her diary, Jesus apparently said to Anneliese: “You will become a great saint.” A reality that, out of humility, Anneliese did not want to believe, but wept with tears — feeling the truth of the Lord’s words when they were spoken.

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I was also glad to find out that the eminent Spanish exorcist, Father Jose Antonio Fortea — in my opinion, perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the world on the topic of demonology and exorcism — has co-authored a book on Anneliese’s case: Anneliese Michel: A True Story of a Case of Demonic Possession. I have been reading the book the past couple of days, and recommend it highly, having gained a lot in recognizing the purity of Anneliese Michel, as a young woman in love with God, and the sincerity of her family, friends, and priests who performed the exorcisms to try to help and heal Anneliese.

It is a fascinating story that speaks not only to the reality of the demonic but also the gift of sacred love, portraying a young woman who could’ve been healed and set free from her condition, but was given the option to suffer for the redemption of sinners: out of love for God and for her brothers and sisters, throughout the world, Anneliese chose the Cross. May we learn from her selfless and courageous witness.