This story is incredibly disturbing.
Anneliese Michel was born in Bavaria in 1952. She was raised in a strict catholic household by her parents and 3 sisters. At the age of 16, she suffered a severe convulsion and was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. Despite occasional stints in a psychiatric hospital, she attended the University of Wurzburg- fellow classmates described her as withdrawn and deeply religious.
At the age of 20, she became intolerant of religious items- crucifixes, holy water, and began hearing voices and seeing “devil faces.” Anneliese and her family were convinced she was possessed by the devil and begged the church to perform an exorcism.
For a period of 10 month, 2 priests performed the ancient practice of exorcism on the poor girl for up to four hours a day, two days a week. They stopped all medical care and relied on only the priests, who were ordered to do the ritual in secret.
She died in 1976 from malnutrition and dehydration, and both her parents and the two priests were charged and convicted of manslaughter.
The incredibly disturbing portion of this story are the tapes. Audio recordings were made of Anneliese during portions of the exorcism. I don’t recommend listening if you’re easily frightened. But if you think you can handle it (I had a very hard time with this) you can listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr-IdHU3A5M
Also disturbing- the amount of postmortem photos of poor Anneliese. Again, don’t do a google search on this unless you can handle really gruesome visuals.
The movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her story.