Real World Horror: Behind The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

Exorcisms have become a staple in the horror genre. “The exorcism of Emily Rose” is one great example of this fact. Yes, we get spooked just by watching this movie but we got paranoid when we found out that there was indeed a person in real life that went through all this terror and tribulation.



Anneliese Michel, not Emily Rose

Anneliese Michel was a born in Germany in 1952. Along with her three sisters she was raised in a strict catholic environment. Three of her aunts were nuns and her father(Josef) had thought of becoming a priest.

She had an illegitimate older sister. Her mother(Anna) was encouraging little Anneliese to fully devote to her and help her atone for her sin of bringing an illegitimate child to life. When her older sister died at the age of 8, due to complications during an operation,  Anneliese had to devote even more to her mom but she also felt like she had to atone for the sins of everyone, especially for the the wayward youth.

Trouble begins

At the age of 16 Anneliese was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy after she suffered an epileptic seizure. She was treated at a psychiatric hospital but her condition got worse. She got depressed, suicidal and claimed that she kept on hearing voices and seeing demonic faces on the faces of the people around her. She avoided religious objects and places like the church. Her parents had witnessed her licking her urine, eating bugs, barking and screaming while speaking in tongues. The cherry on top was when she bit off the head of a bird. The time had come to seek for more help.



There is no injection against the devil

After the family lost faith on modern science and drugs, they turned to their real faith, the Roman Catholic. The parents asked a local priest to save their daughter by performing an exorcism, a rite that was no longer performed by members of the church. In the end two priests, Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt, managed to get permission from a local bishop and started performing a series of exorcisms that lasted more than 10months!

Death Winsimages-2

The result of the exorcism frenzy was not what everyone expected. Anneliese continued acting weird and suffered even more when her knees broke during the exorcisms due to extended genuflections. She finally died in 1976 at the age of 24, malnourished and dehydrated. She forced herself to fast in a desperate attempt to get rid of Satan. She weighed just 68 lbs at the time of her death.

Who is responsible?

There was a trial that closed the whole  “Anneliese” case. The parents of the deceased young woman with the two priests that performed the exorcisms were accused of  negligent homicide. According to the judges the defendants should have taken better care of the patient and should have also force fed her. Initially, they were sentenced to 6 moths probation but the priests ended up paying only a fine and the parents were excluded from any punishment. The trial drew a lot of attention from the media and the public. Anneliese’s grave became a pilgrimage center for believers and many believed that she was like a saint whose martyrdom is a sign of her holiness.


The movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” might have exaggerated in some scenes and you might have felt like it was too fake but the actual horrendous voice of Anneliese during the exorcisms was recorded and it is very close to what you see in the movie. Check it out & turn on the lights! Guaranteed to give you the chills!

There are 3 movies that are inspired by Anneliese’s true story.

  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) directed by Scott Derrickson.
  • Requiem (2006) directed by Hans-Christian Schmid.
  • Anneliese:The Exorcist Tapes (2011) directed by Jude Gerard Prest.