Sunday, August 12, 2012

Emily Rose (Part 1)

"I know that we did the right thing because I saw the sign of Christ in her hands. She was bearing stigmata and that was a sign from God that we should exorcise the demons. She died to save other lost souls, to atone for their sins." - Anna Michel (Anneliese's mother, 2005)

When did Anneliese begin to experience strange symptoms?

Epilepsy may have been the cause of Anneliese Michel's demonic hallucination.
In 1968, when she was 17 and still in high school, Anneliese began to suffer from convulsions. Court findings have her experiencing her first epileptic attack in 1969.

It was then that a neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic Wurzburg diagnosed her with Grand Mal epilepsy. Soon, Anneliese started experiencing devilish hallucinations while praying. She also began to hear voices, which told her that she was damned.

The court determined that by 1973 Anneliese was suffering from depression and considering suicide. In 1975, convinced that she was possessed, her parents gave up on the doctors from the psychiatric clinic.

They chose to rely solely on the exorcisms for healing ( Anneliese's symptoms have since been compared with those of schizophrenia, and they may have responded to treatment (

Who first diagnosed Anneliese as being possessed?

The first unofficial diagnosis was made by an older woman who accompanied Anneliese on a pilgrimage. She noticed that Anneliese avoided walking past a particular image of Jesus, and that she refused to drink water from a holy spring.

The woman also claimed that Anneliese smelled hellishly bad ( An exorcist from a nearby town examined Anneliese and concluded that she was demonically possessed. After two failed requests, the rite of exorcism was finally granted by the Bishop.

Was Tom Wilkinson's character of Father Moore based on a real person?

The movie's Father Moore was based on Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt.
Tom Wilkinson's character was more a combination of two real-life people, Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt (shown at left).

Both men were assigned by the Bishop of Wurzburg, Josef Stangl, to carry out "The Great Exorcism" on Anneliese Michel. The foundation for this ritual was the "Rituale Romanum", which at the time, was still a valid 17th century Cannon Law.

Father Arnold Renz had been a former missionary in China, and Pastor Ernst Alt was a pastor in a nearby community. Together they carried out 67 rites of exorcism over a period of 10 months, with one or two exorcism sessions held each week. Some sessions lasted up to four hours (

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