The Stories Behind Four Exorcisms

Maybe it's my nature as a writer, but after I have certain experiences I have to learn I possibly can about whatever it was that I experienced. After I watch a movie I rush to IMDB to check out the trivia. After I visit someplace I find particularly intriguing, I scour the Internet and check out books and watch movies.

My point is, I was watching The Exorcism of Emily Rose the other day and got all caught up in researching the real story behind the movie. This, of course, lead to other stories of real-life exorcisms. I'm shocked at how… well… not commonplace exorcisms are, but how they're not quite as unusual as you might think. The identities of people who have been exorcised are usually kept pretty quiet, but with just one priest claiming to have performed more than 50,000 exorcisms (granted, he is the senior exorcist of the Diocese of Rome), there are more out there than you might think. We're going to look at a few.

Anneliese Michel

Let's start with the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, the girl Emily Rose was based on. Anneliese was a deeply religious German Catholic woman who said she was possessed by at least six demons, including Hitler, Nero and Cain. Father Ernst Alt, a local parish priest who also happened to be a specialist in exorcism, was the first to recognize that she may need an exorcism. When medication failed to control her symptoms (including contortions, multiple personalities and the use of multiple voices) the exorcism was approved by the bishop and carried out by Pastor Arnold Renz. She died on July 1, 1976 – the day that Anneliese predicted she would be freed from the demons. Those present say she was freed moments before her death, but her official cause of death was listed as malnutrition and dehydration (she weighed just 68 pounds) resulting from the treatment she was subjected to over the 11 months of exorcism rituals. Photo from

Robbie Doe

Then there's that other famous exorcism movie starring Linda Blair. That was based on a real incident too, one that took place in 1949. Robbie Doe has never been identified (at least as far as I could tell) but he was supposedly possessed after using a Ouija board. He was taken to the Georgetown Hospital where he started to receive an exorcism from Father Edward Hughes. Father Hughes was five minutes into the ritual when the boy somehow dislodged a spring from the bed and stabbed him with it. The gash required 100 stitches.
The family moved to St. Louis where the boy underwent another exorcism, this one lasting six weeks. Just like the movie, the bed would shake and objects flew across the room of their own accord. Marks would appear on Robbie's body, including the word "Evil". Finally, the exorcism succeeded and the boy was able to live a normal life, not remembering much about what happened.
Such a view seems contrary to the findings of the physician and psychiatrist who deemed the boy physically and mentally healthy while he was experiencing these troubles in Maryland.

Earling, Iowa, woman

Earling is less than two hours away from where I live, so of course I had to write about this one. Father Theophilus Riesinger brought a 40-year-old woman from a neighboring community to the Franciscan convent in Earling to undergo an exorcism. Despite being very religious, the woman said she was unable to enter a church or pray since she was 14. She also spoke in languages she didn't know, was abnormally strong and couldn't stand to be around Holy Water or anything that had been blessed.
The evening the woman arrived, a nun who prepared dinner sprinkled the meal with Holy Water to bless the food. When the woman was given her plate, she freaked out and demanded an unblessed plate.

When the exorcism started the next morning and continued for the next 23 days. According to the pamphlet that details the events of the exorcism, Begone Satan!:

"Outpourings that would fill a pitcher, yes, even a pail, full of the most obnoxious stench were most unnatural. These came in quantities that were, humanly speaking, impossible to lodge in a normal being. At that the poor creature had eaten scarcely anything for weeks, so that there had been reason to fear she would not survive. At one time the emission was a bowl full of matter resembling vomited macaroni. At another time an even greater measure, having the appearance of sliced and chewed tobacco leaves, was emitted. From ten to twenty times a day this wretched creature was forced to vomit though she had taken at the most only a teaspoonful of water or milk by way of food."

She spoke in different languages and different voices and named sins that people in the room had committed. On the 23rd day of the ordeal, Father Theophilus sensed that the demons were weakening and blessed her. The woman started howling and screaming the names of the demons inside of her; when the last name was uttered the woman opened her eyes and was reportedly able to speak the name of Jesus again for the first time in years.

Teenager at the Vatican

Pope John Paul II reportedly performed an exorcism on a 19-year-old girl at the Vatican in 2000. Father Gabriele Amorth, the official exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, had attempted to exorcise the girl the day before and failed. Her parents brought her to Pope John Paul II's Wednesday audience in St. Peter's Square in hopes that a Papal blessing would do her some good, but apparently it just incensed her even more. Italian newspapers wrote that the girl started screaming insults at the Pope in a "cavernous voice" and struggled with guards with superhuman strength. The Pope was informed about her and spent 30 minutes with her. When the Pope left, the girl said (in a voice apparently not belonging to her), "Not even the head of the church can send me away." Photo by Stacy Conradt

For a secular view on the matter of evil and an eye witness report on the experience of an exorcism from a non-religious, qualified psychiatrist, read M. Scott Peck's 'Children of the Lie'. Probably out of print now.
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I really can't resist pointing out that, while no one is known to have died from demonic possession, there are many cases of subjects who deaths were caused by exorcism.
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Just thought I'd point out that if you were to perform 50 000 exorcisms it would take you 27 years and a couple of months doing 5 a day every day except February 29th. Colour me skeptical.
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Just playing devil's advocate, maybe he was counting the number of demons, not the number of people possessed. So if one person was possessed by 10 demons, this would skew the math.
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I would love to undergo an exorcism from the current Pope. He wouldn't stand a chance against my inner demon but I'd take an easy on him just for wearing a dress.
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Exorcism is not strictly limited to Catholicism and in answer to Ty above, why not do some research into an apostle by the name of Smith Wigglesworth.

Wigglesworths most famous exorcism was the exorcism of a public executioner by the name of James Berry. It was successful and Berry went on to become an evangelist.

Wigglesworth also had a unique technique when it came to healing people, I'll let you find that out for yourselves but it's surely worth a feature of its own on Neatorama?
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I'm an IMDB addict as well. If I see a movie that I'm even marginally interested I love to go to IMDB and see where it was filmed, who was in it, what songs were on the soundtrack, etc. The "filming locations" aspect of every listing is like a little gift from the cinema gods.
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Demonolatry is powerful, read the Goetia and use the sigils inside to contact the demons.

Demons are powerful. The Church is only expelling angels who still work with the so-called god, they aren't expelling actual demons "fallen angels" (actually former gods which the church called demons).
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My dad worked as a sound man on the movie "The Exorcist" when it filmed in the Washington DC area.

He said that "Robbie Doe" consulted on the film and was on set every day. (Everyone associated with the film agreed not to disclose Robbie's real name.) Dad said he seemed nice, but weird. They also had exorcists and higher ups from the Catholic Church and Catholic Univeristy (where some of the movie was filmed.) They were an unpleasant bunch and only one of them would talk to Robbie.

Dad said that a lot of weird stuff happened on set, and not a day went by without someone getting hurt. Lots of people worked a day, then quit. Dad was on strike from his regular job at the time and was willing to risk his safety in order to feed the family.
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I read a book called "Possessed" about the possession and exorcism of Robbie Doe. I forget who it's by, but it was a really good book, and a lot more believable than the Exorcist (the movie, the book was really good).
And from what I have read, I believe today, when a Catholic priest performs an exorcism, it must be okayed by the Vatican, performed by a trained Exorcist, and attended by a medical doctor and psychologist/psychiatrist.
@Leah: I think that's really neat you can add some personal familial insight into the movie. Also, everyone tries to spell my name like yours. :P
@Ty: Robbie Doe is the second one on the list!
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Actually, exorcism isn't even restricted to Christianity. In Islam, possession is attributed to jinn, not demons. My wife personally witnessed an Islamic exorcism: a young lady of about 18 was apparently possessed, and brought before a muslim cleric. He summoned another young girl (probably around 13 or 14 years old), and said that he was going to work through her to exorcise the possessed girl (don't ask...I don't know). He then proceeded to talk to some other jinn through the younger girl, and told the jinn to "burn" the possessing jinn, in effect killing it. The younger girl, who only spoke Portuguese, spoke in fluent Urdu in a man's voice the entire time. My wife says that the screams from the older, possessed girl were horrifying in the least, and she still has nightmares about it.
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To Anon,

Yes, demons are very powerful. But they are no match for God. It appears you are knowledgeable of how that world works. If so, then you are aware that there is nothing that they can do to overcome the power of God and Jesus. I'm no Bible thumper, but I do know God's power is infinitely greater than demons'. You know it, I know it, and certainly they know it.

Oh! Another thing, those "former gods" that you refer to as the ones that are actually being exorcised, they too are demons. They are also part of the fallen angels that we were told about millenia ago. Don't be fooled. They too are no match for God's power.
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To Believer,

Even more powerful than God are the human facilities of logic and reason (see Stone Problem as well as the contradiction inherent in being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent).
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I'm from St Louis, and the fact that the Exorcist story is based on a boy who was treated at the Election Bros. Hospital (since torn down) is a source of rather morbid pride in this town. Supposedly the floor on which he stayed could never be repainted, since the paint would mysteriously fall off the walls overnight. Patients on the floor reported nightmares and whatnot until finally the floor was closed off, and never used again. However, this is pure hearsay, and considering my source (dad's family) most likely complete bullsh**. But it makes for good and creepy campfire stories.
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Demon possession is real and much more common place than we are lead to believe. While those episodes of possession which are most commonly documented here in America are usually related to Catholics, there is an alternative. For a better "non-invasive" approach check out the research on the topic at Blessings!
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There is nothing more terrifying than to witness a demon posessed person.

Because of this, I cannot sleep without a sleeping aid and even then I only fall asleep until my body cannot stay up any longer.

The person who wrote about the hospital floor having to close down because of the strange occuring stuff that happens is exactly what happened to the house we lived in.

to protect my family I can only say that this is real and that my lie will forever never be normal because the fact that i know something like this exists.

To all of you pray and ask God to be in your life and protect you because if you God forbid ever have to go through anything that we did, it will change your life forever! Youll never be able to stand to be alone.

I have atleast 5 to even 10 lamps in every room to protect me from darkness. If one lamp goes out the others keep the darkness away. I learned to live this way through experiencing a light bulb diing and I was left alone in the dark and could not reach or go to another room and I was left there screaming and horrified that the devil was trying to get me.

Protect yourselves. May God be with you all..
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Yes demons exist.

Read the Mothman Prophesies. (Not the book) to find out what all these "shenanigans" are about.

And yes, people have been possessed by good and BAD spirits for centuries.

I've seen people possessed by the holy spirit. It wasn't a scary thing at all.
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I meant "Not watch the movie" Read the book. It's nothing like the movie.

And it's NOT religious.

Keen came to the conclusion that ghosts/ufos, paranormal happenstances and the supernatural all seem to be coming from the same source, or sources.

He called them "Cosmic Pranksters" but said he wasn't going into what HIS opinion as to what they were. But said they were very interested in making people believe that a new usher of secular humanism will wash away the old way and views that have kept our people back for so many years. That there would eventually have to be a cleansing out of these people that cling to old outdated ideals that seem to be keeping the human race back.

Though any mention of Jesus, or if he was the son of God caused them to

1. Not directly answer the question and say "Jesus was a prophet of ours"

if you again ask them "but was he the son of God"

they would often get violent and or turn into different beings than they were before. As if their cover was blown. And would soon disappear.
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BTW I am also not surprised the Pope could run the demons out of that girl. In the bible some so called Christians tried to as well. These demons mocked them.

They seem to know who is full of the spirit, and who is a fake Christian.

Only the latter can remove them. And it usually doesn't take WEEKS to do. One simple command of them leaving in the name of Jesus works.

If the person saying it is of the spirit. That is how it was in the Bible, and that is how I've seen it.

These priests that have taken WEEKS to get demons out, may have just taken that long to get their faith in check.

IMHO of course. And the Catholics don't have a monopoly on exorcisms. MANY MANY Christians have done them and practice them today.

I don't however think permission from the Pope is needed.

Jesus gave us this power and ability himself to use. He never mentioned having to ask a Pope before.

The Bible also said that the Church would collapse from within too as time went on.

Worshipping false idols is one of the ten commandments.
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In Response to Kevin, The Church was initiated by Jesus to Peter Matt 16:18. In Matt 16:19 Jesus authorises Peter in giving him the keys of the Kingdom, and states that whatever Peter binds on earth will be bound in Heaven & whatever he loosed(allows) on earth will be allowed in Heaven. This authority of the Petrine ministry was unchallenged or if challenged refuted by the Church, Until Martin Luther (Ex-Augustinian Monk) in 1517. You could argue that as an ex member of the Church Martin Luther was the catalyst for the collapse of the Church. From here, in the last 500 years there are 30000 denominations of Christians, getting further & further from the Church initiated by Jesus to Peter. Whilst Luke 9:49-50 affirms exorcisms being carried out by those outside the Church, it does not diminish the Authority of the Church to bind or loose. Having established the Church Jesus prays to the Father and asks that they may be one as the Father and Jesus are one, so that the world may believe that you have sent me! When the Lord returns (Maranatha) he will be looking for those who have accepted his teachings and lived them. To deny the Church established by Jesus will be a tough question to answer and with the work of Scott Hahn & associates (100;s if not 1000;s of ex evangelicals) a question which can easily be researched? May God bless you and yours at Christmas.
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Satan is here. The Pope is the most holy person we have here on Earth, as he has directly descended from Peter. I think most protestants will agree that the Pope is a devout Christian. The Catholics are constantly being persecuted. What do we expect? It is written in the Bible, the Holy Word of Truth. Satan is here and I have seen him. He is evil and tricky. God Doubly Bless those of you who do not believe he is here.
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Directly descended from Peter? Sure, the authority was passed down for generations but that's the kind of thinking that gets catholics mocked like a nerd in highschool.
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it is so ignorant to even assume we are alone in this universe... there is a lot of f'ed up things ive experienced personally and I can tell all you non-believers that there is some shit out there that has no scientific explanation. Im not so religious myself to say that a dude with a white beard is watching my every move from this nice puffy cloud...but... I will say that we where created by a greater being... hated or love it... what created science itself?... that greater being... those "demons" & "angels" are real... we might be able to explain to a certain degree why these people are that way..but some things are just impossible to decipher.

Im not preaching.. I just want to share the fact that I have seen and studied these sort of cases... life is such a mystery. its wonderful yet terrifying at the same time. believe it.

sorry for my english... im from italy.
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yeah people can be ignorant. i believe jesus christ is my lord and savior and that he will protect me, maybe not my body but definitely my spirit. if your not a believer i hope you(the reader) give him a chance. at least try to open up to God and ask him to show you the truth. by the truth i mean are you(God) real like many say. when you say this say it with your heart and not your tongue or youll get nothing out of it. if you expect nothing to happen then nothing will happen. but if you do with your heart then try finding people or a church. your not alone in this, and please do not ignore these facts.
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okay we all get it there are good vs evil. but think about it how do we all know were worshiping the right person. every person we knew taught us about god, but really? how do we know he is the right person we should all be worshiping
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hello all of you my name is taylor and i am 23 years old and i am from new york city but i am now currently living in greenville,south carolina my religious faith is catholic so yeah i know alot about the alleged exorcism's exspecially the one of emily rose and now that was a horrible case i don't think they ever held her.anyway god is the holy greater and he is the omega and the alpha and he can heel anyone and everyone he's held people for centuries and he will continue to heel people.i believe in god and i worship him and him only no one else i am not a devil worshiper of anykind exorcist or exorcism are real but alot of people don't believe in it but i don't know why i mean they should if they believe in god
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hello I have one thing to say about all this medioca bullshit, if you belive in evil then you belive in the devil i choose not to belive in this so there is no summoning for it you all should not follow this kinda stuff as if we dont belive in it, it wont have a reason to exisst if it is "real" then you all are inviting it in !!!! my family are pagen's i'm not because i dont belive in it.
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I read every comment on this site and agree with most and strongly disagree with few. Yes God and Jesus are the true source of love, power, safety and divinity and righteousness. The devil/satan/demons/malice beings temp us ALL with false love, power, safety with drugs, deals, sin and more evil temptations. And if you believe in God and the FACT that Jesus is his son, and the FACT that he existed and still is present with us; then you must acknowledge that Satan and the fallen angels do exist too. It is said that God had casted him and his followers out of the Kingdom of Heaven. So to say "if you don't believe in the evil entities and only believe in God then the evil has no room or reason to exist" is ignorant. There is proof in ALL cultures that good and evil both exist. We live in a world that has always shown this in all different forms possible!
Towards the subject of "multiple religions" that we know of today are all personal views added what was taught passed down. in a sense diluted. Jesus had split the church in half when he was sent to Heaven on the cross as he said he would because he wanted ALL to have direct access to God; his father, our savior and Alpha Omega; and not have to be told that "we must seek God threw another because that is the only way to receive him" because that is bs! We don't need a church to receive God and Jesus. They are everything and everywhere all the time s long as we accept them with in ourselves and lives completely. The church is just a place for all those who believe and have faith to gather and pray and raise together in love, happiness and righteousness, and also a place to spread the word for those who seek God. We don't need to praise "idols" of any form. It was set in stone to not do such on the commandments. I was born into a Catholic family, but born again a Christian. But i don't need a moniker of a religion to say what i believe in, just know that i KNOW that Jesus is God's son, and they are my father, Messiah, and safe haven. My soul doesn't belong to me, it has always and will always belong to them, our lord and savior. Im no saint, i have sinned, and i have and will continue to repent. I hope and pray that those who don't believe, will change their minds quickly, and those who praise the devil change their ways and repent because to deny God and his love is foolish and beyond dangerous. May God be with you ALL and ALWAYS with you. And may those who have yet to have ask and receive God and Jesus in your life reach out ask for their love and grace and be righteous.
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Believing in God means believing in the existence of the devil.

Spanish exorcist Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea Cucurull stated in an interview recently that though Satan does indeed exist, he does not have “horns, wings or a tail.”

Watch this ABC News' 20/20 documentary showing a real exorcism.
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i'm talking to the guy who said his dad worked on the exorcist...and robbie doe was an consanlant...well buddy your telling big lies for attention.
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If any of you have any doubt about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Devil, READ THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE. That is the ONLY truth. All you have to do is look around you. Who holds the stars in the sky? Who keeps the sea in place surrounded by a few grains of sand? Who created a human body with so many complexities and is able to heal itself? Ever witness the birth of a can something so miraculous be chance?

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise! READ THE BIBLE for your answers.
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Jesus is indeed God. No power can overcome the power of Christ.

If you're interested to lean more about evil and demonic possession, watch a real video on an exorcism . Listen also to prominent theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession .Additionally you can also watch this documentary showing a real exorcism in the Philippines.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Rome's chief exorcist's book is also worth a read. This milestone book is a great resource on demonology and diabolic possession. Read here about how one can get possessed and how to protect yourself and your family against witchcraft, spells, demonic influences etc.
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