Anneliese Michel (September 1952-July 1976) was a German woman who underwent several Catholic exorcisms in Bavaria, Germany.
When Michel was 16, she experienced a seizure and was diagnosed with psychosis caused by temporal lobe epilepsy. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with depression and was treated by a psychiatric hospital.
By the time she was 20, she had become intolerant of various religious objects and began hearing voices damning her to Hell.
Her physical appearance changed drastically.
After taking psychiatric medications for 5 years failed to improve her symptoms, Michel and her family became convinced she was possessed by a demon.
As a result, her family appealed to the Catholic Church for an exorcism. While rejected at first, after much hesitation, two priests got permission from the local bishop in 1975.
The priests began conducting exorcism sessions and the parents stopped consulting doctors. Anneliese Michel stopped eating food and died due to malnourishment and dehydration after 67 exorcism sessions.
Michel’s parents and the two Roman Catholic priests were found guilty of negligent homicide and were sentenced to six months in jail (reduced to three years of probation), as well as a fine.
On 1 July 1976, Michel died in her home. The autopsy report stated the cause was malnutrition and dehydration due to being in a semi-starvation state for almost a year while the rites of exorcism were performed.
At the time of her death, she weighed only 67 pounds.
The 2005 film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her story.