In 1968, at the age of 16, Anneliese Michel began suffering from convulsions. By 1973, Anneliese had developed such a strong psychosis that she would hallucinate while praying, see demon faces throughout the day and hear voices declaring that she was damned. She would also make what were described as "demon faces," rip her clothes off, eat coal, and lick up her own urine. In addition, she became completely intolerant of religious symbols and could not partake of holy water. For a majority of the time Anneliese was experiencing these psychoses, she was committed to a psychiatric hospital, where she was prescribed a variety of drugs, none of which seemed to help.
By 1975, Anneliese and her family, tired of the lack of progress made with conventional medicine, decided to turn to the Catholic Church which determined that Anneliese Michel was suffering from a demonic possession. Over a ten month period, Anneliese underwent seventy-six exorcisms, and eventually died from starvation when she refused to eat.
Demonic possession or severe psychosis?