You’ve seen exorcism movies and read books where priests perform exorcisms – usually after receiving permission from the Vatican – for innocent victims of demonic possession. What’s terrifying is that most of these stories are based on true reports, leaving us wondering if demons are real.
These are only ten of the multitude of real life stories out there, detailing the onset of the attacks and leading up to the hope that exorcism was the answer. The chilling realization is that they don’t always work, seeing as demons and evil entities can sometimes prove more powerful than even the most devout religious practitioner.
Table of Contents
1) Robbie Mannheim / Roland Doe
The Exorcist was a fictionalized version of this true story, where in the 1940’s, a 14 year old boy was possessed by demons. He was called “Roland Doe” to protect his privacy, although his real name was Robbie Mannheim. It started when he tried to contact his dead Aunt through a Ouija board.
It was she - with whom he’d had a close relationship - who had taught him how to use it, in Cottage City, Maryland. In the beginning, Robbie started levitating and speaking in tongues. The possessions always started with strange sounds – like dripping water and the stench of sulfur.
Then religious items would be thrown violently around the room by unseen hands and words scratched into Robbie’s skin seemed to come from inside his body. After Priests performed over 30 exorcisms and the family moving to Missouri, he was apparently free from the demons, going on to live a normal life.
2) Anneliese Michel
One of the most infamous cases of exorcism was in the 1970’s, when Anneliese Michel endured 67 exorcism rites. With a history of mental illness and epilepsy, she was born in 1952 in West Germany and in 1973 things got worse.
She exhibited a variety of odd behaviors, such as ripping her clothes off, doing 400 squats per day, eating spiders, barking like a dog and licking her own urine off the floor. She also got a hold of a dead bird and bit its head off. Alternatively aggressive and depressed, she reported evil visions and hellish voices.
Her parents enlisted Catholic Bishop Josef Stangl, who conducted 67 exorcisms on Anneliese from 1975 to 1976, which led to her death. It was found that she died of dehydration and malnutrition, which led to a court case where her parents and the Catholic authorities were sentenced to six months in jail.
In the preceding video, Anneliese Michel’s true, tragic story is explored. Considered to have been possessed by six demons – two of which were Hitler and Lucifer – Anneliese’s fate ended in death and an infamous trial, also inspiring the film, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”
3) Elizabeth Knapp
One of the first cases of demonic possession occurred 20 years before the Salem Witch trials. It was 1671 when Elizabeth Knapp was a young servant, struck by pain all over her body. She told her Master – Reverend Samuel Willard – that she felt like invisible entities were strangling her.
Elizabeth suffered from convulsions and fits of crying and screaming, after making a pact with the Devil. She’d promised to give him her soul if he maintained her youth and gave her money and other things. Willard wrote in his journal about the case, including the idea that Satan himself was speaking through Elizabeth.
When constrained by others, her body would contort and she would talk like a demon without moving her lips, while her throat bloated like a balloon. No one knows what happened to Elizabeth, as Willard stopped talking about her in his journal.
4) Clara Germana Cele
A sixteen year old Christian girl called Clara Germana Cele was an orphan from Natal, South Africa in 1906. She started acting strangely and speaking languages she’d never been exposed to. She also became a fortune teller who apparently knew a lot about people she’d never crossed paths with.
Clara showed that she had skills such as levitation and super human strength. Witnesses claimed that she spoke with a tone sounding like Satan orchestrating wild beasts. Clara herself admitted to having made a pact with the Devil, after submitting her body to him. Religious artifacts disgusted her.
During a two-day exorcism performed by two priests, Clara tried to strangle one of them and more than 170 people saw her levitate as Scripture was read to her. Eventually, the exorcism was successful and the demons were driven out.
5) George Lukins
George Lukins was an English tailor in the 1700’s, who believed that he was possessed. Neighbors reported that he would sing and talk in languages and voices that didn’t belong to him. After continued bizarre behavior, they asked the church to intervene. He was first sent to a hospital and stayed there for 20 months.
He was then considered beyond medical help and diagnosed with demonic possession, after violent eruptions, singing Hymns backwards and barking like a dog. George was said to have been possessed by seven demons – for which he believed seven clergymen were needed to drive them out.
The exorcism was performed at Temple Church, where seven priests were apparently successful in saving George’s soul. He later exclaimed, “Blessed Jesus!” then thanked God and the priests after reciting the Lord’s prayer.
6) Michael Taylor
It was 1974, in a quiet town called Ossett in Great Britain, where religiously devout couple Michael and Christine Taylor attended a Christian prayer meeting held by Marie Robinson. Christine accused Marie and her husband of having an affair, which was when the possession of Michael Taylor began.
After he and Marie denied the allegations, he slipped into a terrifying state and began swearing profusely and behaving erratically. After months of this new mode of behavior, he was considered possessed. They contacted the local clergy who conducted the exorcism.
Taking over 24 hours, the priests advised that forty demons had been banished from his body, even though one murderous demon remained. Michael went home, murdered his wife and their dog, then he was found covered in blood and wandering the streets. He was arrested but later acquitted due to insanity.
7) Pat Reading
Pat Reading was a mother in the 1980’s from Litchfield, Connecticut – who had no history of mental illness or dealings with the occult. It started with banging noises in her house, furniture tossing about and being victimized by violent attacks from unseen entities, including bite marks and vicious hair pulling.
John Zaffis was the paranormal investigator on the case, who witnessed and recorded some of these attacks. Sixteen exorcisms failed to drive the demons out, leaving Pat to endure the onslaught until she died from colon cancer. Pat had told those close to her that she felt like she was being attacked by Satanic spirits.
Her daughter Michelle advised that Pat would scream and jerk backward in terrible pain, leaving her in shock. Pat had no history of alcohol abuse or other issues. Locals had reported that the house had been haunted for a long time, before Pat became possessed.
In 2008, there was a patient called “Julia” whose case was documented by a delegate to the International Association of Exorcists - Dr. Richard E. Gallagher – who was also a Psychiatrist. He reported that she was demonically possessed after witnessing the terrifying events himself.
After entering a trance state while the doctor and others performed religious rites, Julia would often speak in tongues and talk about things she couldn’t possibly have known, with a variety of different voices, from high-pitched to guttural. She levitated off the bed, was repulsed by religious objects and things would fly around the room.
With a history of hanging around Satanic groups, Julia would yell statements like “Leave, you imbecile Priest!” and growl like a wounded animal. Dr. Gallagher published his investigation in the New Oxford Review.
9) Latoya Ammons
As recently as 2014, Police Captain Charles Austin reported the story of Latoya Ammons – mother of three children in Indiana – who believed that her children were possessed by dark entities. It all started in 2011 when Latoya noticed a swarm of flies on her porch window.
She noticed odd sounds, shadows leaving wet footprints on her floor, then her 12 year old daughter levitated over her bed. After her 7 year old son was thrown out of the bathroom and her 9 year old son was seen by a nurse walking backwards up a wall, the children were taken away under suspicion of child abuse.
An officer took a photo which showed a white apparition in a window, leading to many believing Latoya’s story. Reports of her children showing evil smiles, bulging eyes and speaking in strange voices led to several exorcisms and a blessing conducted by a Catholic priest. Latoya then moved her family away and the activity apparently stopped.
10) Anna Ecklund
Anna Ecklund was 14 when she started exhibiting signs of demonic possession. Raised as a Catholic in Earling, Iowa, she was at the mercy of her aunt and her father who secretly practiced witchcraft. They continuously cursed Anna and poisoned her food. She soon developed disdain for religious objects.
Sexually deviant and not able to enter the church, she was cured by an exorcism in 1912, however her father and aunt continued to torture her. In a year she was possessed by the same demons who’d possessed Annaliese Michel.
Sent to a convent in 1928, she acted violently against the nuns, spitting and hissing at them, rejecting blessed food, speaking in foreign languages, levitating and climbing the walls. She vomited in the presence of Priests and exhibited clairvoyant abilities. Witnesses told of how her body bloated and her eyes bulged out of their sockets.
After three exorcisms over 23 days, she was considered cured.