If you think modern day exorcisms only exist in the movies, think again. Images of Linda Blair levitating off her bed, head spinning around and speaking in more tongues than the interpreters at the United Nations, are not so very far removed from some of the amazing cases of “possession” that seemingly, only exorcism can cure. I’ve been reading up on some fascinating cases of modern day exorcisms that I just had to share with you.
1. Salvador Dali
According to legend, Salvador Dali is just one of the people who underwent a modern day exorcism. Those who believe Dali underwent the exorcism say that it occurred in 1947, after Dali’s friend Friar Berardi was excommunicated in France. Although there are no written accounts of the exorcism taking place, it is believed that a figure of Christ, which was found in Berardi’s house following his death in the 1980s, was a gift from Dali after the exorcism was performed.
2. Robbie Mannheim
At just 13 years of age, Robbie Mannheim was the person behind the story in The Exorcist movie. In 1949, following Robbie’s use of a Ouija board, his parents asked a local Reverend to observe the child while he slept. Various surreal events occurred during the night, including a scratching sound on the walls, an armchair displacing itself and Robbie’s bed vibrating. The Reverend asked Father Edward Hughes to perform the exorcism, but during the event Robbie stabbed the Father with a bed spring. A second exorcism was then required, after which Robbie was released from his possession and went on to raise a happy family.
3. Anneliese Michel
Another of the modern day exorcisms that inspired a film is the story of Anneliese Michel. Anneliese came from a devout Catholic family who required Anneliese to ask God for forgiveness for her mother’s adultery. At just 17 she was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy, but after some of her hallucinations were unexplained, Anneliese herself requested an exorcism. She begged twice for a local priest to assist her and perform the exorcism, but he refused. Her strict Catholic family refused medical assistance, despite Anneliese’s condition severely deteriorating; she would bark in the night, eat spiders and once even bit the head off of a live bird. Eventually the Bishop of Wurzburg agreed to perform an exorcism, which he believed would remove the possession of Anneliese’s body by spirits – who included Adolf Hitler, Judas Iscariot and the Devil. After refusing to eat, Anneliese died in 1976 and her story is the basis of the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
4. Janet Moses
One of the most recent exorcisms occurred in 2007, when a Maori exorcism killed a young woman called Janet Moses. The exorcism required members of Janet’s family to pour water down her throat, but this led her to drown and she died. Reports suggest that there was so much water thrown at the girl and poured down her throat that the kitchen – in which the exorcism took place – was flooded.
5. Unknown Teenager
In 2000, it is claimed that an exorcism of an unknown teenager took place at the Vatican, with the Pope himself in attendance. All we know is that the teenager was a girl aged 19, and the exorcism was performed after the girl repeatedly insulted the Pope during a private audience. For thirty minutes the Pope is believed to have sat with the young lady in The Vatican, but he was unsuccessful and called on the assistance of Father Gabriele Amorth to perform the exorcism.
6. Clara Germana Cele
At the beginning of the 20th century in South Africa, Father Erasmus Horner heard the confession of Clara Germana Cele. Clara told the Father that she had made a pact with the Devil, and although the Father initially rejected what the girl had to say, she soon started to behave in strange ways. It is believed that Clara would growl and assault nuns whom she lived with, and eventually Father Horner was compelled to perform the exorcism. Reports suggest that Clara levitated after the exorcism was complete, after which she was released from the possession.
7. Michael Taylor
To conclude this list of modern day exorcisms is the story of Michael Taylor. In the 1970s, Michael became extremely aggressive towards the leader of his local Christian group. He told the leader, a lady called Marie Robinson, that he was possessed by the Devil and a local vicar was persuaded to perform the exorcism. The vicar was successful, and drove 40 demons from Michael’s body. After the exorcism, however, Michael started to believe that his wife was possessed and murdered her in her bed at night.
These modern day exorcisms made my spine tingle just thinking about them. How about you? Did your hair stand on end?