The San Damiano cross, image from The San Damiano Society at St. Francis Center for Renewal website. Circa 1100 A.D., it is said that St. Francis of Assisi was praying before this cross when he received a commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church.
“Father, I never thought it would be as cruel as this. I always thought that I would want to suffer for others so they would not have to go to hell, but that it could be this bad and this cruel and terrible.”
– Anneliese Michel, from a transcript of a recorded conversation with Exorcist Father Arnold Renz.
Location: Klingenberg, Bavaria, Germany, where the Michel family had a comfortable two-story house, not far from Josef Michel's sawmill. Anneliese Michel was born in Lieblfing, Germany on 21 September, 1952 to Anna and Josef Michel. Klingenberg, known as "Blade Mountain" is a small town on the Main River. On one side of the river is the Odenwald forest, on the other side are the woods of the Spessart forest. Kligenberg is well-known for its terraced vinyards on its hills and the wine produced from them. The town is about an hour drive southeast of Frankfurt.
The legal systems of Western societies have no place for, nor consideration of, the offenses of the spiritual world. Neither does the spirit world have regard for the laws of men. These factors make the case of the death of Anneliese Michel so fascinating, so compelling, so confounding and ultimately so tragic, that it remains one of the benchmark legal cases for determining negligent culpability in purported cases demonic possession. Anneliese was a German girl who was known in life for being very intelligent, shy, kind, generous and pious, but will always be known in death as an unfortunate soul who experienced a deteriorating malady so mysterious and devastating she ultimately succumbed to starvation. But who, or what, is to blame? Was it the severe affliction of an extreme case of epilepsy or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder having gone untreated, or was it the detestable work of the Devil himself?
San Damiano, Assisi, Italy
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Episode 76: The Devil and Anneliese Michel – Exorcism on Trial (Part 1). Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2017 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.