Anna Elisabeth “Anneliese” Michel (21 September 1952 – 1 July 1976) was a German woman who underwent Catholic exorcism rites during the year before her death. She was diagnosed with epileptic psychosis (temporal lobe epilepsy) and had a history of psychiatric treatment, which was overall not effective.
When Michel was sixteen, 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 twenty, she had become intolerant of various religious objects and began to hear voices. Her condition worsened despite medication, and she became suicidal, also displaying other symptoms, for which she took medication as well. After taking psychiatric medications for five 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. Anneliese Michel stopped eating food and died due to malnourishment and dehydration. 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.