For centuries, people have been terrorized by the idea that the dead can inhabit the living by possession, as exorcisms and demonic spirits have had some part to play in basically every religion throughout history. Most of us today know of them through stories passed down and through modern media depictions, such as The Exorcist from 1973, which was actually based on the real story of Roland Doe (will be discussed). And there are many other disturbing and frightening cases of exorcisms and possession that will send chills down your spine…
Dr. Richard Gallagher and Julia
In 2008, a board-certified psychiatrist and college professor by the name of Richard E. Gallagher claimed that one of his patients named Julia was undergoing a possession. She was often described as being a “charming and engaging woman” but Julia was the leader of a satanic cult. After she believed she was being attacked by a demon, Julia reached out to a local priest, who then reached out to Richard, advising psychiatric treatment. But he quickly ruled out mental illness as not being the cause as he witnessed Julia being pulled into trance-like states and seeing items flying off the shelves in his office. She also spoke in tongues and talked about details of Richard’s life that she couldn’t have possibly known. One event that stood out was when Richard was on the phone with Julia’s priest and heard a demonic voice that came from Julia but she was nowhere near the phone. She was eventually exorcised after a fit of demonic rage as she threatened, levitated, relayed super strength, and fluctuated the room’s temperature.
The Exorcism of Gina
In 1990, an exorcism took place in Florida to ward out evil spirits from a young girl named Gina. These were one of three exorcisms that had been sanctioned by the archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Conner, and the Vatican. Gina was strapped to a chair, screaming and snapping at Reverend James LeBar as he held a cross to her face as he barked back, speaking directly to the demons, saying that if they wanted pain, he would give it to them. The following year, the exorcism was televised on the ABC Network as medieval-style music played. Many stated that it looked to be torture for the disturbed young girl. Despite the Reverend’s efforts, it was antipsychotic drugs that relieved Gina of her pain.
This story revolves around a young German girl whose exorcism inspired the horror film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and a book by Felicitas D. Goodman called The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel. Taking place in 1976, it leads to a tragic death—Anneliese’s. She was murdered by two priests who (after 67 attempts) tried starvation as a means to ward off evil, only killing the 23-year-old in this final attempt. They were convicted for her death but at the time, no one had known the true cause of her pain. It had been an undiagnosed brain tumor (potentially epilepsy, schizophrenia, maybe both) but since Anneliese was a religious girl who just wanted relief, she welcomed the exorcism.
A young Englishmen by the name of Michael Taylor was a father of five and a husband who had been going through frequent waves of depression. And when he met a 21-year-old pastor by the name of Maria Robinson, that depression seemed to temporarily fade. Michael then believed that it was demons that had been plaguing him and thought that because Robinson had the ability to exorcise them, this had to be the case. But when Michael’s wife confronted him about her suspicions of an affair, he attacked her, leading to an actual exorcism performed by two ministers on October 5th of 1974. He spat, had seizures, and spoke in tongues to the priests. The following day, he murdered his wife but wasn’t convicted due to the defense that the exorcism drove him insane…
Carolyn Perron and the Perron Family
You likely know about The Conjuring series along with its major Hollywood success. But it is all based on something very real and very frightening. In 1970, after the Perron family moved into their dream home in Rhode Island, the hauntings started. It first began as something small, like odd and unusual sounds but then quickly escalated to members of the family being pulled from their beds. Then on many occasions, the ghost of a woman who had hung herself on the property appeared to them. The spirit then began possessing the mother of the family. Due to the frightening situation, the well-known duo of paranormal investigation and demonology, Ed and Lorraine Warren (may they rest in peace) were called in after assessing the family’s situation. They stated that many dark things occurred at the home, leaving behind a cloud of evil looming over it. Many attempts were done to exorcise the spirit from the home but it was deemed unsuccessful. The family endured the hauntings until they fled to Georgia in 1980.
At the age of 13, a young boy named Roland Doe (his name had been changed due to privacy) began seeing and hearing strange things following the death of a beloved aunt. When the possession worsened, he began exhibiting strange behavior with super-human strength. His parents then took him to St. Louis in 1949 for an exorcism that lasted for weeks, known as “The St. Louis Exorcism,” the story that The Exorcist is based on. The boy screamed, attacked, and cursed at the exorcists until a ‘miracle’ (according to the exorcists) occurred and the demon was gone.
Due to the 2016 horror film, The Exorcist of Anna Eklund, this classic case of possession is associated to a girl born in 1882, though Anna Eklund is not her real name as it’s unknown. When she was just fourteen, her father accused her of being possessed by the devil when she physically refused him. Two exorcisms and several years later, Anna was plagued by actual possession, forced on by her father’s lover at the time, Mina, who practiced black magic. In December 1928, Anna was supposedly finally freed from the demons.
In 1842, a 28-year-old German woman named Gottliebin Dittus claimed that her house was haunted and slipped in and out of ‘trance-like’ states, the fellow villagers soon noticing. When an exorcism was commenced by a pastor, things turned violent and disturbing as she became angry to the point of needing physical restraints. She also vomited up blood…nails, and glass. OUCH. After two, long years, she was thankfully cleansed and demons no longer overtook her.
Do you know someone that has been through/performed/witnessed an exorcism? Comment down below and don’t forget to subscribe and never miss a paranormal post every Monday!
Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.