10 Disturbing Possessions And Exorcisms That Really Happened –

We all saw Linda Blair spin her head, speak like an old man who had smoked one too many cigarettes, and bathe two priests in pea soup, but possessions and exorcisms are ancient and modern occurrences that go beyond anything depicted by Hollywood.

Although it’s easy to regard possessed victims as raving lunatics who were either mentally ill or attention hungry, many of history’s most famous cases involved sufferers who truly believed Satan was staining their soul and trying to drag them to Hell. Not only that, but they showed symptoms of possession more horrific than anything seen in the movies such as enjoying the taste of their urine while their bodies weighed as much as concrete.

However, while the majority of horror movies end with valiant priests banishing Lucifer back to Hell, some of reality’s most disturbing exorcisms failed and ended tragically. And sometimes houses were possessed rather than people…


10. Julia

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Most instances of possession and hauntings are spearheaded by priests, clairvoyants, and TV investigators who are all too quick and happy to exclaim that the wind is proof of paranormal activity, but the exorcism of subject Julia was recorded by a board-certified psychiatrist named Richard Gallagher.

Having confessed to being involved with satanic cults, the middle-aged, Caucasian Julia feared that Lucifer or one of his minions was attacking her. Under the observation of Dr. Gallagher and his A-team of clergymen, nuns, and a mental health expert, the frightened woman endured trances where she unknowingly spoke Latin in a hoarse or high voice, insulted religion, and made objects fly off the shelves.

Her request for a Roman Catholic exorcism was granted and conducted in June. Gallagher noted how the room went from being extremely cold to unbearably hot as his possessed patient mimicked growls and other animalistic noises while prayers were recited. Exhibiting unbelievable strength, Julia broke free of the nuns holding her down with all their might, and she levitated half a foot off the ground for 30-minutes.

Although the exorcism initially proved helpful, Dr. Gallagher’s final comment suggested that Julia was still possessed and would require more help from the church.

9. The Smurls’ House


After hurricane Agnes damaged and flooded their home, Jack and Janet Smurl moved into a Chase Street duplex in West Pittson, Pennsylvania. Like every horror movie ever made, the paranormal activity they encountered was initially benign with rapscallion ghosts hiding tools and unplugging kitchen appliances.

Presumably having grown bored of their childish antics, the ghosts infesting the house quickly became hostile: the family’s German Sheperd was tossed against the wall, one of the daughters was badly sliced by a falling light fixture, and Jack told his missus that a succubus dragged him around the bedroom and raped him. Understandably terrified of the sexual assaulting entities whose voices mimicked the entire family, Jack and Janet sought help from the church.

Similar to The Conjuring’s Perrons, Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the Smurls’ home and declared it was haunted by a powerful demon who manipulated three other spirits to oppress the family: a harmless grandma, an old man who died in the house, and a violent young woman. The Warrens performed a group prayer to draw out one of the entities, and in the middle of the session the house started shaking, a voice ordered them to get out, and two female ghosts of the colonial America era dashed through the halls.

With the help of parishioners and several priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton, Ed and Lorraine performed an exorcism that was successful until the ghosts returned years later. Tired of being punching bags, the Smurls moved out of the duplex in 1987, and subsequent owners have reported nothing unusual ever happening.

8. Ronald Hunkeler


Following the loss of his cool Aunt Hariet, 13-year-old Ronald Hunkeler (a.k.a. Roland Doe) started suffering unworldly occurrences in January 1949. After crying to his mum and dad about hearing odd noises and experiencing his bed shaking by itself, doctors and psychiatrists were consulted until the local Lutheran minister suggested they seek the aid of Jesuits.

Father Walter H. Halloran and Reverend William Bowdern learned about the boy’s situation and agreed to exorcise his demons in March. When they met Ronald and tried saving his soul, the two Jesuits observed scratches on his body, ducked out the way of flying objects, and watched him react violently to sacred devices shoved in his face.

During the weeks-long ordeal, an ‘X’ appeared on Ronald’s chest, leading the priests to believe that ten demons were fighting for total control. On 20 March, after their son had urinated on his bed and told the priests to do one, Mr. and Mrs. Hunkeler took their misbehaving teen to Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis for alternative treatment.

However, the situation only worsened, and on the Monday after Easter, Ronald ridiculed the priests and promised that Satan would always be with him. Holy relics, crucifixes, medals, and rosaries were placed on the devil’s host, and at 10:45pm the priests called on St. Michael to expel Lucifer. Seven minutes later, Ronald came out of his trance and recounted how he had seen St. Michael crush Satan on a battlefield.

7. Clara Germana Cele


In 1906, Clara Germana Cele was an orphan at St. Michael’s Mission in Natal, South Africa, who confessed to Father Erasmus Horner that she had foolishly made a pact with Lucifer.

While the Father surprisingly doubted her confession, the Mission’s nuns admitted to witnessing unusual and barbaric behaviour from the 16-year-old: she spoke Polish, German, French, and other languages she had never been exposed to, she taunted strangers by revealing their most intimate secrets, and she attacked her fellow sisters by hurling them about the convent rooms.

Terrified of the levitating girl who slithered across the floor and bit a sister’s arm, the nuns convinced Reverend Mansueti and Father Horner to perform an exorcism on 11 September. Cele’s deliverance lasted two days and over 170 people saw her knock the holy bible from the priest’s hands and attempt to strangle him with his own stole.

Mansueti and Horner declared that the ritual was successful and the devil had been condemned back to hell, but in 1907 its former host made another deal and was possessed once again. The teen’s second and final exorcism ended with a rank odour filling the air.

6. Anna Ecklund

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Born in 1882, Anna Ecklund showed symptoms of possession at the age of 14: she was unable to enter church, she was venomous towards all things sacred or holy, and she was obsessed with disturbing sexual acts in a time when porn was not readily available.

Capuchin monk Theophilus Riesinger successfully exorcised the demons within Anna on 18 June 1912, but his good work was undone through a curse manifested by the young girl’s malicious dad and wicked aunt.

Over twenty years later, Father Theophilus came to the possessed girl’s rescue yet again and sent her to a convent maintained by Franciscan nuns where he conducted an exorcism that lasted 23 days from August to December 1928. During the on-again, off-again exorcism, Anna taunted the nuns and priests by revealing all the sins they had committed in their childhood, her lips grew as big as hands, and despite not eating she eventually weighed as much as concrete.

Lucifer and Beelzebub were two of the demons who possessed the vulnerable girl, along with her dad and aunt; her father was condemned to hell for cursing his daughter because she refused to commit incest with him, while her aunt was burning in the devil’s world for being a practicing witch and adulterer who allegedly killed four children via abortion.

Two days before Christmas, Father Theophilus banished the demons and heard them scream as they left Anna’s body.

5. Maricia Irina Cornici


Brought up in an orphanage following her father’s suicide, Maricia Irina Cornici was ill-advised to become a nun at the age of 23 by one of her gal pals. Three months after moving into the Tanacu monastery, she was troubled by Satan making her giggle during mass and whispering in her ears that she was a sinful person.

Dr. Gheorge Silvestrovici declared that she was suffering from schizophrenia, but the monastery’s priest Daniel Petre Corogeanu firmly believed she was possessed and that prescribed pills would not take out the Devil. After convincing four nuns that their fellow sister was Satan’s living host, the red-bearded monk bound Maricia’s hands and feet and locked her in a room while he celebrated the Ascension of Jesus.

Days later, the orchestrated nuns gave Maricia the Jesus treatment by chaining her to a cross with her arms stretched out. They anointed her wrists and forehead with holy water, and shoved a towel in her mouth to stop her from cursing as they prayed for the Devil to be cast out.

Left in a dank room for three days without any food or water, the tortured nun had already died of dehydration and lack of oxygen by the time Father Corogeanu removed the chains and exclaimed she was ‘cured’. Charged with murder and depriving a person of liberty, Corogeanu was sentenced in 2007 to 14 years in prison, and the Romanian Orthodox Church shut down his monastery.

4. The Demon House


In November 2011, Latoya Ammons made the grave mistake of moving to the former murder capital of the U.S with her three children to take refuge in a white rental cottage at 3860 Carolina Street.

After moving in, the family immediately encountered paranormal activity: unfounded footsteps were heard from the basement at midnight, a cloud of enormous black flies hogged the front porch in the dead of winter, and a black shadow ruined the living room with its muddy boots.

Two clairvoyants announced that 200 demonic spirits roamed the house, and the local churches ordered Latoya to draw crosses on every door, create a makeshift altar in the basement, and bathe her children in olive oil. Latoya tried to exorcise the cottage by following the churches’ suggestions and reading the Psalm 91 aloud, but things only got worse; Ammons’ daughter felt like she was always being choked, and the youngest boy kept headbutting his brother’s stomach.

Around April 2012, the Department of Child Services took custody of the children while the investigation of the cottage intensified with Reverend Maginot, Gary police captain Charles Austin, and Latoya’s DCS family case manager Samantha Illic. Having discovered underwear, socks, and a drapery cord underneath the basement’s stairs, Maginot performed a two-hour exorcism on Latoya which resulted in a removed entity attaching itself to Illic and breaking her ribs.

Latoya had her children returned to her when she moved to Indianapolis with her mother, and The Demon House was demolished in 2016 by Zak Bagans – Ghost Adventures’ investigator – soon after he had purchased it to film a documentary.

3. The Ossett ‘Exorcist’ Murder


Despite being a non-believer, Michael Taylor was subjected to the Christian Fellowship Group in an effort to resolve his episodic depression through spiritual intervention. Enamoured by the beauty of 21-year-old pastor Marie Robinson, Taylor quickly became an active member of the band and started engaging in secret, nightly rituals with his bewitching priest.

Having transformed from a cheerful and well-mannered father into an angry and resentful brute, his wife Christine interrupted one of the group’s ceremonies and openly accused her unrecognisable husband of being an unfaithful blockhead. This led to Michael screaming at his supposed mistress in tongues, and turning into an unidentifiable beast as he assaulted her.

With Michael’s inhumane disorder becoming more permanent, a local vicar decided that an exorcism quickly needed to be done. Father Peter Vincent and Reverend Raymond Smith conducted the rite on 5 October 1974, and found 40 demons representing monstrous traits like incest, bestiality, and masochism hiding inside Michael’s body.

The priests tied the growling and spitting dad to the floor, and removed the evil spirits by shoving crucifixes in his mouth and dousing him in holy water. However, due to exhaustion, the priests stopped and agreed to continue the exorcism another time. Unfortunately, rather than waiting to be expelled, the three remaining demons – anger, insanity, and murder – convinced Michael to strip his wife, strangle her, rip out her tongue, gouge her eyes, and tear her face to the bone with his fingers.

At 09:45a.m on 7 October, police found the deranged Michael stumbling around the streets of Ossett naked and slathered in his wife’s blood.

2. Janet Moses


Proof that siblings are the worst, Janet Moses’ family believed the 22-year-old was cursed due to her sister nicking a suspected taonga. When they returned the stone lion statue and found Janet still acting strange, they resorted to performing a Maori exorcism more horrific than anything depicted in the movies.

At their deceased grandparents’ flat in Wainuimota, New Zealand, Janet’s family surrounded her in a circle and shouted, ‘Get out’ and ‘You’re not going to have her’. The mother of two was then held down on the floor as water was poured onto her face and several people tried sucking her eyes.

When she understandably begged for a chance to breathe, her family members grabbed her arms and legs while others sat on her stomach to make her vomit. After a full night of having water poured on her face, in her eyes, and down her throat, she eventually drowned, and the family turned their attention elsewhere.

Believing that the curse had moved into Janet’s 14-year-old cousin, the family scratched and rubbed her eyes, leaving them swollen and oozing blood. Nine hours later, police finally intervened and arrested eight people. In a trial that lasted 29 days, the Moses family remarkably admitted to improvising the exorcism due to not knowing how to rid a possessed person of a makutu. Five of the eight family members were found guilty and received community sentences rather than time in prison.

1. Anneliese Michel


While most 17-year-olds enjoy their free time partying, drinking, and lamenting not having any money, Anneliese was disturbed by devilish voices saying she was damned and would rot in hell. Although a court determined that her suicidal wants were caused by depression, in 1975 her Catholic parents believed she was possessed and sought the aid of priests rather than psychiatrists.

Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst were assigned by the Bishop of Wuzburg to cleanse the girl’s soul, and the 22-year-old German suffered 67 rites of exorcism over a period of ten months as the two priests tried to free her from six demons including Lucifer, Judas, and even Adolf Hitler.

In her possessed state, Anneliese tore her clothes and licked her urine off the floor, ate flies, spiders, and coal, ripped the head off a dead bird with her teeth, barked like a dog, and screamed for hours. She later refused to eat, believing starvation would rid Satan from her body, and over time the ligaments in her knees ruptured due to performing 600 genuflections a day.

During her last rite of exorcism on 30 June 1976, she weighted only 68Ibs, and her final words were ‘beg for absolution’ and ‘Mother, I’m afraid’. An autopsy reported that she died from severe dehydration and malnourishment on 1 July, and her parents, along with Renz and Ernst, were found guilty of negligent homicide for which they were given suspended sentences of six months in prison and three years’ probation.


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