Is it possible to be possessed by evil spirits and demons? These real-life exorcism stories will send spooky shivers up your spine…


1. The true story behind The Exorcist



In the 1940’s priests in America were called to perform a series of exorcisms on an anonymous boy, dubbed, ‘Roland Doe’. The boy was said to be possessed by demonic spirits.

Apparently, his aunt introduced him to the Ouija board. But shortly after she died, strange things started happening. Furniture would move on its own accord and objects began to levitate and fly about when Roland was near.

His family feared he was possessed by his dead aunt. During one exorcism, he allegedly slipped a hand out of the restraints and broke a bedspring from his mattress. Then he used it to slash the priest’s arm.

Priests reported the bed shaking, Roland speaking in a harsh, husky voice, speaking fluent Latin, and apparently words such as ‘evil’ and ‘hell’ appeared on his body in blood.

His shocking story inspired the 1971 novel, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, which was then made into the 1973 horror movie.


2. A deal with the devil



In 1906 16-year-old Clara Germana Cele prayed to Satan and made a pact with the devil. Days later, her body was taken over by strange impulses.

Nuns who attended to her reported her making terrible, animal-like sounds. She could also speak and understand several different languages, which she’d never heard before.

The nuns also reported her levitating into the air and being repulsed by anything religious, such as a crucifix. Two priests were brought in to do an exorcism and Cele allegedly tried to strangle one of them.

The exorcism lasted two days until Cele was eventually freed of the dark spirits.


3. Demon dog

PA Images: David Berkowitz

David Berkowitz (Photo: PA Photos)

In 1976, a serial killer was on the loose in New York. Six people were killed and many others injured. The killer left taunting notes at the crime scenes.

Finally, David Berkowitz was arrested. He confessed to the killings, but claimed he’d been made to do it. He wasn’t possessed by the devil himself, but he believed his neigbour’s dog was!

Berkowitz said the dog had ordered him to kill. Despite his explanation he was deemed mentally competent, and was eventually given six life-sentences for the murders.

In a bizarre twist, he later made claims he’d actually been a member of a Satanic cult that had orchestrated the incidents as part of a ritual murder.


4. Cursed by her family



Anna Ecklund, from Iowa, USA, was apparently cursed by her father and aunt, who practiced witchcraft.

In 1912, it was said she’d been ‘cured’ after a successful exorcism. But, according to some, her aunt and father prayed for Satan to return to her and make her suffer even more.

In 1928, she sought help from the church and was placed in a convent. Nuns reported her hissing, throwing food they’d blessed on the floor, and speaking foreign languages she’d never heard before.

They also claimed she levitated and clung to the walls. Apparently, her eyes bulged too and she vomited at priests. After 23 days it was declared she was free from the demons that possessed her.


5. Demonic murder



Michael Taylor lived in Ossett, West Yorkshire, with his family. He joined a church group, but shortly after began acting strangely. He reportedly felt an evil presence overtake him.

It was decided Michael’s soul should undergo an exorcism, which lasted eight hours. Spitting, screaming, biting, and scratching, Michael had to be tied to the floor, as crucifixes were put in his mouth and he was doused in holy water.

The priests claimed 40 demons inhabited Michael’s soul. With all parties exhausted, the exorcism was drawn to a close – prematurely, since the priests warned three demons were still inside Michael and wouldn’t leave – insanity, anger, and murder.

Tragically, two hours later, Michael savagely murdered his wife, Christine, and the family dog. Leaving his home covered in blood, Michael screamed, ‘It’s the blood of Satan!’ over and over.

At the start of his 1975 trial, the judge warned jurors the case would take them back to the Middle Ages. Michel Taylor was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, and was eventually detained on a secure psychiatric ward at Broadmoor before his release.


6. Historic possession 



Back in 1671, 20 years before the Salem Witch Trials, 16-year-old Elizabeth Knapp was employed in the household of a preacher Samuel Willard in Massachusetts, USA,

Willard noticed Elizabeth had begun to show signs of demonic possession. Elizabeth would complain of pain, grabbing herself all over her body, and scream about strangulation. She even tried to throw herself into the fire.

During other fits she had to be held down, as she screamed and claimed she’d met the Devil, who promised her money and youth, and tried to get her to kill others, and herself. He even talked through Elizabeth in an animalistic, deep voice.

As Willard stopped recording details of her possession, it’s unknown what happened to her.


7. A tragic case



In 1975, 23-year-old German woman Anneliese Elisabeth Michel underwent a Catholic exorcism that would eventually lead to her death a year later – from malnutrition and dehydration. The priests responsible for the exorcism, and Anneliese’s parents, were found guilty of negligent homicide.

At 16, Anneliese was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. In 1970, she suffered a seizure and was prescribed medication. Soon after, she began complaining of seeing ‘devil faces’, and hearing voices telling her she was damned and would ‘rot in hell’.

Anneliese then began self-harming, drank her urine, and ate insects, as well as showing aggression. A priest said she was possessed by a demon.

After her first exorcism in 1975, her parents stopped medical treatment. After 67 sessions over 10 months, Anneliese died, having been in a semi-starvation state for a year, and unable to move from broken legs.