10 Frightening True Life Stories of Demon Possession
Though some people believe in demons about as much as they believe in leprechauns, others know that demons really do exist. Even skeptics often change their minds after reading and hearing about some of the more frightening true stories of demon possessions. Like ghost possessions, demon possessions leave people scared and nervous because they can no longer control their emotions or their actions. One of the scariest of those tales even inspired “The Exorcist” and lead to a hit series of films based around the book of the same name. Other tales also inspired hit films like “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”
While some people have a hard time believing in demon possession, this isn’t some brand new concept. Stories of demons date back to ancient times, and some even claim that certain stories in the Bible and other religious tomes may have a connection to demons. People often exhibit many of the same symptoms and act in ways that no one can explain.
That is why so many people find these stories so fascinating. Though some claim that demon possession is a symptom of a mental disorder, many of these stories come from people who talked to doctors and other professionals. Even after years of research, modern day science still cannot find an explanation for those symptoms beyond demon possession. The 10 frightening true life stories of demon possession will make many think twice the next time they speak without thinking or feel like something else is controlling all their actions.
One of the scariest tales of demon possession in recent years is that of the 200 Demons, a story that took place in Gary, Indiana. Latoya Ammons moved her three children to a new home in the city and almost instantly began noticing that something just wasn’t right. During their first winter in the house, swarms of black flies congregated on their screened-in front porch. Despite trying bug sprays and bombs, the flies just kept coming back. They also heard the sounds of doors opening and closing as well as people running through the house when the kids were safe in bed and no one else was there. Ammons and her mother even witnessed the apparition of a man standing in the house.
When the children began experiencing similar things, the family finally sought help from the church. They tried everything from spreading olive oil around the house to consulting with psychics, many of whom told the family they needed to move, which wasn’t an option at the time. The paranormal activity culminated in the woman’s nine-year-old son walking up one of the walls in the house while in front of both a nurse and a case worker sent to investigate the home. Their story drew so much attention that Zak Bagans, host of the television series “Ghost Adventures,” came to speak to them. Bagans was on hand when Gary tore down the house, which he filmed for a future documentary on demon possession, after the family finally left.
The story of Anna Ecklund dates back to the early 20th century. Born to a domineering and sexist father, who some reports claim sexually abused her as a child, she grew up under the care of both him and an aunt. She began exhibiting symptoms of demon possession at the age of 14. Ecklund found that she no longer wanted to take communion and that while in the church, she wanted to destroy many of its artifacts. She also exhibited some of the more common signs of depression, had sexual fantasies that she could not control and began seeing hallucinations. Father Theophilus Riesinger launched a full investigation and found that Ecklund had a deep understanding of languages like Latin, German, Polish, Hebrew and Italian. He recommended an exorcism, which occurred when Ecklund was 30.
following the death of her aunt and father, a 46-year old Ecklund began believing that the demons came back. After speaking to the priest who performed her last exorcism, Ecklund met him in Iowa to go through a second exorcism. Reports indicate that she turned up her nose at food that the priest blessed, would make loud animal noises and convulsed when exposed to religious items. Ecklund grew so large and bloated during the exorcism that the priest and others in attendance worried that she would break the heavy bed they arranged for her. After 23 long days of rituals, the priest claimed she was free from the demons. Ecklund lived out the rest of her life in peace.
Julia is the pseudonym given to a young woman who sought the help Dr. Richard E. Gallagher in New York City. Raised in the Catholic Church, Julie later experimented with Occultism and later became a Satanist. After turning to the church, the church contacted Gallagher for help, assuming that he would find a psychiatric problem with her that he could treat. Dr. Gallagher instead found evidence that Julia suffered from possession. She would often blackout and speak in a voice that sounded nothing like her own and later have no memory of the event. When the doctor attempted to turn to other medical professionals for help, they would hear the same voices coming across the phone lines. Julia also exhibited what the doctor believes are psychic powers. Despite having no connections to those around her, she would often tell doctors, nurses and other staff intimate details of their own lives.
Dr. Gallagher was on hand during the exorcism ritual meant to heal and cleanse the young woman. Julia reportedly rose several inches off the bed and spoke in several languages, though the woman only had experience speaking English. In the hopes of tricking her, they alternated between using standard tap water and holy water, but her body would only react to the holy water. Even the temperature of the room the exorcism occurred in rose by several degrees for no one reason. Dr. Gallagher finally spoke out about his experiences in 2012, admitting that nothing his team did could help Julia.
According to the hit Hollywood film “Annabelle,” she was a disturbing doll possessed by a woman who died while attempting to murder a pregnant woman. The true story behind this doll may be even more gruesome than the one documented in that film. Donna was 28 and living with a roommate while she studied nursing when her mother gave her an old Raggedy Ann doll. Both Donna and her roommate Angie quickly noticed that there was something off about the doll. They would often return home to find notes left behind in what looked like a child’s handwriting, and the doll would never be in the same spot that they left it. Lou, often called one of the girl’s boyfriend though he was just a friend, had strange experiences with the doll too, including once finding it sitting next to him and touching his leg.
Ed and Lorraine Warren, two paranormal investigators, believed their stories and claimed that the possessed doll wanted to possess one of the two women. They took the doll back to their own home, where it continued its evil ways. A young man reportedly laughed at the doll and invited the doll to come after him. On his way home, his motorcycle careened out of control and hit a tree head on, causing his death. Lorraine Warren keeps the doll on display in the Museum of the Occult that she founder with her deceased husband, but she keeps Annabelle tucked away in a glass case.
Though Pat Reading was once a normal and loving mother, that changed when she moved her family into a new home in Litchfield, Connecticut. Not long after making the move, they began hearing what sounded like loud knocks coming from inside their walls and finding furniture moved when they came home or woke in the morning. Though her family experienced few problems, the demon that took over their home had a serious interest in Pat. The woman would sometimes jump or move back abruptly as if hit by an unseen force. She also exhibited both bite marks and bruises all over her body. Though skeptics might claim she left those marks herself, she would sometimes find bite marks in the middle of her back or in other areas that she could not reach. Pat would sometimes find missing patches of hair on her head too that her family claimed looked as if someone ripped the hair right out.
Unable to cope with her pain and suffering any longer, the Reading family contacted the Catholic Church. Priests came and performed an exorcism that failed to help. Though priests would eventually perform 16 different exorcisms, Pat continued dealing with the same symptoms. The strange knocking sounds and other signs of a demon continued in the house as well. Medical doctors ruled her completely sane as well. Despite trying to get help, Pat dealt with the possession for the rest of her life until she eventually passed away from colon cancer.
The story of Michael Taylor has a gruesome and disturbing end. Taylor was a British man living in a small town in England with his wife. After the couple joined a local religious study group, Christine, his wife, noticed that he seemed a little too close to Marie, the woman running the group. She accused the couple of having an extramarital affair, and while Marie denied it, Taylor suddenly began speaking in tongues and making out of character comments. Taylor continued acting out of sorts over the next few months. He would occasionally have an outburst that led to him attacking his wife and spewing hateful comments at her, but he would later have no recollection of those events.
Thinking it was the result of demon possession, Taylor agreed to an exorcism. During the eight-hour exorcism, Taylor spoke in languages he didn’t know, shouted at those participating and acted like an animal. The priests involved in the exorcism claimed that they found dozens of demons inside him, Though the exorcism allegedly worked, the priests did tell him that there was at least one demon still inside him. Just two hours after he went home, his wife was dead. Taylor strangled the woman, ripped out her tongue, removed flesh from her face and took out her eyeballs, all with his own bare hands. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, Taylor spent the rest of his life struggling with the demons inside him and faced other criminal charges later.
4Arne Cheynne Johnson
Though crime shows make it seem like hundreds of people claim they are not guilty by reason of insanity, one of the first to really use this plea was Arne Cheynne Johnson. Johnson was only 19 when he moved into an apartment with his girlfriend and her brother owned by Alan Bono. David, the brother, claimed he was a victim of demon possession. He heard voices and saw figures that weren’t there, which led to the trio seeking help from Ed and Lorraine Warren. The paranormal experts performed a ritual similar to an exorcism and claimed that more than 40 demons left David. Johnson believed that one of those demons didn’t leave and that it instead possessed him. Though Johnson had no altercations with the police before, he brutally murdered their landlord not long after the exorcism and claimed that the demon made him do it.
The Warrens claimed the this wasn’t the first experience Johnson had with demons and that demons had actually haunted him for most of his life. They later wrote and released a book on their experiences with him, and the family of his brother and girlfriend sued him for emotional pain and suffering. Though the judge in the case refused to let attorneys argue the demon defense, he did let the attorney argue self-defense. Johnson received a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, but with good behavior, he served just five years of that sentence and kept out of the public eye after his release.
3Clara Germana Cele
As an orphan living in South Africa, Clara Germana Cele underwent a baptism when she just a baby. At the age of 16, she decided that she would make a pact with the devil. Though she told others of her plan, she never revealed why she wanted to make the pact or what she wanted from Satan. Not long after, while living in St. Michael’s Mission, the nuns noticed that she behaved in erratic ways. In addition to speaking in new languages, she could seemingly understand any of the languages that the nuns spoke. Cele would hiss and act like an animal when shown crosses and other holy objects, and she would make such animalistic noises that it would frighten both nuns and other students.
The mission brought in a priest to perform an exorcism, but Cele was not happy. At one point, she ripped the stole from his body, wrapped it around his neck and tried to strangle him in front of others. The priest fought back and managed to control Celee, but she would rise and levitate off the bed as he tried to speak. Those in attendance could only watch in shock and disbelief. Over the period of two full days, the priest chanted and prayed over her in an attempt to exorcise the demon. After one last ritual involving holy water, Cele opened her eyes and stared at those around her as she spoke in her own trembling voice. The teenager lived out of the rest of her life without any other paranormal issues.
Though the name Anneliese Michel might not sound familiar to some, her story is what inspired Hollywood to create “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Michel was the second daughter born to her mother, who also had an illegitimate daughter a few years previously. As a devout Catholic, Michel felt as though God wanted her to atone for the sin her mother created, which led to her setting strict rules for herself and attending church services more often than other young women her age. When Michel was just a teenager, she exhibited symptoms of demon possession, including smelling odd things and seeing visions. After seeing multiple doctors without finding a cure, she graduated from high school and attended college, which led to a sudden increase in her symptoms.
Michel suddenly could not be around or even in the same room with icons from her own religion. She started speaking in a strange language, had a hard time keeping food down and saw more visions. Her family sought medical treatment before turning to the Catholic Church. After determining that Michel was the victim of demon possession, Pastor Ernst Alt and Father Arnold Renz performed more than 60 exorcisms on her. Michel frequently claimed that historic figures like Adolf Hitler were in control of her body. The story of Anneliese Michel does not have a happy ending. Michel passed away at the age of just 23, weighing less than 70 pounds at the time. Those involved in her exorcisms actually faced criminal prosecutions in her case.
One of the most frightening true life stories of demon possession is the story of Roland Doe. Peter Blatty read the story and found it so fascinating that he wrote a fictional account called “The Exorcist,” which later became a hit film and inspired a series of sequels. Doe was a teenager who lived in Maryland with his parents when he began playing with a Ouija board with his aunt. Following the death of that aunt, his parents heard knocking and scratching sounds coming from inside the walls, saw furniture around the house move and witnessed as Doe’s own bed violently shook with him on it. After doctors could find nothing wrong with him, his parents sought out the Roman Catholic Church. Father Albert Hughes and several other priests witnessed these activities themselves and urged the church to approve an exorcism. Hughes kept detailed records of his experiences, which are still available today.
The exorcism did not go the way any intended. One priest suffered a severe scratch when a spring from the bed flew through the air and hit him. Doe’s bed shook so violently that some were afraid to approach him. As the young boy spoke out in violent and aggressive ways, Father Hughes kept going. Some even claim Doe developed a mark on his leg that looked like the face of Satan. The exorcism was such a success that Doe later married and had children, but he refused to speak out about the case that haunted him as a teen.
The story of Roland Doe is easily one of the scariest true stories of demon possession, though it’s far from the only one out there. Demon possession usually manifests in different ways, but many notice unusual changes that affect the entire house first. They hear scratching, clawing and knocking sounds that come from inside the walls, and some claim it actually sounds like a wild animal trying to dig its way out of those walls. They often have issues with furniture that moves on its own. That classic scene in “Poltergeist,” where the mother turns around and finds chairs stacked on top of each other is something that many people experienced in real life.
Modern medicine and research revealed some of the common reasons why people acted in strange ways in the past. Some of the symptoms associated with older cases of possession can also be symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and other mental disorders. Modern medicine cannot possibly explain all the signs of a demon manifestation though. Doctors and scientists cannot explain how a young boy can walk up a wall or how a young woman who lived in the same city her entire life can suddenly speak and respond to people in different languages. There is also no modern explanation for why something like an exorcism can suddenly heal an individual and help he or she lead a long and comfortable life without any future problems. The most frightening true life stories of demon possession will make many people think twice the next time they hear a strange noise at night in their homes.