Demonic possessions are thought of by many as nothing more than plot fodder for Hollywood horror films. It’s hard to believe that another entity was able to enter a person’s body and take control of them. Skeptics are quick to reference mental illness or drugs for the reasoning behind some of these incidents, but they aren’t all explained away so easily. Sure, the stories from 100+ years ago could have some better context and supporting evidence, but there are plenty of more recent cases that still pop-up.
You don’t need to believe everything that claims to be a possession story, but having an open mind is never a bad idea. Even atheists can relent that there may be some sort of force in the universe that they cannot explain. If there is inherent good in the world, then there also has to be inherent evil. Some of the people on this list were possessed by this evil, in one way or another, and many acted on this possession. Suspend your disbelief for a few minutes and take a trip down Spooky Lane. Just make sure you stay away from Ouija boards and haunted houses; those seem to be the hotspots for possession stories.
15. Anneliese Michel
The Possession case of Anneliese Michel was extremely controversial, and inspired the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Anneliese Michel was severely afflicted with epilepsy, and was often treated for her disease in mental institutions and hospitals. Her condition never seemed to get any better, and in 1973 she appeared to be suicidal to her family. She was hearing voices in her head telling her to harm herself, and even though she was heavily medicated the treatment did nothing to help her afflictions. She begged her parents to summon the priest to perform an exorcist, as she herself believed that she was being possessed by evil spirits. The church officially declined, but two priests believed her story and arrived to perform exorcisms on the 16-year-old girl. Around the same time, her parents stopped having Michel take her medication for epilepsy and other disorders. She refused to eat, and the nearly 70 exorcisms performed on her had little to no effect. Michel died soon after the exorcisms started from starvation. Her parents and the priests who performed the exorcism were charged with negligent homicide.
14. Ronald Doe
You may have never heard the name “Ronald Doe,” but you certainly know the movie that was supposedly based on his life, The Exorcist. Ronald was not his real name, as it was changed to protect his identity, but this 14-year-old boy may be the most famous case of demonic possession in history. As the story goes, his aunt convinced him to use a Ouija board and after her death he used it again. This opened the door for demons to enter his body. The signs of possession began showing themselves as strange, haunting sounds, but then grew more noticeable. Soon, crucifixes would be flying off of the walls and scratches would appear on the boy’s body, sometimes even forming words. A priest performed an exorcism on him around 30 times, and the boy injured him multiple times during the process. When the exorcism finally took, it is said that the entire hospital heard Doe’s screams.
13. Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor and his wife were religious people, and attended a regular Christian prayer group together. The group was led by Marie Robinson, and Michael’s wife soon became jealous of their relationship. She accused the two of sleeping together, which they both denied, but Michael began to act erratically. He would swear and fly off the handle, leading his wife to consult priests about a possible exorcism. The priests performed the ritual, claiming to remove 40 demons from the man’s body, but it was not a complete success. The priest told Michael to be careful when he left, as the demon of murder was still lodged inside of him. Michael went home and killed his wife and dog after that. Police found him wandering the streets, covered in their blood.
12. Chinese Bus Driver
2012 brought us multiple cannibal attacks, leading many to the conclusion that the zombie apocalypse was upon us. One such case occurred in China, where a bus driver attacked a woman in broad daylight. The only substance that this man was on was alcohol, which combats some of the other drug-related cannibal stories. He had apparently been drinking at lunch, and he went outside and stood in front of an oncoming car. When the car stopped he leapt onto the hood of the car and began beating it. The woman inside got out, but the drunken bus driver was not done. He tackled the woman and began biting chunks out of her face. Pedestrians tried to help the woman, but witnesses say that the perpetrator seemed to have superhuman strength, resisting those who were trying to help. If there are any cases of real-life demonic possessions, these cannibalistic stories have to be included.
11. The Son of Sam Killer
The Son of Sam killer, or David Berkowitz, is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. He single handedly had the city of New York running in fear for over a year in the mid-1970s. He would leave cryptic and taunting messages at the crime scenes and taunted police as they scoured the city for who was responsible. David Berkowitz was eventually found to be the killer, and when he was captured he claimed that it was the devil who was orchestrating his killings. He never said that a demon took hold of him, per se, but that a neighborhood dog would approach him and tell him what to do. Later, while in jail, Berkowitz changed his story. He said that he was actually part of a demonic cult, and that these killings were part of a ritual.
10. Anna Ecklund
Anna Ecklund was a girl who was possessed at the age of fourteen. Her mother was a devout Catholic, but her father and aunt reportedly practiced witchcraft and started cursing the girl at a very young age. By the time she reached her teens, Ecklund could no longer enter a church or even be around religious artifacts. She experienced a successful exorcism, but due to the satanic nature of her relatives, was again possessed and had to be taken into care. Some say that the demons that possessed Ecklund were the same ones that entered the body of Anneliese Michel. Nurses would bless her food and bring it to her, but she could sense the blessing and turned it all away. Witnesses say the girl became bloated, as if filled with water, and that she would speak in tongues she had never heard before. She was even said to levitate, read minds, and vomit bile. Finally, after 23 days, the priests successfully extracted the demons from her body.
9. The WhatsApp Girls
A chilling case of possible possession took place in Peru in January of this year. The parents of a teenage girl were awoken to the sound of hysteria, and what they found was their daughter and a friend having a fit over what appeared to be satanic messages sent through the messaging app WhatsApp. One of the girls was “babbling incoherently” and the other had to be strapped down and taken into an ambulance. It’s unclear what happened when the girls reached the hospital, and no one seems to know what caused this outburst in the first place. Whatever it was, it had to be some seriously evil stuff. Officials never mentioned possession in the official report, but the satanic messages leave the door open to speculate that her body may have been entered by a demon.
8. George Lukins
George Lukins claimed to be possessed by the devil while he was teaching English in 1778. He allegedly used voices and languages that did not belong to him, and even recited scripture and hymns backwards. He asked for help multiple times, and was admitted to the hospital for evaluation. The doctors couldn’t find anything medially wrong with him, and dismissed him. The problems still afflicted Lukins, though, and he told the church that his body was being occupied by seven demonic spirits, and that only seven priests would be able to remove them. The church eventually relented and gave the man an exorcism, which appeared to have worked. He woke from his trance and thanked the priest, even reciting the Lord’s Prayer without incident.
7. Pope Francis Exorcism
Since he was confirmed as the Pope, Pope Francis has been transcending Catholicism with some of his statements and actions. He seems to be bringing the church back to the people, and elevating underprivileged communities along the way. Not many people know, but the Catholic Church practices exorcisms regularly on subjects. This was not a scheduled or acknowledged exorcism, but when Pope Francis was meeting disabled people he stopped on one young man in a wheelchair. The man began to squirm as the pope placed hands on his head. The boy seemed to shudder and yell something, but quickly subsided and went limp. The church did not acknowledge this as an exorcism, but many people claim that we witnessed a recording of just that.
6. Clara Germana Cele
Clara Germana Cele was a Christian student in South Africa who allegedly made a pact with the devil after her sixteenth birthday. She began acting strangely after that, and was repulsed by any and all religious artifacts she came in contact with. Much like other possession stories on this list, she could no longer stand the sight of a crucifix. She also began speaking foreign languages, reading people’s thoughts and levitating up to five feet in the air. She was hospitalized, and the nuns who treated her said that she would make guttural, grunting and hissing sounds when they entered the room. Priests came to perform and exorcism on the girl, who was violent and even tried to strangle one of them. Multiple witnesses to the ordeal claim to see Cele levitating as one of the priests read the ritual. Apparently, the exorcism worked, as she reportedly went back to normal after these events.
5. Arne Cheyenne Johnson
Arne Cheyenne Johnson’s murder trial was unique, as it was the first trial in history where the defense argued innocence on the count of demonic intervention. It is widely known as “The Devil Made Me Do It Case,” as Johnson’s lawyers argued that the Devil possessed him and made him kill his landlord. Apparently, Johnson’s strange behavior began when he was young, and his parents even took him to a demonologist to get him evaluated. Such behavior was allegedly caused by demonic possession rather than any mental disorder he may have had. The judge didn’t buy it, and Johnson was convicted of murder, but skeptics claim that this was proof of the devil’s work being attributed to mortals.
4. Brazilian Gunshot Victim
This past year has brought a video that could be a possessed man in Brazil. Workers at a hospital in Rio filmed a man that was in the hospital being treated with a gunshot wound to the jaw. The circumstances of his wound were never made clear, as this could have been self inflicted or caused by another person. The terrifying aspect of this video, though, was the way that the man was behaving. He was walking around with his shoulders tucked and his back arched, as if he were being controlled by another entity. He was smiling eerily through a bloody jaw and shouting at the hospital staff who tried to calm him. Some speculated that drugs were involved (obviously), but others evoked a more spiritual answer. This could be the most recent video we have of a real-life demonic possession.
3. The Ammons Family
The case of the Indianapolis residents experiencing a full-blown family possession is one of the most recent cases that lead law enforcement to determine that they were telling the truth. It’s not every day that you hear police officers fearing to enter a home because of the possible supernatural implications. In 2012, Latoya Ammons and her three children moved into a rental property. Soon after the move, they started noticing swarms of bugs, strange smears and unexplained noises. Things took a turn for the worse when Latoya heard her daughter scream. She entered her room to find her unconscious and levitating above her bed. Police initially thought this was all a scam, but after interviewing witnesses and seeing for themselves, they decided that the family was telling the truth. Thankfully, the family left the house and went through multiple exorcisms to rid the family of their demons.
2. Rudy Eugene
Rudy Eugene was the perpetrator in the shocking, horrifying and devastating “Miami Zombie” story from a few years ago. The story shocked America, and created a real-life zombie scare for some people in the area. If you aren’t aware, Rudy Eugene attacked a homeless man in Miami Florida on the side of a highway. He beat the man and stripped him naked, finishing by eating the man’s face in broad daylight. When police arrived to the scene, one officer ordered Eugene to stop, but says that he only growled and continued to bite and tear at the victim’s face. Eugene was shot dead on the scene, so we will never truly know what was going through his mind at the time. It is widely believed that Eugene was on drugs at the time of the incident, but more religious groups speculate that this could be the work of the devil in man’s flesh.
The case of Julia may be the most chilling, as she was determined to be possessed, not by a priest but by a psychiatrist she was seeing. Doctors usually dismiss the paranormal ideas when dealing with mental issues, but this doctor saw enough to decide that there was a higher power controlling the girl. Julia was not the girl’s real name, but her psychiatrist witnessed her levitate in front of him, as well as tell people things about their life that she could not have possibly known. The doctor said that she would enter trances, where voices would come out of her body that were unique and not her own. They would tell him to leave her alone, and that the girl belonged to them.