Catherine Cavendish returns with The Possession of Anneliese Michel

The Possession of Anneliese Michel

In my new novel, Damned by the Ancients, nine year old Heidi Mortimer b

ecomes the target for the long dead Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. So begins a battle between the forces of evil and frightened parents fighting for the life, and soul, of their beloved child.

In real life, there have been numerous accounts of children and young people being possessed by evil spirits and one of the most extreme of these is the shocking case of Anneliese Michel.

Her story provided the inspiration for the film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Anneliese Michel was no child, but a 23 year old, devoutly Catholic German girl suffering from mental disorders and epilepsy. From the age of sixteen her behaviour began to undergo worrying changes and it was at that time she was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy by a consultant neurologist. She was prescribed medication but, sadly, the pills did not work well for her. She began to believe herself possessed by a demon. She said it appeared to her, spoke to her and told her she was damned and would rot in hell. Desperate, her religious parents decided to seek help outside the medical profession.

They turned to the church but the priests they consulted refused to perform an exorcism, stating that she clearly needed medical help. Anneliese insisted she was possessed and her behaviour continued to deteriorate. She would speak in tongues, eat coal and spiders, demonstrate a strong aversion to religious images, had convulsions and would even drink her own urine off the floor, lapping like a cat. On occasions she would bark like a dog and was known to have bitten a bird’s head off.

Finally, her parents found a priest, Father Alt, who said she didn’t look like an epileptic and successfully petitioned the Bishop for an exorcism to be performed on her. By now, Anneliese was convinced she was possessed by five demons, Lucifer, Cain, Adolf Hitler, Judas Iscariot and Nero. She endured the torments of 67 exorcisms conducted by Father Alt and exorcist Arnold Renz, sanctioned by Bishop Stangl, during which the demons would argue with each other, their voices emanating from Anneliese’s mouth, in low growls.

At this time, Anneliese would frequently say she was, “dying to atone for the wayward youth of the day and the apostate priests of the modern church.”

She broke her knees through her fervent practice of kneeling to pray repeatedly throughout the day. Even with that terrible pain, she continued the practice.

Anneliese Michel finally died of starvation and dehydration in 1976, having refused all food and drink over a period of time. At her death she weighed just 68 pounds. Two years after her death, her parents and the two priests were found guilty of causing her death by negligent manslaughter. The priests were sentenced to six months in prison (later suspended) with a further three years on probation. Her parents were not given a custodial sentence as it was deemed that they had suffered enough.

To this day Anneliese’s grave is a popular tourist attraction and there are many who continue to believe that she truly was possessed by devils.

Demons of a different kind are at work in Damned by the Ancients. Here’s what to expect:

Vienna, 1908
Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .
Vienna, 2018
The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.
Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:


Barnes and Noble




Kensington Publishing

About the author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish




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