What Happened to Emily Rose -
By a quirk of the media what happened to Emily Rose is asked more often than what became of Anneliese Michel as the character's name in the movie that followed became more well known to many than her real name. The death of this young woman is not the end of her story however.
The aftermath of her passing in the manner she did brought about repercussions which are, in effect, what Anneliese was told in her vision.
The coroner made his official report - she died of starvation and that outcome could have been avoided had proper medical procedures been followed. This immediately triggered an investigation.
Two years afterward both priests that conducted the exorcisms, and her parents were charged with homicidal negligence. They attempted to use the defence that the Catholic Church had sanctioned the exorcisms and therefore were well within their rights and within the law.
The courts did not agree and all were found guilty and sentenced to 6 months plus probation. There are those who felt this punishment was too severe considering the circumstances, and others who thought it was not severe enough.
The story made international headlines and true to form, movies followed. Exorcism of Emily Rose became the more famous of the two. Requiem came later and some say was much closer to the real story. Both are close enough to the truth to be disturbing.
What Happened to Emily Rose
During Anneliese's possession she had a vision in which the Virgin Mary came to her. She was told that she could be released from her torment if she wished it to be so, or she could endure a while longer. Her endurance would give the world a clear message that demons do exist and that humans are in real danger from them.
She was determined to atone for the sins of many and continued with the possession. It is said that she foretold the time of her death and she was correct in that prediction.
After the last exorcism she seemed to attain peace and many believe the demons left her. She closed her eyes and slept – and never woke up.
A Carmelite nun came to her parents some time after Anneliese died stating that she had a vision that her body had not deteriorated but remained intact – a true sign that she was a saint.
Her parents asked for the body to be exhumed claiming she was buried too quickly and they didn't have the chance to give her the casket and burial they wished to.
The body was exhumed but no one was allowed to view it which leaves many speculating and favouring the theory that her body did not deteriorate.
To many that was the true miracle of what happened to Emily Rose. Many feel she died in a state of grace and her fight with demons warrants her the status of sainthood. The church does not agree, they recanted their position that she was possessed and denied the petition for her to be canonized. Regardless of the church's stand people make pilgrimages to her grave in homage to the horror she endured.
If what happened to Emily Rose was a message to humanity are we certain we interpreted it in its entirety?
She believed demons possessed her so she could atone for the sins of others and bring the message to the world that demons exist. But do we understand that message fully or are we missing a part of it?
What if demons don't all work in such a dramatic fashion? What if all they need to do is plant a thought, an idea, and we simply do the rest of the work for them?
What if this wasn't a test for Anneliese but one for all those who stood by?
Solely a test of compassion. The selfless act of a person reaching out without question, without a care what others may judge, and giving aid to relieve the suffering of a soul in torment. Could someone have helped her, if only a little? What if the real test was for the ones she went to for help?
And if that is the truth of it, did the devil get his way after all?
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