One of worst skills I have is writing. That is ONE OF THE WORST THING I CAN DO. If you still want to proceed you are at your own risk. “Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders.” Certainly, I don’t want to become a grinder. Many things were running in my mind for quite some time with regards to blogging. One of them were movies!! A serious movie freak would usually follow the movies of best directors. Secondly actors. I belong to the second category. Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro are my favorites. I always fancy about movies based on true stories. Let me begin with Exorcism of Emily Rose.
After a long list of crappy movies, director Scott Derrickson has hit a lucky button by making Exorcism of Emily Rose which is based on a true story. The story of Anneliese Michel(Emily Rose) has rocked the world with shock and sorrow while the religious groups and scientific community have come up with their respective views. Storyline revolves around the court case that was filed by the State against Pastor Ernst Alt(Father Moore) for negligent homicide of Emily Rose after he performed “The Great Exorcism”. Self-proclaimed agnostic defense lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney in the movie) struggles to let her client free while she encounters mysterious events in her personal life. Story narration is good with frequent flipping of scenes to what actually had happened. There are some gut wrenching devilish scenes too. Father Moore is finally found guilty but was let walk free by the judge based on jury recommendation. Anneliese Michel’s demonic possession, exorcism, followed by her death received wide public and media attention but more so is the court drama that followed. However the movie do not give you an idea of how long she had suffered. Michel began hearing voices and seeing demonic entities in 1968 (when she was 17) and passed away asleep on July 1st 1976. A beautiful German college going girl had turned into a gore hellion. Can you imagine, someone suffered from a bizarre demonic grimaces for 8 long years before succumbing to a painful death !!!
Fall, 1970, 3 a.m, Kilingenberg, Germany. It was a bone wrecking cold outside when all of a sudden devil faced Anneliese Michel rose from her bed as if some invisible hand pushed her back lifting her halfway. Her eye balls were jet black. Her hairs lye scrambled like wires on her shoulders. Mouth wide open, her gums looked blackish as if she had drunken some grape juice a while ago. Rattling dual voice from Anneliese’s throat emerge echoing through the house..as she started speaking in unheard dead languages. Pastor Ernst Alt and Father Arnold Renz(who was not mentioned in the movie) performed rigorous rituals of exorcism during which, she escaped through the window into the near by barn. After repeated command by the Pastor, demon inside Michel spit out ferociously-Ani hu sheshokhen betokh Cain! (I am the one who dwelt within CAIN), Ego sum qui (in?)habitavit in Nerone (I am the one who inhabited Nero), enoikesa paroithen en Iouda, (I dwelt before within Judas), Und ich [war] mit Legion, (And I was with Legion), Ana Belial (I am Belial). Anneliese Michel named 6 demons (from Bible) that had possessed her in Hebrew, Latin, ancient Greek, German and Aramic respectively before she went on to say in English And I am Lucifer, devil in the flesh!!
(During the exorcism, pastor recorded Michel’s voice. Here is the clipping)
(More details are available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anneliese_Michel ; www.fotofetch.com ; www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/emilyrose.php ; )
10 years ago a similar incident happened in a small village called Betthageri, Kumta Taluk of Karnataka, India. It was a common practice for brothers and cousins to stay together in a single house. However my elders stayed in different houses but all within a stone’s throw from each other. Bhaarati is a cousin of my dad, a very close relative of mine. After conceiving two children, Bharati, during her mid 20s, started behaving strangely. She saw someone standing near the door all the time. The shadow of a devil sitting on her neck appeared only to her. Disturbed with whimsical mood changes, Bhaarati ran from corner to corner of the house. Hysteric devilish act of hers scared the hell out of whole family! Damn hungry Bhaarati ate meals that is enough for 10 at a shot!! spoke vulgar words to the family elders. The devil inside Bhaarati claimed herself as one of the family elder’s sister who had committed suicide 60 years ago in a near by pond. Once the devil said-“Nange kuntshingya heltitri alda? torste na yaru heli!! (you all had fun calling me “kuntshingya” right? I will show you who I am).
During their youth, the family elders eve teased the now-dead-women who was actually disabled. She used to leap while walking like a kuntshingya (must be a wild animal in western ghats of India). The spirit was spitting vengeance on the family elders through Bhaarati. What astonished over smart, non-devil believer guys like me and my sister was how come she can spell out the exact nickname that was used by the elders during their youth? No one in the family ever mentioned to Bhaarati about that woman who committed suicide many years ago. Eventually she was cured of the demon by some rituals.
Although Michel’s case was worst than Bhaarati, there was a striking commonality between the two. Both spoke something which they never heard of. Michel never learned so many ancient languages. Bhaarati wasn’t even born when the unsatisfied women had committed suicide. Is it true that they were actually possessed? Do the demons really exist? I do not intend to disbelieve such nonsense just because it is “cool to be a non-believer”. Anneliese Michel was diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy, a condition that causes severe seizures. There was a speculation that the condition could be due to multiple personality disorder. “Some doctors have suggested that many of Michel’s symptoms are consistent with, and suggestive of, mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) section on dissociative disorders, and/or with behaviors observed in patients with these disorders, such as the temporary adoption of bizarre, rigid body postures (dystonia); the use of the first-person plural pronoun we to describe one’s self; the markedly dilated pupils not explained by any external stimuli; full or partial amnesia; the emergence of distinct personalities among the demons; Michel’s feeling as though her body was acting outside her volition (depersonalization); fear or rejection of sexuality; the persistence of these symptoms despite medical treatment, and in absence of any known medical cause; and many others” (stolen from Wikipedia).
In the case of Bhaarati, no medical diagnosis was done. Her parents were firm believers of angels and demons. What interests me is the fact that she was cured of the demon by priests and rituals but not medication. I remember a psychological thriller Bhool Bhulaiya (remake of Manichitrathazhu), where in a psychiatrist performs an intriguing experiment to treat a multiple personality disorder patient. The movie is influenced by a tragic incident that occurred in 19th century to a famous Travancore family. A must watch if you are into such real life thrillers. Coming back to the point, there is a very thin line between demonic possessions and mental illness. But if you dig down deeper there is no such line at all.