National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 54

Roman missionaries of Bavaria and the king of Moravia who prefered his people to receive their faith in their Slavonic tongue. Later, a Slavonic liturgy was introduced. German clerics imposed the Latin Rite on the region. Similar struggles continued in neighboring Hungary during the reign of the Magyar royal family. In 896 ACE, the Magyars overwhelmed the Moravian kingdom that eventually became a major threat to the Germans until later defeated in 955 ACE. At this point, many are Greek Orthodox Christians, although Hungarian king Gezá preferred the Roman Catholic faith which initiated a lasting link between Hungary and Rome. The Greek and Roman influences fall within the region of Yugoslavia. Croatia is Roman Catholic however, the ruler east of Serbia adopted the Greek Orthodox faith. Similar religious struggles continued through early Europe up to modern times. The majority of Europe today are Christian, estimated at about 74%, but other religions of the continent include Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, folk religions and 18% remain unaffiliated.

One of the most extreme and well known demonic possessions came out of Europe from Germany. The case of Anneliese Michel a was German born into a devout Catholic family in 1952. By the age of 16, she began to exhibit possible signs of demonic possession in the form of horrible convulsions in which Anneliese was diagnosed as having epilepsy by a neurologist. As time passes, Michel complains of seeing disturbing visions during prayer which advanced to hearing evil voices which were commanding her. Michel endures continual troubles and receives medical treatment. In 1975, Michel's parents veered away from medical help and sought assistance through the Roman Catholic Church. Michel experienced 10 months of 67 exorcisms given by Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt. Each ritual was condoned

by Anneliese. On July 1, 1976, Michel died of dehydration and malnutrition and weighed only 68 pounds at her time of death. Both men involved in Michel's exorcisms were brought to trial for negligent homicide. Though it couldn't be proven that Anneliese suffered from demonic possession, it was apparent that Anneliese was seriously ill and no party involved was trying to make her eat. Whether she was possessed or not, Michel should have received better care.

From the 14th to 17th centuries, the European witch craze began in which continental Europeans executed 200,000 to 500,000 witches in which around 85% were women. Some of those accused were old women, midwives, Jews, poets and gypsies. Those who didn't fit within the contemporary view of Christians became suspects and accused of being witches. These executions were conjoined with demonological theories that permeated the continent and gained popular acceptance. The Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches) written in 1486 by Henrich Krmer and James Sprenger, translated by Momtague Summers in 1928, states "Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savors of Heresy."

Anneliese Michel

Witch Craze