• Germany edition
 
Fire resurrects 'devil talk' in exorcism town
Photo: Feuerwehr Klingenberg

Fire resurrects 'devil talk' in exorcism town

Published: 13 Jun 2013 11:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2013 11:33 GMT+02:00

"Yes, people are talking about it again," Peter Ott, head of the Klingenberg fire brigade told The Local on Thursday.

He led the operation to fight the fire at the sawmill owned by the Michel family - whose daughter Annelise died during an exorcism back in 1976, something which has cast a cloud over the town located some 60 kilometres south-east of Frankfurt ever since.

Her distraught parents erected a chapel in her honour - and this, as well as her nearby grave, has over the years become a place of pilgrimage for devout Catholics.

Annelise's story was turned into the 2005 Hollywood film The Exorcism of Emily Rose starring Laura Linney and Jennifer Carpenter. German filmmaker Hans-Christian Schmid also made a film about the case called Requiem.

Annelise's deeply religious parents brought priests to help her fits which doctors said were most likely due to epilepsy.

The archbishop of Würzburg gave them official permission to conduct an exorcism - a very rare occurrence. By the time she died, she weighed just 31 kilos. She was 23 years old.

Now the regional criminal police are investigating whether the fire at the sawmill was started deliberately, said fire chief Ott. It still belongs to the Michel family, and is managed by Annelise's sister.

"It was a huge fire," he said of the blaze which started in the early hours of June 6.

"We were called there at 42 minutes past midnight, and we were still there at 7pm the following morning. We had to get a digger in to tear down parts of the sawmill so we could reach different parts of the fire. The house next door was also badly damaged."

He added that a car trailer parked outside the wreckage of the sawmill was set on fire on Wednesday night.

Both Michel parents are already dead, and the tz newspaper reported that the house has been standing empty since then, with some locals claiming to have seen spooky apparitions in the shadows there.

The paper even noted that the date of the fire - the 6th day of the 6th month - could be made into the devil's number if the digits of 2013 were added together to make six.

"Of course, much is being speculated - that the fire is to do with the Michel family. But I don't think there is a connection," said Ott.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures ten

UPDATE: At least one person has died and ten others are injured after a huge explosion in western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes
Photo: DPA

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders. READ  

Woman sues for accidental pot raid
Photo: DPA

Woman sues for accidental pot raid

A Bavarian woman is suing police for unlawful search after a reported break-in at her home led authorities to discover 158 cannabis plants in her basement. READ  

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants
Photo: DPA

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants

Germany gave out fewer residency permits last year per head to non-EU citizens than any other major European economy. READ  

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine
Hamburg's UKE has helped lead the fight against Ebola. Photo: DPA

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves for the first phase of the human trial for an Ebola vaccine at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), it was announced on Wednesday evening. READ  

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend
Jacob Lew and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, in a meeting on Wednesday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, called on Germany to boost public spending to stimulate stuttering eurozone growth, the Treasury said. READ  

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window
Schönhauser Allee in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window

A father and his young son are in serious condition after police and firefighters were called to their home in northeast Berlin early on Wednesday morning. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Cars waiting to be loaded onto the ferry at Bremerhaven, Lower Saxony, were caught in flooding on Wendnesday. Photo: DPA

North braces for storms and floods

UPDATE: The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. The news followed a night of accidents caused by heavy winds in southern Germany. READ  

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,523
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd