• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Fire resurrects 'devil talk' in exorcism town

The Local · 13 Jun 2013, 11:33

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,643
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd