Demonic possession is an idea as old as religion itself. The concept of having one's body invaded by supernatural evil has captivated even the most avid of atheists.
Whether you kneel in the pews each Sunday, or you subscribe to the notion of good vs. evil, God vs. The Devil, angels vs. demons, there have been several cases of demonic possession throughout history that are hard to ignore, and even harder to debunk. Here are four cases of alleged demonic possession that even the most ardent disbeliever would have a hard time ignoring.
1. Anna Ecklund
Anna Ecklund was born in the early 1880s in the mid-west region of the United States. She was raised in a devout Catholic family, and Anna was always considered to be a wonderful, happy, and charming young lady, that is until she turned 14.
After her 14th birthday she began to show signs of strange, and terrifying behavior. The once proud, God-fearing Catholic could no longer look at, or touch anything remotely related to religious iconology. Anna would go into fits if she saw the Bible, vials of holy water, or any image related to God or his church. Anna also absolutely refused to enter any church, or set foot on any holy ground.
A large number of troubling symptoms also followed this aversion to religious themes. Anna began to yell about depraved sex acts that no Catholic girl, her age, in the 1800s would have any business knowing about. This was also accompanied by a sexual desire that would be unhealthy anywhere outside a brothel. Anna also started to speak in both German and Latin, two languages that she had never been taught.
By 1910, no one had any answers for what was happening to young Anna Ecklund, but then some startling information came to light. It turned out that Anna's father and aunt were not in fact devout Catholics, but were instead faking the charade in order to practice witchcraft without suspicion. The theory was that Anna's father had cursed the young girl because he was unable to shake is incestuous urges for her.
The first exorcism of Anna Ecklund took place in 1912. Father Theophilus Riesinger was able to give Anna a temporary reprieve, but the demon(s) would end up coming back. In 1928, at the age of 46 she turned back to Father Riesinger for help, her life had been hell on earth to this point. This second exorcism took place over 23 days, and multiple entities made their presences' known, including Beelzebub, one of the seven alleged Princes of Hell.
Father Riesinger was eventually able to rid Anna of the demons plaguing her. You can read about it in the pamphlet he published in 1936, Begone Satan: A Soul Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa.