Give into the cliche of watching horror movies this week. And really go there with these horrifying films based on real life cases of suspected demonic possession.

Anneliesse Michel’s story in The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Annalise Michel

Easily one of the most creepy horror movies of the last 20 years, this one stars Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, and an utterly riveting performance by Jenifer Carpenter (aka Dexter’s sister from Dexter).

Anneliese Michel lived in Germany in the early 1950s. She had a history of seizures, so her increasingly disturbing behaviour was easily attributed to epilepsy and then mental illness. But her family, and eventually a priest, saw something darker at work. She was not only depressed and retreating inward, but hearing voices and getting aggressive, and in moments of clarity, spoke of demonic invasion of her body and soul. Catholic Bishop Josef Stangl intervened, performing a drawn out exorcism that was deemed the cause of Annelise’s death, spawning one hell of an interesting manslaughter trial against the priest and Annelise’s parents (which is, in part, the basis of the movie.)

Anna Ecklund’s Story in The Excorcism of Anna Eckland

The Ecklund Family

This script is based on a pamphlet from 1936, called Begone Satan: A Soul Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa.

At the age of 14, Anna started exhibiting strange behaviour, speaking in tongues and uttering alarming guttural noises, and witnesses claim to have seen her levitate and “cling to walls.” A 1912 exorcism seemed to work, but only briefly. Story goes she was soon possessed again, and this time by multiple demons.

The Perron Family’s Story in The Conjuring

The Perrons outside their “Dream Home.”

In the 1970s, this Rhode Island family bought their dream home, and it turned into a nightmare. They were being pulled from their beds, tormented by invisible forces, and eventually, worse. Real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were summoned to investigate, and stumbled on the worst case of a haunting they’d ever seen.

Did You Know:
The Exorcist Was Based on a Boy Who Talked to His Aunt on a Ouija Board?

THE most terrifying possession film of all time remains The Exorcist. But while the movie centres on a fictional preteen girl, Linda Blair, the movie used the real life misfortunes of a 14 year old boy dubbed “Robbie Mannheim” to protect his identity. The Mannheims lived in Maryland in the late 1940s. The story goes that around the time of his possession, Robbie was trying to talk to his beloved and recently deceased aunt via a Ouija board — the same aunt who’d taught him to use the Ouija board. Supposedly, after many exorcisms and move to a different home (in a different State), “Robbie” went on to live a normal life. (A lot of this “true story” has been refuted, but the movie was based on Robbie.)