The Exorcism Of Anna Ecklund

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Toccara Delacerda

Apr 27, 2024, 3:23:39 PMApr 27
to naewhimazor

Though various published sources state that Emma Schmidt was born in Milwaukee on March 23, 1882[1][2] and raised in a Catholic household in Marathon, Wisconsin,[3][4] this biography is problematic because it makes Emma the daughter of Eduard Schmidt, contradicting both published and unpublished accounts of Emma's purported possession and exorcisms which state that her father's name was Jacob. If this information is correct, the true identity of Emma Schmidt, as per records found on, may be Hulda Emma Schmidt, born July 3, 1882, in Thurgau, Switzerland to Jacob and Anna Schmidt, who subsequently emigrated to Wisconsin in 1884. This Emma Schmidt was one of nine children, and died June 23, 1964, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On June 18, 1912, Ecklund underwent an exorcism by Father Theophilus Riesinger, a Capuchin priest originally from Bavaria, Germany, entrusted by Bishop Thomas Dunn of Des Moines, Iowa.[9][3] Riesinger had been a monk at the community of St. Anthony's in Marathon, Wisconsin.[10] Little was documented concerning this initial exorcism; however, Ecklund was not consulted for over two decades after the 1912 exorcism.[11]

The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund

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In the summer of 1928, Riesinger was again consulted to perform a second exorcism on Ecklund. Father Joseph Stieger of Earling, Iowa, a friend of Riesinger, suggested the exorcism be undertaken at a convent owned by the Franciscan Sisters in Earling.[3] Ecklund was taken to the convent on August 17, 1928, and reportedly exhibited numerous symptoms, including falling into fits of rage over food that had been sprinkled with holy water, and hissing like a cat. With the help of the Franciscan sisters of the convent, the exorcism began on August 18.[12] The exorcism was reportedly violent, with Ecklund levitating, howling, and hanging from the frame of the doorway.[12] The first session lasted until August 26; a second session occurred between September 13 and September 20, followed by a final eight-day session that lasted from December 15 to December 23, 1928.[12]

The extensive exorcism resulted in deterioration of Ecklund's body, as she refused to consume food, also vomiting foul debris and what appeared to be tobacco leaves.[12] Her head, lips, and face reportedly swelled, and she also was able to speak in multiple languages unknown to her.[13] The exorcism was reportedly so grueling, and Ecklund's behavior so violent, that several nuns in the Franciscan order asked to be relocated to a different convent.[14][15] Ecklund was believed to be possessed by Judas Iscariot, as well as Jacob, her own father, who had cursed her with the help of his lover, her aunt Mina, for refusing his incestuous sexual advances during her adolescence.[9][13] During the exorcisms, Ecklund also spoke in a high falsetto voice, which Riesinger interpreted as the voice of her aunt Mina.[13]

On December 23, the final day of the exorcism, Father Riesinger commanded the demons in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to depart to Hell. Ecklund collapsed on her bed and began to shriek "Beelzebub, Judas, Jacob, Mina," followed by "Hell! Hell! Hell!" She opened her eyes, and then spoke in her own voice, saying "My Jesus, Mercy! Praised be Jesus Christ!"[16] Riesinger's exorcism was reportedly successful, and Ecklund only exhibited "milder" and "quite manageable" possessions after it.[14] Her true identity was kept protected from the public in written accounts.[17]

Carl Vogl, a theologian, wrote an account of the possession in German, titled Begone, Satan in 1935, using the pseudonym Anna Ecklund.[19] According to Francis Young, a theology scholar, elements of the account published by Vogl were repeated in a written account of Robbie Mannheim in Mount Rainier, Maryland in 1949 by Jesuit priests.[20] Young views the publication of the Ecklund case as integral in exemplifying the "American exorcism."[20]

A local priest and an investigator from the Vatican team up to help discover whether a formerly gentle wife and mother is truly possessed by an ancient evil. Upon realizing that this is the case, the two try to take the woman, Anna Ecklund, to a convent to perform an exorcism. Unwilling to let its prey loose, the evil launches an assault against the priests.[citation needed]

The film received negative reviews on IMDb and per Screen Rant, was one of the ten lowest rated horror films as of 2019, summarizing by writing "If you're wondering what makes this movie different from the other exorcism movies, the answer is nothing. As one viewer wrote on the IMDb page, "Girl is possessed, priests get 'clearance' to perform exorcism, demon possesses the priests, rinse and repeat.""[7]

This weeks episode goes a bit more out there as we take a look at a historic exorcism that, despite being a well-documented case for the time, tends to fly under the radar. This is the story of Anna Ecklund, who found herself cursed and possessed by five demons and suffered months of exorcisms lasting for 23 days, in Earling, Iowa, way back in 1928.

Indeed, his life and work had been widely publicised in the press as he had become more and more embroiled in the practice of demonic extraction. No case had gathered more media attention at the time than his work on the exorcism of Anna Ecklund which saw him placed onto the cover of Time magazine and which now loomed large over his head as he prepared to battle with her demons for the second time.

Anna travelled by train to the convent itself and the priests escorting her first found it necessary to make the personnel of the train aware of the situation as a precautionary measure. When Anna arrived at Earling station, though it is documented that she was herself very willing and happy to enlist the help of the church and submit to an exorcism, she attacked the priests who had come to meet her, lashing out and choking them.

This consequently terrified the nuns who were assisting the exorcism and drove them to create a rotating schedule that allowed for each to work for only a short period before being able to rest and recuperate, away from the screams.

This also created a second problem. That of the local villagers of Earling, who day by day during the performances of the exorcism could hear the sounds echoing from inside the stone convents walls and gathered around, exchanging quiet whispers of what they believed was happening inside.

Through these bursts of speech, Riesinger learnt all manner of details concerning the demonic presences with Anna and came to the conclusion that she was possessed by not only one demon, but five, those of her father Jacob and his mistress Mina, now apparently residing in hell, along with Beelzebub, Judas and Lucifer himself. Alongside the main five were scores of others lesser demons that would arrive in packs, screaming and growling atop of one another until they could be driven away by Reisinger exorcisms. This process of battle continued for eight days until the group feared for Annas life, as she became emaciated and pale. On the 26th August, it was deemed necessary to break the proceedings and to commence anew after Anna and all present had been given time away to recuperate and renew their convictions for the further battles that lay ahead. It was only after the exorcisms ceased that Anna would once again open her eyes and return to a normal waking state.

Throughout the periods of exorcism, the many demons speaking through Anna would berate and utter torturous ramblings towards those present and none received more of these taunts than Father Steiger. He found it difficult to sleep at nights and told of how rats were scratching in his walls night after night, or how his room would vibrate and rumble. In both cases, once he had given prayer and equipped himself with his religious symbols, the problems would cease, but the prolonged disturbances had begun to take a toll on his well being. He voiced his agitations directly with Riesinger, who had been a lifelong friend to Steiger but whose presence now brought about a feeling of annoyance to the troubled Pastor. Riesinger, as usual, took it all in his stride, assuring him that it was but the work of the devil and that he was working to dislodge their relationship. Not wholly relieved, Steiger reluctantly continued in his assistance and so it was, that on one evening during the second period of exorcisms that Lucifer was able to carry out a threat, this time directly on his life. It had not been unusual for Steiger, nor all those present to listen to prolonged speeches containing threats, at one time, the devil had told Steiger of how he would regret his involvement once the parish would turn against him under the puppeteering of the Devil,

The descriptions and witness accounts of the Exorcism of Anna Ecklund are at times bizarre and at others, completely fantastical as far as any sceptical person might understand. Whether or not we believe them is a matter for each of us personally, however, it remains fascinating both in its ability to conceptualise an abstract aspect of faith and psychology and in the sheer amount of international attention and scrutiny that the case garnered. Even 80 years on, her exorcism remains as a pivotal case and has influenced generations of fiction and popular media on the subject.

Reisinger continued with his work as a priest in the Catholic Church, undertaking his more standard duties alongside exorcisms until on the 9th of November 1941 when he passed away peacefully aged 73.

Anna Ecklund is today considered to be one of the most famous exorcisms in the United States, perhaps most famously portrayed in the 2016 film The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund. However there are varying accounts of the true story of the exorcism, and there is little certainty as to the truth behind the stories.

It was in the Midwest that Father Riesinger first encountered Anna Ecklund. He performed his first exorcism on her soon after arriving in 1912, and it was deemed a success. Anna was able to return to her regular life and Riesinger developed a reputation for dispelling the evils that infect human beings. He went on to perform a further nineteen successful exorcisms.

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