From a 19-year-old who stabbed his landlord because the "devil made him do it" to the woman who underwent a series of exorcisms across 23 days, these are nine of the most harrowing cases of alleged demonic possession in history.
There are some things in the world — bumps in the night, shadows in the corner of the eye — that seem to escape explanation. But the people in the stories below insist that the strange events they experienced were nothing short of demonic possession.
Some, like Latoya Ammons, had multiple witnesses — nurses, priests, and even police — to back up their stories. Others enlisted the help of paranormal investigators like Ed and Lorraine Warren, who also swear that the strange events in question actually happened.
These nine stories of demonic possession are chilling examples of the inexplicable, from people talking in tongues to random murders.
Nicole Aubrey And The ‘Miracle Of Laon’
In November 1565, a French teenager named Nicole Aubrey (sometimes spelled Obry) started to suffer from a mysterious ailment in Vervins, France. She reportedly spoke in a “gruff” voice, refused to eat, and was racked with convulsions reportedly so violent that it took 12 or 15 men to hold her down.
Priests in Vervins determined that Aubrey was being possessed by a demon and tried to exorcise her. But they found that Aubrey’s demon was no run-of-the-mill evil spirit — it was “Beelzebub, the Prince of the Huguenots.”
Amidst the highly charged atmosphere between French Catholics and French Huguenots, or Protestants, Aubrey’s alleged demonic possession became more than a provincial affair. The Bishop of Laon himself was called to exorcise Aubrey and, when he failed, the teenager was transferred to Laon.
There, Aubrey’s alleged demonic possession became something of a public spectacle. According to Gizmodo, she was transferred every day from the convent where she was staying to the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Laon. As a rapt crowd listened, her demon gave sermons on the evil of the Huguenots.
“I with my obstinate Huguenots will do Him [Christ] more evil than the Jews did!” Aubrey is said to have roared. She also reportedly told the crowd that local Huguenots had taken a communion wafer, cut it up, and burned it.
Ultimately, priests were successful in their attempts to exorcise the “demon.” According to The Crime of Crimes: Demonology and Politics in France, 1560-1620, one eyewitness said that the demon finally left Aubrey’s body after producing smoke, thunder, and a thick fog that “encircled the belltowers of the church.”
It’s unknown what happened to Aubrey after that. But her alleged demonic possession caused waves in Laon, ratcheting up tensions between local Catholics and Protestants. The event — called the Miracle of Laon — even inspired copycat “possessions” elsewhere in France.