Top 5 Possessions of All Time

Throughout history, there have been thousands of reported cases of demon possession that span over numerous religions and cultures. In the last century alone, possessions have not only increased, but it was listed as a serious medical and psychiatric condition.

While the most famous demonic cases have been well documented, many don’t believe in the supernatural and see possession as nothing more than a misdiagnosis that is exploited by the film industry. Though Hollywood tends to bend the truth, the list below contains the top five horror films that were based on real demonic possessions.


The Devils was released in 1971 and followed the trial of a Roman-Catholic priest named Urbain Grandier. Set in a French commune, Grandier was known for being very persuasive, attractive, and wealthy. It was under Grandier’s care that many of the nuns around him started showing signs of possession. They would speak in tongues, scream, make inappropriate gestures toward men, and even claimed they were pregnant with his baby.

Allegations began circulating that Grandier was practicing sorcery which caused the nuns to become possessed. Throughout the trial, Grandier insisted that he was innocent. Eventually, he was burned at the stake for his crimes.


The home located at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York has inspired countless documentaries and movies over the years. In 1974, the house was occupied by the DeFeo family when 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. started hearing strange voices telling him to do unspeakable acts. These voices are said to have led Ronald to kill his entire family.

The house laid vacant until the Lutz family moved in thirteen months later. During the 28 days in which they lived in the house, the family said that they were plagued by paranormal occurrences that ranged from strange odors, cold spots, voices, flies, to a green slime. It was when George Lutz started to show signs of being possessed that the family moved out and never returned.

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Produced in 2012 by Sam Raimi, Possession follows the story of a young girl who accidentally became possessed by an antique box that is believed to house an evil spirit.

The original story is based on a wine cabinet that was auctioned off on eBay. The cabinet has had several owners who reported that the item was in fact haunted. The original owner was believed to be a Polish Holocaust survivor named Havela. While in possession of the cabinet, the owners recalled strange smells, vivid nightmares, bulbs burning out, and health issues. Thought to be haunted by a Jewish spirit, the dybbuk, the cabinet was sealed and hid in a secret location by Rabbis.


The 2005 horror film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, was loosely based on the story of a German woman named Anneliese Michel. In 1975, Michel was thought to be possessed by six demons after her family noticed that her psychiatric treatment wasn’t working. The family called in a priest who over the course of ten months, performed a total of 67 Catholic exorcisms.

Experts believed that Michel suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, and epilepsy, but Michel was convinced she was possessed. During her numerous exorcisms, Michel would scream for hours without stopping, drink her own urine, eat insects, and even tear the ligaments in her knees. The priests that oversaw her claimed that she had the demons of Adolf Hitler, Judas Iscariot, and Nero inside her. While still undergoing exorcisms, Michel ended up dying of malnourishment and dehydration. Her parents and the priests were later charged with negligent homicide.


Undoubtedly one of the most popular horror films about demonic possession, The Exorcist was supposedly based on a boy named Roland Doe (his real name was kept secret). In the 1940s, Doe was believed to have been introduced to a Ouija board by his aunt. After her death, Doe’s family began noticing weird noises and even saw objects levitate.

The paranormal occurrences worsened when Doe started to speak in demonic voices. A priest was notified and saw that Doe couldn’t stand the sight of crosses, bibles, or holy water. There were even strange markings that appeared on his body. Priests agreed that the boy was possessed and performed the exorcism ritual 30 times before Doe was free of all his demons. In that time, one priest was injured when Doe attacked him with a bedspring. After the exorcisms, Doe is said to have fully recovered, but some skeptics believe otherwise.

Article by Chris Piner

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