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The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund

Disclaimer: This work has been completed as an educational tool for students of history, religious and paranormal studies. The author wishes to discourage any use of this work in conjunction with paranormal field investigations of demons.

Researched and written by Kyle T. Cobb, Jr.

Nos tibi credere.

A  Case History

The names and numbers of the beasts.

The voices emerged from Ecklund at times sounded “bestial and most unnatural,” while at other times seemed to express extraordinary grief. When Riesinger demanded to know who was possessing her, he was told many. Many times during the exorcism, Riesinger would switch between, English, Latin and German. The demons would always respond correctly in the chosen language.

When Riesinger demanded to know who the lead demon was, he was told Beelzebub.

It was speaking as Beelzebub that the demon claimed, "Ha, did not her own father curse us into her?" When Riesinger challenged this assertion further, the demon responded, "You can ask him. Leave me in peace for once."

This response prompted the Exorcist to ask if Ecklund’s father were part of the possession. The demon allegedly responded, "What a foolish question. He has been with us ever since he was damned."

At other times, the demon claimed to be the apostle Judas Iscariot and that Judas was there to “bring her to despair, so that she will commit suicide and hang herself! She must get the rope, she must go to hell!"

At another time, the demon claimed to be Jacob, Anna’s father.  It claimed to have tried to force Ecklund in to an incestuous relationship but she had resisted. He also claimed to have actively tried to encourage Anna in a sexual manner. In discussions with Anna, she seemed to have a memory of her father cursing her but would say little else negative about him. Riesinger was able to determine that Jacob had a reputation as a general haters of the Church.

Another demon encountered claimed to be, Mina, Anna’s aunt and the mistress of Anna’s father. Mina claimed to have murdered 3 children while she still lived.

All through the various exorcism, Ecklund suffered from physical “distortions” that would radical alter her appearance. Her face would become twisted. Her body would contort in impossible ways. At times her “pale, deathlike and emaciated head, often assuming the size of an inverted water pitcher, became as red as glowing embers. “Her eyes and lips would swell to huge proportions. Ecklund’s stomach would become hard as stone.

During the exorcisms, Ecklund seemed to react particularly strong to certain elements. Whenever approached with holy water she would shout: "Away, away with it, away with that abominable dirt! Oh, that burns, that scorches.

During one exorcism, Father Steiger placed a small relic of the Little Flower of the Child Jesus in a small pyx that he carried in his pocket. The demon screamed, "Away, away with that! Away with the relic of the Little Flower, away with that weathercock!"

Antipathy against the whole procedure

As the days passed, the seemed to develop an unexplained discomfort between Steiger and Riesinger. It seems that Steiger had come to regret his decision to allow the exorcism within his church. When he confronted Riesinger over the matter. Riesinger reacted without surprised and blamed the devil for stirring ill feelings between the priests.

Later the demon threated Steiger to withdraw permission for the exorcisms. It allegedly said, “He will learn to know us better. Lucifer is on His tracks and will make the kettle hot and heavy for Him. Ha, ha, ha! Just wait until the end of the week! When Friday comes, then..." The following Friday, Steiger received a call from a local farmer with a critically ill mother needing last sacraments. While driving to the home and just as he was about to cross a bridge over a ravine, a dark black cloud appeared and he was blinded. As a result, he crashed into the railing of the bridge. While the car was completely destroyed, other than a few cuts and frayed nerves, Steiger was not seriously injured.

Later that day when Steiger returned to the covent and the exorcism, the demon greeted him with, “Today he pulled in his proud neck and was outpointed! I certainly showed him up today. What about your new auto, that dandy car which was smashed to smithereens? It served you right!"

Steiger’s trials did not end with the car wreck. Repeatedly he would be awoken at night by noises in his room. While this could easily be explained as rodents, the house had been rodent free for his entire 14 year stay there. Night after night the noises continued. Stopping only briefly in deference to various prayers.

Over the three weeks of exorcism, Ecklund always seemed to lose consciousness once the rite began and would wake up with no knowledge of the events. At that time, Ecklund did claim to have visions of horrible battles between spirits. During the entire time, she was unable to eat solid foods and experienced heavy vomiting twenty to 30 times a day.

For the twenty-three days of the exorcism, it would frequently seem as though Ecklund was at death’s door but somehow she continued to endure. In total there three periods of exorcism performed on Ecklund. The first were held 18-26 August 1928. The second occurred 13-20 September 1928. The final group of Exorcisms began 15 December 1928 and lasted until 23 December.

For the first 2 weeks of the rites, there seemed to be little progress, even with the 12-hours a day of continuous ceremonies. In an effort to change the situation, Father Riesinger decided to do the rite continuously for three straight days and nights without intermission.

The Thirds Sessions- 15 December 1928-23 December 1928

Gradually, the resistance of the demons seemed to wane.

Anna told one of the nuns that St. Thérèse of Lisieux , who was the patron saint of people that had lost their parents and was canonized in 1925, told her, “Do not lose courage! The end is soon at hand.”

At 9pm on 23 December 1949, Ecklund leapt up on the bed. Fearing a repeat of the ceiling incident weeks earlier, the nuns went to restrain her. The woman collapsed onto the bed and began chanting, “Beelzebub, Judas, Jacob, Mina…" After several minutes, the words “Hell—hell—hell!” were added to the chant after the names.

Ecklund awoke and said, “From what a terrible burden have I been freed at last! My Jesus, Mercy! Praised be Jesus Christ!”

Testimony of Theresa Wegerer, Father Steiger's housekeeper

"I was a witness to almost the whole period of the exorcism of the Earling possession case and I can truthfully say, that the facts mentioned in Begone Satan are correct. Some of the scenes were even more frightful than described in the booklet. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind, that the devils were present and I will never forget the horrible scenes, vile, filthy, and dirty, as long as I live.

All the nuns asked for a change and were transferred the next year.

"The woman came back to Earling over a distance of a thousand miles four months after the exorcism to make a novena of Thanksgiving. This was at the bidding of Christ Himself. During her stay she boarded with the Schimorowsky family. She told me how our Blessed Lord appears to her frequently and encourages her to be faithful."

As Wegerer mentions, in 1929, all the nuns in the convent requested and received transfers to other locations. The Convent persisted until the late 1980s and was demolished in the mid-1990s.

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1885 St. Joseph's Catholic Church