Religion: A Phenomenon of Fear

Anneliese Michel seemed to build her life around an old-fashioned kind of Roman Catholic devotion. In her dormitory room at West Germany's University of Würzburg, the pretty, pious young education student covered her walls with pictures of saints, kept a holy-water font near the door, regularly prayed the Rosary. Timid and intense, she seemed somehow afraid of life; even in her thesis, which she finished this spring, she focused on the phenomenon of fear. Then, one month later, Anneliese died at home in Klingenberg at the age of 23, wasted to skin and bones. Cause of death, according to an autopsy:...

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